Red Hot Chili Peppers survived 5 guitarist swaps, and each one shook up their sound. Here’s how the band’s guitar style evolved with each personnel shift – and what you can learn from them, too

Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarists
[L-R] Hillel Slovak, Josh Klinghoffer, John Frusciante, Dave Navarro, Jack Sherman (Image credit: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images; Paul Bergen/Redferns; Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images); Steve Eichner/Getty Images; Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

Lineup changes can signal life or death for a band, but over their four-decade career, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have bounced back from personnel shifts on a few occasions. Numerous guitarists have stepped in throughout the years to tour and record with the band, but what stands out is how each player encompasses the style of their predecessors while introducing elements relevant to current musical trends.

In the ’80s, Jack Sherman and Hillel Slovak established the band’s signature funk-rock styling while reflecting elements of pop. In the ’90s, John Frusciante maintained the ‘funky punk’ vibe while acknowledging grunge, while Dave Navarro forged a straight-ahead rock sound identifying with alt-rock.

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