See also: Best of Guitar Player, Guitar Player Presents, Guitar Player Vault.
Vol. 2 No. 5
Vol. 11 No. 1
Q: When did you start playing guitar?
FZ: I began when I was 18, but I started on drums when I was 12. I didn't hear any guitarists until I was about 15 or so, because in those days the saxophone was the instrument that was happening on record. when you heard a guitar player it was always a treat – so I went out collecting R&B guitar records. The solos were never long enough – they only gave them one chorus, and I figured the only way I was going to get to hear enough of what I wanted to hear was to get an instrument and play it myself. So I got one for a buck-fifty in an auction – an arch-top, f-hole, cracked base, unknown-brand thing, because the whole finish had been sanded off. It looked like it had been sandblasted. The strings were about, oh, a good inch off the fingerboard (laughs), and I didn't know any chords, but I started playing lines right away. Then I started figuring out chords and finally got a Mickey Baker book and learned a bunch of chords off that. (read more)
Vol. 16 No. 11
First Steps In Odd Meters
By Frank Zappa, pp 114, 118, 121
This month, we welcome Frank as a regular columnist, presenting the first installment of a series in which he addresses specific questions regarding his creation of the Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar series. In this and subsequent columns, he will also discuss his views on music and solo techniques beyond the range of these three LPs. Transcriptions of Zappa's pieces are provided by Steve Vai, who has been one of Frank's guitarists for the past few years.
* * * *
What made you decide to do the Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar series?
There were a lot of requests from a certain group of fans that we have for an album that just had a lot of guitar solos on it. I mean, it's not that they delivered a specific order as to how it was going to be put together, but there was a demand for albums with a lot of guitar playing. Although I play maybe anywhere from five to eight extended solos during a concert, the basic style of the show that we take on the road is not guitar-spectacular oriented. There is some guitar playing, and some people really like that stuff. And so to accommodate them, I put it together. (read more)
Vol. 16 No. 12
Putting Some Garlic In Your Playing
By Frank Zappa, p 108
Vol. 17 No. 2
(1) I'm Different
Interview by Tom Mulhern, pp 74-78, 82-84, 86, 89-90, 93, 96, 98-100
(2) Steve Vai
Zappa's "Little Italian Virtuoso"
Interview by Tom Mulhern, pp 80, 102, 104-106, 108, 110, 113-116, 118, 121, 124
My history of working with guitar synthesizers goes back to a guitar-following device called the EWE, which stands for Electro Wagnerian Emancipator. There's only one of them; it was designed for me by Bob Easton at 360 Systems. If you played a single note, all 12 notes of the chromatic scale would be ringing, and you could make a decision as to which of those 12 to leave on and which to leave off – and thereby select a chord that would follow parallel to whatever you played on the guitar. It worked; the only problem was the timbre of the synthesizer sound that came out was, I would say, fairly unattractive – a real square wave sound. That is now gathering dust in the warehouse. I tried to use it on "Big Swifty" from Waka/Jawaka - Hot Rats, but it didn't end up on the final track. (read more)
The page scans are from Best of Guitar Player, 1994.
Vol. 21 No. 1
This issue came with Soundpage flexidisc #28 – Frank and Dweezil Zappa performing "Sharleena" at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, December 23, 1984.
Frank Zappa 1940-1993
An American genius in his own words.
By James Rotondi & Jas Obrecht, pp 56-57, 59-60, 62, 73
Vol. 29 No. 310
My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama
Inside Frank Zappa's ax artistry
By James Rotondi, pp 70-78, 80, 82-83
Shut Up 'n Learn This Lesson
"Penguin In Bondage" solo and classic FZ columns,
By Mike Keneally, pp 86-91
Frank Zappa's guitar solo's unravel like a good murder mystery. seemingly chaotic and elusive at any given point, they have a complex, frightening logic when taken as a whole. Zappa referred to his improvisations as "air sculpture," an instinctive process of molding the air molecules of the concert hall with the chisel edge of his artful axemanship. Like the tabla and sitar interplay in North Indian music, the dialogue between Frank and drummers like Vinnie Colaiuta, Chester Thompson, Chad Wackerman, and Terry Bozzio was polyrythmic, hypnotic, and dramatic. In long sets of tightly rehearsed material, Frank's solos were like clearings of dense thicket, an opportunity to improvise, to spit out the raw melodic ideas that he composed, edited work was built on. Through unusual rhythmic patterns, odd tonalities, searing tones, and heaps of attitude, Zappa the guitarist created a body of work that rivals his compositional legacy. In fact, the tow are inseparable. (read more)
Following scans are from Guitar Player Spanish edition, issued also in USA. As you see the language is the only difference from the original English edition.
