Here are 5 slap riffs by Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in no particular order or ranking! Flea is one of the bassists I get asked about most often – and with a stack of stone cold classic slap riffs in his back catalogue it’s little wonder. These five just happen to be the most requested by commentors on YouTube or the TalkingBass page on Facebook.

If you have any more ideas for classic riffs just let me know in the comments!

Higher Ground

The Chilli Peppers’  cover of Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground is a really great take on the original. As you might expect it’s a bit spikier than the Stevie’s own version, and central to that is Flea’s great bass. It’s heavy swing rhythm and is a great introduction to the octave patterns that Flea makes such great use of in many classic RHCP tracks. There are some lovely little triplet patterns that you might want to play slowly to begin with before building up to the song’s full speed of 139BPM. I’ve provided a click track at 80BPM to get you started!

Backwoods Bass Tab

This is a great riff to learn for building up stamina and concentration as it is effectively a single F# minor riff that repeats round and around. The line itself is fairly straightforward – but what makes it so pleasing to the ear (and a great) exercise is the rhythm – with the accents of the notes falling in places you might not expect. The kind of syncopation is one of the key elements of Flea’s playing style.

Get up and Jump Bass Tab

Another one bar riff that repeats round and around. This showcases some great muted slaps to add an extra percussive and syncopated feel. Like the other riffs on this list, it’s a one bar repeating pattern – this time in G minor. Look out for that trademark pop/slap pattern, given extra spice by ghost notes. This is a track where I really do recommend using what I call ‘home position’ with your fretting hand to make it as easy and as relaxed to play as possible. Listen out for that dissonant hammer on in the last part of the riff – which you can play in any way that’s easiest for you (I hammer on).

Blackeyed Blonde Bass Tab

Nobody Weird Like Me Bass Tab

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