Learn to Play Smells Like Teen Spirit on Guitar – Chords & Tabs Included


How to play Smells Like Teen Spirit on Guitar?

One of the most iconic songs, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, is extremely fun to play on guitar, all you need to learn is some power chords and you are halfway there.

This lesson will go through all the parts of this track including the main riff, the guitar solo, and the strumming section.

So, lets get started.

Power Chords

The song uses a lot of power chords, eight in total.

The good thing is all these chords are similar in shape and share the same fingerings, just they are played in different positions on the fretboard. Below are the diagrams of these eight power chords.


The Main Riff

Below you can see the tab for the main riff. It is a pretty easy riff that requires just four power chords: F5, Bb5, Ab5, and Db5.


To hold these power chords correctly, use your index finger for the root note, ring finger for the 3rd note, and pinky finger for the fifth note.

Here you have to make sure that the other three strings ( 1st, 2nd, and 3rd ) stay muted when you play these chords. You can do that easily by slightly resting the bottom part of your index finger on top of these three strings ( watch the above video to get a clear idea ).

Note: The main riff and the chorus riff are the same, meaning, you will play this same riff in the chorus section as well.

Rhythm ( Strumming Pattern )

The rhythm aka strumming pattern may look complex as it is fast paced but it is quite easy. It uses 16th notes and goes like :-


This pattern requires you to do some string muting which may take some time to master if you are a beginner but with some practice and dedication one can easily nail it.

Post Chorus


This section comes before the chorus and uses five power chords and they are F5, E5, F#5, Bb5, Ab5, and A5. Here you don’t have to worry about using your pinky finger since these are two-note power chords.

This section also includes a half note bend on the 3rd fret of the G string which requires zero effort to play but sounds total fun.

One more great thing is, this section doesn’t requires any specific strumming pattern but only downstrums. Watch the above video for a visual instruction

Guitar Solo (Lead part)

The guitar solo is the easiest part of this song as it is slow-paced and hardly requires any advanced techniques. Since the key of this song is F minor, this solo is based on F minor scale.

To master this guitar solo, start off by practicing it slowly with a metronome and gradually increase the speed to the original speed when you feel comfortable doing so.

Wrapping Up

‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is one of the easiest rock songs to play on guitar but it does requires some patience and dedication to master it note for note. I hope this lesson helped in making you understand what actually going on in this song. If it did then don’t forget to comment and share it with friends.