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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:22 am 
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https://truefire.com/courses/https://truefire.com/dweezology/fretboard-freedom/c812

Dweezil joins the ranks of TrueFire.com - a great site for guitar courses for all level of players. From the site:


Creative & Visual Methods for Dynamic Improvisations


The pentatonic box is the guitarist’s proverbial “blessing and curse.” For guitar players, the initial discovery of the box parallels Edison’s eureka moment with the light bulb. The visual mapping of the pentatonic box on the fretboard is as easy to follow as painting with numbers. Beautifully symmetrical and quickly transposable to any key, the box single handedly catapults the vast majority of players into ‘lead’ guitarists.

But the box soon becomes a prison, a bad habit that restricts players from venturing outside, which in turn makes the rest of the fretboard a scary no man’s land of uncharted territory. ‘Breaking out’ of the box is a rite of passage that every player must take on at some point in their development, if only to quell the boredom, let alone becoming a skilled improvisor.

There are dozens of effective approaches and systems for breaking out of the box, but none of them as simple and quick to master as the approach found in Dweezil Zappa’s Fretboard Freedom. Better yet, Dweezil’s Five Shapes of Freedom serve double-duty as highly creative building blocks for fresh lines and improvisations.

We’re thrilled to welcome Dweezil to the TrueFire family. Dweezil is a prolific and extraordinarily inventive composer, recording artist and performer. He’s highly respected by his peers, fans and friends alike. Dweezil is also a passionate educator and we consider ourselves very fortunate to collaborate with him and bring his insightful teachings to our student body.

Dweezil organized Fretboard Freedom into two mind-blowing sections. In the first section, he presents the fundamentals of his Five Shapes of Freedom system in just four video lessons. He’ll show you the five shapes, their ‘mirror image patterns’ and their ‘neighbors’ to the right and left.

Get a grip on this simple system and you will not only break out of the box, you will see, understand and be able to navigate the fretboard like never before. Everything you already know about pentatonics -- all of your licks and favorite moves -- you'll be able to play anywhere on the neck, in any octave, in any key. And you’ll be able to do it in a matter of days.

In the second section, Dweezil shares an improvisational toolbox filled with technical and creative applications for the Five Shapes of Freedom system: Connecting The Shapes, Pentatonic Color Palette, Resequencing Phrases, Rhythmic Resequencing, Picking Techniques, Economy Picking Pentatonics, Connecting Small Phrases, Pivoting With Connectors, Randomization, In-Between The Box and the Whole Tone Scale.

Dweezil demonstrates and clearly explains everything step-by-step, concept-by-concept. The Five Shapes of Freedom are also clearly illustrated in a series of charts. All of the key demonstrations are also tabbed and notated.

Ready to begin your own rite of passage? The first step out of the box is just a click away…


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:42 pm 
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Think I'll take a look! Thanks HJ.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:46 pm 
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Excellent


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:07 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:05 am 
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Five shapes of freedom? haha. Only 5? I feel less free already.

Don't pay money for this nonsense. Here's a more valuable lesson that I offer for free:
You don't learn how to be a musician from this crap. This is a way for DZ to make money off of naive dreamers. There's no shortcut to being your best.
Players are imprisoned by the pentatonic scale because they want to be. They like it. Where's Angus Young? Would he sit still for DZ's "lessons"? If someone wants to "break out of their pentatonic prison" it's simple. Look up some new scales. Or make up your own. All the other notes are right there. Pick one. Listen to how it sounds. Figure it out. Can you recite the alphabet from A to G# over and over again? If so you can identify notes by name (if you desire).

There is no "system" for playing music. Unless you wanna be a robot clone. You listen and you play. Experiencing life outside of music is the best way to bring something meaningful to the music. DZ had his whole career and all of his material handed to him. He just has to move his fingers. Don't get mad at me. I'm giving it up to you for free. Study some theory, scales, chords. Time signatures are simply a matter of counting. How hard is it to memorize some exotic scales? Bypass the unworthy middleman who is only trying to make a buck off your starstruck gullibility.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:54 pm 
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downer mydnyte wrote:
Five shapes of freedom? haha. Only 5? I feel less free already.

Don't pay money for this nonsense. Here's a more valuable lesson that I offer for free:
You don't learn how to be a musician from this crap. This is a way for DZ to make money off of naive dreamers. There's no shortcut to being your best.
Players are imprisoned by the pentatonic scale because they want to be. They like it. Where's Angus Young? Would he sit still for DZ's "lessons"? If someone wants to "break out of their pentatonic prison" it's simple. Look up some new scales. Or make up your own. All the other notes are right there. Pick one. Listen to how it sounds. Figure it out. Can you recite the alphabet from A to G# over and over again? If so you can identify notes by name (if you desire).

