How to Play About a Girl by Nirvana (Guitar Lesson)

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Matt Brown

About a Girl

Matt takes you start to finish with this popular Kurt Cobain number. Like most Nirvana songs, this one is a piece of cake to learn.

Taught by Matt Brown in Songs with Matt Brown seriesLength: 17:53Difficulty: 2.0 of 5

Video Subtitles / Captions

Supplemental Learning Material


Member Comments about this Lesson

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turnstoashesturnstoashes replied on January 13th, 2015

Awesome lesson man!

esauesau replied on December 3rd, 2014

thanks your lesson

austinhardy09austinhardy09 replied on October 29th, 2014

Great lesson. I've been working on A shaped barre chords, and have found plenty of chances to put them into play in Nirvana songs. Just wanted to say, I found a pretty good lesson on Youtube, but they failed to include the part between the chorus and the verse (where you go E to A-Shaped E, then A to A-Shaped C), and they also did not include the solo. Jamplay wins. Thanks so much for the detail and patient-teaching method.

viehwoiderviehwoider replied on February 27th, 2013

I liked the lesson a lot! Thank you Matt. I´m just a little confused about the keys. What key is the chorus in? I´m just working through the modes lesson of Chris, maybe that´s why I thought the verse would be a 1-6 Progression in an aeolian mode? The g-minor-pentatonic sounds good with those two chords. can you put it that way too? about something from Queens of the Stone Age? Would be great! Cheers :)

mattbrownmattbrown replied on February 28th, 2013

Hi! Glad you liked the lesson! The verse is in the key of E natural minor (same as E Aeolian). The chord progression is i to III. I would analyze the chorus as being in the key of C# major. The first four bars feature a I - IV progression. Then, the last two bars feature modulatory material that leads back to the verse. In terms of sections that setup a modulation, you want to analyze the chords in terms of where you're heading. So, since you're heading back to Em, the analysis is V/IV (E major functions as a secondary dominant chord to A major: It's the V of the IV chord) - IV - vi.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on February 28th, 2013

Forgot to mention this...I'd love to teach a QOTSA song at some point if possible! They're one of my favorite bands if not my favorite band. I'm not sure if we have licensing for any of their material...

Rob SRob S replied on September 17th, 2012

Nice rework on this tune Matt! Im revisiting my Grunge

ajit_anandajit_anand replied on June 30th, 2012

Hey matt..can u help me with the amp settings?

mattbrownmattbrown replied on July 18th, 2012

Sorry for the delayed response! It's been a crazy month! I definitely wasn't too pleased with the guitar tone in this lesson...It's definitely not a sound you want to imitate. I'm guessing the close mic on the amp was bumped out of place. Kurt Cobain liked to crank the mids up pretty high. I personally do not. I keep the mids about about 4, the highs at 6, and the bass at about 6 as well..In terms of eq controls though, every amp reacts a little bit differently. To the best of my knowledge, a Randall Commander was used for most of the guitar tracks on Bleach. For the dirty tones, I imagine he just stepped on a Boss DS-1 or a similar pedal...Crank the level control on the pedal all the way up. Then, I'd set the tone and distortion levels at about 5. Hope this helps...The best advice I can give you is to use your ears and experiment until the tone feels right to you.

aarond11aarond11 replied on January 11th, 2012

Repeat Repeat Repeat! I liek it!

blizzardblizzard replied on December 23rd, 2011

been away awhile, been busy , but I'm back and I really like the update to this lesson, a bit more meaty that the previous version. Still waiting for you to bring back Purple Haze, I want to try it out on my new resonator for a twist on the song

samelasamela replied on July 14th, 2011

Hey Matt, I started yesterday and got everything down already. Now all I have to do is practice transitions and tempo. Can't wait to show off! =) lol. Thanks!

mattbrownmattbrown replied on July 16th, 2011

That's awesome! Ever think about recording it? I'd love to hear it.

antonio76antonio76 replied on May 14th, 2011

Hi, Matt Just a question. When you do the D chord in the chorus... do you let the first string ring or you mute it (its difficult to get the first string to ring, allways, when you make that bar with you third finger).....

mattbrownmattbrown replied on May 16th, 2011

Hey! I'm guessing you're talking about the C# chord...Anyway, the first isn't played within that chord. Some people don't have enough flexibility in their joints to play that chord with two fingers. If I need to fret the first string, I play strings 4, 3, and 2 with fingers 2, 3, and 4 respectively. Then, finger 1 does a five string barre.

