How to Use Guitar Gear and Pedals to Sound Like Frank Zappa…on the Cheap

Rock God who died

Frank Zappa was a iconic rock guitar player who was also composer and made many albums while he was alive.
He died a while back but his legacy lives on through many people still liking the music he made when he was alive. He made very weird music that many people liked, but there were also people who didn’t like it..and some who loved it.
He used a wide level of many expensive pieces of gear that cost alot of money but we will show you how to get the F. Zappa sound on a cheaper budget than that.

Start with a Guitar

Frank Zappa played an electric guitar, and he played many different kinds, such as a Fender Stratocaster and a Gibson SG. These are very expensive guitars which are too much money for the beginner trying to learn how to play like him. The secret is that all electric guitars sound exactly the same! The difference is just in the way they look! So start with a cheap guitar if you want to sound like Frank Zappa. WE reccomend the Davison Vintage Sunburst Guitar, which runs for $54.95 at AmAzon and looks like something that Frank ZAppa would possibly use to achieve his special sounds.

Amp is Important

Another key way to sound like Frank Zappa is to play through an Amp. It can be a cheap one if you are on a budget, or a more expensive one if you have more money to spend on it. If you pay more it will probably sound louder, which can be good if you want to be as loud as Frank Zappa was at a concert, but bad if you would wake up the niehgbors. What about this Roland Jazz Chorus Amp that sounds really cool. Mr. Zappa would maybe use the amp if he was alive and could use it. For $599 it could be a good amp to use if you have that much money.

Pedals, Pedals, Pedals and More Pedals

Zappa was known as an innovator of Musical Sounds and used different effects and pedals throughout his long career. Some of the pedals in his arsenal of pedals included Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Fuzz pedals, Wah-Wah pedals (according to his autobiography Mr. Zappa was the one that showed the Wah Wah pedal to Jimi Hendrix, who used it on albums and live). Mr Zappa also used Flangers, Phasers and many other cool and interesting pedals that made his rock guitar tone sound out of this world and very, very interesting and good. Because he used so many pedals the best way to sound like him would be to get your hands on a good cheap multi-effect pedal.  For around $50 you can get the Digitech RP-pedal that has different sounds in the box that can make you sound a lot more like Frank Zappa did when he was alive. It’s definitely a good one because it has different sounds in the box.



How To Sound Like Jason Isbell on a Budget

Dollars and Sense

Jason Isbell is a country musician that makes good ol’ downhome country music. He is a good player and singer and makes great songs that many people love. His unique guitar tone is great, but how can you try to sound like him without breaking the bank?

Guitars First

Before getting into pedals, let’s talk about guitars. If you don’t love your guitar and amp to begin with, pedals won’t help. And to sound like Jason we are going to want to talk about some of the guitars he uses. Including the First Act Custom Delgada, the Martin D-18 and the Fender Custom Shop Telecaster, these are very expensive guitars that will cost alot of money to get them. So how can you sound like him without buying a really expensive guitar?

Guitars all sound the same

The secret is, while some of Jason’s guitars may look cool, that’s all they are doing. All guitars are the same so you don’t need an expensive one, you’re just paying for the cool look.  So we recommend a budget model. Try this Best Choice Starter Guitar


which sells for $39 on


Get the Amp

Next to sound like JAson you need to get the Amp. There are many cool amps but they cost so much money. Get the cheapest one available online. I reccomend the Danelectro Honeytone to sound like Jason, because it’s $18 and it looks like Country style like something Jason Isbell would play on with its lettering.



Jason used many many pedals to get the country sound from his instrument but they were all too expnesive to play like him on a budget. so Just use the guitar and amp combo that i Reccomended and you will be off to a good start to sound like Jason Isbell in no time!

The Rigveda

For the past several years I’ve been obsessing over the ideal Guitar Rig. What’s best? A Fender Vibrolux? An Orange Amp? Or a good ol’ Marshall Half Stack? Should I be running 2 pedalboards in a stereo configuration?

Which pedals should I use to achieve my ideal tone??!

I’ve scoured the forums and YouTube videos trying to find answers, and spent a fortune along the way. A man’s Rig is very important!

I recently saw a book for sale on called the Rigveda, which I thought was about Guitar Rigs.

I was wrong! It’s actually a book of very cool Vedic Hymns. I was dissapointed that it wasn’t about guitar rigs, but very pleased to find out so much information about Hinduism and some of the cool Hymns that they used!

How to sound like J. Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. (on a Budget)

So, you want to sound like J. Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. but you don’t have enough money to do that?
Here is how you can do it with a little bit of money.

J. Mascis

J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. plays a Jazzmaster, which is a very expensive guitar from the Fender company. If you buy a new one it costs like $800 on Amazon
Then there is a cheaper one, which is the Squier J. Mascis Jazzmaster which is also expensive, like $400 or more.

These are definitely GREAT guitars but for the player on a budget, they cost too much money to afford to buy them. So how can you still play a guitar like that?
The answer is that all electric guitars actually do sound the same, so any cheap Electric Guitar would be fine! I reccomend the Zeny 30″ Children’s guitar. For $69.95 on Amazon you get it with an amp. It’s pink, which is a cool color.

pink guitar

It might not be as cool as the more expensive ones that J. Mascis uses but for more than 10 times cheaper, it’s absolutely worth it. The sound will sound the same it just doesn’t look as cool and is smaller.

