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How to Play Lithium by Nirvana Chords on Guitar

Lithium is one of the most popular songs by the grunge band Nirvana, released in 1991 as part of their album Nevermind. The song is about the narrator’s struggle with bipolar disorder and his reliance on lithium, a mood stabilizer, to cope with his emotions. The song has a catchy melody, powerful lyrics, and a dynamic structure that alternates between quiet verses and loud choruses.

Chords

[Intro]
D     F#m    Bm    G
Bb    C      A     C
 
[Verse 1]
D    F#m    Bm
     I'm so happy,
 G       Bb          C    A
'cause today I found my friends.
           C  D     F#m    Bm
They're in my head. I'm so ugly,
    G       Bb          C    A
but that's OK 'cause so are you.
      C   D        F#m    Bm
Broke our mirrors. Sunday morning
G        Bb          C    A
is every day for all I care.
        C   D       F#m      Bm
And I'm not scared. Light my candles.
G    Bb              C     A      C
In a daze cause I've found God. Yea -ah
 
[Chorus]
D     F#m    Bm      G      Bb     C     A      C
Yeah           ye -  aah -  yeaa -   -  - ah  yea -ah
D     F#m    Bm      G      Bb     C     A      C
Yeah               yeaah -  yeaa -   -  - ah  yea -ah
D     F#m    Bm      G      Bb     C     A
Yeaah Yea- a - ah, yeaah -  yeaa -   -  - ahhhhhhhhhhh
 
[Verse 2]
D    F#m    Bm
     I'm so lonely.
G       Bb          C  A
That's OK, I shaved my head.
        C   D    F#m      Bm
And I'm not sad, and just maybe
G      Bb            C    A
I'm to blame for all I've heard.
        C   D     F#m    Bm
And I'm not sure. I'm so excited.
G       Bb           C   A
I can't wait to meet you there.
      C     D     F#m    Bm
And I don't care. I'm so horny,
G      Bb          C  A     C
that's OK, my will is good. Yea - ah
 
[Chorus]
D     F#m    Bm      G      Bb     C     A      C
Yeah           ye -  aah -  yeaa -   -  - ah  yea -ah
D     F#m    Bm      G      Bb     C     A      C
Yeah               yeaah -  yeaa -   -  - ah  yea -ah
D     F#m    Bm      G      Bb     C     A      C
Yeaah Yea- a - ah, yeaah -  yeaa -   -  - ah   yeaaah!
 
[Bridge]
G    Bb       G       Bb
   I like it. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb        G       Bb
   I miss you. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb        G       Bb
   I love you. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb          G       Bb
   I killed you. I'm not gonna crack.
 
G    Bb       G       Bb
   I like it. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb        G       Bb
   I miss you. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb        G       Bb
   I love you. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb          G       Bb      C        A
   I killed you. I'm not gonna craaaaaaaaaaack.
 
[Break]
D     F#m    Bm    G
Bb    C      A     C
 
[Verse 1]
D    F#m    Bm
     I'm so happy,
 G       Bb          C    A
'cause today I found my friends.
           C  D     F#m    Bm
They're in my head. I'm so ugly,
    G       Bb          C    A
but that's OK 'cause so are you.
      C   D        F#m    Bm
Broke our mirrors. Sunday morning
G        Bb          C    A
is every day for all I care.
        C   D       F#m      Bm
And I'm not scared. Light my candles.
G    Bb              C     A      C
In a daze cause I've found God. Yea - ah
 
[Chorus]
D     F#m    Bm      G      Bb     C     A      C
Yeah           ye -  aah -  yeaa -   -  - ah  yea - ah
D     F#m    Bm      G      Bb     C     A      C
Yeah               yeaah -  yeaa -   -  - ah  yea - ah
D     F#m    Bm      G      Bb     C     A      C
Yeaah Yea- a - ah, yeaah -  yeaa -   -  - ah   yeaaah!
 
[Ending]
G    Bb       G       Bb
   I like it. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb        G       Bb
   I miss you. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb        G       Bb
   I love you. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb          G       Bb
   I killed you. I'm not gonna crack.
 
G    Bb       G       Bb
   I like it. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb        G       Bb
   I miss you. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb        G       Bb
   I love you. I'm not gonna crack.
G    Bb          G       Bb      C        A
   I killed you. I'm not gonna craaaaaaaaaaack.

If you want to learn how to play Lithium by Nirvana on guitar, you will need to know some basic chords, strumming patterns, and tuning techniques. In this article, we will show you how to play the song in three steps:

  • Step 1: Tune your guitar to drop D
  • Step 2: Learn the chords and the chord progression
  • Step 3: Practice the strumming and the timing

Step 1: Tune your guitar to drop D

The first thing you need to do is to tune your guitar to drop D. This means that you have to lower the pitch of the sixth string (the thickest one) from E to D. You can use a tuner or an online tool to help you with this. To check if you have tuned correctly, play the sixth and fourth strings together. They should sound the same.

Tuning your guitar to drop D will make it easier to play some of the chords in the song, especially the power chords. A power chord is a chord that consists of only two notes: the root note and the fifth note. For example, a D power chord has the notes D and A. To play a power chord, you only need to press down two strings with one finger and strum them together.

Step 2: Learn the chords and the chord progression

The next step is to learn the chords and the chord progression of the song. The song uses six chords: Em, G#, C#5, A, C5, and D5. Here are the diagrams for each chord:

Em: 0 2 2 0 0 0 G#: x x 6 8 9 x C#5: x x 6 8 8 x A: x 0 2 2 2 x C5: x x 10 12 12 x D5: x x 12 14 14 x

The chord progression for the song is as follows:

[Intro] Em G# C#5 A C5 D5 B5 D5 [Verse] Em G# C#5 A C5 D5 B5 D5 [Pre-Chorus] G# C#5 A C5 D5 B5 D5 Em [Chorus] A C5 [Bridge] G# C#5 A C5 D5 B5 D5 Em

The song repeats this pattern four times, with some variations in the last chorus and bridge. You can find the full lyrics and chords for the song on Ultimate Guitar.

Step 3: Practice the strumming and the timing

The final step is to practice the strumming and the timing of the song. The song has a tempo of about 120 beats per minute (bpm), which means that each beat lasts half a second. You can use a metronome or an online tool to help you keep track of the tempo.

The strumming pattern for the song is fairly simple. You just need to strum down on each beat, except for some pauses in the verses and pre-choruses. You can also add some upstrokes in between for more variation. Here is an example of how to strum one measure of Em:

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & D U D U D U D U

The most important thing is to follow the dynamics of the song. This means that you have to play softly in the verses and pre-choruses, and loudly in the choruses and bridges. You can achieve this by adjusting your strumming force and speed, as well as using palm muting or distortion effects.

Conclusion

Lithium by Nirvana is a great song to learn on guitar, especially if you are into grunge music or alternative rock. The song is not very difficult to play, but it requires some tuning skills, chord knowledge, and strumming practice. By following these three steps, you will be able to play Lithium by Nirvana on guitar in no time

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