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 hit. 

I’ve been digging composer, Ramin Djawadi’s 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 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.

My music

You can find my personal music on Spotify, Apple, Amazon Music, and all streaming services:

Evan on Spotify

Evan on Apple

The Intellimusica Spotify Playlist: Ethereal & Cinematic Guitar
(This playlist is curated and updated by me. It’s music that I’ve played and intend to play on Intellimusica. It flows beautifully — and additionally works as music for focus, meditation, and self-reflection.)

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. Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

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.

Westworld: Heart-Shaped Box for classical guitar

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.


Written by:

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