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Guitar [Original recording remastered]

Frank ZappaAudio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, Import, Limited Edition, 2008 $60.59  
Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 1995 --  
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Audio Cassette, 1993 --  

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Image of album by Frank Zappa


Image of Frank Zappa


Composer, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Frank Zappa was a singular musical figure during a performing and recording career that lasted from the 1960s to the '90s. His disparate influences included doo wop music and avant-garde classical music; although he led groups that could be called rock & roll bands for much of his career, he used them to create a hybrid style that bordered on ... Read more in Amazon's Frank Zappa Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 2, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • ASIN: B0000009TH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,022 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
2. Which One Is It?
3. Republicans
4. Do Not Pass Go
5. Chalk Pie
6. In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky
7. That's Not Really Reggae
8. When No One Was No One
9. Once Again, Without The Net
10. Outside Now (Original Solo)
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Variations On Sinister #3
2. Orrin Hatch On Skis
3. But Who Was Fulcanelli?
4. For Duane
5. GOA
6. Winos Do Not march
7. Swans? What Swans?
8. Too Ugly To Show Business
9. Systems Of Edges
10. Do Not Try This At Home
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Guitar (2 Cd) by Frank Zappa

The sequel to Shut Up and Play Your Guitar, Guitar is a two-part collection of improvisations by Frank Zappa, assembled from live recordings between 1979 and 1984. Zappa's bands from this period provides a solid foundation for what is essentially a one-man show, as Zappa carves his "air sculptures" from fluid, lyrical guitar notes. The backdrops vary from rock to blues to free-form embellishments to Zappa-defined reggae all the while giving the soloist plenty of room to explore his instrument. While it lacks the interplay between Zappa and drummer Vinnie Colliuta (he appears on only one track of this set) that made its predecessor so remarkable, Guitar contains more than enough of Zappa's musicianship to carry the day, making this an essential part of any Zappa or guitar fan's collection. --Andrew Boscardin

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're up for a challenge... January 8, 2005
Format:Audio CD
An album like this will challenge your ears in several ways. Like most of Zappa's output, this CD isn't for everyone. Those who criticize Frank's guitar playing from a technical standpoint, however, are completely missing the point. Steve Vai et al. are certainly better technically on the guitar, but I think Vai would be the first person to admit that he couldn't improvise in a live setting on this level. Zappa was trying to create spontaneous compositions as he played, and he was unafraid of trying absolutely anything in his quest to do so.

If you hear on this set a lot of repetition, a lot of exploration of similar melodic/rhythmic themes, this is mainly due to the fact that a lot of the solos were recorded around the same time (even at the same shows) so that was what was in his head. I think of them as variations, not perhaps in the classical sense of a "theme and variations" but multiple explorations of the same material.

On the other hand, I think if you listen closely it's amazing from a compositional standpoint. There is an inner logic and coherence to the solos, whether self-proclaimed "expert guitar players" choose to acknowledge this or not. Frank's guitar technique was highly unorthodox and it might not be what you would like to hear from a guitar player, but he wasn't interested in playing clean, perfect lines. He was interested in doing something different every single time he got out there to play a solo, and this is a document of his attempts to do just that. It is a record of experiments with an audience.

The other major complaint about this CD is the sound, particularly the sound of the band playing behind Frank.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INTENSE July 12, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This is awesome stuff. Two hours and ten minutes of intense and relentless fret abuse. No vocals, no tunes, just guitar solos and nothing else. "Guitar" was more than good enough when it was first released in 1988, but this expanded edition with extra tracks is a considerable improvement on the original. The material is culled from live performances recorded over a five year period (1979 to 1984), and from the opening chords of "Sexual harassment in the workplace" (the album also features some of Frank's most creative titles) it just builds and builds with no pause for breath. Although the sound isn't always 100% perfect, I much prefer the raw spontaneity of "Guitar" to the more refined approach of its predecessor "Shut up and play your guitar", which seems positively weak in comparison. Frank didn't recommend it for children or Republicans, but to the rest of us this is one of the truly essential Zappa albums.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not "Shut Up & Play...", but still a great record March 2, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This collection of Frank's live playing skills is a great showcase of not only his compositional skills, but his incredible playing. He can make a slow groove smoke and we already know what he does to the not-so-straight-ahead rock tunes.
The fact that they're instrumentals really gives you the chance to appreciate the songs and his abilities, but also shows you the record's one pain: the songs aren't as great as the ones on his similar collection, "Shut Up and Play Your Guitar". If you want great Zappa or just great guitar, you have to eventually own this record...just not before you get his "Shut Up" record.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good stuff, but mostly forgettable.... August 3, 2008
Format:Audio CD
This is a good album, but it's not as great as the mammoth Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar set, and a lot of the material here all sounds the same. Many of the solos/songs don't really stand out at all. They all blend into one long messy solo. That isn't to say there's nothing worth listening to here.

