Lesson 10: Our First Song, Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam by Nirvana

In this lesson we look at our very first song, Jesus Doesn't Want me for a Sunbeam. The reason I chose this particular song (other than the fact that I think it's a great track) is that we only need the 3 chords we've learned so far to be able to play it. Like most people, I first became aware of the song when I heard Nirvana play it as part of their MTV Unplugged set, but it is in fact a cover version of a song originally played by Scottish band The Vaselines. The version I teach is fairly faithful to the way Nirvana do it, but the Vaselines version is well worth checking out too (though it's actually in a different key and uses different chord shapes).

I should mention that when Nirvana play it, Kurt's guitar is tuned down by a semitone. If you want to play along, you'll need to do the same, by tuning  to Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb low to high. Some tuners have a special flat tuning mode which will help you do this. But that's only important if you're playing along to the original; the song works just fine in standard tuning.

You may notice that Kurt occasionally throws in an extra chord. This is an Asus4. It's not essential, and I've left it out just to keep things simple, but when you've learned this chord (see lesson 23) you may like to try adding it in.


Downloadable, printable version of these lesson notes available here

Below is the full song with chords and lyrics. The chords are written above the lyrics, so you can see on which word or syllable each change falls. This is a common way of notating songs for easy guitar, and is found in a lot of songbooks. It's not a perfect system, as it doesnt really give you any rhythmic information, but if you already know the song it works quite well. If you use this in combination with the lesson notes and the video you should be able to get it together. Aim to be able to play the whole song from start to finish. A downloadable, printable version is available here. But get it quick as the song is under copyright, and I'm probably being a bit naughty by putting it up. But hey, it's for educational purposes, right?