Learn to play every song from the classic Alice In Chains album Dirt on guitar

Alice In Chains
(Image credit: Alice In Chains)

We're celebrating 30 years since Alice In Chains released their masterpiece Dirt with a bumper set of lessons to show you how to learn every riff and lick from the entire album!

Get the tones 

Jerry Cantrell

(Image credit: John Lynn Kirk/Redferns)

Jerry Cantrell's main guitar at this time was a G&L Rampage so you want something with a high output humbucker in the bridge. 

Tone-wise the Dirt sound is tricky to replicate, as it's a blended sound of three amps (Bogner Fish Preamp, Bogner Ecstasy and Rockman headphone amp) but there could have been others used too. I'd set your amp just on the very edge of breakup and use any decent high gain pedal – I've used the Friedman BE-OD in some of these videos. 

Dunlop JC95 Jerry Cantrell Wah

(Image credit: Dunlop)

You'll also need a wah pedal for some riffs/solos and a flanger is used in the clean parts in Rooster.


Jerry always tunes his guitar 1/2 a step down, but Them Bones/Dam That River areh in Drop Db so you'll need to detune your 6th (low Eb) string down a further step for that one. 

Technique tip 

Jerry's calling cards here are plenty of palm muting, wide vibrato, bends, trills and crushing riffs to get your fingers around so have fun!

1. Them Bones

2. Dam That River 

3. Rain When I Die 

4. Down In A Hole 

Down In a Hole MTV Unplugged version

5. Sickman 

6. Rooster

8. Junkhead 

9. Dirt 

10. Godsmack 

11. Hate To Feel 

12. Angry Chair 

13. Would? 

How to play guitar like Alice In Chains: Jerry Cantrell's secrets unlocked 

Matt Webster

Matt spends his spare time teaching guitar lessons and creating gear demos on his YouTube channel Let's Play All, which covers all manner of styles, but he does have a special place in his heart for '90s grunge and alt rock.