In the video lesson below we’re learning how to play John Frusciante’s guitar parts to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ brand new single Tippa My Tongue, from their forthcoming album Return Of The Dream Canteen. But first, let's look at the tones and techniques you'll need.
Get the tone
When it comes to Frusciante's core guitar tone here, a Strat single-coil neck position is a huge part, Tippa My Tongue also features tremolo bar dips in the first solo.
Your guitar amp should be set just on the very edge of break up, and from there this is a great example of how to tastefully stack gain stages.
The main rhythm part should sound almost clean when playing the single notes, but it breaks up a bit more when strumming chords. I’m using the Zvex Box of Rock but you can use any overdrive pedal that will give you a light boost to add a touch of gain/body. Even some compression pedals can get you there.
I hear a slight slapback delay throughout so I’m using the GFI System Orca Delay with the repeats set to about 100ms and the delay mix level pulled back, really makes a difference. Then in the chorus you need to up the gain again, so next in the chain would be a medium overdrive pedal on top – in the video I’ve used the Funny Little Boxes 1991, but another option would be the Boss DS2 Turbo.
Tippa My Tongue is in standard tuning and the intro has a nod to the dynamics used in Can’t Stop, so make sure to put some feel into those 16th notes by playing some quieter than others.
The main riff has a bunch of different funky fills (you can noodle about in C Blues over this), but John tends to add in percussive parts that aren’t clear in the album mix. He’s also strumming away in the video so I’m going to hazard a guess that’s what he’s doing here. They’ll also help you stay locked into the groove. The end of the verse has some gorgeous chord extensions over Flea’s G#-F-A# line.
Play the chorus part with some light palm muting and a relaxed feel in your right hand, John likely plays the G# to A# chords with his thumb over the top, which also makes it easier to hit any fills.
The solo is short and sweet, and the trickiest part is in the second bar with a full bend and using the tremolo arm to do a couple of dips that resolves into a tasty little triplet lick. Have fun!