There is no "system" for playing music. Unless you wanna be a robot clone. You listen and you play. Experiencing life outside of music is the best way to bring something meaningful to the music. DZ had his whole career and all of his material handed to him. He just has to move his fingers. Don't get mad at me. I'm giving it up to you for free. Study some theory, scales, chords. Time signatures are simply a matter of counting. How hard is it to memorize some exotic scales? Bypass the unworthy middleman who is only trying to make a buck off your starstruck gullibility.


Memory is my #1 problem, if the Dweez' method can help with that I'm in.......PS Nice guitar Dweezil, I wish I had one, oh wait I have :D


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:42 am 
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downer mydnyte wrote:
Five shapes of freedom? haha. Only 5? I feel less free already.

Don't pay money for this nonsense. Here's a more valuable lesson that I offer for free:
You don't learn how to be a musician from this crap. This is a way for DZ to make money off of naive dreamers. There's no shortcut to being your best.
Players are imprisoned by the pentatonic scale because they want to be. They like it. Where's Angus Young? Would he sit still for DZ's "lessons"? If someone wants to "break out of their pentatonic prison" it's simple. Look up some new scales. Or make up your own. All the other notes are right there. Pick one. Listen to how it sounds. Figure it out. Can you recite the alphabet from A to G# over and over again? If so you can identify notes by name (if you desire).

There is no "system" for playing music. Unless you wanna be a robot clone. You listen and you play. Experiencing life outside of music is the best way to bring something meaningful to the music. DZ had his whole career and all of his material handed to him. He just has to move his fingers. Don't get mad at me. I'm giving it up to you for free. Study some theory, scales, chords. Time signatures are simply a matter of counting. How hard is it to memorize some exotic scales? Bypass the unworthy middleman who is only trying to make a buck off your starstruck gullibility.

Many of the courses on TrueFire are great inspiration for the mortal players who are not blessed with a talent like Mozart or Hendrix enabling them to figure out everything by themselves. But thanks for your free advice. It doesn't really do anything for me. But you have hopefully saved a few.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:40 pm 
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^ Thanks for comparing me to Hendrix and Mozart.

I guess Fretboard Freedom aint free. At least not for you. "Mortals" must pay!

As privileged as DZ is, he could afford to be more generous with things like shapes.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:43 pm 
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https://youtu.be/ccbC_jMWt68

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:36 pm 
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downer mydnyte wrote:
Five shapes of freedom? haha. Only 5? I feel less free already.

Don't pay money for this nonsense. Here's a more valuable lesson that I offer for free:
You don't learn how to be a musician from this crap. This is a way for DZ to make money off of naive dreamers. There's no shortcut to being your best.
Players are imprisoned by the pentatonic scale because they want to be. They like it. Where's Angus Young? Would he sit still for DZ's "lessons"? If someone wants to "break out of their pentatonic prison" it's simple. Look up some new scales. Or make up your own. All the other notes are right there. Pick one. Listen to how it sounds. Figure it out. Can you recite the alphabet from A to G# over and over again? If so you can identify notes by name (if you desire).

There is no "system" for playing music. Unless you wanna be a robot clone. You listen and you play. Experiencing life outside of music is the best way to bring something meaningful to the music. DZ had his whole career and all of his material handed to him. He just has to move his fingers. Don't get mad at me. I'm giving it up to you for free. Study some theory, scales, chords. Time signatures are simply a matter of counting. How hard is it to memorize some exotic scales? Bypass the unworthy middleman who is only trying to make a buck off your starstruck gullibility.

you took the words right out of my head.
very well put, downer.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:47 am 
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^I see your wearing your brown lipstick today...

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:52 pm 
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downer mydnyte wrote:
^ Thanks for comparing me to Hendrix and Mozart.

I guess Fretboard Freedom aint free. At least not for you. "Mortals" must pay!

As privileged as DZ is, he could afford to be more generous with things like shapes.

Yeah! Everything should be free. Great idea. Can I be on the board deciding on who should work for free?

I had a piano teacher when I was a kid. She took money from my parents for teaching me stuff. I see now how she deceived us!

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 12:47 am 
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10 Minutes with Dweezil Zappa
Guitar scion frees fans and musicians alike from their boxes
By Jim Caligiuri, 10:00AM, Fri. May. 1
Zappa Plays Zappa hits Emo’s tonight with eldest son Dweezil leading a performance of 1975 LP One Size Fits All. A lengthy second set of Frank Zappa’s avant-rock compositions follows. Before soundcheck, at 4pm for $75, guitarists of all abilities can get tips from the Grammy-winning bandleader during a 90-minute class he’s dubbed Dweezilla.

Geezerville: Is it difficult finding musicians to play Frank’s music and getting them to reproduce it the way you want?

Dweezil Zappa: It hasn’t been difficult. There are people out there with skills. The hardest part, beyond playing the music, is finding people you can live with in close quarters, on a tour bus and so forth. I’ve been able to find good players.

My dad would go through people fairly regularly. I think the longest time he ever had a consistent band was maybe four years. I’ve had a little bit of turnover over the years.

