John Frusciante’s 1955 Gretsch White Falcon

John used this guitar on “Otherside”, “Californication”, and for a few sections on “This Velvet Glove”. He usually played the guitar through a Fender Showman and a Marshall 4×12 Cabinet, although he did switch to a 1961 Gibson SG Custom plugged into a Marshall JCM800 for solo and outro on the “Otherside”.

John found this guitar through Vincent Gallo, and the inspiration for it supposedly comes from Matthew Ashman who played one in his new wave band “BowWowWow”, and also from Malcolm Young who played a similar model with AC/DC.

He [Vincent Gallo] found me a lot of things. At this point he’s found me pretty much a whole recording studio! As far as guitars go, he’s found me my 1955 Gretsch White Falcon, which is the nicest guitar I have, I think.

original  source needed

John strings this guitar with .012 strings, which are noticeably heavier from the usual set of .010s he plays on most of his guitars.

I also used this ’55 Gretsch White Falcon- it’s the kind of guitar that Matthew Ashman used in BowWowWow and Malcolm Young used to use in AC/DC- for “Californication” and “Otherside.” I have .012-gauge strings on it. I’d like to go more into that- developing a guitar style using thick strings like that.

Guitar One (USA), September 1999

As said, it was mostly used just on Californication album – but John picked it up again on By the Way on the song “Tear”. On Stadium Arcadium album, John said that he didn’t even pick the guitar out of its case.


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3 months ago

His guitar has 2 pickup switches, a normal 55 white falcon has 1. Did he modify it?

3 months ago

I made some research and found out that it is more likely a 1957 white falcon because his white falcon has two switches, 1955 has one switch, a different pickguard and different pickups.
Johns guitar:comment image
’57 white falcon:comment image
’55 white falcon:comment image

Last edited 3 months ago by George