Nirvana - Something in the way

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Introduction

This is a wonderfully multi-layered song: It can be simple and straightforward if you want it that way, or intricated and more challenging, if that's more your style.

Something... strange

When you try to play along with the song, you might find out that somehow, it doesn't fit. And no, this is not your imagination: The lead guitar is tuned down with three or four halve steps (we'll get to that later). Additionally, the guitar is out-of-tune. And no: It's not a bass guitar - Just a tuned-down normal guitar.

When watching videos from various artists on YouTube, playing this song, you might notice the 'flutter'; the sound of the strings touching the fretboard. That's because of the down tuning: The strings become too loose.

Now the actual problem would be: What notes do they play? - Just read on.

Ultimate Guitar

Let's start with the info from the official Ultimate Guitar transcription of this song:

  • It's played with a drop-Db tuning - Three halve tones below the usual E-tuning
  • Chords: F5 and Db5 - relative to the tuning of the guitar
  • Chords: G#5 and E5 - Absolute
  • Key: F - Relative to the tuning of the guitar (I never denote keys relative to tuning, as this makes it quite difficult to communicate with other musicians, e.g., at a jam session)
  • Key: D - Absolute (that's how you do it, when you're a musician, rather than a guitar player)
  • Scale: UG states Fm (relative). I'm not sure why it would be minor, as the chords are powerchords and those don't know minor nor major
  • Scale: I think its D (absolute)

First notes

First two notes when analysing with a tuner app:

  • Something between E and F → Root of the F5 chord (remember that the guitar is out of tune)
  • Something between B and C → Fifth of the F5 chord

Em - No capo

Em - Gitaar
C-major chord - Guitar

This is probably the easiest way to play this song while no being too far off. You can even play this along with the recording, provided your hearing isn't too critical (as inevitably, you're somehow out of tune with the recording):

Verse 1

     Em        C
Underneath the bridge
    Em                C
The tarp has sprung a leak
        Em           C
And the animals I've trapped
     Em            C
have all become my pets
        Em            C
And I'm living off of grass
        Em                C
And the drippings from my ceiling
Em               C
It's okay to eat fish
            Em                C
'Cause they don't have any feelings

Chorus 1

Em               C    Em C
Something in the way, mmm       
Em               C    Em C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm    
Em               C    Em C
Something in the way, mmm 
Em               C    E C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm 

Verse 2

     Em        C
Underneath the bridge
    Em                C
The tarp has sprung a leak
        Em           C
And the animals I've trapped
     Em            C
have all become my pets
        Em            C
And I'm living off of grass
        Em                C
And the drippings from my ceiling
Em               C
It's okay to eat fish
            Em                C
'Cause they don't have any feelings


Chorus 2

Em               C    Em C
Something in the way, mmm       
Em               C    Em C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm    
Em               C    Em C
Something in the way, mmm 
Em               C    Em C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm 

Em               C    Em C
Something in the way, mmm       
Em               C    Em C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm    
Em               C    Em C
Something in the way, mmm 
Em               C    Em C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm

E - No capo

E-major chord - Guitar
C-major chord - Guitar

This is probably the easiest way to play this song while no being too far off. You can even play this along with the recording, provided your hearing isn't too critical (as inevitably, you're somehow out of tune with the recording):

Verse 1

E             C
Underneath the bridge
E                     C
The tarp has sprung a leak
E                     C
And the animals I've trapped
E                  C
have all become my pets
E                      C
And I'm living off of grass
E                          C
And the drippings from my ceiling
E                C
It's okay to eat fish
E                           C
'Cause they don't have any feelings

Chorus 1

E               C    E C
Something in the way, mmm       
E               C    E C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm    
E               C    E C
Something in the way, mmm 
E               C    E C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm 

Verse 2

E             C
Underneath the bridge 
E                     C
The tarp has sprung a leak  
E                     C
And the animals I've trapped         
E                  C
have all become my pets                 
E                      C
And I'm living off of grass 
E                          C
And the drippings from my ceiling
E                C
It's okay to eat fish 
E                           C
'Cause they don't have any feelings 

Chorus 2

E               C    E C
Something in the way, mmm       
E               C    E C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm    
E               C    E C
Something in the way, mmm 
E               C    E C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm 
 
E               C    E C
Something in the way, mmm       
E               C    E C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm    
E               C    E C
Something in the way, mmm 
E               C    E C
Something in the way, yeah, mmm
E-major chord - Ukulele
C-major chord - Ukulele
E-majeur-akkoord - Mandoline (1)
E-majeur-akkoord - Mandoline (2)
C-major chord on mandolin (1)
C-major chord on mandolin (2)

Key: E - No capo - powerchords

E5 - Guitar

One small change with regards to the previous version: Using power chords in stead of normal chords. On one hand, this is even easier to play, as power chords only use two notes. On the other hand: Power chords may be a bit more unusual for beginning players.

Verse 1

E5             C5
Underneath the bridge
E5                     C5
The tarp has sprung a leak
E5                     C5
And the animals I've trapped
E5                  C5
have all become my pets
E5                      C5
And I'm living off of grass
E5                          C5
And the drippings from my ceiling
E5                C5
It's okay to eat fish
E5                           C5
'Cause they don't have any feelings

Chorus 1

E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, mmm       
E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, yeah, mmm    
E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, mmm 
E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, yeah, mmm 

Verse 2

E5             C5
Underneath the bridge 
E5                     C5
The tarp has sprung a leak  
E5                     C5
And the animals I've trapped         
E5                  C5
have all become my pets                 
E5                      C5
And I'm living off of grass 
E5                          C5
And the drippings from my ceiling
E5                C5
It's okay to eat fish 
E5                           C5
'Cause they don't have any feelings 

Chorus 2

E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, mmm       
E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, yeah, mmm    
E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, mmm 
E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, yeah, mmm 
 
E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, mmm       
E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, yeah, mmm    
E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, mmm 
E5               C5   E5 C5
Something in the way, yeah, mmm
C5 - Guitar - Starting at the low E-string
C5 - Guitar - Starting at the A-string

Key: F - Capo: --

Intro

F C# G# F#

Em - Capo on II (wat is dit???)

Or play in D without capo - Good song for starters on ukulele!

Intro

Em  C  4x

Verse 1

Em            C
Underneath the bridge
    Em               C
The tarp has sprung a leak
        Em          C
And the animals I've trapped
     Em           C
Have all become my pets
        Em           C
And I'm living off of grass
        Em                C
And the drippings from the ceiling
    Em              C
But it's O.K. to eat fish
            Em            C
'Cause they don't have any feelings

Chorus (3x)

Em              C
Something in the way
Em  C
Mmmmmmmmm
Em              C
Something in the way, yeah
Em  C
Mmmmmmmmm

Verse 2

Em            C
Underneath the bridge
    Em               C
The tarp has sprung a leak
        Em          C
And the animals I've trapped
     Em           C
Have all become my pets
        Em           C
And I'm living off of grass
        Em                C
And the drippings from the ceiling
    Em              C
But it's O.K. to eat fish
            Em            C
'Cause they don't have any feelings

Chorus (4x)

Em               C
Something in the way
Em  C
Mmmmmmmmm
Em               C
Something in the way, yeah
Em  C
Mmmmmmmmm
Em - Ukulele
C - Ukulele

With a drop-C-tuning

Bronnen

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