ACOUS­TIC

This month Stu­art Ryan shows the more in­tro­spec­tive acous­tic side of Red Hot Chili Pep­pers' leg­endary funky-rock gui­tar master.

Guitar Techniques - - Contents - NeXT MoNTH: Stu­art ex­am­ines the acous­tic blues stylings of Rory Gal­lagher

Stu­art Ryan un­veils the funky acous­tic style of Red Hot Chili Pep­pers’ John Frusciante.

The ersT­while mem­ber of red hot Chili Pep­pers is held in high re­gard, thanks to his funk rhythm chops and hen­drix in­spired solo­ing. how­ever he also has an in­di­vid­ual voice on acous­tic gui­tar and that is what we will ex­am­ine in this study. Frusciante joined the Chilis in 1989 as a re­place­ment for the de­ceased hilel slo­vak, and made his first ap­pear­ance on the mother’s milk al­bum. The fol­low­ing al­bum, 1991’s blood sugar sex magik, saw the band reach a new global au­di­ence.

how­ever, this level of su­per­star­dom proved to be over­whelm­ing for Frusciante and he left the band and then spi­raled into a reclu­sive, dru­gad­dicted life­style.

Thank­fully, he re-emerged sober and re-joined the band for 1999’s smash hit al­bum Cal­i­for­ni­ca­tion. we’ll fo­cus on his deft fin­ger­picked work from the blood sugar sex magik era for this study, athough it’s also worth check­ing out his solo ma­te­rial to hear more acous­tic at play.

Com­ing from a mu­si­cal fam­ily, John's first in­flu­ences were from the punk rock scene, but then he grav­i­tated to­wards clas­sic rock gui­tarists like Jimmy Page, Jimi hen­drix and David Gil­mour. lat­terly Johnny marr be­came a huge in­flu­ence on Frusciante, who was drawn in par­tic­u­lar to The smiths’ gui­tarist's cre­ative use of chords. Frusciante is best known as a pi­o­neer­ing funk-rock player through his work with the red hot Chili Pep­pers and th­ese days he es­chews the gui­tar more and more in favour of elec­tronic, pro­grammed sound­scapes. how­ever, there are acous­tic gems in his back cat­a­logue from the up­tempo strum­ming of break­ing The Girl to the in­tro­spec­tive, melodic fig­ure of I Could have lied. For this study we’ll look at how he cre­ates mem­o­rable, fin­ger­picked acous­tic pas­sages and how he em­bel­lishes stan­dard chord pro­gres­sions with more in­ter­est­ing chords, of­ten us­ing open strings to add ex­tra colour to the ba­sic har­mony.

For this study we’ll ex­am­ine how Frusciante might build an acous­tic part around a stan­dard chord se­quence in b mi­nor, us­ing em­bel­lished chordal ideas to cre­ate riffs, and go beyond stan­dard ma­jor and mi­nor chords to add 7ths and open strings for more tex­ture. he of­ten favours a strong pick­ing hand at­tack so don’t be afraid to dig in and ‘grab’ the strings – check out the in­tro to Funky monks and you’ll hear how ag­gres­sive his pick­ing hand can be! when play­ing the chords sec­tion of this study you may find it use­ful to use the fret­ting hand thumb to fret the notes on the sixth string, thus mak­ing it eas­ier to leave the open strings ring­ing clearly – this is a tech­nique that was es­pe­cially popular with gui­tarists from the 60s (es­pe­cially Jimi hen­drix) and has also found favour with play­ers as di­verse as ste­vie ray Vaughan, Frusciante and Pat metheny.

For this study we’ll look at how John Frusciante cre­ates mem­o­rable picked pas­sages and chord pro­gres­sions.

John Frusciante in his laid-back acous­tic mode

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