Guitar

The Concept

Alan di Perna, Musician, September, 1988

Isn't it sort of like taking all the sex scenes out of a good novel or film and editing them all together just for pure slobber value?

"Well, in a way, yeah," Zappa acknowledges. "But I think that's what the marketplace wanted. That's what a guy who really likes guitar solos wants. And there have been enough customers for these albums over the years to prove that they exist out there. They don't want to wait around . . . They don't need an excuse to have a guitar solo. And the solos themselves are constructed in such a way that they're like little set pieces. They have melodies of their own, development sections, recapitulations . . . just like compositions. I think that, for the most part, they do stand as tunes. So I don't find it especially objectionable to present them like that. In a way, it's niche marketing. For people who want that, I've constructed it and there it is."

FZ, interviewed in 1988 by Alan di Perna, Guitar World, December, 2003

The solos themselves are constructed in such a way that they're like little set pieces. They have melodies, development sections and recapitulations, just like compositions. See, the way I think of a guitar solo is as an instant composition. You have a certain amount of time in which you're going to be making up a piece of music, and you hope that the people who are working with you onstage are also interested in inventing music on the spot. When it works, which is not very often, that's one of the reasons why I'm glad I have a recording truck. You can snag it. Because it's gone after that. That's the only time it exists.

 

Hendrix Strat(s)

Barry Hansen, "The Grand Design Of Which Apostrophe Is But An Element," Circular, April 29, 1974

Zappa takes great pains to preserve as much of the continuity as he can, recording all his performances in quadraphonic sound, and filming them whenever possible. Though the walls of Zappa's workroom are covered with remarkable artworks and artifacts (including the remains of the guitar Jimi Hendrix burned at the Monterey Pop Festival), the most prominent features of the place (aside from the equipment) are five-foot stacks of tapes and huge racks of movie film.

FZ, interviewed by Steve Rosen, Guitar Player, January, 1977

Another one of my Strats is the one Hendrix burned at the Miami Pop Festival; it was given to me by this guy who used to be his roadie. I had it hanging on the wall in my basement for years until last year when I gave it to Rex and said, "Put this sucker back together," because it was all tore up. The neck was cracked off, the body was all fired, and the pickups were blistered and bubbled. That's the one that's got the Barcus-Berry in the neck. A lot of people thought I had Hendrix's guitar from Monterey, but it was from Miami; the one at Monterey was white and this one is sunburst.

[...] I don't even have a vibrato arm on the Hendrix Strat. You can hear it on Zoot Allures.

UniVibes #56, April, 2008

The burned Astoria [London, March 31, 1967] Strat remains ended up with roadie Howard Parker (a.k.a. "H"), who later (sometime in 1968) gave it to Frank Zappa. After "H" was fired by the JHE management he worked for Zappa as roadie until sometime in 1969 (he then returned to the UK). "H" can be seen on stage with Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight show, 30 August 1970. "H" died at sea in 1974 and his body was never found . . .

FZ, interviewed by Steve Rosen, Record Review, June, 1982

What you have to do is match resonances of the instrument to the type of pickup that's on there and it takes some experimenting around to get the sound you want to hear. For instance, on my Hendrix Strat I have a Dan Armstrong in the front position, I have a Seymour Duncan Strat pickup in the middle position, and a Carvin in the rear position. On another blond Strat there's an EMG, a Carvin, and a Dan Armstrong, and on my Les Paul I have a Carvin and a Dan Armstrong. And on my SG I have a DiMarzio and an EMG. The EMG is wired up in a way they were never intended to be used; normally they're a real clean, clear pickup but if you hook them up the wrong way . . .

Dweezil Zappa, "Like Father, Like Munchkins," Zappa! 1992, p. 20

I found a Jimi Hendrix guitar not even in a case, with Anvil cases sitting on top of it and collecting dust under the stairs down under the studio. It looked like somebody raped it and left it to die. I told Frank I'd like to rebuild it. He said, "You can have it." I said, "Yeah!" So I had it rebuilt, and the guitar was reborn. It's like the third generation now: Jimi's, then Frank's, then mine.

 

disc 1

1. Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

musicians: F.Z. (HENDRIX STRAT)

 

10. Outside Now (Original Solo)

Liner notes by FZ

date: FEBRUARY, 1979 location: WEISBADEN, WEST GERMANY original recording medium: 4 track analog recording engineer: KLAUS WIEDEMANN remote facility: SCULLY at Mix Console remix engineer: BOB STONE remix facility: UTILITY MUFFIN RESEARCH KITCHEN

Mike Geneva, December 30, 2015

Outside now original solo
THE RADIO IS BROKEN quote very close to the beginning.

12. Were We Ever Really Safe In San Antonio?

GZ Sez, zappa.com, April 29, 2013

matthew contreras

What is the story behind the title Where We Ever Really Safe In San Antonio? Being a resident of SA myself I've always wondered about this. I know it was recorded here but do you have any other info? Was security lacking that night at the ol' Majestic Theatre or what?

gz

No. Nothing to do with security. Everything to do with closed minds and criminalization of youth culture. Some of those minds were in the Mayor's office at the time.

