Dweezil Zappa

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    Dweezil Zappa All Things Dweezil Dweezil's Gear Guitar Rig

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    Every guitarist strives to create a tone that is synonymous with their playing style.

    My guitar sound and style of playing has evolved over a long period of time. I have used many

    different sonic tools to make music since I first started playing.

    The earliest sounds I made were on a Fender Music Master that was given to me by my dad at

    age 6. I plugged it into one of his spare Pignose amps.

    Dweezil

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    I started playing through Frank's Acoustic amps that he used on stage in the early 80's. That is

    what I used on the recording sessions for the single "My Mother Is A Space Cadet"

    Next I got my green Charvel and played through Carvin X100B amps, also from what Frank was

    using on stage in the early 80's. I used that amp and an Ibanez UE 405 for the "Havin' A Bad Day"

    album. I remember that the delay in the Ibanez was main thing I used and it was mainly for the

    song "Electric Hoedown". I used this set up in mono.

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    After that I started collecting a few more guitars. I had some more Charvels and Fenders

    mainly. Even though I really liked them I didn't play Gibsons at all in those days.

    Towards the end of 1986 I switched to Mesa Boogie amps.

    I used those with a variety of rack effects like the Yamaha SPX 90, and TC Electronic 2290, and

    Eventide H3000 in a stereo set up. A little later I also used a Roland GP-8. Slightly off topic, my

    Dad liked the sound of many of my presets on the GP-8 so I went to Guitar Center and bought

    him one. I copied all of my presets into it and he used it extensively on his 1988 tour. The clean

    sound that you hear him soloing with is him playing his blonde Performance Guitar through the

    GP-8.

    I had some other pedals as well at that time but it was nothing out of the ordinary, some

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    mine since his broke. I should see if he's done with it...

    Anyway, that is what I used when I made the 1988 "MY Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama" Album.

    The stereo guitar can be heard on the intro and outro to "Your Money Or Your Life" and the solo

    on "Before I get Old."

    The next phase of guitars and gear came around during the sessions for "Confessions..."

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    I was still using Mesa Boogie amps and some rack effects in stereo with a Bradshaw switching

    system. By this time I was using a Steinberger guitar with a trans-trem as my main guitar. It's

    all over that album. The Madonna signed Charvel was used a lot as well as a sea foam green

    Fender Strat. The mixed record is a lot brighter than my actual sounds were in the room.

    Next came "Shampoohorn."

    Around that time my rig changed a lot. I started using Peavey 5150s and Classic 100s. At one

    stage the rig consisted of three 4X12s powered by 3 different amps, creating a stereo outside,

    dry center array. I even had Fender Bassman as a center channel at one point. I used a lot of the

    same rack effects and a few pedals too including an old 60s Octavia and Fuzz Face. The main

    guitar I played at that time was a Purple Ernie Ball Van Halen model guitar. I also played a

    champagne colored Fender Strat and a turquoise Fender Strat that later went through a

    transmogrification and became the vintage cream colored one seen in the 2006 Zappa Plays

    Zappa DVD. I also played my chartreuse sparkle Baritone guitar on that album on a few tunes,

    most notable "Did I Mention It Was Huge?". That guitar is visible on the far right with the blackstrap.

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    Around that time I started recording the basic tracks for the majority of the project that is still

    in progress called "What The Hell Was I Thinking?" I also wrote and recorded the theme music

    for the EMMY winning FOX TV series "The Ben Stiller Show."

    Subsequent touring for the "Shampoohorn" record saw me using an original mid 80's Kramer

    that was painted green but later was covered in faux cow hide material by Performance Guitar.

    That guitar had a sustainer in it. It became my main touring guitar for a while. I did use it on

    "Shamppohorn" and many other studio projects to follow. I also used a custom made Moserfretless guitar with a Les Paul junior body and a Fender strat style fretless neck.

    The amp and effects rig went back to stereo for a while but my taste in guitars changed a bit. I

    started playing a cream colored 60s SG and I also played an old sunburst Fender Telecaster

    that has a signature from Albert Lee on the back. It was already there when I bought it. (An

    interesting connection to him comes later.)

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    I did also utilize both of my blue and orange custom designed Performance Guitar DZ models.

    The orange one had a 3 band parametric in it which was later removed and put into the

    Performance Guitar Jumbo Foot Pedal.

    I've used extensively on stage and in the studio since 2010. Another guitar I used a lot at that

    time was my gold sparkle Ibanez Iceman. It was given to me by a friend who found it in the

    closet of a house he had recently moved into. Originally black, I had it painted gold sparkle by

    Dan Lawrence. That guitar is most notably featured on the song "Badass." Dan did a lot of the arton my guitars going back to the Charvel/Jackson days. The watermelon guitar and the Madonna

    guitar were a few of the earliest graphic guitars he did for me. While at Moser he painted The

    Dr. Seuss and Where The Wild Things Are guitars.

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    He also painted the "Sheik Yer Bouti Guitar" I played on Zappa's Universe DVD.

    After "Music For Pets" I designed an amp with Peavey called "Wiggy."

    This became my main amp for a while. It was solid state with an interesting low mid frequencygraphic eq circuit. Tonally it was very reminiscent of the Acoustic amp Frank used in the mid

    70's alongside his Marshall. The Wiggy is what I used when I recorded with Lisa Loeb on "Cake

    And Pie." At that time my main guitar became an Ernie Ball Albert Lee model. I didn't realize the

    subliminal effect of his signature on my tele until the time I started playing his signature

    model EB! He also played a very memorable solo on "What The Hell Was I Thinking?"

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    that I used on the entire 2006 Zappa Plays Zappa tour.

    That rig included 2 Cornford heads and a Blankenship Leeds head going into 2 Cornford 4X12s.

    The effects were TC 2290, Eventide Orville and a variety of stomp boxes. The one I used the most

    was a Tech 21 XXL. It provided a slightly softer Fuzz Face style sound and attack and it's mostnotably heard on the 2nd half of the solo in Inca Roads from the ZPZ DVD. That rig morphed

    throughout 2006 and 2007 and eventually included a Fender Cybertwin along with the

    Cornfords and the Blankenship. I was still chasing after the best recreation of my dad's classic

    tones. Up until that point I had not been using any of his actual gear to recreate the sounds.

    By 2008 I made more radical changes to my set up. I started using the FUCHS triple overdrive

    supreme heads along with FUCHS 4X12 cabs and a traditional Fender Twin in the center.

    Pictured here, a version with the Cyber Twin in the center.

    There were 2 giant racks that I called the Twin Towers. In them I housed some vintage and

    modern effects. The most modern were the Digitech GSP1101s. I had 3 of them. They had amp

    modeling and great effects in them. For an analog rig I had some ridiculous routing flexibility inthe towers. I was using a Switchblade to route effects. Many different pedals including some

    Butler Tube overdrives, some Fuchs boost pedals and a variety of other boutique items. The

    available tones multiplied exponentially.

    There were 3 main effects that I used that my father used to use to get some ama