Guitar song lesson: learn how to play Nirvana's Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle

Kurt Cobain
(Image credit: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

I was lucky to recently visit Seattle and was so inspired I thought for this lesson we'd learn Nirvana's Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle from their In Utero album.

Get the tone 

Fender Kurt Cobain Mustangs

(Image credit: Future)

Kurt used mainly a Mustang or Jaguar for In Utero, but as long as you have a humbucker in bridge position that will get you there. 

I'm actually using a guitar with Firebird-style mini humbuckers by Sunbear Pickups called Sunbirds as they handle gain well and sound great clean. 

You'll be switching between clean and distorted tones throughout and for the dirt I've gone for the Boss DS-1w given Kurt has used the DS-1 a fair bit over the years



(Image credit: Fender)

If you want to play along with the track then you'll need to tune the entire guitar down 1/2 step or by one fret's worth so low to high - Eb/Ab/Db/Gb/Bb/Eb – this may also help any of you vocalists out there hit Kurt's notes! 

Technique tips and video lesson 

Starting out with your clean tone, you'll be playing power chords lightly muted with the occasional slide thrown in. Once you hit the B chord you need to switch on the distortion pedal and then turn it back off again after two bars. The easiest way to achieve this is to keep your foot poised above the pedal. 

The chorus gets meatier by playing power chords on the fifth string but adding the fifth to the root on the E string and for the turnaround you arpeggiate between the B and A chords. 

The middle eight is perhaps the trickiest bit in a fairly easy song, I tend to play the G# with my first, third and fourth fingers and then keeping my little finger where it is I then just flatten my little finger so it covers the sixth fret on the D and G strings, then slide up to the E on the 7th fret. 

That's it so have fun! 

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.