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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:03 pm 
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Frank went from using a semi acoustic Hagstrom
in his early recording days to using heavily
modified Fenders and Gibsons in latter days.

Lets chat about Frank and his guitars.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:09 am 
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His onboard parametric EQ is so kool!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:21 am 
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His onboard parametric EQ is so kool!


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:09 pm 
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The tone he had around 1974, as evidenced on YCDOSA2....gorgeous. A behemoth of a tone....fuming, reckless, and always on the brink of breaking into feeedback, et etc. I've got a tone similar to it programmed into my Line 6 POD XT, and it makes me play completely differently when I use it....it demands a certain ferocity and fearlessness from its pilot.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:18 pm 
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I am open to be corrected, but the period you talk
about was when he was mostly using the Gibson SG model.

The same beast that Tony Iommi in Black Sabbath used
in full-on Hard Rock recordings.

My ears tell me that it sounds like an SG Tom Scholz's using
on Boston's 'More Than A Feeling' hit song.

Santana's early work saw him using the SG.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:44 pm 
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Bender wrote:
The tone he had around 1974, as evidenced on YCDOSA2....gorgeous. A behemoth of a tone....fuming, reckless, and always on the brink of breaking into feeedback, et etc. ...it demands a certain ferocity and fearlessness from its pilot.


I can verify this.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:16 pm 
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Location: Chicago, sort of.
Yeah, an incredible tone; huge and subtle at the same time, cutting right through the mix. It was his SG, but heavily modified. I don't know if Tony or Carlos junked theirs up too, but Frank's is totally different.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:10 pm 
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I've always felt that the solos from the Helsinki tapes are unusually rich in emotional content. When I hear RDNZL, can almost hear Frank saying "I love you, Ruth"...

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:39 pm 
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Agree with comment re Helsinki concert.

I had a go at programming something like that tone into my guitar modeller: came pretty close, sort of.....very mid-heavy, and loads of class-A overdrive. Ultimately, it'd sound a lot more accurate if Frank used it than me, but its close enough, and there's certainly nothing like it in the patches that come pre-loaded! If anyone uses Line 6 products, I can probably dig up the patch details.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:36 pm 
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Ronny's Noomies wrote:
Yeah, an incredible tone; huge and subtle at the same time, cutting right through the mix. It was his SG, but heavily modified. I don't know if Tony or Carlos junked theirs up too, but Frank's is totally different.


Does any one have any real info on 'what' modifications
he had made on the SG?
'Roxy...' album cover pics show a couple of extra switches on the
SG, coil taps, possibly?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:08 pm 
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Guitar PLayer magazine 1995:

""They were identical parametric filter circuits," explains Midget. "One of the filters was set for the bass frequencies from about 50Hz to 2kHz, and the other one was set for the top end, from about 500Hz up to 20kHz."

"The filters had a variable resonant frequency ("q") independent from the EQ gain. You could find a tone and get right on top of it, tweak it. and nail it," says Sloatman.

"The Q ranged from .7 to 10, or a very wide dynamic range to a very narrow one, and was adjustable via a 1/4" screwdriver notch on the face of the guitar. This allowed Frank to control his feedback characteristics in any hall. He could basically tune his guitar to the room, find out how the room responded to the amplifier, and dial it up so he could have maximum control of the feedback. That was the whole point behind the equalizers."

Not sure if his SG had that, or if it was only a strat....but I think he had it installed on quite a few of his guiatrs after that. The LP was also quite modded I believe.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 2:54 pm 
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Great info....thanks for researching.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:59 am 
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It was a device called a "Green Ringer."

http://www.celebrityrockstarguitars.com/rock/Zappa_Frank.htm

Scroll down.....

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:30 am 
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No the green ringer was another thing check more writing from 1995 guitar player.

Working with Franks discerning ears, Sloatman developed an onboard preamp/EQ system that was eventually installed in nearly every guitar Frank played. "They were identical parametric filter circuits," explains Sloatman. "One of the filters was set for the bass frequencies from about 5oHz to 2kHz, and the other one was set for the top end, from about 500Hz up to 20kHz." The filters had a variable resonant frequency ("q") independent from the EQ gain. "You could find a tone and get right on top of it, tweak it. and nail it," says Sloatman. The Q ranged from .7 to 10, or a very wide dynamic range to a very narrow one, and was adjustable via a 1/4" screwdriver notch on the face of the guitar. This allowed Frank to control his feedback characteristics in any hall. He could basically tune his guitar to the room, find out how the room responded to the amplifier, and dial it up so he could have maximum control of the feedback. That was the whole point behind the equalizers. But Frank also played a lot with his left hand, and in order to hear the nuances—the string presence—he'd have to bring the treble up, which is another thing he liked about the filters. He could pick high frequencies anywhere from 4k to 8k and bring out the nuances of the strings, so you could hear what his fingers were doing, even if he wasn't picking every note."

