Want to play guitar like John Frusciante? You’ll find that you “Can’t Stop” once you start learning to play like the three-time Red Hot Chili Pepper guitarist with the John Frusciante Player Study course.
The children of two musicians – a Juillard-trained pianist and a vocalist – John Fruciante was born in Queens, NY but lived in Arizona and Florida before moving to California with his mother, where he became involved in the Los Angeles punk rock scene. He started playing guitar at age nine and was influenced by Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Frank Zappa. At 16, he dropped out of high school and moved to L.A. to become a musician.
John Frusciante was an 18-year-old Red Hot Chili Peppers fan when he was tapped to audition for the band after the 1988 death of the band’s original guitarist, Hillel Slovak. Frusciante was introduced to RHCP’s music through his guitar instructor, who was auditioning to be a guitarist for them in 1984. Frusciante saw a RHCP show at the age of 15 and became a huge fan. He met both Slovak and bassist Michael Peter Balzary (“Flea”) before auditioning, the latter through jam sessions with Frusciante’s friend D. H. Peligro, the former drummer for Dead Kennedys. Flea recommended Frusciante for an audition. According to a 1999 VH1 “Behind the Music” episode, Frusciante was so excited when he got the call welcoming him into the band that he jumped on the wall of his home, leaving permanent boot marks.
Though he has left the band twice, Frusciante is a huge influence on RHCP’s sound – he played on their breakthrough album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991), as well as their smash albums “Californication” (1999), “By The Way” (2002), and “Stadium Arcadium” (2006). He rejoined the band in 2019 and played on the band’s 12th studio album Unlimited Love.
Frusciante’s early style was inspired by punk musicians. He has developed a style over his career that’s based on melody, tone, and structure, versus virtuosity, as well as creating texture through chord patterns. Frusciante cites Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix as influences, but doesn’t focus on speed, telling Kerrang! Magazine that “People believe that by playing faster and creating new playing techniques you can progress forward, but then they realize that emotionally they don’t progress at all. They transmit nothing to the people listening and they stay at where Hendrix was three decades ago. Something like that happened to Vai in the 80s.”
All of the guitars he plays were made before 1970.
In addition to his work with RHCP, Frusciante has released 11 solo albums and 7 EPs, including acid house music under the name “Trickfinger”. After leaving RHCP for the second time in 2009, Frusciante shifted his attention to electronic music as an alternative to traditional songwriting.
“I’m always drawing inspiration from different kinds of music and playing guitar along with records, and I go into each new album project with a preconceived idea of what styles I want to combine,” he told Guitar Player magazine in 2006.
Once you master John Frusciante’s playing style, try one of these Red Hot Chili Peppers song lessons!