How to Play Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers on Guitar

Under the Bridge is a song by the American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, released in 1992 as the second single from their fifth studio album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The song is a ballad that expresses the singer’s feelings of loneliness and alienation in Los Angeles, and his connection to the city and its people through music. The song was written by vocalist Anthony Kiedis, who was inspired by his experiences of drug addiction and recovery. The song features a distinctive guitar riff and chord progression, played by guitarist John Frusciante, who used a capo on the fourth fret to create an open sound.

In this article, we will show you how to play Under the Bridge on guitar, using chords, tabs, and video lessons. We will also explain some of the techniques and musical concepts behind the song, such as fingerpicking, arpeggios, and modulation.


The song uses a variety of chords, some of which are not very common in rock music. The chords are mostly major and minor triads, with some added notes or variations. Here are the main chords used in the song, along with their diagrams and names:

Chord Diagram Name
!C !C C
!G !G G
!Am !Am Am
!Em !Em Em
!F !F F
!Cmaj7 !Cmaj7 Cmaj7
!Dm !Dm Dm
!Ab !Ab Ab
!Eb !Eb Eb
!Db !Db Db

Some of these chords have different names depending on how you look at them. For example, the Cmaj7 chord can also be seen as an Em chord with a C bass note. The Ab chord can also be seen as an Fm chord with an Ab bass note. The Eb chord can also be seen as a Cm chord with an Eb bass note. The Db chord can also be seen as an Bbm chord with a Db bass note.

The song also uses some variations of these chords, such as adding or removing notes, changing the order of notes, or using different fingerings. For example, the F chord can be played as Fadd9 by adding the second string open. The Dm chord can be played as Dsus2 by removing the first finger from the first string. The Ab chord can be played as Abmaj7 by adding the fourth string second fret. The Eb chord can be played as Ebadd9 by adding the first string third fret. The Db chord can be played as Db6 by adding the second string first fret

You can experiment with these variations and see how they affect the sound and mood of the song. You can also try to find your own variations by adding or removing notes, changing the order of notes, or using different fingerings.


Tabs are a way of writing music for guitar, using numbers and symbols to indicate which strings and frets to play. Tabs are useful for learning songs, especially if you don’t know how to read standard musical notation. However, tabs have some limitations, such as not showing the rhythm, the duration, or the dynamics of the notes. Therefore, tabs should be used as a guide, not as a substitute for listening to the original song and developing your own musical sense.

Here are the tabs for the main parts of Under the Bridge, along with some explanations and tips:


The intro consists of four bars, repeated twice. The first two bars are played by Frusciante alone, using a clean tone and a capo on the fourth fret. The third and fourth bars are played by Frusciante and Flea (the bassist), using a distorted tone and no capo. The intro establishes the key of the song, which is C major, and introduces the main riff and chord progression.

The intro is played using fingerpicking, which means plucking the strings with your fingers instead of using a pick. Fingerpicking allows you to play multiple strings at once, creating a fuller and richer sound. Fingerpicking also gives you more control over the dynamics and expression of each note.

The intro is played using arpeggios, which means breaking up chords into individual notes. Arpeggios create a melodic and harmonic movement, adding interest and variety to the chord progression. Arpeggios also allow you to emphasize certain notes or chords, creating tension and resolution.

The intro is played using a capo on the fourth fret for the first two bars, which means placing a device on the neck of the guitar that shortens the strings and raises their pitch. A capo allows you to play chords in different keys without changing your fingerings. A capo also changes the timbre and resonance of the guitar, creating a brighter and more open sound.

The intro is played using a distorted tone for the third and fourth bars, which means applying an effect that increases the gain and saturation of the signal. A distorted tone creates a heavier and more aggressive sound, adding contrast and energy to the intro. A distorted tone also adds harmonics and overtones to the signal, enriching the sound spectrum

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