I started 10 years ago and [multi-instrumentalist/vocalist] Scheila Gonzales has been with me the whole time. Other players, other roles have changed a few times. We did have a stretch where the original band was together for a little over five years.

G: Are the arrangements you use similar to what Frank wrote, or is there a looseness to it at all?

DZ: What’s important for people to understand is I treat this like a repertory ensemble. They’re playing serious works of a composer. We stay very strict to the composed parts of the material, but there’s also improvisation required in the compositions. That’s where things will be more our own vocabulary.

If there’s any change at all, it’s in terms of the instrumentation. I will be playing parts that weren’t normally played on guitar, but the notes are there. It’s just what we can work in our sixpiece band.

The good news is that with technology you can have good-sounding sample libraries where you play things like marimba on a keyboard. With two keyboards, we can have multiple parts and a saxophone playing at the same time. There’s also sound design, so we can create the right landscape that’s evocative of the era of whichever songs we’re doing. We use records and tape recording as sources for things like that.

G: I hadn’t listened to One Size Fits All since the summer it was released. Hearing it today, I recognize it as part of a trilogy with Overnight Sensation and Apostrophe. They’re all intertwined in terms of style and subject matter. How difficult is it to recreate?

DZ: Those records were all recorded at the same time and were released separately not long afterward. The hardest song on One Size Fits All is “Inca Roads.” It’s got some hard interlude sections. It’s the first song out of the gate, so you have to be ready. “You gotta put your big boy pants on now.”

In a way, it’s being introduced to a new audience. There’s nothing out there like it. That in and of itself is quite an accomplishment. There’s not too many people you can say created a style that’s unique to them. Frank’s definitely one of them.

He created a system to make music that has the feel of a living, breathing entity, because every time you play it, it’s a new adventure. We can play “Inca Roads” every night and it’s going to be different every time. There’s a lot of songs he wrote that are like that.

G: What can you tell me about the guitar class you’re holding before the show?

DZ: A lot of people have asked me, “How did you learn this music and what did you do to change your style? It seems you’re doing things differently than you used to.” Because of those kinds of questions I started a camp called Dweezilla, a three-day, total-immersion guitar camp. I’ve been busy and haven’t been able to do it the last couple of years, so I took it on the road.

People can come and get a sense of what I worked on to change my approach to guitar playing. I concentrate on exploring what you can change with what you know. People plateau after playing for a certain time and I give them ideas that free them from the boxes they might find themselves in.

The Austin Chronicle

http://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/mu ... zil-zappa/


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 10:24 am 
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HJ wrote:
downer mydnyte wrote:
^ Thanks for comparing me to Hendrix and Mozart.

I guess Fretboard Freedom aint free. At least not for you. "Mortals" must pay!

As privileged as DZ is, he could afford to be more generous with things like shapes.

Yeah! Everything should be free. Great idea. Can I be on the board deciding on who should work for free?

I had a piano teacher when I was a kid. She took money from my parents for teaching me stuff. I see now how she deceived us!

Actually, I think DZ should charge you 100 dollars per "shape".


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 8:55 am 
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Fretboard Freedom spoonerizes to fretfree boredom. Not sure who came up with the name but I wish (s)he'd put more thought into those things.

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 12:24 pm 
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fret
bored
NOT free
dumb

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 1:04 pm 
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downer mydnyte wrote:
HJ wrote:
downer mydnyte wrote:
^ Thanks for comparing me to Hendrix and Mozart.

I guess Fretboard Freedom aint free. At least not for you. "Mortals" must pay!

As privileged as DZ is, he could afford to be more generous with things like shapes.

Yeah! Everything should be free. Great idea. Can I be on the board deciding on who should work for free?

I had a piano teacher when I was a kid. She took money from my parents for teaching me stuff. I see now how she deceived us!

Actually, I think DZ should charge you 100 dollars per "shape".

OK. I wouldn't pay that price. And so what? More suggestions for your planning economy? :-)

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 4:16 pm 
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I ordered 20, to be as free as possible.

Shapes: The box, the lower case l, the v, the wave with the slide, the rectangle, and the repeating finger cobra.

Bonus disc: Colors and Numbers.


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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 12:39 am 
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ok, i didn't plan on doing this.
i didn't want it to appear as if i was tooting my own horn, but...
what the hell, let kindness become contagious.

i have a guitarology as well
that i offer FOR FREE.
i call it the waffle hand approach.
it is easy and it is fun. in 7 steps!

1. plug in waffle iron.
2. turn waffle iron on.
3. let waffle iron get hot.
4 place fretboard hand inside waffle iron.
5. close waffle iron.
6. remove hand at own discretion (do not overthink this one, no one is holding a stopwatch!).
7. now... play guitar with your new (and improved) waffle hand!


requests fulfilled via private message ONLY.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 1:19 am 
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downer mydnyte wrote:
Five shapes of freedom? haha. Only 5? I feel less free already.

