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Californication Bass Line

Here is the main riff from "Californication" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This bass line is really a counter melody to the main guitar riff.

 

Californication

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In this riff, bassist Flea chooses most of his notes from the Am and F arpeggios to match the chord being played by the guitarist.

Full Am arpeggio

|---|---|-3-|---|-1st string
|-1-|---|---|-4-|
|-1-|---|---|---|
|---|-2-|---|---|-4th string
  |
 7th fret

numbers = suggested fingering
number in red = root note (A)

Arpeggio notes used in the riff

|---|---|-3-|---|-1st string
|-1-|---|---|-4-|
|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|-4th string

  |
 7th fret


Full F arpeggio

|---|---|---|-4-|-1st string
|-1-|---|---|-4-|
|---|-2-|---|---|
|---|-2-|---|---|-4th string
  |
 7th fret

numbers = suggested fingering
number in red = root note (F)

Arpeggio notes used in the riff

|---|---|---|-4-|-1st string
|---|---|---|-4-|
|---|-2-|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|-4th string
  |
 7th fret

The other notes that make up the riff come from an A minor scale. This song is in the key of A minor.

A minor scale at the 7th fret

|-1-|---|-3-|-4-|-1st string
|-1-|---|-3-|-4-|
|-1-|-2-|---|-4-|
|-1-|-2-|---|-4-|-4th string
  |
 7th fret

numbers = suggested fingering
number in red = root note (A)

All scale notes used in the riff

|-1-|---|-3-|-4-|-1st string
|-1-|---|---|-4-|
|---|-2-|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|-4th string
  |
 7th fret

In measure 1 and 3 there is a hammer-on and pull off between the 7th and 9th frets on the 1st string. The 7th fret is really heard as a scale approach from above to the following note on the 10th fret of the 2nd string. The 9th fret on the 1st string that is used as part of the hammer-on and pull-off is really just heard as a decoration of that scale step.......even though that 9th fret is a chord tone. Try leaving out that hammer/pull combination and just play the 7th fret on the 1st string. You will find the structure of the bass line remains intact.

In measure 2, the 7th fret on the 1st string is heard as a scale step approach from above to the chord on the 10th fret 2nd string.

The very last note in the 4th measure of the riff is not a chord tone, but is almost an implied chord tone. The chord at the moment is an F chord which has the notes F, A and C. An F6 Chord has the notes F, A, C, and D. That last note is a D note, and therefore implies an overall F6 feel for the last beat.

Californication




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