Play Guitar Like John Frusciante

In this lesson, we are checking out three guitar licks in the style of the Red Hot Chili Pepper legend, John Frusciante. Frusciante has a loose, often very funky rock style that incorporates melodic chords with more technical phrasing. In this lesson we will look at how you can create simple ‘7th’ chord triads, how a simple chord progression can become a very challenging technical exercise, and a classic blues-rock lick guaranteed to impress!

John Frusciante Guitar Example 1 – Chord

Triads or three note chords are always a great addition to your rhythm playing vocabulary. This example shows you how you can create minor 7th, dominant 7th and major 7th three note chords. This simple technique can create a lot of melodic interest with very little effort.

John Frusciante Guitar Example 2 – Technique

When I first heard the track ‘Snow’ from the album ‘Stadium Arcadium’, I instantly heard how creative Frusciante’s playing was, even around a simple chord progression. The addition of a repeating pattern, combined with alternate picking and hammer-ons and pull-offs made for a real challenging workout. In example two I have created a very similar pattern to get you used to the more technical side of Frusciante’s guitar work. I recommend applying these techniques to as many different chord progressions as you can.

John Frusciante Guitar Example 3 – Guitar Lick

You can’t beat learning a great fun blues-rock lick. Today lick is around ‘D’ minor pentatonic. Often Frusciante uses repeating phrases in his solos, to make the listener aware of the theme. Often that is combined with a call and response style of soloing technique, as demonstrated in this example. As I always say make sure you move these licks to as many keys as possible.

Recommended listening

For classic John Frusciante style guitar licks, I recommend buying the album “Stadium Arcadium” My favourite track on that album being “Dani California.”

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Guitar Lesson Video Transcription

Hey YouTube! Simon here once again for Fundamental Changes. Today we’re looking at the awesomely funky John Frusciante, most known for his work with Red Hot Chili Peppers. We’ll get to a few of those licks, just after this.

[guitar playing]

Example 1 that you just saw there features some 7th chord, be it minor, major, and dominant triads, so three-note triads. All I’ve done here is we’ve basically left out the 5th, or the 5th note of each of these scales to create these little 3-note chords.

We’ve got an A minor 7, strings 5-4-3-12-10-12, same shape, moving that back down to the root note on the 5th. 5-3-5, and then we’ve got an 8-7-9 for this F major 7. That middle chord there was D minor 7 – A minor 7, D minor 7, F major 7, and then we’ve got an E7, which is 7-6-7.

These are really fun just to play around with, and break you out of just the traditional big old bar chord. Try and move in these 3 different shapes.

[guitar playing]

Example 2 there is based on the tracks Snow by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’m not trying to make out that I’m creating something  brand new here. The chords that go with this example are A minor using the E minor shape, F using the C shape, C using the G shape, and G using the C shape.

Try and keep your picking alternate if you can, but if you’re struggling with that, go with what feels comfortable. Get the hammer-ons and the pull-offs and everything in time with track with the lick.

If you’re struggling to get this going, make sure to just take the main 3 notes of each of these chords demonstrated here: 7-7-5 middle strings, 8-7-5 same strings, up a string 8-7-5, and then 10-9-7.

Just move those to the beat,first of all, get those comfortable. And then just try the hammer-on and the pull-off, and then build it up from there. Do it with a metronome, start off really slowly.

[guitar playing]

Super rock, bluesy, impress your friends. Smash out this lick, it’s awesome, fun one to play. We’re up around D minor here today, and we’re going to be adding in some little double stops, and you can see the repeated theme, kind of like a call and a response, a call and a response . You know I’m a big fan of writing in that way.

It just shoes how Frusciante uses pentatonics, but really effectively, really unison bend, and then moving into a different shape around the neck. Try doing this lick in loads of different keys, you’ll wow your mates with something really, really fun.

I hope you’ve got something from these. Like I always say, you want to see, get in touch. Joseph and I are always up for what you’re doing. Take care, I’ll see you soon.

Hey everyone, thanks for watching these licks in the style of John Frusciante. I really hope you’ve got something from it. Go and check out Joseph’s website Fundamental Changes, and come and subscribe to my channel too, SDPguitar, for more lessons.

I’ll see you soon.