Don't pay money for this nonsense. Here's a more valuable lesson that I offer for free:
You don't learn how to be a musician from this crap. This is a way for DZ to make money off of naive dreamers. There's no shortcut to being your best.
Players are imprisoned by the pentatonic scale because they want to be. They like it. Where's Angus Young? Would he sit still for DZ's "lessons"? If someone wants to "break out of their pentatonic prison" it's simple. Look up some new scales. Or make up your own. All the other notes are right there. Pick one. Listen to how it sounds. Figure it out. Can you recite the alphabet from A to G# over and over again? If so you can identify notes by name (if you desire).

There is no "system" for playing music. Unless you wanna be a robot clone. You listen and you play. Experiencing life outside of music is the best way to bring something meaningful to the music. DZ had his whole career and all of his material handed to him. He just has to move his fingers. Don't get mad at me. I'm giving it up to you for free. Study some theory, scales, chords. Time signatures are simply a matter of counting. How hard is it to memorize some exotic scales? Bypass the unworthy middleman who is only trying to make a buck off your starstruck gullibility.


I've been playing a long time.

I'll take hints, tips etc wherever I can get them.
Some I've paid for, some from magazines, some from fellow players.
Whatever.

There's a lot to learn, particularly at the start.

So what if he charges money for lessons?

DM. You frequently come across as an arrogant prick when you talk about other musicians.


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 7:17 pm 
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Quilt wrote:
DM. You frequently come across as an arrogant prick when you talk about other musicians.

It's intentional.

Technically, with DZ's system, you could be completely deaf and still play a great guitar solo. Amazing!

Buck Dharma giving it all up for free. (want some ideas? this is a goldmine)....
http://www.buckdharma.com/Guitar/Chords/chords.html

Dickey Betts takes the time to show the world how to play Jessica...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS1LHkTs4Mw


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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 3:36 am 
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On Dweezil Zappa, and his father's music from the future

By Chris Starrs news@onlineathens.com – updated Sunday, May 3, 2015 - 5:00am

Since 2006, Dweezil Zappa has been crisscrossing the globe with his colleagues in the “repertory ensemble” known as Zappa Plays Zappa, reaching out to a new generation of listeners and satisfying a considerable group of long-time fans of the work of his late father Frank Zappa, who gleefully managed to be both an icon and an iconoclast during his too-short life.
Dipping deep into the well of his father’s canon, Zappa has headlined hundreds of concerts in the last decade, performing everything from the scabrous to the ethereal, and he admits to plenty of internal head shaking when it is suggested he attempt to update his father’s sound.
“People always say, ‘When you’re trying to get a new audience, don’t you have to change it and modernize it?’ And the answer is no – this music is from the future,” Zappa said during a recent phone interview. “It’s beyond current — it’s ahead of its time. I don’t change it because I’m not going to improve it; it’s great the way it is.”
One of the greatest song collections in Zappa the elder’s catalog is the subject of Zappa Plays Zappa’s 2015 tour, which comes to the Georgia Theatre on Wednesday. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of “One Size Fits All,” the final album credited to the Mothers of Invention and a favorite of Zappafiles everywhere, thanks in no small part to classic songs like “Inca Roads,” “Po-Jama People” and “Andy,” among many others.
“Knowing this was the 40-year anniversary of the record, which was a popular fan favorite, we thought it would be fun to play the whole record and then do another 90 minutes or so of music from throughout Frank’s career,” Zappa, who will also host a guitar master class at 4 p.m. the day of the show at the Georgia Theatre, said.
When asked about the special challenges associated with recreating “One Size Fits All,” Zappa pointed to the album’s opener, “Inca Roads,” which features one of his father’s most beloved guitar solos and most intricate sonic arrangements.
“The hardest song on the record is ‘Inca Roads,’ and it’s the first song out of the gate,” said Zappa, who noted that Covington resident Jim “Bird” Youmans, who played on the “One Size Fits All” album also played with Frank Zappa on the 1979 guitar duet “Sleep Dirt.” “The rest of the record has a bunch of stuff that’s still challenging, but it’s really fun. It’s a good balance of melodic material on there and it suits the band.
“For us, ‘Inca Roads’ is probably the hardest thing to play, and that would be the case if it was on its own anywhere in the show – it’s always one where you have to take extra care to be sure you’ve got it right.”
Although the Zappa Plays Zappa roadshow has been all over the world, Wednesday’s show marks the band’s Athens debut.
“We’re always looking for places to play that can bring out a new audience and Athens is the kind of place that has a young music scene and has had one for a while, so we’re trying to see if people want to come and check out this music,” he said.
After spending most of the last decade exploring his father’s body of work, Zappa is set to release his first solo album in 10 years, “Via Zamatta” (named after the street where Zappa’s grandfather lived in Partinico, Sicily, before emigrating to America – the street has since been renamed “Via Frank Zappa”), which features the only song the two Zappas ever wrote together and was financed through crowdfunding (through PledgeMusic.com).
“The new record is sort of a combination of all the thing that made me want to make music,” Zappa, who has released five solo albums and two albums with his brother Ahmet, said. “I decided to do a little bit of an introspective journey and get in a lot of different influences that made me interested in music and put them into some different songs. It came out in very different ways.”
Zappa was particularly stoked about “Dragon Master,” the writing collaboration with his father, which utilizes the famous Zappa disposition to poke holes in the heavy metal genre.
“There’s a song on the record that my dad wrote the lyrics to and he asked me to write the music,” Zappa said. “It’s a super heavy metal song that he wrote as a joke heavy metal song. There are definitely layers of things happening on this. The average metal fan won’t hear a joke in there. They’ll hear full-on metal. The song is somewhere between Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath and it talks about Satan and the heavy metal imagery some people live for.”
In many ways, Frank Zappa could be considered the father of crowdfunding as he spent much of his energies recording rock albums and playing concerts in hockey arenas to earn the money to pay for his orchestral productions.
When asked if he felt his father – who would be 71 now – could utilize modern-day crowdfunding, Zappa said, “There’s so much in the world of technology he would have been a driving force behind. If you read his book, ‘The Real Frank Zappa Book,’ there’s a page towards the end where it shows he had applied for a patent on a music delivery system that’s basically what iTunes is today. And he was talking about that in the late 1970s and 80s. He knew what was coming. With his social skills, (crowdfunding) would have been pretty good.”

