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How to Play Lithium by Nirvana (Guitar Lesson)


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Allen Van Wert

Lithium

Allen Van Wert teaches this classic grunge song from the album Nevermind. Still a staple of rock radio today, this song continues Nirvana's style of soft and loud parts. Dynamics were a big part of their sound.

Taught by Allen Van Wert in Songs With Allen seriesLength: 20:17Difficulty: 1.0 of 5


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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


shunshun replied on October 3rd, 2012

We want more!

echegollenechegollen replied on September 24th, 2012

Is this the same version played by Kurt Cobain? It seems pretty hard to play and sing that song at the same time...

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on May 21st, 2013

If you practice it slowly you may be able to sing it. Take it a few words at a time and work on rhythm.

shunshun replied on October 3rd, 2012

I find it hard to sing to sing any song while playing guitar so im afraid i cant tell

spprashaantspprashaant replied on October 12th, 2011

What is the amp settings used for this song both for clean and distorted. I have a vox tonelab st, so I can have any of the 33 amp models and one effect and one time based effect. The output of this I am feeding to a small physical amp Marshall MG 10

Orion3TOrion3T replied on October 10th, 2011

I have a query about the muting that Nirvana do a lot - that sort of 'waka waka' sound. Is the muting done only with the left hand rather than palm muting?

SylviaSylvia replied on August 24th, 2011

Come on OHIO... the upside down and backwards fretboard SUCKS... please put these back to normal.

nessanessa replied on August 25th, 2011

I don't know that they have any current plans to start filming them the old way again, I apologize! I know that some don't enjoy the new angle while some do. I will point out that the majority of the lessons going on the site are still filmed the original way. The feedback is appreciated. :)

rhoadsfreakrhoadsfreak replied on August 27th, 2011

I know I am NOT the only one who LIKES that angle.. It shows what you would be looking at while YOU were looking down at your own fretboard, which ALL people do while learning and 99% of "the greats" still do from time to time.... Keep that angle OHIO boys!!

JohnArtmanJohnArtman replied on March 19th, 2017

Please just use a normal front facing angle when showing us the fretboard, this upside down angle is horrible and really ruining my efforts here because as a lefty I can't make out what he is doing on the fretboard, it makes it nearly impossible for me to just look at it and play. This is why I canceled my subscription in late 2010 because this angle made it very difficult for us lefties to learn anything and when I told you guys about it then I was basically told "We have more right handed players than we do left handed, everyone enjoys the new angle" which is true, if you're right handed.

stratmusicstratmusic replied on August 27th, 2011

I really like the "new" angle too and personally would like to see it in MORE lessons. I really hope Jamplay continues to crank out videos using both angles so eveyone can benefit depending on how they learn the best. It would be a shame to see this angle not used...I just think more people that don't like it are voicing their opinions. I bet their are plenty of us that do appreciate this angle.

jj90jj90 replied on September 10th, 2011

Yeah both angles would work perfectly. I'm a lefty, and the upside down view is really difficult to learn from just looking at it. I understand it is a perfect angle for right handed players but it somewhat difficult mirroring it. Wouldn't it be perfect if the JW player that Jamplay uses could get some kind of instant mirroring feature. That way everyone, left or right would be happy.

chodypthchodypth replied on August 27th, 2011

I prefer the overhead angle any day. Easier to see the fretboard and what's going on. You have both the front angle in the bottom left and the overhead in the top. So whats the problem?

metelthometeltho replied on August 25th, 2011

Good lesson, but I have to agree with "Sylvia" above that the camera angle is not very appealing or easy to learn from. Would be great to have it back to an easier angle.

jj90jj90 replied on August 25th, 2011

Keep em coming Allen! Love Nirvana, already knew it, but it's a wonderful song to play/hear. Thanks!

ferhispanoferhispano replied on August 24th, 2011

Nice one, I really like grunge, nice lesson

Songs With Allen

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Learn rock songs with Allen Van Wert.



Lesson 1

Turkish March

Allen Van Wert teaches his neo-classical rendition of this Mozart masterpiece.