The Seymour Duncan humbuckers in Frank's Les Paul could be switched between single-coil, humbucking, or single-coil out-of-phase settings, and a toggle switch controlled whether the pickups were wired in series or parallel. A 9-position wafer switch afforded all the possible combinations. The Les Paul and the Hendrix Strat also housed a Dan Armstrong-designed Green Ringer, which, explains Sloatman, "is a low-pass filter into a DC rectifier circuit. Because it's trying to convert AC to steady DC, it produces an abundance of a second harmonic. It kind of feels like it's feeding back, because you play a note and instantly hear the octave. But any time you play more than one note, it does this horrible modulation stuff, which Frank loved."

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:45 am 
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Eric Vaxxine wrote:
Frank went from using a semi acoustic Hagstrom
in his early recording days
Gibson switchmaster :smoke:

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:02 pm 
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The solos would have sounded just fine if he plugged a standard guitar straight into his amp.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:14 pm 
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downer mydnyte wrote:
The solos would have sounded just fine if he plugged a standard guitar straight into his amp.


Very few guitar players can get inspired with such confining conditions, especially one with a brain like FZs.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:38 pm 
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downer mydnyte wrote:
The solos would have sounded just fine if he plugged a standard guitar straight into his amp.
Like the Gibson ES 355 days :|

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Last edited by cleon on Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:39 pm 
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A good guitarist can make it work with whatever piece of shit he's got.

Check out some of Sonny Sharrock's live recordings.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:08 pm 
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I don't think Frank would've tried using every setting on his modified
guitar equipment at every gig.

This man was constantly on the road, playing live most of the time.

His modified gear gave him scope to fine tune his instrument to the
acoustics of the auditorium he was playing at that particular time.
.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:22 pm 
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downer mydnyte wrote:
A good guitarist can make it work with whatever piece of shit he's got.

Check out some of Sonny Sharrock's live recordings.


Just because Frank chose to widen his pallet doesnt mean he wasnt a good guitarist. Im sure Frank could have done great with just an amp and guitar but I probably wouldnt be a fan, much like Im not a fan of Sharrock.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:32 pm 
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OK....just to clear the air here....
Frank was not the type of musician to just
go on using the same gear, regardless.

He constantly sought to utilise new technology,
always sought out new sounds and new tools.

That is why we love his work, because he was
adventurous, pushing boundaries, always challenging
the abilty of the technology.


Last edited by Eric Vaxxine on Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:35 pm 
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Eric Vaxxine wrote:
I don't think Frank would've tried using every setting on his modified
guitar equipment at every gig.

This man was constantly on the road, playing live most of the time.

His modified gear gave him scope to fine tune his instrument to the
acoustics of the auditorium he was playing at that particular time.
.
1/well there you go why mod :shock:

2/he must had play live all the time live :mrgreen:

3/where you here that :smoke:

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:44 pm 
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As a reasonably accomplished guitarist myself,
I am so aware that every venue differs
in acoustic response.

If I had the opportunity, I too would have parametric
mods fitted to all my guitars.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:24 pm 
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Eric Vaxxine wrote:
As a reasonably accomplished guitarist myself,
I am so aware that every venue differs
in acoustic response.

If I had the opportunity, I too would have parametric
mods fitted to all my guitars.


Not sure I see a benefit in doing that....it doesn't matter where in the pre-amplifier signal chain the EQ lies: no need for it to be on the guitar, its not like it in any way fundamentally alters the resonance of the guitar. You can get the same result using amp/pa eq in broad-strokes at the soundcheck, and then fine tuning as required with dedicated EQ, eg TC Electronics 1140 para EQ, or even a pedal EQ to shape your tone for solos etc. Setting an EQ (and the right location on stage) to find that sweet spot is enough enough to do at soundcheck. Using tape to mark spots on stage where notes 'bloom' or feedback isn't uncommon either.

When I was gigging, I used to set my amp EQ very quickly to the specific room so (a) it would reach the people in the back, without (b) killing the people in the front, and (c) to avoid mid-range clashes with the other guitarist. (a whole topic in itself!....genrally would use a subtractive EQ approach,...ie push one guitar a few db's at 1K and take the same off the other, and again at the 2.5K mark, though again it depends on the room). You'd then use a dedicated EQ at different points in various songs to cut through...useful as a volume boost in smaller clubs where you don't have the luxury of just turning up...

Just saying that Frank had hisway of doing things, but his onboard para-EQ is easily replicable with the gear you probably have now.


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