Can’t Stop Guitar Lesson – Red Hot Chili Peppers

In this Can't Stop guitar lesson video I will demonstrate how to play all of this funky Red Hot Chili Peppers smash hit note-for-note.

Guitarist John Frusciante starts the song off with some subdued hammer-ons that gradually build in tension. He then begins to pick the notes right before he launches into the main riff of the song.

That main riff is pure Frusciante, funky, tight and fun to play. It may take a little bit of practice to assure that you are muting all the notes required during the entire riff. John Frusciante is for the most part doing some pretty large strums but keeps the main melody notes popping out due to the fact that he is heavily muting all the other strings.

This technique can be a little difficult to do correctly at first. The use of the thumb on the low E string can also give a lot of players a challenge. To make the thumb position a bit more comfortable try moving the inside of your wrist towards your face. This slight adjustment really helps the thumb achieve the optimal placement required to play notes on the low E string.

After the main riff we make it to the chorus. Once again there are lot's chords where Frusciante uses his thumb on the low E string. The C major 7th at the very end of this chord progression can be especially awkward. Once gain, experiment with positioning of your picking hand wrist to better facilitate playing these chords cleanly.

The bridge of the song is reggae influenced with accents on the upbeats and quick chord muting. The nice thing about this section is that for the most part, John Frusciante doesn't use his fret hand thumb to play any bass notes.

This bridge section also includes another guitar layer using arpeggiated triads through liberal amounts of guitar effects. I will demonstrate that guitar part as well in the video lesson.

To end this lesson we will then take a look at the guitar solo. Frusciante keeps everything relatively simple here using just whole step bends and simple melodies.

I think this Can't Stop guitar lesson would be great for any intermediate level player or higher. It does provide some challenging rhythm guitar parts that just about any player would find valuable to practice.



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Can't Stop Guitar Lesson - Red Hot Chili Peppers


  1. ERIC ADELMAN on September 24, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Hey Carl quick question a lot of those chord positions in the bridge, and chorus are basically barre chords, but you are playing them without the barre. Wouldn’t it be easier to play, with the barre chord shape since you are still hitting the same notes, and than its juust moving to familiar chord shapes?

    What is best here?

    • Carl Brown on September 27, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      Without reviewing that part of the video I am assuming it is thumb over chords you are referring to? In any case, yes full bars are easier, but I was teaching them like Frusciante actually played them. 🙂

      • ERIC ADELMAN on September 27, 2016 at 3:36 pm

        Oh ok I got ya. I just wanted 2 make sure I wasn’t missing something. Thanks 🙂

  2. ERIC ADELMAN on September 24, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    And when u play intro r u playing individual strings, or hitting everything just muting what notes you don’t want? Just trying 2 get it smooth. Thanks 🙂

    • ERIC ADELMAN on September 27, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      How do u suggest muting all the strings – hand position wise

  3. Rob Hoff on February 9, 2019 at 9:42 am

    how do i down load the tabs. i installed the pdf but what do i do next?

    • Carl Brown on February 9, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      Hey Rob, there isn’t a TAB available for this song. I can’t provide TABS of copyrighted music. 🙁

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