Five Fine Solos
Dweezil Zappa has said it took years of practice to be able to play some of his father’s more challenging music, and there’s no lack of examples of Frank Zappa’s six-string wizardry stretched across the 100 albums released under his name in the last 45-plus years. Here’s one listener’s list of five favored Frank Zappa solos.
“Muffin Man”: From the 1975 album “Bongo Fury,” the solo that closes the album is much like a musical hailstorm, raining down speed and technique behind a furious rhythmic buzz provided by drummer Terry Bozzio and bassist Tom Fowler.
“Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy”: Also from “Bongo Fury” (which featured one of the final recorded collaborations between Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart), the song provides an excellent representation of Zappa in the 1970s – a risqué song with a thunderous solo presented much like “Muffin Man,” a coda that threatens to wear out the artist’s wah-wah pedal.
“Inca Roads”: From “One Size Fits All,” 1975. Perhaps the first example of Zappa mixing media, what he called xenochrony. Zappa dropped a guitar solo recorded in 1974 in Finland in the middle of the studio recording of the song, a technique he would return to again and again. The solo is befitting of the lyrics describing aliens visiting earth.
“Hungry Freaks, Daddy”: The first song on the first Mothers of Invention album, “Freak Out!” released in 1966. Although the song’s lyrical content definitely shows its age, Zappa’s slicing guitar foray (of exactly one minute, meshing nicely with somebody playing the xylophone in the background) can almost make one overlook the Mothers’ unapologetic early attempt at shock rock.
“Sleep Dirt”: Title cut on the 1979 album of the same name, released without Zappa’s permission during his long legal struggle with Warner Brothers Records, and then re-released in 1996 posthumously as part of Zappa’s infamous “Läther” album. For all of the many recordings of Zappa guitar solos that have been unleashed on the market, there are few acoustic examples. This rights that wrong and features Covington resident James “Bird” Youmans on second guitar.
-Chris Starrs


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:59 am 
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Dweezil Comes Clean

The virtuoso explains the art of the guitar solo and reveals how he culled his favorites to create his latest release, 'Live In The Moment II.'

Jimmy Leslie - Mar 22, 2019



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“Growing up, I had the feeling that my dad was coming from a different place than other guitarists,” Dweezil Zappa says. “He seemed to mock the guitar hero idea in his physical movements onstage, and he expanded the possibilities of what soloing could be.”

Dweezil honors his father, Frank Zappa, by continuing to explore and expand the notion of what a guitar solo can be and digging into tone like an archeologist. He’s always building knowledge based on uncovered and recovered wisdom and utilizing the latest technology to “move the project forward.” That was obvious with his 2011 album, Live in the Moment, and it’s in evidence again on Live in the Moment II (Fantom), his brilliantly executed and flawlessly documented 2018 follow-up. Both albums consist of material culled from his Zappa Plays Zappa tours, on which he performed renditions of Frank’s music using a stellar core band he curated himself. To that end, Dweezil has drawn inspiration from Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar, Frank’s seminal ’80s album that developed into a trio of records consisting mostly of live guitar solos.

“I love the tones, the playing, the spaces replete with feedback and all of the transitions,” Dweezil says of Frank’s Shut Up ’n Play project. “It represents total freedom of expression and showcases the unique circumstances that helped inspire those improvised moments. Making a collection of them is the real concept behind Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar and my Live in the Moment records. That type of record could be perceived as gratuitous, but I view it as a way to capture a lifelong journey, showing the snapshots of what took place along the way.”

Dweezil has retired the Zappa Plays Zappa moniker in favor of using his own name, but he continues to revitalize his father’s music faithfully with an outstanding ensemble of relatively young musicians. Those shows are one way Frank’s music remains vital 25 years after his death.

GP caught up with the guitarist shortly after he completed 2018’s Choice Cuts tour. Dweezil sat down to talk about the making of Live in the Moment II, offer insights into his father’s approach to soloing and share some deep details about how he recreates Frank’s classic tones onstage.

Frank had such a distinctive approach to soloing. Explain the art of the guitar solo as it pertains to Zappa world.

My dad didn’t subscribe to the pre-composed solo approach. He preferred playing live in the studio, and when playing live he loved to be inspired in the moment to spontaneously compose onstage. He described his playing as making “air sculptures.” Since sound waves move air molecules, he said that he was imagining shapes while playing. Nowadays you can actually see what frequencies look like. I’ve Googled videos of grains of sand on metal shaker plates that reshape themselves when exposed to different frequencies. The patterns are fascinating and beautiful. It’s startling to realize that everywhere we go the sounds around us are creating invisible frequency tapestries, and we are walking right through them.

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What’s your interpretation of his “air sculptures” concept?

It’s another way of saying that my dad was in “the zone,” that perfect place where music flows through you and you’re not impeding the process. He was the best I have ever seen at listening and reacting to the music in real time and seemingly never repeating himself or falling back on pre-composed ideas or licks. It requires intense listening and takes some training to free your mind of technical thoughts, licks or really any distractions, allowing yourself to tune in to your surroundings and just react. It’s the coolest thing when you witness any musician enter that space. Only great things happen as a result.

And of course Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar is a great example of that philosophy. How exactly did Frank put it together?

He extracted performances from live concerts over a lengthy period of time from several different tours with different bands and different gear. Making things sound uniform wasn’t really a mandate for him. He used interstitial musical snippets as palate cleansers in between tracks to help with the transitions. That was brilliantly executed and helped keep the energy flowing.

His guitar tones changed frequently from tour to tour. From the mid ’70s through the early ’80s he used a guitar rig he referred to as Ma Bell. It featured a complex system that allowed for amp and effects switching as well as presets, long before anyone else had that capability. I remember him saying he spent close to $30,000 dollars to develop it. That would be like $300,000 now! It also had three amps and two D.I.s, for a grand total of five individual tracks needed to capture his guitar sound. With only 24 tracks available on the tape machine, sub-mixing was a necessity.

The amp configuration he used most featured a 100-watt Marshall Super Lead, a Vox Super Beatle and a Mesa/Boogie combo amp, with effects that included the MicMix Dynaflanger, Eventide H949 Harmonizer, MXR delays, a dbx 160 stereo compressor and an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff. His guitars had preamps that brought them up to line level and made it possible to easily integrate rack-mounted studio gear into his system. In the studio he would sometimes re-amp the guitar audio, sending it through a few guitar speaker cabinets in the live room. He would use different microphones, but rarely would I see any Shure SM57s. He preferred the Sennheiser MD 421 and a Neumann U67 along with an AKG C 24 for the ambience. The inclusion of a clean compressed D.I. sound was the real secret weapon. It added dimension and clarity within his overdriven sounds, as well as immediacy to the transient information.

What about Shut Up most inspired you to apply the concept yourself?

I was always in awe of my dad’s rhythmic and harmonic variety. He had a tremendous vocabulary, and he created such unique guitar tones. The Dynaflanger tone is my all-time favorite. It’s essentially a time-modulated sound that reacts to the envelope threshold being manipulated by the player. It creates an amazingly realistic double without the predictability of an LFO. It’s like a living thing that reacts to what you’re doing. It’s so cool! That tone has been one of the hardest to replicate, but it has also inspired me to play things I would never play otherwise. It’s a big part of Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar as well as my Live in the Moment records.

Can you describe how you’re taking advantage of cutting-edge live-recording technology?

From a technical standpoint, the equipment we use to capture the sound and shape it for the audience has never been better. We use the Waves Audio eMotion LV1 system because of its insane flexibility and creative options. Nerd alert! We can recreate signal chains down to the DNA level. For example, if I know that my dad used an API console, a DBX 160 compressor and a Pultec EQ when tracking a certain part, we can use the software emulation in real time to process that same part live onstage. That can be done for every instrument and every song with seamless snapshot changes during the show. We’re able to get so close to the original sonic fingerprints. It’s quite impressive. The Waves system improves our ability to deliver great live sound and gives me instant access to stereo mixes that sound like finished records. I also plan to do some live show streaming from my website in the near future.

You were an early adopter of Fractal Audio rack units. Can you describe how that changed the game for your rig?