antonio76antonio76 replied on May 16th, 2011

sorry, I meant the A chord with one finger .... the eddy van hallen way as you say... Nice lesson by the way!

mattbrownmattbrown replied on May 23rd, 2011

Thanks!...The first string is left out of that chord too.

bangor307bangor307 replied on May 9th, 2011

Fun song to play! Thanks for the updated lesson Matt.

robabrobab replied on May 6th, 2011

Very nice lesson. We need more lessons for beginners/intermediate. Maybe some Lenny Kravitz.

dom86dom86 replied on December 19th, 2008

hey matt what about the solo part on about a girl?

zanbaerzanbaer replied on January 24th, 2010

i know right i cant find the solo anywere

mattbrownmattbrown replied on January 25th, 2010

Hey guys! This lesson was done a few years ago before we started to film the solos for the songs that we teach. All future Phase 3 lessons that I do will include a video scene on the solo. I recommend listening to the solo while following along with the tabs in the supplemental content. Then, try to imitate what you are hearing with your own playing.

stevenkh3stevenkh3 replied on August 17th, 2009

The solo is really easy this is how i do it

sens93sens93 replied on August 8th, 2009

Hey Matt!! Thanks for the awsome lesson i got a electric guitar for 2 days ago and this song is great for a beggining song!

scottbrownscottbrown replied on January 26th, 2009

Matt, I enjoyed the lesson big tune!! I am only new to guitar and currently working thru phase 2. I find trying to learn fairly easy songs helps me get comfortable changing chords and trying to build good timing. Do you think it is a bad idea to be jumping ahead or is it just a matter of how much frustration I want to go thru?

sjaaksjaak replied on February 23rd, 2009

I really recommend playing easy songs, to add some more fun to leaning to play the guitar. It also has advantages, like getting a feel for rhythm and making combinations of things you learned from lessons. It's also better for yourself to see where you could need improvement, like: "ok...I'm doing the chord-changes right, but I really need some more practice with strumming". Playing songs improved me faster than following lessons.

zach1157zach1157 replied on December 21st, 2008

Hey Matt, could you please make some tabs for the guitar solo? Thanks a lot it would really help!

lcrscr675lcrscr675 replied on November 15th, 2008

i like it in giutar hero better

hawkwindhawkwind replied on October 18th, 2008

Could you note the strumming pattern somewhere please ? I don't manage to catch it only with the video

nikkolitasnikkolitas replied on October 1st, 2008

nice lesson mat!!!!!

mgaurav5mgaurav5 replied on February 2nd, 2008

thanks :) for this kool lesson

mattbrownmattbrown replied on November 30th, 2007

maybe in the future...i cover that song all the time.

dmanthey1dmanthey1 replied on November 20th, 2007

great lesson Matt on about a girl. Any chance of a lesson in regards to On A Plain by Nirvana?!

Songs with Matt Brown

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Matt will be frequently adding great new video lessons teaching you today's hottest songs.

Lesson 5

About a Girl

Matt takes you start to finish with this popular Kurt Cobain number.

Length: 17:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
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Lesson 30

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Matt Brown takes an in-depth look at the classic Flaming Lips song "She Don't Use Jelly."

Length: 19:02 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only

About Matt Brown View Full Biography Matt Brown began playing the guitar at the age of 11. "It was a rule in my family to learn and play an instrument for at least two years. I had been introduced to a lot of great music at the time by friends and their older siblings. I was really into bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins, so the decision to pick up the guitar came pretty easily."

Matt's musical training has always followed a very structured path. He began studying the guitar with Dayton, Ohio guitar great Danny Voris. I began learning scales, chords, and basic songs like any other guitarist. After breaking his left wrist after playing for only a year, Matt began to study music theory in great detail. I wanted to keep going with my lessons, but I obviously couldn't play at all. Danny basically gave me the equivalent of a freshman year music theory course in the span of two months. These months proved to have a huge impact on Brown's approach to the instrument.

Brown continued his music education at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He completed a degree in Classical Guitar Performance in 2002. While at Capital, he also studied jazz guitar and recording techniques in great detail. "I've never had any desire to perform jazz music. Its lack of relevance to modern culture has always turned me off. However, nothing will improve your chops more than studying this music."

Matt Brown currently resides in Dayton, Ohio. He teaches lessons locally as well as at Capital University's Community Music School. Matt's recent projects include writing and recording with his new, as of yet nameless band as well as the formation of a cover band called The Dirty Cunnies.

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