5 Easy Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs to Play on Guitar

As a beginner guitar player, when you get your instrument for the first time you might look for easy famous songs to play. 

If you are into the funk rock genre you will know that one of the most influential bands are these Californians.

Needless to say, we talk about the worldwide group Red Hot Chili Peppers

On this occasion, we will show you the easiest songs to play and you will become the focus at parties.

The Peppers have a wide range of albums thus a high number of songs are recorded, most of them are simple for intermediate or advanced players but there are some of them pretty playable for first learners. 

They used standard tuning and although every song in the list is played on electric guitar, you would play them in acoustic guitars as well.

In this article, you will find a list of songs that you can learn and play through if you practice them for a while. 

Moreover, you have links to the original song, the tabs, lessons, and the techniques applied in every piece.

The 5 easiest Red Hot Chili Peppers songs to play on guitar are: 

  1. By The Way
  2. Otherside
  3. Scar Tissue
  4. Stadium Arcadium
  5. Californication

1. By The Way

This song is the one it gives the name to the 2002 album and is one of the most popular Red Hot Chili Peppers’ songs. 

It starts pretty quietly but suddenly becomes a furious piece and although this song has some fast sections, is not as hard as you may think.

First of all, the song is in standard tuning and is played on electric guitar, it could be played on acoustic but you will have to know that some sections feel easier to play on electric guitars. 

The intro of the song consists of three main chords: (F – C/E – A) which are played plucking repeatedly four times, adding some simple fills, and creating the chords’ harmonies as being played along with the bass.

Once in the verse, everything becomes faster but you have to play a funky Dm chord giving two downstrokes at the beginning of each bar, and then alternate your strumming muting all strings. 

At the end of each bar of the verse, you play a funky octave C chord which will lead you to the chorus.

The chorus is quite easy to remember, consists of just five open chords, you may struggle with the strumming in this part but after some practice, you will get it. 

The first section is F – C – Dm while the second one repeats the first two chords (F – C) but finishes with Am – Bb.

That’s it! Now, the only thing you have to do is remember the order of the different sections of it. 

This song doesn’t have a solo so you have everything needed to play it!

Here’s the song: 

Here are the tabs 

(the best I have found but not the most faithful. Check lesson)

Here’s a lesson: 

2. Otherside

This song is part of the well-known album Californication and is very popular as well. 

It is in standard tuning, in Am key, and is composed using one of the most common chords progression (I – IV – III -VI).

The intro of the song works as the chorus too, consisting of a plucked guitar line that combined with the bass line create a nice harmony following the chord progression Am – F – C – G. 

Although is repeated along with the song, it has some variations mainly at the end of the riff.

The verse is again a plucked section played in the sixth and in the two thinner strings over the chords of Am and Em

Through the end of this part, the guitar plays A and G chords three times. 

Then we have the bridge and the solo. 

Regarding the bridge, you use just two single notes with tons of distortion, something similar occurs with the solo is a plucked line played in only two adjacent strings.

The outro repeats the main chords of the intro but instead of Am, they change it to A. 

This song is not hard because is quite repetitive and the plucked lines, even the solo, are not that complex to play or difficult to remember.

Although it is played on electric guitar, you can play it on acoustic as well. If you simplify the song for an acoustic version, it will sound great if you sing as you play it.

Here’s the song: 

Here are the tabs

(the best I have found but not the most faithful. Check lesson)

Here’s a lesson: 

3. Scar Tissue

On this occasion, we will be talking about the third track of Californication, one of the most nostalgic songs of this group. 

Scar Tissue is not a tough song to play, is also tuned in standard E and is made of a bunch of simple chords.

Like with many of their songs, this uses the intro as a leitmotiv, in this case, is repeated during the verses but changes through the end of each line. 

A nice melodic line over F – C – Dm chords alternating the fundamental and the third of each chord.

During the chorus, it plays the same notes as in the verses but as full chords using C as a pivot between F and Dm. 

Regarding the solos, they are sweet plucked lines that are played using a slide but if you don’t have one, you can do it just by sliding from one note to another.

The structure of the song is pretty monotonous and simple to remember, the solos are performed almost entirely on the same string which made them easy to play by using just one finger. 

Although is played on electric guitar, you can try to use an acoustic guitar and see how well it sounds.

Here’s the song: 

Here are the tabs

Here’s a lesson: 

4. Stadium Arcadium

This song has the same title as the 2006 album and although is not one of the most known, it is also catchy and sweet. 

Stadium Arcadium is a simple piece composed in the key of A major and its intro employs a two-chords-arpeggio in the intro F# and A, to finish with two open chords A and E major.

The intro works as verse as well and although this song has more than one guitar on the recording, the main guitar plays those arpeggios and chords. 

The chorus consists of a progression of four open chords repeated twice: Bm – D – A – E.

The solo of this song is a soft pentatonic pattern pretty easy to play and background chords are simple too but are divided into different sections. 

The first pattern repeats  F# – G# – A – C#m four times.

The second one starts with Bm – C#m – D – F# twice but then comes back to the first chord progression (F# – G# – A – C#m). 

The final section has just two chords C#m and Bm.

The solo is played using slides and bendings but as is at a slow tempo, you won’t have trouble dealing with it. 

After some minutes of practice, you will master it.

What is more, since there are some fills during the chorus and the verse you can play this song with your guitarist friend

That’s it, three distinguishable sections and you learn the whole song.

Here’s the song: 

Here are the tabs

Here’s a lesson: 

5. Californication

Last but not least, we have the most famous song by Red Hot Chili Peppers and what is more, one of the most singable rock anthems. 

Of course, this song comes from the homonymous album Californication released in 1999.

Is one of the first songs every guitar lover wants to learn, fortunately, it doesn’t come up with many difficulties. 

The song is in Am key and begins with two arpeggiated chords, Am and F.

Those two chords work as verse too, so when you learn how to play the intro, you also know how to play the verse. 

Nevertheless, the last section of the verse plays some arpeggios following the progression C – G – F – Dm.

The pre-chorus is quite similar to the first section of the verse, with the same two chords (a little variation on F chords which becomes Fmaj7) but this time you have to play them strumming. 

When we reach the chorus you will have to play a simple chord progression twice: C – G – Dm – Am.

However, the second time you have to omit the last Am chord so you will finish with Dm. 

The verse and pre-chorus are always played equally but it doesn’t occur the same with the chorus.

The second and the final chorus play the patterns we mentioned before but repeated twice. 

As regards the solo is a sweet slow melodic line played on the key of F#m (yes this song changes the key at that moment).

You may have listened to it a thousand times and involves simple techniques it will be easy to learn. 

What you have to do now is remember every section order and play this fantastic song!

Here’s the song: 

Here are the tabs

Here’s a lesson: