The Man Who Sold the World
by Nirvana • Lesson #395 • Oct 11, 2021
Video lesson and sheet music
Print-Friendly Song Sheet 4 pages
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Today I’m excited to show you how to play The Man Who Sold The World, as covered by Nirvana on their 1994 album MTV Unplugged. This song is originally written & recorded by David Bowie (1970), but this lesson will work perfectly well for his version too. This song is a blast to play. In addition to being one you can strum & sing in a straightforward manner, there’s (1) the distinctive one-string riff, (2) the chorus scale riff, and (3) the ending solo – which also uses only one string – which altogether make for a true delight to play around with. No matter which of these you want to tackle, this tutorial has you covered.
- 0:00 Preview & Lesson Summary
- 2:16 Tuning Notes (Standard vs. E-flat)
- 2:46 Intro Riff Basics
- 5:33 Intro Riff, While Strumming
- 7:25 Chord Shapes
- 10:27 Strumming the Verse
- 15:04 Strumming the Chorus
- 17:30 Chorus Scale Riff
- 24:15 Ending Solo w/ Tab
Full Play-along Cover
Based on popular demand, I’ve created a separate video showing TWO play-through covers of this song. The first is in standard tuning (using a simple strum, and no backing guitar tracks) while the second uses E-flat tuning (using a percussive strum, along with the chorus scale riff played over a backing rhythm track). Taken together, I feel you’ll be in very good in hands in seeing the different ways you can approach this song.
Related lessons to help with this song
Playing A-major with One Finger (Lesson #46)
Percussive Slap Strum Technique (Lesson #197)
F Chord Cheat Sheet (Lesson #392)
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