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#1
Hello

So, on wikipedia about Californication this is written:

"After the second chorus a 16-measure guitar solo is played by Frusciante who changes the key to A Major. After the solo, the key goes back to the original A Minor and a third verse and final chorus is played."

Can somebody explain to me why and how could/did he change the key from minor to major?

Thank you.
#2
He did it because it sounded nice.

He could do it because see above.
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#6
Quote by WhiteStripesIII
It's a really boring, anti-climactic solo, IMO.


One of the worst I've ever heard. Sounds like some kid in a middle school band talent show that has been playing guitar for like a year.
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#9
The main guitar riff in All of California and Everyone Who Lives There Stinks in 10 times more interesting.
mugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmugmug
#10
Quote by WhiteStripesIII
It's a really boring, anti-climactic solo, IMO.


Oh yeah, solo definitely needed an overdriven tap solo
#11
I quite like the solo but in true John Frusciante fashion he doesn't do anything to set up the key changes he just goes there suddenly, which IMO sounds good when he goes into the solo but coming out of it just sounds lazy and amateurish. So in answer to your question, there is no how. He just does it. And also it's in F minor not A major.
Last edited by korinaflyingv at May 14, 2016,
#12
I think JF's solo was perfect. Nice phrasing, good melody.
Always hated metallic solos - a lot of noise without any phrasing.
#13
Quote by WhiteStripesIII
It's a really boring, anti-climactic solo, IMO.

yeah i love frusciante but his solo work on that album is atrocious

his entire thing with solos has pretty much always been simple solos that followed the chords really nicely, but on that album it feels like he's just guessing which notes to play, everything is done really gingerly and aimlessly and it sounds like shit

maybe he lost the feel for it during the time he wasn't playing guitar? everything he did before and since, even during the worst of his drug addiction, is better
#16
Quote by gonzaw
The solo is pretty bitching though. Dunno what's with all the unnecessary hate. The melody and phrasing are great


The solo is about 3 months of experience over that Nick Jonas solo.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
but on that album it feels like he's just guessing which notes to play, everything is done really gingerly and aimlessly and it sounds like shit


All the notes sound really apologetic. Like, oh sorry if this note isn't the write one. He's barely playing each note. It's like when you hear a beginner playing a riff and it just sounds bad because they haven't really learned to fret cleaning or pick hard and evenly so every note comes out half baked.

Like he sounds like a 10 year old kid trying to play what the solo should sound like.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at May 14, 2016,
#17
Really, what is up with al the hate for a simple yet beautiful solo? It fits the song very well and serves it purpose. Sometimes less is more, something that so called 'virtuoso's' often seem to forget.
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Last edited by Sn@il! at May 14, 2016,
#18
Quote by Sn@il!
Really, what is up with al the hate for a simple yet beautiful solo? It fits the song very well and serves it purpose. Sometimes less is more, something that so called 'virtuoso's' often seem to forget.


Sometimes less is less. It sounds like the musical equivalent of a stick figure drawing. That's not to say that simple solos can't sound beautiful. It's just that "my first guitar solo" caliber simple isn't beautiful. It's just amateurish. There are about a million power ballads from the 70s and 80s with simple but beautiful solos, but the guitar players sound like that actually know how to play guitars. Rather than picking one of those, I'll go with this (10:28 or so):


https://youtu.be/OpGl7saUSig
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Last edited by theogonia777 at May 14, 2016,
#20
Quote by korinaflyingv
Everyone who doesn't like the solo in this thread has given valid reasons.