I switched from tube amps to Fractals 10 years ago because the sound quality and flexibility is unmatched. They facilitate the layered sounds I’m seeking. I actually have three different rigs in different sizes. For a few tracks on Live in the Moment II, I used the nano rig, which is a Fractal AX8 self-contained processor and switching unit. It has a custom GoochFX analog fuzz, an Eventide H9 Harmonizer and a volume pedal, and it all fits in a Pelican case that easily travels in any overhead bin, so I use it to save costs on European tours. It can replicate 60 to 70 percent of the sounds from my big rig with sufficient layers of detail. My medium-sized rig can replicate 70 to 80 percent of the big rig, which is the size of a refrigerator. Both are quad setups with two autonomous Axe-Fx II Preamp/FX Processors feeding two pairs of powered full-range P.A. speakers. I usually prefer the wide pair for modulated sounds and the interior set for direct sounds. Each machine has an array of effects that can be activated via footswitch or MIDI preset autonomously in front, as well as H9s in the effects loops. The two machines also have an array of effects that will hit the input of both machines at once, including the wah. Those are only available as on-the-fly color changes, and I use them often. They are mostly different flavors of fuzz or overdrive.

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Why do you still employ tons of pedals and rack effects when you have such processing power with the Fractals?

I hear that question a lot. Realistically, the Fractals can do everything, but they rely on a set of algorithms that determine the sound character, so I like to mix it up and have more colors, especially when it comes to fuzz. Analog pedals also have their own feel, and the subtleties of that feel can be integral to my playing ability and phrasing. Sometimes the perception of feel plays an even more important role than the sound itself.

I mostly use the Marshall, Fender and Hook amplifier models in the Fractal for the core sounds. The speaker IRs [impulse responses] are probably the most important elements of any Fractal preset. More than anything, they shape the personality of the raw amp tones.

Can you site some tonal references from Live in the Moment II?

“five-five-FIVE” starts my record, just as it did the original Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar album. I used the nano rig for that song, so I was a bit limited, but I was able to evoke the sonic spirit that sets the proper mood. I used the medium rig on “Watermelon in Easter Hay” to dial in a pretty accurate emulation of the original album sound on Joe’s Garage. I used a Strat with custom McNelly pickups and a Trem King vibrato system on that track. The reverb comes from the H9 and is based on the Eventide Omnipressor. It auto-swells the reverb after the note is played and helps create that beautiful space. The distorted lead has the subtle version of the Dynaflanger and a slow phaser, just like the original. One of my other favorite tones on the record is the gritty fuzz on “Badass Pony.” That comes from the “Montana” solo section.

Putting together a pedalboard is daunting for a lot of players. Can you share some insights you’ve gained from putting together your own rigs?

The main challenge is always how pedals react with different guitars, other pedals and amp sources. If you need to play multiple guitars during a show, you don’t want to be changing knobs around on pedals to compensate for the different guitar outputs. It’s always important to find fuzz and overdrive pedals that don’t drop the output level when engaged and add character or boost functionality to your sound. Some pedals only sound good on an already distorted amp, while others can drive a clean channel nicely.

Obviously, you have to spend time finding things that work together and give you character and functionality. I typically prefer the drive sound from amps versus pedals. I do like fuzz pedals that allow you to tune the bias. I think of it as tuning the transient response or the front edge of the note. Experiment with dynamics and how the pedal reacts. I like to have variation between how notes will bloom on either side of my stereo sound. In any case, it’s all a matter of finding the right tools for the job. If you only need five sounds, obviously your pedalboard will be much easier to put together. In my case, a two-and-a-half hour show may need as many as 50 different sounds mapped out in preset banks.

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What are your main touring guitars, and what else is on Live in the Moment II?

I mainly use modified versions of the Gibson Frank Zappa “Roxy” SG. On this last tour I had my main guitar, which has a Fishman Powerbridge piezo installed as well as a Sustainiac pickup. I also had an even more customized version of that guitar with those features plus a neck that Echopark Guitars customized to be half fretless: The low strings are fretted and the high strings are fretless. My third guitar was a stock “Roxy” SG that I played mainly for the out-of-phase sound that it makes.

Certain material requires a Stratocaster, and there’s plenty of it on Live in the Moment II. “It’s in the Key of E,” “Tom’s Banana Experiment,” “What’s That Hose For?,” “Prelude in E Retrograde” and “Watermelon in Easter Hay” are all Strat songs. I love the fuzz sound that kicks in on “It’s in the Key of E.” It has the best representation of the note bloom variation I described. It also has some Dynaflanger, of course. On “What’s That Hose For?” the tone that sounds like an Octavia is actually coming from the McNelly pickup combo. It’s the neck and bridge out of phase, but somehow it has a strong octave fundamental. You can hear the direct clean sound blended in as well.

Can you share harmonic insights about “five-five-FIVE”?

I play around with some of the same tonalities my dad favored. It’s basically G minor, but I sometimes play a six-note scale off of G that goes: 1 b2 3 4 b6 6. I also use C melodic minor. The song is based on different permutations of five [it is in 5/8 + 5/8 + 5/4 meters], which gives it an exotic sound.

