Gibson Unveils Frank Zappa Roxy SG

Published 8 years ago on May 9, 2013

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Gibson Unveils Frank Zappa Roxy SG -

Frank Zappa has long been hailed as one of the most inventiverock guitarists ever to have graced the stage and studio. The liveperformances with his band The Mothers at the Roxy Theatre inHollywood from December 1973 and after-documented in the album Roxy& Elsewhere and on subsequent DVD releases-are often consideredto display the pinnacle of his unbridled invention.

The heavily modified SG Special used in those shows is an iconicinstrument among Zappa fans, and now Gibson USA recreates thatlegendary SG in perfectly faithful detail to bring the Frank Zappa®"Roxy" SG to anyone seeking an extremely versatile, and superblyplayable modified-vintage SG Standard.

Zappa's original SG Special was an early '60s model with a fast,slim neck profile and the smaller pickguard characteristic of theera, which would have been made with P-90 pickups originally. Whileit reflects the heavily modified state of FZ's guitar, the FrankZappa® "Roxy" SG still functions perfectly as a straight-upvintage-reissue SG when desired. But just flip either of the twomini-toggle switches to split the uncovered humbuckers' coils, orto throw the pickups out of phase, and you leap into funkyZappa-certified tones-all aided by the highly functionalMaestro-style vibrola with Lyre tailpiece. And with its naturalneck and headstock, and a carefully color-matched rendition of FZ'sfaded nitrocellulose Cherry finish, the Frank Zappa® "Roxy" SGlooks every bit as distinctive as it sounds.

Body and Neck The Frank Zappa® 

"Roxy" SG begins with the same time-tested tonewoods that helpedto make the SG Standard legendary in the first place. The body iscrafted from solid Grade-A mahogany in the iconic double-hornedstyle with beveled edges for enhanced playing comfort. A solid,quarter-sawn, Grade-A mahogany neck is carved in the slim early'60s profile that Zappa preferred, which measures 0.775" at the 1stfret and 0.910" at the 12th, for superb speed and comfort. It'stopped with a Grade-A rosewood fingerboard with pearloid dot inlaysand 22 frets made from wire based on precise measurement of thejumbo frets on the original "Roxy" SG. Like FZ's guitar, the neckis natural mahogany, and the headstock is white. 

Pickups and Electronics 

The modified electronics on FZ's original "Roxy" SG were a bigpart of that guitar's mojo, and Gibson USA goes all out toreplicate that versatility in the Frank Zappa® "Roxy" SG. Twoenhanced '57 Classics with four-conductor wiring replicate the samethick, juicy tone of the humbuckers Zappa added to his guitar. Theyare routed through a pair of mini-toggle switches mounted in achannel under the pickguard, to yield coil-splitting forsingle-coil tones, and out-of-phase tones, both of which were a bigpart of Zappa's signature sound. The remaining control complementincludes the traditional three-way toggle selector and anindependent volume and tone control for each pickup. 

Hardware and Plastics

Tremolo was a key part of FZ's signature sound, and the FrankZappa® "Roxy" SG is loaded with a Maestro-style vibrola withdecorative Lyre tailpiece and flat bar handle to give the samecreative kick to your own playing. A Tune-o-matic bridge offersprecise intonation, while a set of Grover™ tuners with historicrounded buttons are both efficient, and true to the look of theoriginal guitar. The guitar carries the smaller early '60s five-plySG pickguard with special dimensioned neck spacer to alter theposition of the neck pickup to match FZ's original guitar and atraditional black truss-rod cover. Cases and Coverage Every FrankZappa®  

Cases and Coverage

"Roxy" SG comes protected in a black Gibson hardshell case, andincludes a Zappa CD, an owner's manual and adjustment literature,and coverage by Gibson's Limited Lifetime Warranty and 24/7/365Customer Service.






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