WELCOME TO OUR JOHN FRUSCIANTE GEAR GUIDE, WHERE YOU CAN FIND OUT WHAT GEAR THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS GUITARIST LIKES TO USE ON STAGE AND IN THE STUDIO!
We provide a John Frusciante Gear guide so you can get the same sound as one of the most influential guitarists of the last 20 years! John Frusciante's distinctive funk/rock guitar style has achieved much success throughout his long career - most notably with Red Hot Chili Peppers. Here's how he gets his sound.
He was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, affirming his status as one of the most famous guitarists of the last two decades. Let's take a look at John Frusciante's gear and see how he got that sound of his!
Table of Contents:
JOHN FRUSCIANTE'S BACKGROUND
John Frusciante's original stint with Red Hot Chili Peppers was between 1988-1992. John left as he felt the rapid rise to stardom was too much to handle in too short of a time. He became addicted to drugs and suffered severe depression, facing death multiple times. He went to rehab in 1997 and recovered back to normal fitness. He was asked to re-join RHCP in 1998, which he gladly accepted, and his return marked the release of "Californication" in 1999 - the band's most successful album in their whole 30 years of existence. They toured and played a lot of shows, whilst writing their next album "By The Way", which was nearly as popular as "Californication"! Without further ado, here's John Frusciante's Gear Guide.
JOHN FRUSCIANTE'S GUITARS
Here's a rundown of the guitars most commonly used by John Frusciante throughout his playing career with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
No John Frusciante Gear Guide would be complete without the Fender Stratocaster. What guitar does John Frusciante play? Well, Frusciante was a lover of the Fender Stratocaster - especially a worn-out '62 Strat! He liked his Fender's with a rosewood fretboard and with Seymour Duncan SSL-1 Single Coils, which he eventually put in all of his strats as he loved the 'mellow' sound they gave him.
His second favourite strat was the '55 which was his only strat with a maple fretboard. Here's Frusciante talking through the recording process of "Dani California" and playing on his 1955 Strat.
Frusciante was seen playing various other guitars throughout his career, including a 1962 Fender Stratocaster (Fiesta Red), a 1962 Fender Jaguar (Fiesta Red) and a 1965 Fender Telecaster (Sunburst).
Shop a full range of Fender guitars below:
There are lots of different options when it comes to finding a Stratocaster best suited to you. Luckily they're available at price-points suited to beginners right through to professional players like Frusciante himself. Here we take a look at some of the different tiers:
SQUIER STRATOCASTER ELECTRIC GUITAR STARTER PACK BROWN SUNBURST
If you're just starting out in the world of guitar and looking for a Sunburst Strat-like Frusciante then you might want to consider this Squier Stratocaster Starter Pack. Why? Because it includes everything you need to plug in and start playing. You'll get an awesome Fender practice amp and a handy gig bag so you can carry the guitar to lessons!
SQUIER CLASSIC VIBE STRATOCASTER 50'S, 2-COLOUR SUNBURST
Stepping into more premium territory here - the Squier Classic Vibe is perfect if you're after a vintage style Stratocaster with a striking look. These are completely designed by Fender which means they're guaranteed to carry a familiar vintage sound.
FENDER VINTERA 60S STRATOCASTER PF3, TONE SUNBURST
We're now within the realms of professional guitars that will stand up to years of touring. The vintage stylings of this Fender Vintera model are sure to help you achieve the sound of Frusciante. This model actually strives to recreate the sound and style of Fender's golden era - and who doesn't love that striking sunburst finish?
FENDER AMERICAN ULTRA STRATOCASTER MN, ULTRABURST
The American Ultra series picked up where American Elites left off. The American Ultra Stratocaster is a modern adaptation of one of the most iconic guitars the world has ever seen. The most advanced version of the legendary model yet - you'll never need to replace this guitar and will be able to rely on its sound and tone for your whole playing career.
GRETSCH WHITE FALCON
The Gretsch White Falcon is the guitar that most John Frusciante fans (and guitar collectors) would want.
Frusciante said it"is the nicest guitar I have, I think" and the White Falcon was used in the studio to record "Otherside" and "Californication".
The most "elegant" Frusciante guitar.
