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What are your impressions of John Frusciante?


Dr. Ellwood

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I like his playing a lot in terms of the loose yet very funky aspects of it, and the mix of that with what I guess is like an early 70's rock or hard rock guy single note stuff. I think he is genuinely inspired and what he is like going for is good and he has his own identifiable style. I think there is something holding back his playing, something that doesn't allow his inspiration and ideas to come out fully in his playing. We could chalk that up to technical matters or discipline while practicing or any number of other things I have no right to speculate on. In any event I really think he could be better. And I'm not saying: "someone else could be better", or any knock on what I think seems to be in the guy and trying to get out via his playing;. but when I hear his playing-- especially his lead playing-- I often feel like what was in his head was more complete, and would have been more fulfilling to me listening to it if he had a better method of working at his craft or more discipline.

 

Now that that is said, you guys can get on with the stone cold dissing of him and anyone else or you can take it over the "hate" thread I created just for the kinds of things I think are about to happen here.

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Sorry bro. I just had a funny feeling you were getting ready to sand-bag the guy once someone came in to the thread calling him their hero or something. i don't know where I could have gotten that idea from. :D

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Ok I will weigh in on this now. What prompted this thread is my bass player recorded a live RHCP concert last night and we watched it this morning before I came home. It was a well done TV production as far as the camera men getting great shots of Johns hand to fret board positions and the sound was pretty good too. If I don't know anything else about guitar playing I do know classic rock and blues positions and riffs and extended solos and their relative choices to the progressions. As I watched his solos I did notice that he would go to the barr position and play pretty much only out of that position and did not use the rest of the neck for tonal color and interesting transitions. Yes and I agree there seemed to be a holding back (good point Hair)! I kept thinking about what I would do with the same progression and many times he would start where I would have started but then he would stop when he ran out of licks with in the barr. He did this in every song they did, it was most times adequate but there was so much more he could have done to color his solos? I think he did a pretty good job in general but he is so limiting himself, I did like his rhythm playing.
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I've only really heard him on some live Chili Peppers gigs I saw broadcast in Germany a few years back. I was really underwhelmed. He came across to me as sort of uninvolved, leaden, not particularly fluent or inventive. Didn't get to me at all, but that was just one context.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
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Originally posted by musicalhair:

Sorry bro. I just had a funny feeling you were getting ready to sand-bag the guy once someone came in to the thread calling him their hero or something. i don't know where I could have gotten that idea from. :D

Oh your not wrong at all and history tells us this is usually a fact! I can see what you mean..no but read my post, just trying to access a player I never paid much attention to before and finally had a chance to really watch him play is all.
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I find some of his work to be refreshing from all the other stuff i hear on the radio.

 

However, his playing gives me a feeling that he plays with his mind and not his heart. I don't really know if that's the case, but that's just me.

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Originally posted by musicalhair:

I just had a funny feeling you were getting ready to sand-bag the guy once someone came in to the thread calling him their hero or something.

I'd be that guy, please dont sandbag me! :cry:;)

 

Frusciante has long been my favorite guitar player and someone whos style I have studied pretty extensivley.

 

I can see what you guys are talking about when you say his lead playing could be better and he plays mainly in one position when playing leads. It may seem like his playing is lacking, but I believe he is just a minimalist player to the truest meaning of the word. If you have ever seen or heard his live work, he mainly improvises lead parts around the same area that he played on the recording. With him its more what he leaves out than what he puts in. He just lets the music breath so much and leaves so much space for the atmosphere.

 

Someone also said they think he plays with his mind and not his heart. I think its the exact opposite. Its all heart and emotion. If he was playing with his mind there would be more stuff thrown in. I think he jsut digs into his soul when he chooses the few notes hes going to use.

 

If you guys like some of his work with the chili peppers, you should check out some of his solo works, the albums are all great. They all have a different sound to them. One of them is kinda Lo-Fi 12 track recording. Another is a much more polished poppier sounding record. One is recorded like old 60's records using all kinds of signal bleed making the effect very cool. He also self produces all the albums. Hes a very good producer and uses alot of intresting techniques on the records.

