Frank Zappa's Gibson Goldtop occupies a special place among artists' guitars. Modified and heavily transformed, it is a direct witness to the musician's ongoing experimentation, which we have had the pleasure of having at Matt's Guitar Shop.
A guitarist of genius and an eccentric like no other, Frank Zappa inspired a whole generation of instrumentalists. He was also an avant-garde composer, who embraced thoughtful non-conformism and constant experimentation. Frank Zappa explored everything from jazz rock in the 70s to orchestral experimentation at the end of his career, with equal intensity. He went so far as to experiment directly with his instruments, which became the primary medium for his sonic endeavors. This Gibson Les Paul Goldtop is a remarkable example.
What began life as a 1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop became, in Frank Zappa's hands, a one-of-a-kind guitar. It has been extensively documented, enabling us to trace its transformation. Zappa was photographed with this Goldtop in the late 1960s, when it still had cream P90 pickups. Then, he indulged in a number of modifications that took the guitar away from all that is expected of a Les Paul, making it a rather intriguing piece of curiosity!
Zappa added a Telecaster pickup and black P90s, each with its own volume and tone. This is a particularly original choice, especially on a 1952 Les Paul! He also added a phase switch, allowing the signal to be split. Frank Zappa was particularly fond of this effect, which added a strange character to his sounds by putting the guitar in a frequency range he couldn't get otherwise.
In the late 1960s, Frank Zappa was already indulging in this kind of bizarre experimentation on his guitars. This highly transformed Goldtop is exceptional proof of this, and we were honored to have it in our showroom. Rare are the guitars that still retain so many mysteries and secrets... This one will keep them for a long time to come, just like Frank Zappa's opulent work!