Road Trippin Photo

Road Trippin’ by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Guitar Lesson)

Scroll down for full video lesson (with tab) of Road Trippin'.

Road Trippin' appears on the Red Hot Chilli Pepper's greatly successful album 'Californiacation'. The song was released as their fifth and final single from the album and although it didn't reach the top of charts in most countries, it did make it to number one in Poland.

Despite this, the song has gone on to be widely successful, very well-known and an immensely popular one to learn among intermediate fingerpicking guitarists.

Road Trippin' was written after John Fruscianti (guitarist), Anthony Kiedis (singer) and Flea (bassist) took a surfing road trip along the Pacific Highway, shortly after Fruscianti had rejoined the band. The song is entirely acoustic and features no drums throughout.

Road Trippin' is no. 16 on my Top 60 Fingerpicking Songs of ALL TIME list. If you've not seen the list be sure to check it out and subscribe to get weekly lessons for each song!

Song Facts:

  • Recorded - 1999
  • Released - 18th November 2000
  • Bpm - 101
  • Key - E minor
  • Only released as a single in Europe


The intro/verse is really just three chords - Em, C and B. The trickiest part to really anchor down is the thumb, if you can get that down the rest should come reasonably easily. Therefore, I recommend isolating the thumb first, getting the rhythm of it really secure and only then bring in the remaining notes. Once you do get the thumb rock solid the remaining notes fall in-between.

I personally use my thumb (t) to play all the bass notes, my 1st finger (i) to play the B string and my 2nd finger (m) to play the high E string. You may find getting the rhythm down complicated too, especially if you can't read rhythmic notation. If you can't, then I strongly recommend learning how either via a teacher or another means.

Road Trippin tab

One thing that I missed out on the video lesson but is actually on the recording is that sometimes during the verse Fruscianti quickly shifts up to the 5th fret on the high E string. It's well worth learning this if you really want to get the song 100% accurate. Here's the tab for it:

Road trippin' Tab

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For the chorus of Road Trippin' you want to consistently play the root note as 8th notes on every chord. This is quite unusual and you don't see it very often. It takes this approach for the first three chords and finally when it reaches the G you want to play a group of 16th notes, this can be hard to get up to speed so be sure to isolate it and loop it around and around until it's there.


Road Trippin' Chorus

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The bridge of Road Trippin' is big and tricky at times, it uses a lot of barres and also diminished 7th chords. The fingerpicking pattern is reasonably consistent throughout but it does shift strings regularly.

I recommend getting the basic right-hand pattern down first before you start adding the chords in. The hardest part is the final bar that leads you back to the beginning of the verse. Here it plays descending diminished 7th chords right the way down the fretboard, it's hard to visualise the movements for the chord changes but is well worth getting it down!

It's also valuable to know that the diminished 7th chord is moveable - you can move any diminished 7th chord up or down in minor thirds (3 frets) and it will sound superb, you're actually playing the same notes each time, just in a different order. You can try this in your own playing too of course.

Road Trippin' Bridge


  1. Matjaz left a comment on 7th November 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Thank you for your lessons, I’ve picked up two of them for now. After I’ve finally got the first part to sound similar as you the rest went smoothly ( for a beginner 😉

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 7th November 2018 at 11:09 pm

      It’s a pleasure. Road Trippin’ is pretty difficult I’d say, if you can master it you’re doing very well.

  2. Tom left a comment on 16th December 2019 at 6:39 am

    Brilliant lesson, Chris! Thanks for all your hard work and great teaching style – the best on the web for me and thousands of others 🙂

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 19th December 2019 at 5:35 pm

      Thanks a lot Tom.

  3. Chris left a comment on 24th February 2020 at 5:11 am

    Hey man. Stumbled on your work several days ago and I’m well on my way to picking up this tune. I grew up loving this song but it always fell into the ‘never be able to play’ pile. I love your segmented approach to instructing, makes it way less intimidating. If things keep going well I’ll buy in for sure, it’s obvious you work pretty hard at this so thanks.

    -Chris from Alberta

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 25th February 2020 at 11:11 am

      Hey Chris, thanks for your message, I’m really pleased you enjoy the lessons. I hope I can continue to help you grow as a player.

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