Like many musical legends, Frank Zappa can be an acquired taste…but, once you’ve acquired that taste, your taste will be forever altered. The term “cult following” is thrown around loosely nowadays, but for FZ it really applies. In fact, a lot of people pay attention to Zappa’s unique guitar approach, such as his frequently “snarling” tone, his conceptual continuity, wide range of expressions, and his unpredictability and occasionally lightning fast and slurred lines.
Take, for example, the following Youtube comment regarding a live version of Zappa’s “The Torture Never Stops” [Video link down below]: “I agree, this is one of the greatest guitar bits ever captured on tape. Frank said on numerous occasions he wasn’t a real virtuoso guitar player; his technique had a lot of holes. But when he was on, his phrasing was absolutely top-shelf, and he could just flat-out rock. Frank’s phrasing on this solo is simply incredible. He builds on each line played previously and tells a magnificent story. Thanks also should go to the amazing band playing behind him, which gave him the canvas to paint on. Folks who like this should also check out his solo called ‘St Etienne’ from the Jazz From Hell CD. Video of the performance is on Youtube… search for ‘Zappa St Etienne.'”
The guitar “bit” really starts at around 5:42, for those who don’t care for the full song: