Five Grunge Riffs

Excellent news on the Eddie Vedder front. Not only is the new video out but there’s a a ukulele songbook on the way (thanks to Ric Jo for the info). Which means I don’t have to bother tabbing it up. Instead, I can transfer a few grunge riffs to uke.

The usual riff rules apply: they’re not necesarrily in the same key as the original and all requests for the rest of the song will be pelted with cabbage, tied to a donkey and driven out of town.

Soundgarden – Spoonman

With all the focus on Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Soundgarden got a bit overlooked. I think they were as good as either of them. This riff is easily one of the best that came out of the scene. I’ve adjusted it a lot for the uke, giving it a C chord drone. It’s also two frets lower than the original (unless you’re using D-tuning or have a capo on the second fret).

The time signature for the main riff is, frankly, I have no idea. I went and looked around at other people’s tabs and they seem to have copped out a bit too. So I just did the same.

The verse riff is similar to the opening riff:

And the chorus riff is a bit like this:

All together they sound like this:


Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box

I’ve moved the riffs in this song down a fret to make it more ukeable. Otherwise it sounds pretty good on uke.


The chorus riff, being all distorted, doesn’t transfer quite so well. But it’s still playable. The open A-string here is optional – I added because I like how nasty it sounds.


Pearl Jam – Alive

This fits pretty well on the ukulele in the original key.

Here’s the uke version:


Temple of the Dog – Hunger Strike

Little known fact: my name when I was born was Andrew Wood like the guy from Underworld and the guy from Mother Love Bone (who inspired this song). Then my name was changed so I shared it with the leader of a ceilidh band and all hopes of rock and roll stardom were dashed before I was a week old.

This one is in the original key.


Alice In Chains – Them Bones

Another one in the original key and another one with an awkward time signature. But once you’ve got the hang of that it’s fairly easy to play.


More Grunge Riffs

Nirvana – Come As You Are
Pearl Jam – Jeremy
– Smells Like Teen Spirit

Pearl Jam – Can’t Keep

View Comments

Sorry, Comments Are Broken Right Now