In this acoustic guitar lesson, I am going to show you how to play all the chords to Nirvana's cover of Lead Belly's classic "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" as played on their MTV Unplugged performance.
Kurt Cobain keeps the guitar chords very simple throughout the entire song in order to let the powerful vocal performance and lyrics take center stage. This has become one of their most popular tracks off their MTV Unplugged album.
You will need to tune your guitar down one half-step to Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb in order to follow along with this lesson and the original recording.
The intro introduces the 4 chord progression used for 95% of the song with the addition of a quick little guitar lick thrown in there to make it a bit more interesting when there are no vocals.
This short little lick can be challenging to the entry level player since it requires you to go from slow strumming to fast single notes very quickly. I suggest isolating that chord change with the 3 fast notes in between them in order to help master it quicker.
After the vocals come in, it is pretty smooth sailing for the rest of the song with no really challenging parts. In fact, Kurt Cobain simply repeats the same 4 chords, albeit some times quietly and some times very aggressively for the rest of the song with one exception.
The only time those 4 chords are stopped is when the music stops towards the end of the song. When the music comes back in Kurt Cobain strums an Esus4 chord for 4 bars before going back to the familiar 4 chord progression. This chord is very easy to play so it shouldn't throw any real challenges your way unless you are a total beginner. 🙂
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