Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana Ukulele Lesson

Heart-Shaped Box is probably my favourite Nirvana song so I guess it made sense that one day the time would come for me to butcher it on the ukulele.

The Chords

3 chords will get you through the whole song – those chords are A, F and D. Just be aware that on the recording it’s tuned down half a step. The chords pretty much run in that order throughout the whole song (half a bar of A and F followed by a full bar of D) with only a couple of exceptions that I think you’ll be able to figure out for yourself.


I’ve tabbed out a really simple intro to help you break up the dynamic of the song a little…

heart shaped box ukulele

You can check out that riff right here…

Strum Pattern

I almost never play the same pattern when I’m playing this song and it’s a great song to experiment with a few different patterns. To get you going I’d suggest going with pumping 8s like this…

pumping8s strum pattern

So you’ll be playing 8 down strums per bar. This pattern should give you a bit of power which you need on a song like this.

To keep it interesting I’d also recommend looking at some chord inversions. So if you’re playing the A, F and D as open chords for the intro and verses, try switching to bar chords for the chorus.


That’s it. Happy strumming!

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2 thoughts on “Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana Ukulele Lesson

    1. Hi Baz, yeah it’s a great song – I always remember my dad hearing some of the lyrics and thinking that it was a bit of an odd song.

      As for the 5 chords yeah you’re right, although I never seem to get much joy when I play actual 5 chords on a uke. They make a mockery of the word power when I try!

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