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How to Play I Could Have Lied On Guitar

How to Play “I Could Have Lied” On Guitar?

“I Could Have Lied” is the sixth track on Blood Sugar Sex Magik, the band’s fifth studio album. Blood Sugar Sex Magik is the fifth studio album by the American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, released by Warner Bros. Records on September 24, 1991. Produced by Rick Rubin, its musical approach altered significantly from the band’s earlier album Mother’s Milk (1989), decreasing the usage of strong metal guitar riffs and emphasizing guitarist John Frusciante’s melodic songwriting contributions. The album’s themes include desire and enthusiasm, as well as dirty jokes and references to drugs and death.

Sex and Blood Sugar Magik reached number three on the US Billboard 200, with smash singles like “Under the Bridge,” “Give It Away,” “Suck My Kiss,” “Breaking the Girl,” and “If You Have to Ask.” The record catapulted the band to international fame and critical praise. Frusciante left the band during its 1992 tour because he was unhappy with his celebrity; he returned in 1998.

Blood Sugar Sex Magik is widely regarded as a crucial release of the 1990s alternative rock explosion, with AllMusic’s Steve Huey declaring it “perhaps the finest album the Chili Peppers will ever create.”

This article will show you how to play “I Could Have Lied” on guitar.

Who are “Red Hot Chili Peppers”?

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a Los Angeles-based American rock band founded in 1983 by vocalist Anthony Kiedis, guitarist John Frusciante, bassist Flea, and drummer Chad Smith. Their music combines alternative rock, funk, punk, hard rock, psychedelic, and hip-hop influences. Their diverse sound has impacted genres, including funk rock, rap rock, rap metal, and nu metal. Red Hot Chili Peppers are among the greatest bands of all time, having sold over 120 million albums worldwide. They are the most successful alternative rock band in history, with the most number-one singles, the most cumulative weeks at number one, and the most top-ten tracks on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

They have six Grammys, were elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, and will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2022.  Kiedis, Smith, Flea, Frusciante, Klinghoffer, Slovak (represented by his brother), Irons, and Martinez were inducted; Frusciante was invited but did not attend. Navarro and Sherman were not inducted, and Sherman expressed disappointment. Irons and Martinez on drums played “By the Way,” “Give It Away,” and “Higher Ground” with the band. It was Kiedis and Flea’s first performance with Irons in almost 20 years. Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen, their 12th, and 13th albums, were released in 2022.

The Backstory of “I Could Have Lied”

Anthony Kiedis penned this song after being dumped by his girlfriend at the time, Sinead O’Connor. The song is about cheating about adultery, something he believed he might have done to avoid rejection. Sinead O’Connor denied having a connection with Anthony Kiedis in a May 2009 interview with Q magazine.

The music of this song, on the other hand, was influenced by Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along The Watchtower.” Anthony Kiedis recounted in his memoirs, Scar Tissue, how the song was inspired by a mix of the split and Jimi Hendrix.

While under the influence of breaking up with his lover, Kiedis called Frusciante and told him to write down his feelings. The next night, they got together and started making the song. During these two days of nonstop rain, Kiedis sat at the dinner table and wrote about how he felt and what he went through while listening to Jimi Hendrix’s ‘All Along the Watchtower.’

How to Play I Could Have Lied On Guitar – Section 1 Fingering

We start with an open A string, and then the first finger is going to hammer on the second fret of the fifth string. Then we play the open fourth string back to playing the second fret on the fifth string. And then the little finger goes down the fourth fret on the fourth string. Then we do all of it except for the first note again. So, we start with the second fret, open the second fret, the little finger goes back down, and then that again.

How to Play? – Section 1 Rhythm

Before we go any further, we need to talk about the rhythm here. Because that’s what most people get in a bit of a model with there. Learning by listening is the best approach, but sometimes with a rhythm like this. It can be really helpful to understand what’s going on. Now, doing the 16th note count is a little tricky but at least understand where the notes are falling on the beat or relative to the beat.

The first rhythmic group is four sixteenth notes finishing with a note on beat two. Then we’ve got the, and after two and three here. This is falling on beat three and then the E after three. Really important to get used to this idea of where the beat tasks are.

How to Play I Could Have Lied On Guitar – Section 2 Fingering & Rhythm

In the last part, the little finger slides up to the seventh fret while we play the open fifth string then the second finger is going to play the fifth fret on the fourth string. And then you move that down one fret, and then your thumb is going to play the third fret on the thickest string at the same time as you play that lovely G7 grip. You can use your first finger if you struggle with the thumb over. And then you play the open D string and then the bass note again.