 

13. That Ol' G Minor Thing Again

Hywel Davies (November 7, 2011)

On 'Guitar''s 'That Ol' G Minor Thing Again', FZ's solo between 00.25-00.35 quotes McLaughlin's 'Arjen's Bag' (rom Extrapolation)

 

15. That's Not Really A Shuffle

date: JUNE, 1982 location: DIJON, FRANCE

Braun András, March 20, 2006

In the Guitar album there is a track called That's Not Really A Shuffle. It's from King Kong in Copenhagen 1982-05-11, not from Dijon. Strange, because somebody wrote a rewiev about this concert in Zappastuff, and he sad it's not a remarkable solo.

 

disc 2

3. But Who Was Fulcanelli?

The Guitar World According To Frank Zappa (1987) liner notes by FZ

A SOLO FROM COLOGNE 5:11

Summer 1982 recorded live in concert, Cologne, West Germany
previously unreleased—will be included in the next guitar box set
engineer: Mark Pinske
original recording medium: 24-track analog tape
musicians: Frank Zappa, lead / Steve Vai, rhythm guitar / Ray White, rhythm guitar / Ed Mann, percussion / Tommy Mars, keyboards / Bobby Martin, keyboards / Scott Thunes, bass / Chad Wackerman, drums
guitar: Custom Stratocaster

This is fairly typical of the Strat solos during the '82 European tour. Video also exists for this cut. I am considering the production of a 1-hour video version of the next guitar box. Let me know if you are interested . . . call 818-PUMPKIN and tell Dottie or Mariel or Gerald if you think there's a market for such an item.

David Ocker, The David Ocker Internet Interview, 1994-1995

I've always wondered who Fulcanelli was since I heard Frank give that name as the answer to the question "Which character from history would you most like to meet." (At the time I wrote the name down on a post-it note so I wouldn't forget and the post it note still lives in my desk drawer).

Edits

TGWATFZ (1987) Guitar (1988)
0:00-1:42  
1:42-4:31 0:00-2:48

 

4. For Duane

The Guitar World According To Frank Zappa (1987) liner notes by FZ

A SOLO FROM ATLANTA 4:05

Autumn 1984 recorded in concert, Atlanta, Georgia
engineer: Mark Pinske
original recording medium: 24-track digital tape
previously unreleased—will be included in the next guitar box set
musicians: Frank Zappa, lead / Ike Willis, rhythm guitar / Ray White, rhythm guitar / Bobby Martin, keyboards / Alan Zavod, keyboards / Scott Thunes, bass / Chad Wackerman, drums
guitar: custom Stratocaster

There weren't very many people at this concert. Too bad they missed it. This was toward the end of the 1984 tour. The last concert of the tour was the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, December 23. I haven't played the guitar at all since then.

Edits

TGWATFZ (1987) Guitar (1988)
0:00-3:24 0:00-3:24
3:24-4:05  

 

5. GOA

FZ, KNOM-FM, Dallas, TX, August 18, 1989

Goa. It's a region in India. They have a certain type of food that I like, a type of Indian food that's seasoned a certain way.

 

9. Systems Of Edges

Liner notes by FZ

date: FEBRUARY, 1979 location: WEISBADEN, WEST GERMANY original recording medium: 24 track analog recording engineer: KLAUS WIEDEMANN remote facility: SCULLY at Mix Console remix engineer: BOB STONE remix facility: UTILITY MUFFIN RESEARCH KITCHEN

You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 2 (1988) liner notes by FZ

"GUITAR" CORRECTIONS:
[...] SYSTEMS OF EDGES—(should be listed as a 4 track master)

Sources & Edits
Wiesbaden, March 27, 1979 (early show) Guitar (Zappa Records, 1988)
Inca Roads Systems Of Edges
02:03-02:27 0:00-0:33
02:27-03:03  
03:03-03:29 0:33-0:59
03:29-04:00  
04:00-04:17 0:59-1:17
04:17-07:22  
07:22-11:36 1:17-5:32

 

11. Things That Look Like Meat

Liner notes by FZ

Except for the ending synthesizer line on "THINGS THAT LOOK LIKE MEAT," there are no overdubs.

The Guitar World According To Frank Zappa (1987) liner notes by FZ

December 1981 recorded live in some place that's not there anymore in Salt Lake City, Utah
previously unreleased—will be included in the next guitar box set
engineer: Mark Pinske
original master: 24-track analog tape
musicians: Frank Zappa, lead guitar / Steve Vai, rhythm guitar / Ray White, rhythm guitar / Ed Mann, percussion / Tommy Mars, Hammond organ / Bobby Martin, Jupiter 8 clavinet / Scott Thunes, bass / Chad Wackerman, drums
guitar: Gibson Les Paul Custom

This is a fairly representative example of my style and approach in a live setting circa 1981. Recorded within three days of the end of the '81 tour, it captures the band in an unusually consistent groove, wending its way home to Los Angeles. Video tape of this solo exists and may be released in conjunction with the next guitar solo box collection.

Edits

Guitar (Zappa Records, 1988) TGWATFZ (1987)
0:00-0:03  
0:03-5:25 0:00-5:21
5:25-6:18  
6:18-6:57 5:21-6:00

 

 

Additional informant: Charles Ulrich

Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos
http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/
This page updated: 2017-10-21