About two-and-a-half minutes into the tune, it sounds as if you’re using the fretless SG.

I’m actually playing my main SG, but at that point I am utilizing the same sliding techniques I employ on the fretless guitar. I’ve been incorporating a lot of slides into my playing, as well as an approach where you bend from underneath the target note up to pitch. It has a slide-guitar kind of sound.

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Can you detail how the endless sustain of the Sustainiac pickup fits into your playing?

The Sustainiac inspires a different type of melodic phrasing. It enables me to slide around and have notes bloom in different ways. The way that my rig allows me to select different fuzzes on each side of the stereo field helps. The Sustainiac offers a lot of vibrato variations as well. Sometimes it can even sound like a theremin, especially with the fretless guitar.

The Eastern sounds you make are especially cool. What are your inspirations?

I love the sound of microtonal instruments. On my Via Zammata’ record [from 2015], I played the oud and a Godin Glissentar [11-string fretless electro-acoustic guitar]. I’m inspired by a variety of Eastern styles, including Indian, Turkish, Arabic and Bulgarian music. I even recorded some music by the Bulgarian Women’s Choir on this album. The two tunes I chose have resonated with me ever since my dad took me to one of their concerts. I orchestrated them for guitar in a way that also pays homage to one of my guitar heroes, Brian May. They have a lot of overdubs. Those are the only pieces that are not live. Even the transitions between songs come from different moments on tour over the years. There are lot of duck calls! If you listen carefully you might hear a duck call version of the Superman movie theme.

“The Road Less Traveled” and “Take a Left at Peru” are awesome takes of solos from “Inca Roads.” Frank also put multiple versions of “Inca Roads” solos on Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar.

“Inca Roads” is at the top of my list of favorite songs. The structure and the intervallic melody lines draw me in. Each performance is unique because of the improvisational sections. The two vamps on Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar feature some of my dad’s best guitar playing and tones. I can’t get enough of that Stratocaster sound with the Dynaflanger. The two solos I include from “Inca Roads” have a touch of the Dynaflanger as a nod to the original album version [from One Size Fits All], which has an envelope follower. That vamp always inspires a slow build, and I try to make my solos a musical conversation with the band. It’s based on two chords, C and D. Major-triad stuff sounds great, as does A Dorian. I usually stick with that tonality.

The closer, “Watermelon in Easter Hay,” is deeply striking, just like the original. What it is about that tune that takes the soul to another plane?

That is by far the most emotional solo my dad ever played. The way he phrased the melody is so idiosyncratic and takes advantage of his rhythmic mastery. It’s very difficult to capture anything close. I worked hard to recreate the tones he used and play many of the landmark phrases, adding my own embellishments within context to the song. For me, the penultimate emotional moment of the melody is the placement of the first note with that crying clean tone. I believe it’s the #11 working off of an A root. It has a beautiful resolution to E major. My dad favored Lydian mode in his writing and playing, and I love the Lydian sound as well, because it’s beautiful and can be moody, too.

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What’s up ahead with your touring plans?


The Choice Cuts tour was fun, because it gave us the opportunity to learn some rare tunes and arrangements. I’m planning an extensive live album release from the tour, and we may do a round two of Choice Cuts in the future. We’ll definitely hit the road again this year. I plan to incorporate more of my own music over time. Last year I debuted some of my orchestral compositions in Holland, and I look forward to doing that again. I’ve also been talking with Jimmy Herring about playing some shows, and I’d love to do some playing with Julian Lage. I’m doing a music camp called Crown of the Continent this summer in Montana. My own Dweezilla camp will be coming back soon as well and moving to the West Coast. I’ll also be performing on the Experience Hendrix tour.

What are you working on in the recording studio and otherwise?

I’m working on live albums, DVD releases and new music of my own. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to focus on my own writing. One day, I’d like to have my own studio and become a mad scientist. It would be great fun to have a space in which to operate musically like my dad did, doing — as he put it — “Anything at any time, for any reason at all.”


WAVES AUDIO EMOTION LV1 SYSTEM

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For live performances, Dweezil makes use of Waves’ eMotion LV1, a software mixing console for front-of-house, monitor and broadcast purposes. Each channel in the system has its own plug-in rack capable of using up to eight plug-ins that run inside the mixer itself, providing a high level of control over every aspect of the live sound. LV1 can be operated using industry-standard hardware controllers, multi-touch screens and portable devices, and all plug-in presets and chains saved in eMotion LV1 can be shared with the Waves MultiRack and StudioRack plugin hosts, allowing users to move seamlessly between live and studio environments. Dweezil says the Waves system “improves our ability to deliver great live sound and gives me instant access to stereo mixes that sound like finished records.”

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1. The left half includes his switching system and effects boxes.
2. The right half has more stompboxes, and volume, expression and wah pedals.
3. This pair of Axe-FX II processors is at the heart of his medium and big rigs.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:17 am 
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^^^^^ Nice! cheers DaveO' ^^^^^


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