So, basically, when you’re doing these repeats, there’s the third one you play the first note, but your bar is going to need to come down, and you’re going to use your ring finger there to pluck the second string. So, the first thing is playing the second fret, third fret flick off, second or third fret hammer on flick off, the second string, and then we join back in with that note on the fourth fret of the fourth string. The rest stays the same; you need to work on timing.

How to Play? – Riff Fingering

Fingerpicking wise we’re using the thumb for all of the notes on the fifth string, and the first finger for all of the notes on the fourth string happens all of the ways through the riff.

How to Play I Could Have Lied On Guitar – Singing & Playing At The Same Time

One thing about this syncopation that is the strangeness in the rhythm is that it’s difficult to sing over. It’s quite a tricky one for singing and playing at the same time; if you’re new to singing and playing at the same time, this wouldn’t be a good first choice.

How to Play? – Bridge

We start with a B chord which is A shape barre chord, so the third finger borrows strings two, three, and four; the first finger plays the root note which is the note B. Second fret, and the fifth string, the thinner string should be muted, and thicker string should be muted both by the first finger. The third finger might help with the muting of the thinnest string. 

Let’s talk about the chords first, and then we’ll talk about the rhythm. So, we’ve got B, then D, so just moving it up three frets to such a first finger is on the root note D, fifth fret, and fifth string. Then we’ve got an A with the thinnest two strings ringing out. So it’s like a bar chord using an A shape. But you lift off your first finger, so you get those thinnest two strings ringing out. And then we’re down to a G chord.

The interesting part here, again, is the rhythm. So,  that’s down-down-up-up-down-down-up-down. That bridge section is again a little close to the original tempo. In the original recording there, you can really hear the acoustic guitar gasping. It’s very heavily compressed; it sounds a little bit more like an electric guitar. If you’ve got a compressor pedal, you might want to whack it up and squash it down a little bit. It really gives a big lot of weight to the acoustic guitar part as a kind of contrast to the other section.

How to Play? – Chorus

We’re at the chorus now. And we just want to mention before we get going that there seems to be a discrepancy between what we hear on the original recording and the way John Frusciante seems to play it live. It looks like he’s playing regular barre chords. They’re mostly fifth-string root, but on the record, we can hear the thinnest string ringing out. It could be an overdub; there could be more than one guitar part that would be quite a normal kind of thing to happen. But there’s a really lovely way that John Frusciante uses barre chords.

So, we’ve got an Em to G, D, and C with quite a specific rhythm. This is what seems to be John Frusciante playing live, most just regular Em bar chord grip; this is a seventh fret root note. Am shape grip to a G with a third finger bar, the first finger root note in the tenth fret. Same grip first finger in the fifth fret for the D and third fret for the C.

Now that’s totally fine but what we definitely hear on the record is this movement of there on the Em, that on the G, that on the D, and that on the C. You could play it like little grips like this Em to G, to D, to C is an overdub.

How to Play I Could Have Lied On Guitar – Chorus Rhythm

Rhythm again, let’s talk about that. On the D, down-up, down on the C. So, on the C, we’re cut landing on and then after two. So, up-down-up, down-up on the C. That kind of strumming pattern might seem a little complicated; remember, you don’t have to be exact with it, but that’s your starting point if you add in a couple of extra strums or you leave some out or whatever as long as you keep your hair moving and you keep in time it’s all going to sound fine. Now, toward the end of the tune, Frusciante changes that same rhythm pattern around quite a bit. Particularly, he starts using continuous 16th note strumming.

How to Play? – Rhythm Guitar Section

The last section is the rhythm guitar under the solo. It’s got a Bm chord occasionally, this nice little hammer on there with the second finger. A to G, bar chords, or you could use open chords. It’s all fairly just groovy; not really a specific pattern there. It doesn’t matter which way you want to play that rhythm part; it depends on how geeky you want to get on your Frusciante styling. So, the last time he’s doing the A to the G, he picks up the same accent we had at the riff.


In this post, we explained how to play “I Could Have Lied” by Red Hot Chili Peppers on guitar.  So, we hope you liked this lesson and learned how to play “I Could Have Lied” by Red Hot Chili Peppers on guitar.

The Deplike Learning App proves to be a valuable resource for learning new songs. Using the active learning technique, you will study the chords, choose a song from the app, learn to play it, and discover the artists. You can learn numerous songs, like “I Could Have Lied,” which you learned in this post, by using the Deplike Learning App.


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