Papa Roach’s Jerry Horton Explains How Guitarists Play ‘Last Resort’ Wrong
Papa Roach guitarist Jerry Horton recently spoke about the main mistake he sees other guitarists make when attempting his memorable single-note riff in the rock band's signature hit, "Last Resort."
After all, a cursory Google search for "Last Resort" instruction will reveal many different video lessons and guitar tablature for the tune. But Horton, who's been in Papa Roach since their 1993 formation, said there's a primary error he usually comes across, and it involves where the player's fretting hand is.
"The common mistake, especially for 'Last Resort,'" Horton told Ultimate Guitar on April 11, "is they're playing it in the wrong position. And they're using their pinky too much."
Yet the musician admits this alternate method "still gets the job done." But when he sees such attempts, he said he's often thinking, "You're making it harder for yourself than it needs to be."
Horton continued, "A lot of kids get it, and it's something that rolls pretty well. So it's not super difficult. But that's it — it's just they're in the wrong position."
"Last Resort," from 2000's Infest, was the band's debut single. In 2021, they recorded a new version with influencer Jeris Johnson. Since Infest, Papa Roach have issued 10 more studio albums.
Yet, interestingly, it was Papa Roach bassist Tobin Esperance, not Horton, who first conceived the "Last Resort" figure — and on piano, no less. "Once he played it for everybody, it was just like, OK, let's figure it out, let's transpose it to the guitar," Horton shared.
"So we figured out how to do it, and then for the recording of it, we recorded a demo," the guitarist added. "And then we recorded another demo in [Los Angeles'] NRG Studios. … That was great, and although I wouldn't say it was a one-take recording, it wasn't long. We set the tone up and threw it down. And we knew it was going to be big, even on that first demo."
After its original release, "Last Resort" hit No. 1 on Billboard's Alternative Airplay chart, No. 4 on Mainstream Rock and No. 57 on the Hot 100.
Below, see a lesson where Horton shows how to play it correctly. Watch the music video underneath.