Source: slime.oofytv.set (Spanish ed)
Vol. 32 No. 6 Issue 342
Classic Riffs: Zappa's Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
By Michael Molenda, p 25
“I don't think I've ever played a good solo in the recording studio. I just don't have the feel for it,” confessed Frank Zappa in his Nov. '82 GP column, “Absolutely Frank.” As one of the 20th century's most transcendent composers and guitarists, it's hard to believe that Zappa had trouble playing anything. However, his discomfort inspired a peculiar technique for recording the l982 instrumental set Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar [Rykodisc].
“Frank was never happy with his solos in the studio,” says Joe Chiccarelli, then Zappas engineer and now a freelance producer. “But he felt that he played great live, so I suggested we try to record his solos from the live shows and somehow put them on top of the studio trucks.”
Onstage, Zappa split his signal into two stereo paths – clean/uneffected and distorted/effected – routed to four Carvin 4x12 cabinets. Electro-Voice RE20 mics were placed against the grilles of one “clean” and one “dirty” cabinet to record both signals direct to a Nagra 2-track.
“His amps were so loud that there was no band leakage into the guitar mics whatsoever,” says Chiccarelli. "So we had clean solo tracks to work with. Then we'd spin the tape in the studio and have the band play to Frank's solos, rather than have Frank overdub his solos to the hand. A lot of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar was recorded this way. For each track, we'd usually have 20 minutes of guitar stuff for the band to play to, and songs would be constructed from those jams by cutting up the multitrack tape. I did a lot of tape splicing back then.”
Occasionally Chiccarelli was able to trick Zappa into using one of his studio solos: “Frank was so self-critical. He'd do a bunch of takes and just not be happy with anything. But I'd remember where the really good stuff was, and at few days later I'd put up one of those solos. ‘Hey, that sounds great,’ he'd say. ‘When did I do that?’”
Vol. 40 No. 8
All In The Family
Dweezil Zappa reinvents his playing and hits the road to celebrate his father's music
By Darrin Fox, pp 80-82, 84, 86, 88, 90, 92, 94, 96, 98
Frank's Little Italian Virtuoso
Steve Vai interview by Darrin Fox, pp 82, 100, 102
Joe Travers is not only the drummer and co-musical
By Darrin Fox, p 84
Artifacts: The Guitars Of Frank Zappa
By Darrin Fox, pp 140-141
Vol. 44 No. 12
Dweezil Zappa's non-stop guitar odyssey
By Darrin Fox, pp 70-71, 73-74, 76, 78, 80, 82, 84, 86, 88, 90, 92
By Darrin Fox, p 146
Vol. 45 No. 14
What I Learned At Dweezilla Boot Camp
By Tobias Hurwitz, pp 120-121
Vol. 46 No. 7
Artists: Dweezil Zappa
By Adam Levy, pp 42-44, 46
Vol. 48 No. 5
Classic Column: Frank Zappa Non-Foods - Feedbacks, Effects, And Tone
By Frank Zappa, p 162
This column written was first printed in July 1983 issue.
Source: Vitaly Zaremba
Vol. 48 No. 12
Shut Up & Look at this Guitar!
Gail Zappa's ten-foot tribute to Frank
By Jude Gold, pp 22-23
Classic Column: Frank Zappa Absolutely Frank - Putting Some Garlic In Your Playing
By Frank Zappa, p 162
The Classic Column was first printed in December 1982 issue.
Source: Vitaly Zaremba
Vol. 50 No. 3
Sharing The Force
By Jimmy Leslie, pp 54-56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 68, 141
Dweezil Zappa's Creative Rhythmic Breakthroughts
By Jimmy Leslie, pp 66-67