Have an enquiry?
Send us your enquiry

By Rhys Lett

Under the Bridge – VCE Music Performance Solo Guitar

The Red Hot Chilli Peppers found success with their fourth album containing this iconic 90s song. Under the Bridge contains guitar playing greatly influenced by the rhythm guitar style of Jimi Hendrix. RHCP guitarist at the time John Frusciante faithfully performs in this style to create a great guitar work.

Under the Bridge is in the Rhythm Works category of the VCE Music Performance Solo guitar exam. You are required to play at least one song from this section in your exam.

For assistance with VCE Music contact the Eastern Suburbs School of Music via the contact form on the right of this page or by calling Rhys on 0421 705 150.

under the bridge

RHCP guitarist John Frusciante playing a Fender Mustang in the video for Under the Bridge.

Under the Bridge – Equipment

A Fender Stratocaster style guitar will help you achieve the tone found on the recording of Under The Bridge. Use the neck pickup. This will provide a good clean tone with just a bit of edge. A compressor pedal will help smooth out the dynamics. The outro of the song uses the chorus effect. It is set for a slightly swirling sound. Hear it from the 2:50 time mark. This can be left on for the remainder of the song.

This song is not played with a capo as it is sometimes notated. See the video at the bottom of this page where RHCP guitarist John Frusciante show you how to play Under the Bridge correctly.

Under the Bridge – Structure

Intro – the great arpeggiated chord intro going between the D and F# chord.

Verse – the chords in this section are singularly strummed. This spells out the progression that will be built upon as the song progresses.

Verse – chords are enhanced with Jimi Hendrix rhythm style improvisation.

Chorus – barre chords played high up the neck. Uses the 5th string shapes of F# minor and E.

Intro – Verse – more Hendrix style rhythm playing. Great variation to the previous verse.

Chorus – as previous.

Outro – new chord sequence with the chorus pedal being kicked on until the end of the song. Some Hendrix styled flourishes at the end of the song.

Under the Bridge – Techniques

Under the Bridge does not contain a guitar solo. It does contain some challenging chord playing. Know these guitar techniques to have a better understanding of how to play the song. Things to learn to play Under the Bridge are:

  • barre chord shapes for 6th and 5th string.
  • scales of the chords being played. This will help you understand the Hendrix rhythm technique.
  • hammer on and pull offs.
  • Major 7th chord for 5th string.

Watch this video where RHCP guitarist John Frusciante shows you how to play the famous Hendrix influenced parts.