How to Play Guitar Like Kurt Cobain

During his time as a grunge-rock sensation, Kurt Cobain managed to show the world his unique ability to play guitar and create a distinct sound for his fans. The lead guitarist, and singer of the 90s band, Nirvana, Kurt Cobain was a phenomenon in the category of rock music. He was extremely famous for his lyrics, voice, attitude, drug use and even his death, which is still a mystery. During his last interviews on television, Cobain told the world that he wants to be remembered around the world for his lyrics, and not his music. However, what he brought to the music world through his guitar-playing was simply something no one had seen before.


  • 1

    Start off by buying a guitar. Kurt Cobain always used inexpensive and old instruments. He favoured Fender and his favourite models included Jaguar. However, during the start of his career, the Fender Stratocaster was something he used the most. He was also known for his acoustic guitar playing. The MTV Unplugged which Nirvana played is something that is still remembered as one of their best live performances ever.

  • 2

    Once you are done with buying a guitar, it is time for you to buy an amp. If you are playing an electric guitar, you will find it easy if you have an amp which has a profound sound with a bit of effects. He, himself, said that he was never a fan of Marshall Amps, but he was forced to use them because they were the best for tours.

  • 3

    Nirvana had their own signature sounds whenever they played live. The effects they used were quite minimal, yet they were still so distinct that anyone could recognize them. For playing certain songs, those effects are extremely important. You can start off by using the Small Clone Chorus effect, which was used in their song “Come as you are.” However, if you want to use distortion like Cobain did, always opt for a Boss DS-2 turbo distortion pedal, or Tech 21 Sans Amp Classic.

  • 4

    Kurt Cobain’s chord-changing ability was later considered to be one of his most natural techniques. You should see his videos and see how he uses power chords and shifts them at unusual parts while playing a song.

  • 5

    Learn how to read guitar tabs. It is extremely simple and even though they seem to be really long and boring, Nirvana played songs which can never be perfected unless you do not have the correct tabs for them.

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