You are absulutely right. But in my opinion a lack of technique isn't a really good argument. I do however get that liking or disliking music is a mere opinion.
Most people don't realize
That two large pieces of coral,
Painted brown, and attached to his skull
With common wood screws
Can make a child look like a deer.
#21
Quote by Josh100_3
Oh yeah, solo definitely needed an overdriven tap solo


Not what I mean - I'm am a huge fan of Frusciante. I'd give my reasons for not liking it but it seems everyone else has covered it. Really when you know what he's capable of, and the solos he's done in comparable songs (I Could Have Lied or in Dissolve for example) it just seems weak and boring.
#22
Quote by WhiteStripesIII
Not what I mean - I'm am a huge fan of Frusciante. I'd give my reasons for not liking it but it seems everyone else has covered it. Really when you know what he's capable of, and the solos he's done in comparable songs (I Could Have Lied or in Dissolve for example) it just seems weak and boring.

So what you're saying is that if a paediatric oncologist's kid skins his knee, that doctor shouldn't put a sticking plaster on because it's beneath him?
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#23
Quote by slapsymcdougal
So what you're saying is that if a paediatric oncologist's kid skins his knee, that doctor shouldn't put a sticking plaster on because it's beneath him?


err...

Yes.

Last edited by WhiteStripesIII at May 14, 2016,
#24
It was the first solo I actually learned to play all the way through.

Changing to A major would be a smooth transition because the majority of the song is in A minor. The key of a melody can change almost at any time as long as you have the harmony to back it up. Only changing keys for just the solo helped make the song interesting and helped bring in the opening A minor lick after the solo, kept it solid, and gave it a more "ah ha, and we're back" feel. Just my .02
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#25
Just look at the chords to the solo. They're actually really pretty and the solo follows them just fine.
#26
Okay, so the chords in the solo are F#m D Bm A... They are not in the key of A minor, is the answer that he just used them because it sounded good? It doesn't matter which song it is, i just took Californication for an example. Like, if i play something random in the key of B minor (for an example), i can suddenly change the key?

Thank you for all the replies!
#27
Oh, and sorry for naming the thread "Californication solo", now i realized that mistake u_u .
#28
You can change key to anything you want in music. You can make a chorus to a song in any key you want, then jump back to the verse. He could have played the solo in Eb major and it would have sounded awesome. Usually if you are playing jazz or classical you would hint at the key change first somehow. But in pop and rock music, you can kinda do whatever you want, like make the chorus a full step higher just because.
#29
Quote by VanjaVanja
Okay, so the chords in the solo are F#m D Bm A... They are not in the key of A minor, is the answer that he just used them because it sounded good? It doesn't matter which song it is, i just took Californication for an example. Like, if i play something random in the key of B minor (for an example), i can suddenly change the key?

Thank you for all the replies!

It's not using chords outside the key, it's a full on key change.
And yes of course you can. As long as it sounds decent.
#30
Quote by korinaflyingv
I quite like the solo but in true John Frusciante fashion he doesn't do anything to set up the key changes he just goes there suddenly, which IMO sounds good when he goes into the solo but coming out of it just sounds lazy and amateurish. So in answer to your question, there is no how. He just does it. And also it's in F minor not A major.


It's in A Major. The solo starts #Fmin instead of Amaj (which works because the 6th works as substitute) but other than that the song resolves on A (you can notice it at the end of the solo where it goes Emaj -> Amaj in terms of progression)

Quote by theogonia777
All the notes sound really apologetic. Like, oh sorry if this note isn't the write one. He's barely playing each note. It's like when you hear a beginner playing a riff and it just sounds bad because they haven't really learned to fret cleaning or pick hard and evenly so every note comes out half baked.

Like he sounds like a 10 year old kid trying to play what the solo should sound like.


The fact the solo "sounds" apologetic IMO is actually a good quality of it, since it's the feeling it's supposed to evoke on you.

