RIFF Come As You Are

Now, we’re going to learn the riff to “Come As You Are” by Nirvana. This is a classic 90s grunge track that most of you are probably familiar with. There’s more to this riff than what we’ll be learning here, but for this one, think of it as an exercise to practice on an ongoing basis rather than a song that you have to learn and master before proceeding to the next lesson. This riff serves as a great exercise for picking, fingering, and getting the notes to sit properly on the strings.


You’re going to be using all down picks for this, so the challenge will come in when going back and forth between the two thickest strings. You’ve got to make sure each pick is precise, and of course, that you’re on the correct string! Also, there are instances where you’ll be leaving a finger down on one string while picking the open string right next to it. To do this, pay careful attention that you’re using your fingertips when fretting. Otherwise, you might accidentally mute the open string you’re trying to play.

The Rhythm

Counting the rhythm (shown in red) on this one might be quite tricky. In fact, this riff doesn’t even start on beat 1! It starts on the “and” of the third count from the previous bar, you can see in the tab that repeat signs surround just 2 bars,m the first one is the kind of 'lead in' bar. If this is a bit confusing for you (which it likely will be!), don’t worry too much about getting the counts just right at first. Listen to the original recording and get a feel for the rhythm. The counts can always come later.


Module 5: C Chord Nirvana!