Californication Riff

Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is an awesome beginner riff! A great riff to practice the F chord.

View the full lesson at Californication Riff | JustinGuitar

I’m finding that open G in the 2nd half to be really difficult with the first finger still down. Is it ok to lift the first finger a bit to make room after you pick the first F note?

Hello @jaraquistain You really want that F note to sustain so continue to work on your first finger, you need to curl it more than you would if you were playing a barre when the first finger would be flat down.
Cheers :blush:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator

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You’re definitely right, All it took was a bit more practice. Imagine that!

At least for myself, I find it easier to do a power chord instead of a barre chord when playing this riff (it takes significantly less time to transition between melodies).

I’m finding exactly the same issue - if I roll my finger so I push down with the bone at the joints, then pushing down hard enough to let the first two strings ring out always slightly touches the third string. But if it just requires practice maybe I should just keep trying it. I am using an accoustic which probably doesn’t help - I need to push the strings down a good couple of millimeters.

For the barre chord, is it okay if I place my third finger first and then the first finger?
If I place my my first finger first, I am unable to stretch my third finger to the correct position.

@BlackPhoton Your action is a good couple of millimetres down near your nut? Wow. that is seriously too high, not good high. What guitar do you have? The gap between string and fret 1 really should be less than 0.5mm.
Check this simple (tool free) guide on how to check.

Hope that helps.

Cheers :smiley:

| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Approved Teacher

@Abhishek27 To play the riff satisfactorily, do what you need.
but, for long term improvement, make sure to put simultaneous finger placement on your practice routine.

Cheers :smiley:

| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Approved Teacher

Ahh, thanks! Just checked and it seems about right (hard to tell for the strings not at the end) - I don’t think I realised just how small a millimeter is

Okay, I will try to do that. Thanks for the advice :slightly_smiling_face:

In the text of the lesson it says “If you want, you can work in the chords too - C, G, F, and Dm.”

What does this mean when the riff is formed from Am and F?

Hi Stuart check out the song lesson and all should become clear.

Do you mean the riff lesson or this one Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers | If this one then that’s way above my level!

Hi Stuart, I’m referring to the song lesson and not the riff lesson. I think its referring to chords parts 4 to 6 in the lesson video. Have a look at those particular parts as may not be as difficult as what you think.


The hardest part of this riff exercise for me is getting the third finger down on the 3rd fret of the 5th string near enough the fret. If I use my 4th finger instead, its much easier. Recognising this is a learning exercise not just about playing the riff, is there any benefit in persisting with trying to do 1st and 3rd finger or no issue with 1st finger 1st fret, 4th finger 3rd fret?

Yes it will help stretch your fingers out and help with finger independence. You’re going to come across many song that have a 2 fret stretch and need the little finger to play other notes. You’ll only hurt your playing later by taking the easy way now.

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Thanks, that’s what I needed to hear!

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For the second part of the riff, when putting the first finger down on the first fret, your finger cannot mute the A string below it, correct? The rest of the finger needs to hover above the five strings below?

Hello Tala, I hope I got your questions right :slightly_smiling_face:.

Correct, as you’re playing the A string with your second finger on the second fret then. So it doesn’t matter, if you touch the A string with your first finger on the first fret as well. Nevertheless, I personally would try to avoid it and aim for clean fretting :innocent: .

Yes, otherwise you would mute the Open G string :see_no_evil:.

Such a beautiful riff :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:. I wish you lots of fun with it :smiley:.