Guitar skills (opens in new tab): In this episode of our signature artist chords series we're focussing on a player whose inventive approaches to rhythm work are sometimes overlooked, and we're delighted to see John Frusciante (opens in new tab) bringing that creativity back with the Red Hot Chili Peppers (opens in new tab) on new material following his return (opens in new tab) to the band.
John Frusciante’s chord style is heavily influenced by Hendrix and one of the features of his playing is thumbing the 6th string root note. One cool benefit of this is that it frees up the 4th finger, which you can use to add melodic notes on the highest three strings.
Here is a minor alternative to a thumbed root note chord. Here the 4th finger is adding a 9th interval to the Am triad, but you can experiment by moving that note to other tones in the minor pentatonic or Dorian mode.
Also known as the James Brown chord, this funky shape brings to mind percussive playing in songs such as Suck My Kiss or By The Way. Experiment with changing the pressure on the strings to alternate between percussive mutes and the full chord.
The Maj7 is a warm, rich sounding chord which crops up in Under The Bridge (opens in new tab). Adding the Major 7 interval to the Major triad evokes classy jazz vibes. Make sure each note rings clean by keeping your fingers arched and out of the way of the adjacent string.