1996 Guitar One (32)









A nutshell tour through the sonic highlights of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ latest record


By Wolf Marshall




You play a lot of octaves in your style—in counterlines, background parts and in solos. Things like the choruses of “Warped” and “Shallow Be Thy Game.” the interlude in “Deep Kick,” the verse of ‘Transcending,” and the guitar solos to “My Friends” and “Tearjerker” immediately come to mind. They seem to be sort of a sig-nature. What was your strategy for applying the octave sound?


Several things. First, it’s orchestral. I often find myself in situations where single notes sound too thin and chords sound too fat, or they imply too much. I don’t know if it comes off this way or if it sounds like this, but when I play a line in octaves, it feels more like a cello or violin—it seems to me like I’m playing a “classical instrument.’ Take, in particular, the chorus of “Warped” [Fig. II. The whole thing is basically octaves. I think that if I played the part in single notes or chords, it wouldn’t sound as fluid. Second, in the band, since were a three-piece instrumentally, the use of octaves really fattens up the single note texture—possibly sounding like four instruments as opposed to three. It really adds a lot in the live situation. Another reason for the octaves is personal and has to do with soloing. Sometimes, when I’m improvising. I get myself into a position where I feel like it’s time to change gears, but I’m not quite sure of what to do next. Octaves arc a nice sound to switch to. They create a different sound coming out of the same setup—same effects, same amp, same guitar. As you know, I really like textures and colors, and with octaves, you can create a different color and texture within the same musical Instant without changing anything in your setup.




What are the definitive Dave Navarro guitar riffs on One Hot Minute?


The chorus of “Warped is a signature Dave Navarro part. The musical section (interlude) in the middle of “Deep Kick” is another, again in octaves (Fig. 2). Also the main riff, behind the verse in “One Hot Minute” (fig, 3).




What were your favorite effects moments on the record?


In “One Hot Minute” there’s a breakdown section (Interlude) when there’s a lot of feedback—but it’s musical feedback. I like the guitar solo in ‘Falling Into Grace,” which is predominately E-Bow (an electronic device held in the pick hand which vibrates a guitar string indefinitely). I love that thing! The main idea, the sort of Indian line [Fig. 41. is all done that way—on the G string using the E-Bow to sustain the melody . Same thing in the middle section of “One Big Mob.”


The ending of “Coffee Shop” is pretty warped. What were you doing there?


I was changing the delay time set-tings on the infinite repeat mode of my digital delay. This was the Boss stomp box model. When we do the song live. I end up doing that effect for like a minute and a half.


What about favorite solo moments on the album?


I like the guitar solo spot from “My Friends.” Once again, another use of octaves Wig. 51. Another one Is the solo in “Shallow Be Thy Game.” The song was a pretty standard. straights. head rock, and I wanted something for the lead which sounded a little bit screwed up Ilaughsl. I used an octave box, but I can’t tell you what kind it was. What I ended up doing was split-ting the signal to two different amps. The higher of the two pitches went to my Marshall ICM-900, and the lower one went to a bass amp. The run (D major arpeggios in E Dorian) at the end is a kind of signature again Wig. 61.1 think it’s been on every record I’ve ever made!








“Aeroplane” is one of the leaner tracks on One Hot Minute. There are only a couple of guitars on this song—no more than three. The intro is doubled—two guitars—and played with a clean sound. There’s a little bit of delay and tremolo bar on that pan.




For the main strummed guitar parts, what you might call the funky pans”—the rhythm parts in the verses and choruses—I used a clean sound also. These were played on a Fender Stratocaster, direct into the console. This was one of my custom shop Strats with Texas Special pickups. Incidentally, I’m actually in the process of designing my own Strat right now—the next one will include a high output humbucker.


In coming up with these parts I wasn’t necessarily trying to be funky. I was just trying to complement the bass line. In the verses. I used two-note voicings in the chord progression to keep It clean, open and simple [Fig. 1]. I play the chorus rhythm parts differently live. On the record, I used these voicings [Fig. 2]. They’re four-note chords at the 5th fret. Live, I play the figure at the 10th fret.




There are two sections in the ‘Aeroplane’ choruses where you can hear soloing behind the vocal. These have a different sound—they’re done with a wah-wah pedal and a Boss digital delay box into a Marshall ICM-900 amp. which is pretty much my normal signal path for leads.


In the guitar solo, I saved the fast triplet lick for the end [Fig. 3]. I think that sometimes, more than anything else, solos need to shift gears to remain interesting. That was my strategy. I was playing a lot of long, held notes, and needed the contrast. I felt that it was musically necessary to have the change of approach.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.