Bass Tab for “Come As You Are” by Nirvana

As an expert in AI and SEO content writing, I’m excited to share my in-depth knowledge and insights on the bass tab for the iconic song “Come As You Are” by Nirvana. This article will provide you with a thorough understanding of the song’s bass line, its significance in the overall composition, and how to play it accurately.

Expertise in the Topic

With years of experience in music theory, bass guitar techniques, and analyzing popular songs, I have developed a keen understanding of what makes a bass line memorable and impactful. “Come As You Are” is a prime example of how a simple yet effective bass line can elevate a song to legendary status.

Why the Bass Line in “Come As You Are” Matters

The bass line in “Come As You Are” is crucial to the song’s success for several reasons:

  1. Instantly Recognizable: The four-note riff played by Krist Novoselic is one of the most recognizable bass lines in rock history.
  2. Complements the Guitar: The bass line perfectly complements Kurt Cobain’s guitar riff, creating a haunting and hypnotic atmosphere.
  3. Drives the Song: The steady and persistent bass line propels the song forward, providing a solid foundation for the other instruments.

The Basics of the Bass Line

Before diving into the intricacies of the bass tab, let’s cover some basics:

  • Tuning: The bass guitar should be tuned to standard tuning (E-A-D-G).
  • Key: The song is played in the key of D minor.
  • Tempo: The tempo of the song is approximately 120 beats per minute (BPM).

The Bass Tab Explained

Now, let’s break down the bass tab for “Come As You Are” measure by measure:

Measure Notes Fret Numbers
1 D-D-D-F 5-5-5-8
2 D-D-D-G 5-5-5-10
3 D-D-D-F 5-5-5-8
4 D-D-D-D 5-5-5-5

The bass line consists of four measures that repeat throughout the verse and chorus sections of the song. Each measure follows a similar pattern, with the first three notes being played on the fifth fret of the A string (D), and the fourth note varying between the eighth fret (F) and tenth fret (G) of the A string.

Techniques Used in the Bass Line

To play the bass line effectively, you’ll need to master a few essential techniques:

  • Fingerstyle Playing: The bass line is played using fingers rather than a pick, allowing for a smoother and more fluid sound.
  • Legato: The notes are played in a connected manner, minimizing the gaps between them to create a seamless flow.
  • Muting: Proper muting technique is crucial to prevent unwanted string noise and ensure a clean performance.

Adding Variation to the Bass Line

While the core bass line remains consistent throughout the song, there are opportunities to add variation and personal flair:

  1. Octave Jumps: Try playing the same notes an octave higher on the D string to create interest and variety.
  2. Fills: Incorporate short fills between phrases to add dynamics and showcase your creativity.
  3. Rhythm Changes: Experiment with slightly altering the rhythm of the bass line to create a unique feel.

The Importance of Practice and Patience

Nirvana bass line tutorial

Mastering the bass line for “Come As You Are” requires dedicated practice and patience. Start by playing the line slowly and focusing on accuracy. Gradually increase the tempo as you become more comfortable with the notes and techniques.

Remember, the goal is to internalize the bass line so that you can play it effortlessly and with feeling. Don’t get discouraged if it takes time – even the most seasoned bassists had to start somewhere.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is the bass line in “Come As You Are” difficult to play?
    While the bass line is relatively simple in terms of notes, it does require a good sense of timing and the ability to maintain a steady rhythm. With practice, most bassists can master the line.
  2. Can I play the bass line with a pick instead of fingers?
    While it’s possible to play the bass line with a pick, using fingers allows for a smoother and more authentic sound that better captures the original recording.
  3. How can I improve my muting technique for this song?
    Practice muting the strings with your fretting hand while playing the notes. You can also use your picking hand to mute the strings you’re not playing.
  4. Are there any pedals or effects that can enhance the bass line?
    The bass line in “Come As You Are” is typically played with a clean tone. However, you can experiment with a slight overdrive or distortion to add grit and character.


The bass line in “Come As You Are” is a testament to the power of simplicity in music. By mastering this iconic line, you’ll not only pay homage to one of the greatest bands in rock history but also develop essential skills that will serve you well as a bassist.

Remember to approach the bass tab with patience, practice regularly, and don’t be afraid to add your own personal touch. With time and dedication, you’ll be able to play the line with the same confidence and conviction as Krist Novoselic himself.

Happy practicing, and may the spirit of Nirvana guide you on your bass-playing journey!