JOHN FRUSCIANTE AMPs
What AMPs does John Frusciante play? Frusciante mainly plays Marshall Amps. This was his signature setup:
MARSHALL SILVER JUBILEE
To the left of his setup is the Marshall Silver Jubilee 25/55 100w head which he used for heavier tones. This head became popular amongst heavy rock and metal bands for the aggressive tone it delivered.
Frusciante also used the Marshall Major 200w, which he usually used to get his clean tones. The Major is extremely hard to get hold of and is known to be very hard to 'dirty' up, meaning you can play at very loud volumes whilst still getting that clean sound
SPEAKER & GUITAR CABS
He uses two 4x12" cabs for each head - meaning he uses 16 speakers in total on stage! The cabs he uses are standard Marshall 1960A and Marshall 1960B speaker cabs (one angled and one straight) with the stock Celestion speakers. You can see his amp rig to the right of the stage on this picture - his TWO full Marshall stacks. Here's John's full collection of guitar amps:
FENDER BLACKFACE SHOWMAN
When Frusciante played with his Gretsch White Falcon guitar he liked to switch to a Fender Blackface Showman guitar head with his Marshall 4x12" cabs. It was not uncommon to see Frusciante with THREE full stacks on stage with him for this reason - his Silver Jubilee (Distortion), Major (Clean) and Showman (for his Gretsch!).
Our favourite amp for getting a Frusciante sound on a budget is the Marshall SC20C Studio Classic JCM800 Combo.
This stunning combo brings a new level of affordability and portability to the legendary Marshall Lead series, offering you tube-tone and an array of modern features that mean it sounds great with any set-up.
The Combo version features a 10" Celestion V-Type driver which offers full-range, flat-response tone with bags of headroom when you start dialling up the gain.
It's perfectly suited for live use, recording, or even just practicing.
Check out the rest of our Marshall range here:
JOHN FRUSCIANTE'S PEDALBOARD
Over the years Frusciante has developed his pedalboard dramatically. It used to be very simplistic, whereas nowadays he has quite the collection!
2000 - CALIFORNICATION TOUR
Around the release of Californication, his pedalboard was pretty small and had just the basic effects. He didn't even have a tuner!
Image Source: Jftab
- Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble (The Boss CE-5 is a modern option)
- Ibanez WH-10 Wah (No longer available, but the Boss PW3 Wah Pedal is a great option)
- MXR Phase 90
- Electro-Harmonix Russian Big Muff Pi
- Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion
- Boss DS-1 Distortion
2006 - STADIUM ARCADIUM
Now check out the difference when you look at the pedalboard he used around the release of Stadium Arcadium. As you can see, he LOVES the Moog MoogerFooger guitar pedals!
The best pedals to get close to a Frusciante tone are as follows:
Image Source: Jftab
- Moog Expression pedal
- MXR Micro Amp
- Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi USA
- Boss DS-2 TurboDistortion
- Mosrite FuzzRite
- Ibanez WH-10 Wah
- Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb
- Moog MF103 12-Stage Phaser
- Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble
- Moog CP-251 Control Processor
- Boss FV-50 Volume
- Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler
- Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Electric Mistress
- DigiTech PDS 1002 Digital Delay (the Boss DD 7 is a great option)
- Guyatone VT-X Tube Tremolo
- Line 6 FM4 Filter Modeler (no longer available, but the Boss SY300 Guitar Synthesizer Pedal is a great option)
- Moog MF-101 Low Pass Filter
- Moog MF-105B BassMuRF
- Moog MF-105 MuRF
- Moog MF-102 Ring Mod (MF Ring is a smaller version)
JOHN FRUSCIANTE'S GEAR
This pretty much sums up Frusciante's gear during his most popular time with RHCP - around the time of Californication. Any fan knows that Frusciante has always favoured the Sunburst Fender Stratocaster, however he does like to deviate and throw some other options into the mix.
HOW TO PLAY LIKE JOHN FRUSCIANTE
You're right in thinking that it's not all down to gear. Frusciante has a very specific playing style that makes him sound different - no matter what gear he uses. What better way to learn about his playing style than from John himself? Here he is:
So now you've read our John Frusciante Gear guide, you know what gear you want - you know what playing style to stand by - the only thing left is to get practicing.
Originally published on dolphinmusic.co.uk Mon August 04th, 2014 by Danny Edwards - Updated August 20th, 2021