Let's analize each phrase
https://youtu.be/xgZhIANfrN4?t=199

1st & 2nd phrases (3:19 - 3:28): The melodies right off the bat starts off with that apologetic feeling, with the long notes and "slow" downward bends. It sets the mood and theme of the whole solo. Both phrases potentiate each other, acting as an echo of one another, marking the theme
3rd phrase (3:28 - 3:34): This one acts as a shift from the previous ones, and as a leading one to the next. It also still marks how the long downward bends are used to instill that apologetic/sad/nostalgic feeling, while having more variety in the phrase
4th & 5th phrases (3:34 - 3:43): These two share the structure from the first 2 phrases. Both echo each other in repetition with a slight variation at the end of the 2nd one. Yet these ones are different from the first ones in pitch and how each one ends. All of these 4 phrases start in A and end in F#, yet the last two end one octave higher.
This "rhyming" is what makes me like this solo, it's not mindless playing with no meaning nor structure.
6th phrase (3:43 - 3:49): This one mirrors #3 in the sense that it acts as a bridge from the previous two to the next one. It is just going down the minor scale starting at A, no much else, other than IMO it works. It also sets the "going down the scale" mini-theme that wil be used in the final phrases too, specially to conclude on the tonic.
7th & 8th phrases (3:49 - 3:59): These are the final phrases and they differ much from the previous ones and are the climax. You can notice it's the climax because it starts off by catching you with your guard down with the "bend-towards-unison" gimmick (which is the first and only time in the solo it happens). Also because it follows the "play the downward scale" theme like in #6, but instead of doing so in regular rhythm (in strong beats) it does so in an irregular one (in off-beats with syncopation). That also strikes as a nice contrast to #4 and #5 which all rise in pitch. These phrases finally end in a progression towards A that was naturally dictated by the previous parts of the solo (downward scale, "long" bends, etc)

I also find it nice how it mirrors the structure of a story, with arcs and all shit, including pacing.
Act 1: #1 and #2 start the story, just setting the mood, with very little tension. Towards the end of Act 1 #3 arrives, increasing the tension and energy (faster rhythm, break of the "echo" from the previous ones)
Act 2: In #4 that rise of tension settles a little bit, with #4 and #5 acting as the setting for Act 2. This act mirrors Act 1, but in terms of pacing it has more tension surrounding it (higher pitches for instance). Then #6 arrives acting as a lead towards Act 3, breaking the relative safety of Act 2 indicating shit's about to go down.
Act 3: Here the climax happens and there's the highest tension in the story so far. While the act is playing there is almost no rest, until the very end where the progression allows the story to rest on A, releasing all that tension from Act 3.

I may have gotten stuff wrong with my music theory stuff, haven't touched it in a while. Feel free to correct
Last edited by gonzaw at May 14, 2016,
#31
Quote by gonzaw
It's in A Major. The solo starts #Fmaj instead of Amaj (which works because the 6th works as substitute) but other than that the song resolves on A (you can notice it at the end of the solo where it goes Emaj -> Amaj in terms of progression)

Sorry I meant F# minor not F minor. I disagree. To me, just listening to it it's obviously in the minor key.
#32
Quote by korinaflyingv
Sorry I meant F# minor not F minor. I disagree. To me, just listening to it it's obviously in the minor key.


Try (with Guitar Pro for instance, like I did) to keep the whole solo and chords the same, except change all the F#min to Amaj (when it's in the 1st beat). The solo listens exactly the same

PRE-EDIT: Also yeah, I meant F#min instead of F#maj in the previous post
#34
Quote by korinaflyingv
That's not a method I've used before but yes that works, also works the other way though. Not sure it's a great way to determine the key.


Yeah, I understand it could work the other way too, but not with all chords. For example, if you change the very last chord from the (presumed since it changes back to Amin) Amaj chord to the F#min chord (at 3:59 in the solo) it sounds horrible, thus Amaj isn't working as substitution of F#min there, but it's working as the tonic of the Amaj key.
#35
I don't think it's bad at all like that, although it doesn't go into the D very nicely. I also don't think thinking of the relative major/minor chord as a substitution helps either tbh. Substitutions can be a great way to analyse something but I'd rather just listen to it and see if it sounds like major or minor. It's not an exact science.
#36
Quote by gonzaw
It's in A Major. The solo starts #Fmin instead of Amaj (which works because the 6th works as substitute) but other than that the song resolves on A (you can notice it at the end of the solo where it goes Emaj -> Amaj in terms of progression)


The fact the solo "sounds" apologetic IMO is actually a good quality of it, since it's the feeling it's supposed to evoke on you.