The opener Sexual Harrassment in the Work Place is a very majestic song, with a great Zappa solo and beautiful backing track. Do Not Pass Go has a nice mellow tone to it. The song Variations on Sinister #3 is very good and intricate. Outside Now (Original Solo) is one of the better tracks, and only one of two from the 1979 band with Vinnie Colauita (the other is Systems of Edges, which is equally good). While Chad Wackerman is a good drummer, he just didn't have the same camaradirie with Frank that Vinnie did. The recording of Watermelon in Easter Hay, one of Zappa's greatest compositions, is very nice. While not as majestic as the Joe's Garage version, it's still wonderful and the crowd really responds to it, which helps immensely.

Do Not Try This at Home sounds exactly like the title track from Them or Us (with more improv). In-a-Gadda-Stravinsky sounds more interesting than it actually is. The bass line from In-a-Gadda-da-Vida is used while Zappa and the band improv over it. Good idea, mediocre execution, though.
The album, however, has some of the most interesting titles Zappa ever came up (Orrin Hatch on Skis, Chalk Pie, Swans? What Swans?), but none of those songs are particularly interesting musicially. There isn't much variation here in the material, as there was on the Shut Up set. If you're a Zappa completist, then by all means you should pick this one up. If you're not, stick with the Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar album.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and a half December 11, 2009
Format:Audio CD
Two things happened between the 1970s and the 1980s. Anolouge recording went to digital, and Zappa's guitar playing got busier and louder.

The solos on Guitar have more ressonence and eccho than those on Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar. He works with more asbtract time signatures, and the eccho and amplification on the masters axe are magnified. Amazing as the Shut up Sets are, and these cover 70s solos, they sound small next to these 80s solos.

The large sound and counterthythms employed on guitar make the kind of massive "air sculptures." Zappa discribed, and the increse syncopation and rhytmic obtuseness change the charactor of these solos from those on Shut Up.

Zappa includes blues, ethnic music, Inca Roads journies--Inca Roads may have been Zappa's most commonly used lab for solo experimenting--and a wide range of styles.

This set is not quite as diverse as Shut Up--no tweed coat Frank with a buzuki--but both are essential due to their differances.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Frank was a great guitar player, seen many times. Enjoy the CD
Published 3 months ago by Michael Fine
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
I really liked this disk and I already knew the artist. I would like to thank you for your attention.
5.0 out of 5 stars Soon to be reissued !!!
Give thanks to all who make the yellow snow - The Zappa Family Trust has finally regained control of Frank's catalog and ALL 60 FZ albums will once again be available at realistic... Read more
Published on June 14, 2012 by MidWest Phil
4.0 out of 5 stars Viva la difference
This is not just a follow-up to "Shut Up And Play Your Guitar", but a contrast.
Don't miss it! This album is all Fender guitars, whereas
"Shut Up" was all Gibsons. Read more
Published on September 10, 2011 by G. Lewis
4.0 out of 5 stars És molt bo!!
Aquest disc és molt bo, té uns "solos" de guitarra acollonants. Realment val la pena.Us ho dic jo, que m'he escoltat tota la discografia del Frank.
Published on September 6, 2011 by Jordi Bentue Alonso
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
This is an outstanding disc of one of the great guitarists of all time. Steve Vai also plays on it which is even better. Read more
Published on December 14, 2010 by Roberto Villanueva
4.0 out of 5 stars Zappa
This guy wrote more stuff than anyone I ever heard of. He was one of the best guitarists/lyricists ever.
His son and daughter carry on his work very nicely. Read more
Published on October 26, 2010 by H. EGELAND
5.0 out of 5 stars Shut Up
This is the follow up to Frank Zappa's Shut Up And Play Your Guitar, CD. The two of them make a stunning statement that underneath the strange lyrics of most of his music,he was a... Read more
Published on August 22, 2010 by Charles Teply
5.0 out of 5 stars FAAANTASTIC
listen to it right now on my DUAL CS 5000 , came out as a gate fold double LP in 1988 - for the kids : these are the black large disc's and - yes - you need a record player . Read more
Published on June 28, 2010 by jurgen pagel
3.0 out of 5 stars for fans only
some incredible drumming on these two cds. Zappa is on fire. But one needs patience with this project and multiple listens for the record to be digested. Read more
Published on October 14, 2009 by ArtMan
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Topic From this Discussion
frank zappa
pojama people is on "one size fits all.."
Aug 26, 2010 by Rob Constantine |  See all 2 posts
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