This is up there as one of the most requested songs songs that students want to learn. Just about every new student that comes to me can already play a little of the intro to this song. Like most Metallica songs there is always parts that a keen beginner can play, but then you'll have sections on the same song where even an advanced student will have trouble with.
Because this song is so involved I have broken it down into 4 sections. Parts of this song have been adapted so that two guitar parts can be played as one. If you want to learn the correct single guitar parts I would suggest you go and buy the sheet music, I have always found Metallica notation/tab books to be spot on accurate.
Nothing Else Matters - Intro
First of all take note of the time signature, 6/8 time. This means there is 6 eighth notes in every bar. You will use fingerpicking for all parts of this song except for the 1st solo, end solo and the C A D variation in the verse.
When fingerpicking this song you use you thumb, 1st, 2nd & 3rd fingers on your picking hand. Your thumb picks any note played on the Thick E, A & D strings. Your 1st finger plays any note on the 3rd G string, your 2nd finger plays any note on the 2nd B string and your 3rd finger plays any note on the 1st Thin E string.
String & Finger Assignment
Take Note: bar 6, hammer on then pull away then slide all in action (Pick only once).
Take Note: bar 7 changes time signature, 3/8 Time (half as long as all other bars)
Take Note: bar 8, 2nd fret pull away has to be done with the 1st finger
Take Note: bar 12, the 12 with little H's above them are 12th fret harmonics
In the second half of the intro you have to use bar chords. You have to be pretty good at playing them as well because when you fingerpick the individual notes one after the other you'll really notice a muted out or deadened note.
Take Note: The following 3 bars are played with two guitars, but I have rearranged it so it can be played with one.
Nothing Else Matters - Verse
Remember to use correct fingerpicking technique for this part of the song. All the following part in the verse are based around chords, so don't play the notes it says to on the TAB then take your finger off right away. Keep the notes ringing for as long as the chord is played in that bar or half bar.
Take Note: repeat at bar 33 back to bar 25.
Take Note: this next section is strummed with a pick.
Take Note: the D chord stays the same you just place your 4th finger down or lift your 2nd finger off. (View MPEG video to see how it's played)
Take Note: bar 39 changes to 3/8 time (half as long as all others)
Nothing Else Matters - 1st Solo Clean
This solo is played using two guitars, playing either harmonies or octaves to one another. I have adapted it so it can be played on the one guitar and still be close sounding to the CD version.
Take Note: in bars 55 & 57 there is a technique used where you bend the note, release it then pull away to a previous fret. This is a very common technique on the guitar when you're playing lead. I find that when students are learning this they always have trouble with it. You have to practice it over and over until it is perfect so trust me when I say, "you'll be using this technique alot".
Nothing Else Matters - End Solo (Distorted)
If you've been playing for a little while and you want to get started on soloing this lead break is a good place to start. There is easier but if you're in to Metallica then this is one of their easier solos.
The very first notes 14 on 3rd string and 15 on 2nd string are played together, the 14 is played with your 3rd finger and the 15 with your 4th finger (mouse over the TAB will show). Bend the 14 up one tone while the 15 stays put.
Take Note: The MP3 example is played slower than the original and the rhythm guitar is in the left channel and the solo is in the right. This way when you get better you can play along with it.
Take Note: Place mouse over TAB numbers to show what fingers are used.
I didn't put finger numbers on the following TAB because by now you should have figured out where to properly place them.