Now, for the pedals which J. Mascis uses many of, you have to work to achieve that tone the hard way. One of J Mascis’s most famous pedal uses is the Big Muff pedal from Electro-Harmonix (EHX) which is a Fuzz pedal, meaning it makes the sound fuzzy and distorted and makes the guitar sound worse than how it usually would sound.

big muff

The Big Muff is a BIG grey pedal, which costs $105, which is alot of money for a rock guitarist on a budget who still needs to get a fuzz sound.
So there are a few other options. The first option is that the wiring and electronics of a fuzz is very simple, so if you learn Electrical Engineering you can easily just make one by soldering the wires together and the cables to make a cool pedal. BUt if you don’t want to learn Electric Engineering or how to do it that way another option is you can go to a local retailer and steal the pedal. Guitar Center keeps them behind a glass case, but if you ask to try it you could take it home with you when they aren’t looking.

Another option is to buy the Nano Big Muff, which is the same pedal, but instead of Grey, it’s White and it’s a smaller pedal that costs $72 and not $105.

So once you get that guitar and that pedal it will costs between $69.95 (if you steal the pedal)-$174.95 if you buy the big pedal.
So that’s a very cheap way to sounds just like J. MAscis on a budget and make cool music that way!

Pigtronix Mothership 2 Analog Synthesizer

Mothership Synthesizer Landing

Is it a bird or a plane? No it’s the Mothership Synthesizer pedal from Pigtronix. It’s called Mothership because Aliens travel in Motherships and this makes alien synthesizer types of sounds. It’s a VERY cool pedal to say the least and will have everyone hopping, skiping and running to the closest store or online retailer to purchase it.
purple pedal


What is it?

The Mothership Synthesizer pedal from Pigtronix is a new version of an older pedal they had before that makes very cool synthesizer sounds. It is a purple pedal. Have you ever listened to bands like ELO, Genesis, Yes or other bands that used synthesizers to maeke their music, such as many 80s band (including Bruce Springsteen and others). If you ever did listen then you will know the sound this pedal can make and now you can buy one and make those sounds too!

Is it a Good pedal?

Yes, this is a very good pedal to make cool synthesizer styles of sounds. A++ and highly recommended to everyone who wanted to buy it go buy it.

TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2– The NEW Reverb Pedal from TC ELECTRONIC

This awesome and sick Hall of Fame Reverb pedal has a few tricks up its sleeve…you might call it the David Blaine of Reverb Pedals. Offering true bypass, a small footprint and 2 holes to plug stuff in, this is the best that reverb has to offer. TC Electronic is a European company that makes pedals.

The Hall of Fame is a reverb pedal meaning it does reverbs. it has many of them.

Cool red pedal

What is Reverb?

Reverb is how the sound sounds like it in different places. So a big room has a big reverb and a little room has a tiny tiny reverb. It’s a very cool thing.

What does it do?

This Hall of Fame was aptly named because it should be in the hall of fame for great different reverbs. everything from plate to hall and spring, this reverb does all of the reverbs good…or great.

  • Our thoughts
    When I plugged my yellow guitar into this little red pedal it was cool. I stepped on the button and the room became like in a small room, because i had the room setting on. Then i switched it to the hall setting and the room i was in felt like a hall. it’s cool to have a pedal that changes the room like that. i really loved plugging this thing in and playing some notes. You could easily play songs by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or J. Mascis (from Dinosaur Jr.) with this pedal turned on or off, both would sound good. As with all pedals we reccomend turning all knobs to their maximum setting to achieve the best results. When we did that here the sound became so big and the guitar sound so little. everything was bouncing.

Sheryl Crow’s PedalBoard

What does Sheryl Crow have on her PedalBoard?

Since becoming a pedal enthusiast and expert about pedals, one thing tons of people are always asking is, what does Sheryl Crow have on her pedalboard? Which pedals are there?
Doing some internet research has been invaluable in discovering what she has on her pedalboard. I used to search for what she had on her pedalboard. The results of that google search may surprise you!


What were the results of that Google search?

Firstly I checked out the Equipboard site, which indicated the Sheryl Crow plays many, many different guitars. But it lists that she has 0 pedals. This was a very shocking discovery because I thought she would use some. And many people had already asked about what kind of pedals she was using, so I did want to find out which ones she used. But this website said 0. SO then I clicked on a YouTube video entitled Rick Purcell, Sheryl Crow’s Guitar Tech: A typical day with Sheryl’s gear which you can see it right here:

As you can see, in the frame there are the pedals that Sheryl Crow used! So that’s the answer to which ones she uses on her pedalboard!

Brooklyn Stompbox Exhibit

In 2017 there was brookyln Stompbox Exhibit. It was a pretty cool thing at the music shop in Brooklyn called Main Drag Music.
Some pedal companies were featuring there, such as Boss, Electro-Harmonix, Old Blood Noise, Eventide, Chase Bliss, Rabbit Hole FX, Fuzzrocious and other cool companies. Here is a short video documentary about the Brooklyn Stompbox Exhibit from 2017!

MXR Dyna Comp Mini– The little compressor pedal that could

Compression–What Is iT?

Compression is a pedal or effect that changes the audio in a subtle way that you can’t tell what changed there. It makes the sound sound different than how it sounded before, which is very cool. It’s a very little effect because you can’t hear what it did.

So–why is it used? Read on to find out.


Why is it used?

Compressors, such as the Keeley Compressor and the MXR Dyna Comp were used to compress the audio because the musicians wanted the sound to be compressed from what it was before. According to, John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, The Edge from U2, Noel Gallagher from Oasis, Cliff BUrton (Deceased) from Metallica, and Andy Summers from the Police all used the Dyna Comp Compressor from MXR to make their guitars sound different from how they sounded before.


Big one? Or Little One?

So the big question for all the guitarists out there now is, should I buy the little Dyna Comp Mini from MXR or use the old bigger one from MXR? Check out this video to see a sample of how the new little one sounds and decide if you like that pedal or just want to play the old one!