Heart-Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped Box was originally written by Nirvana from their In Utero album. It’s one of my all time favorite songs.

Kurt Cobain was enigmatic. Behind every musical great is a strong original identity. Sometimes it’s deliberately conceived, and other times it’s innate. Kurt Cobain’s musicality was clearly innate: genius, simple guitar riffs combined with a Beatles sense of vocal melody. Bleak lyrics, and defiant distortion. Every song was veritable hit. 

Just like you, I’ve been digging Ramin Djawadi’s (composer, Game of Thrones) piano covers from HBO’s Westworld. I never thought of playing Heart-Shaped Box on classical guitar  — until Ramin Djawadi’s cover broke it down on piano into a doable format.

My arrangement is loosely based on the Ramin Djawadi Westword cover, but as you’ll hear, I used my own structure, and I threw in a couple of melodic licks that felt right.

You might also like to play…

Westworld theme for guitar + TAB

Game of Thrones: all themes + TABS

Gear Used

For Heart-Shaped Box, I used my Cordoba C7 Cedar Top. As you can hear, it has a booming low end, and a dark tone. Good for Heart-Shaped Box, but I’d much prefer the brighter spruce top. You can find a list of all of my current gear here.

How to play Heart-Shaped Box for classical guitar

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Although the chord shaped are relatively easy, I would characterize Heart-Shaped Box as best for intermediate guitar players and up.

The guitar tab is 3 pages long and beautifully written. Here’s my order of play in accordance with the guitar tab: Intro, Verse 2x, Chorus, Post Chorus #1 — Verse 1x, Chorus, Post Chorus #2. Pretty simple.

Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

Heart-Shaped Box is played in a one half step down/ drop D tuning. Your tuning will look like this from low to high: C# Ab C# F# Bb  Eb. Or depending on your tuner, it will look like this: Db G# Db Gb A# D#.

The easiest way to think about this is: tune your guitar down one half step, then drop your low E (6th) string to match your D (4th) string.

Westworld: Heart-Shaped Box for classical guitar

Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, short-film composer, creator of modern content for guitar.