Let's analize each phrase
https://youtu.be/xgZhIANfrN4?t=199

1st & 2nd phrases (3:19 - 3:28): The melodies right off the bat starts off with that apologetic feeling, with the long notes and "slow" downward bends. It sets the mood and theme of the whole solo. Both phrases potentiate each other, acting as an echo of one another, marking the theme
3rd phrase (3:28 - 3:34): This one acts as a shift from the previous ones, and as a leading one to the next. It also still marks how the long downward bends are used to instill that apologetic/sad/nostalgic feeling, while having more variety in the phrase
4th & 5th phrases (3:34 - 3:43): These two share the structure from the first 2 phrases. Both echo each other in repetition with a slight variation at the end of the 2nd one. Yet these ones are different from the first ones in pitch and how each one ends. All of these 4 phrases start in A and end in F#, yet the last two end one octave higher.
This "rhyming" is what makes me like this solo, it's not mindless playing with no meaning nor structure.
6th phrase (3:43 - 3:49): This one mirrors #3 in the sense that it acts as a bridge from the previous two to the next one. It is just going down the minor scale starting at A, no much else, other than IMO it works. It also sets the "going down the scale" mini-theme that wil be used in the final phrases too, specially to conclude on the tonic.
7th & 8th phrases (3:49 - 3:59): These are the final phrases and they differ much from the previous ones and are the climax. You can notice it's the climax because it starts off by catching you with your guard down with the "bend-towards-unison" gimmick (which is the first and only time in the solo it happens). Also because it follows the "play the downward scale" theme like in #6, but instead of doing so in regular rhythm (in strong beats) it does so in an irregular one (in off-beats with syncopation). That also strikes as a nice contrast to #4 and #5 which all rise in pitch. These phrases finally end in a progression towards A that was naturally dictated by the previous parts of the solo (downward scale, "long" bends, etc)

I also find it nice how it mirrors the structure of a story, with arcs and all shit, including pacing.
Act 1: #1 and #2 start the story, just setting the mood, with very little tension. Towards the end of Act 1 #3 arrives, increasing the tension and energy (faster rhythm, break of the "echo" from the previous ones)
Act 2: In #4 that rise of tension settles a little bit, with #4 and #5 acting as the setting for Act 2. This act mirrors Act 1, but in terms of pacing it has more tension surrounding it (higher pitches for instance). Then #6 arrives acting as a lead towards Act 3, breaking the relative safety of Act 2 indicating shit's about to go down.
Act 3: Here the climax happens and there's the highest tension in the story so far. While the act is playing there is almost no rest, until the very end where the progression allows the story to rest on A, releasing all that tension from Act 3.

I may have gotten stuff wrong with my music theory stuff, haven't touched it in a while. Feel free to correct

I just glance at that and can't really think of where to start debating with it
#38
He was probably on drugs when he wrote that solo tbh

I don't think his mindset for writing RHCP's music was ever revolved around music theory at all, just what sounds good
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#39
He was probably on drugs when he wrote that solo tbh

That statement most likely is a lie.
Frusciante entered Californication era being clean person, right off the medical treatment.
What makes you think he should have been doing drugs right after the clinic?
#40
It's a fine solo. Is it an amazing display of technicality or theory? Definitely not. But it's a decent melody and follows the chord changes well enough, which alone puts it above plenty of other solos. Anyone who has heard it a few times can probably hum/sing it from memory, which is an indicator that it has a decent sense of flow and phrasing.
Last edited by MeGaDeth2314 at May 14, 2016,
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