by Steph Lexner
John Frusciante's quirky guitar style never fails to provoke extreme reactions from anyone who listens. Some marvel at the freshness and intensity of his sound, while others jeer at the apparent sloppiness of his technique. But Frusciante's unorthodox approach to the art has influenced a whole new generation of guitar players on today's punk and rock scene.
Born in California in 1971, John's musical influences are rooted in the more eccentric side of rock (Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Funkadelic) as well as punk (Black Flag, The Clash, Sex Pistols). When he joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Frusciante had never seriously been in a band, although he almost auditioned for Frank Zappa's group and was hired by Thelonious Monster shortly before joining the Chilis. John recorded the albums Mother's Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik with RHCP, widely considered the band's best work, and by 1992 the group had catapulted to the top of the rock scene. Unfortunately, John never adjusted to his newfound fame and he abruptly quit the band in the middle of a Japan tour. The next few years would find Frusciante drowning in an abyss of drug abuse, although he did release a couple of solo efforts that met with critical acclaim, but limited commercial success. John managed to pull himself out of his drug addiction in the late 1990's, and he re-joined the RHCP in 1999 after Dave Navarro's departure.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers hit "Give it Away" is the inspiration for this week's chord, an incomplete Ami6 voicing (the fifth is left out) played in seventh position. Make sure to mute the low E and G strings. The sequence is a funky rhythm passage that combines the Ami6 chord in bar 1 with a D#-F# dyad in bar 2. Notice in bar 1 how the strumming starts on the lowest notes and progressively includes the higher ones. In bar 2, hold down the high D#, then bend the F# up to G, release and repeat. Your picking hand should be strumming sixteenth-notes throughout the passage, and be sure to attack the notes sharply in bar 4.