Length: 33:18 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 2

Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

Allen Van Wert covers the ZZ Top classic "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers."

Length: 24:58 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Angry Again

Allen Van Wert teaches this Megadeth classic.

Length: 41:01 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Seventeen

Learn this classic hair metal song by the band Winger.

Length: 67:00 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Hangar 18

Allen Van Wert teaches this epic Megadeth song that has no less than 11 guitar solos.

Length: 120:00 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Come As You Are

Allen teaches this song from the great American grunge band Nirvana.

Length: 16:57 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Lithium

Allen Van Wert teaches this classic grunge song from the album Nevermind.

Length: 20:17 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Endless Sacrifice

Resident JamPlay metallurgist Allen Van Wert tackles the 11 minute epic "Endless Sacrifice" by Dream Theater. Allen meticulously explains all of John Petrucci's guitar parts in this 80 minute lesson. If...

Length: 79:14 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Pull Me Under

Here is a lesson on Dream Theater's most popular song. Recognizable by its brooding clean intro and brutal distorted rhythms, this song is a must learn for metal guitarists. Chances are if you want to...

Length: 120:06 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

House Of The Rising Sun

Allen returns to his song lesson series with an in-depth look at the classic rock tune "House Of The Rising Sun" from The Animals. Allen provides a beginner version, the original recorded version, and...

Length: 40:37 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Dead

Allen Van Wert is back once again with a look at a great rock tune. This lesson covers the song "Dead" by Buckcherry.

Length: 87:16 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

It's A Party

Allen Van Wert provides another great rock tune for his song lesson series! This time, he takes a look at the Buckcherry tune "It's A Party"!

Length: 55:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Home

Allen Van Wert returns to his songs series with a metal tune from the band Three Days Grace. "Home" is a hard hitting song, with a lot heavy tones going on. Crank up the distortion on this one!

Length: 22:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Still Frame

Allen Van Wert takes an in depth look at the song "Still Frame" from the band Trapt. This is a a simpler rock song with a catchy melody to put under your fingers.

Length: 30:08 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Gel

Allen Van Wert is back with a look at another 90's rock tune! This time around he teaches the rhythm and lead to "Gel" by Collective Soul.

Length: 20:04 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Dance Dance

Allen Van Wert continues his song learning series with a 2000's pop rock anthem from venerable rockers "Fallout Boy!" Dance Dance is a complex rhythmic tune with lots of overdubbing and driving guitars!

Length: 17:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Where's Your Boy Tonight

Continuing with his look at modern pop rock songs, Allen brings a lesson on Fall Out Boy's "Where's Your Boy Tonight". This tune has layered guitars in multiple tunings.

Length: 30:19 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Face to the Floor

Allen is back to his song series with a heavier tune. In this lesson, you'll learn "Face to the Floor" by modern metal band Chevelle.

Length: 14:22 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

The Red

Allen is back again with a look at another song from modern rockers Chevelle. In lesson 21, he covers the popular hit "The Red".

Length: 15:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Allen Van Wert View Full Biography Allen Van Wert got the nickname "ROBOT" from his unusual guitar tapping techniques that often sound like a video game more than a guitar. He has studied and played a wide variety of genres. His experimental and eclectic amalgamation of music combining shred guitar, crazy tapping techniques, and electronically infused composition contrasted by a highly emotional soft melodic side, make his debut album a really fun and interesting listen for just about anyone.

Allen has recorded guitar for the famed video game soundtrack composer Jesper Kyd (Composer of Hitman, Splinter Cell and many other big title games) as well as composing and recording for movie trailers and TV commercials. He has also been producing, recording and co-writing for local artists in his small home/project studio.

His three books on guitar technique, ear training and songwriting have helped many students over the past couple of years. Allen has also played in various cover bands in many genres since the age of 16 and has played to over 5000 on a few occasions. He was a featured guest musician on the album "West Coast Shred Fest".

In his spare time, Allen programs video games for fun. Wooo!

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