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I'm a big fan, I have a few of his solo albums as well. Spent a fair bit of time getting "Under the Bridge" down, lots of nice little fills here and there. There was a pretty good interview with the DVD in one of those instructional mags, he went into his style and broke down "Under the Bridge" and some various funk rhythym and solo bits. Seems to be a cool guy.
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I would agree heart not mind.

 

I also think that I would be a much better player then I am and better at doing what I hear in my head if I had more discipline. hehehe

At the same time. I have played things that when i listened back, I would end up thinking, "how'd I do that?" then have to learn how I did it.

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Originally posted by ellwood:

If I don't know anything else about guitar playing I do know classic rock and blues positions and riffs and extended solos and their relative choices to the progressions. As I watched his solos I did notice that he would go to the barr position and play pretty much only out of that position and did not use the rest of the neck for tonal color and interesting transitions.

Frusciante's style is more about rhythmic color than running scales and patterns all over the neck. Listen to the interplay with the bass and drums, rather than focusing only on the note choices.
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Originally posted by Billster:

Originally posted by ellwood:

If I don't know anything else about guitar playing I do know classic rock and blues positions and riffs and extended solos and their relative choices to the progressions. As I watched his solos I did notice that he would go to the barr position and play pretty much only out of that position and did not use the rest of the neck for tonal color and interesting transitions.

Frusciante's style is more about rhythmic color than running scales and patterns all over the neck. Listen to the interplay with the bass and drums, rather than focusing only on the note choices.
So he is a bass player? hehehe
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He's got the funk. Plays on hit records. Is a member of one of the tightest bands out there. Plays with emotion... all of his solos on Californication are excellent, they all fit the song perfectly. He playing individually may not rock your face, but the point is he's part of the band that is rocking your face.
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Originally posted by Billster:

Originally posted by ellwood:

If I don't know anything else about guitar playing I do know classic rock and blues positions and riffs and extended solos and their relative choices to the progressions. As I watched his solos I did notice that he would go to the barr position and play pretty much only out of that position and did not use the rest of the neck for tonal color and interesting transitions.

Frusciante's style is more about rhythmic color than running scales and patterns all over the neck. Listen to the interplay with the bass and drums, rather than focusing only on the note choices.
Good point. Oh I hear the interplay between Flea and the drummer, and I like what I hear too! I was just talkng about his solo technique and I do like his rhythmic playing allot.
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Originally posted by ellwood:

Just wondering, what are your opinions of John Frusciante as a guitar player?

Overall, he is creative, and comes up with great hooks and parts

 

Originally posted by ellwood:

What do you think of his lead playing, technique,

and approach to his solo lines?

I believe that he underachieves in that department, but he has great tone. His approach alweays seems to fit the tunes, though
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I agree with guitarisawayoflife.

 

Anyways, I recently picked up 'Stadium Arcadium' (I have several other RHCP albums). And the production on that album... His lead style returned to playing full solos (I felt that at times on 'Californication' and 'By the Way' he was minimalist to a fault) and they [his solos] punch through the mix extremely well, while the drums and bass are still just as loud and fat. His tone sounds awesome.

 

I read his Wikipedia bio once, and I found it interesting that he dropped out of the RHCP because he felt that the fame had overpowered the music and upon his return dedicated himself to the concept of minimalism, which creates an audible evolution from his playing on 'BSSM' to now.

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Originally posted by Squ:

He's got the funk. Plays on hit records. Is a member of one of the tightest bands out there. Plays with emotion... all of his solos on Californication are excellent, they all fit the song perfectly. He playing individually may not rock your face, but the point is he's part of the band that is rocking your face.

I appreciate the fact he is a fan of analog recording. :thu:

 

I am a fan of FUNK. Along with my Sabbath records I was way into The Isley Brothers...go figure.

 

I don't have anything bad to say about his playing. I think the Chili Peppers are great.

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He never did much for me. Then again, I'm not a Chili Peppers fan, anyway.

 

It's not that I don't appreciate minimalism; it's just that I think modern rock has gotten too minimalist overall. Frankly, I'm more impressed when I see someone masturbate the fretboard then just play "the bare minimum" these days. Of course, both styles have to be in good taste.

Shut up and play.
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