Deconstructing John Frusciante’s “Scar Tissue” Riff

Released in 1999, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Scar Tissue” is one of the group’s most successful songs.

The track’s central guitar riff is played by John Frusciante, who uses roots and thirds to imply three chords: F, C and Dm. This economical approach allows him to define the song’s underlying chord structure while giving him the freedom to play melodically.

In this Riff Deconstruction, Sean Daniel explores how Frusciante’s use of two-note chords is an example of how you can take any chords and break them into their component parts rather than playing full three-note triads. Doing this can also help you discover chords in parts of the fretboard where you might not usually venture.

Along the way, Sean demonstrates an easy way to create major and minor two-note combinations: “Any time you have the root note on the A string and you want to make it a major class-type thing, just go to the B string and go two frets away, and there is your major third. You can make this minor just by flattening the third.”

For more of Sean’s Riff Deconstruction videos, check out “How the Rolling Stones’ ‘Under My Thumb’ Riff Combines Arpeggios with Chords” and “How Angus Young’s ‘Back in Black’ Riff Tricks Your Ear.”

Be sure to visit Sean’s YouTube channel for more of his videos.

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