Frank Zappa's Utility Muffin Research Kitchen Gear Goes to Auction

10/12/2016 11:12:00 PM
By Clive Young

Frank Zappa had a fascinating career, recording more than 60 albums before he died in 1993 at the age of 52. Much of that work was done in his famous home recording studio, the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, which was left intact after his passing. Now with Zappa’s 6,759-square-foot home having recently been sold to Lady Gaga for a reported $5.25 million, many items from the estate, including vintage pro audio gear from the UMRK and his rehearsal facility, Joe’s Garage, will be hitting the auction block in early November, 2016.

Up for bid will be a slew of speakers and speaker boxes, more than half a dozen recording and live sound consoles, various vintage effects, analog and digital tape machines, guitars, drums and more. The full auction, “Property from the Estate of Frank and Gail Zappa,” will be held by Julien’s Auctions on November 4; the company will hold a public exhibition of the items October 31 through November 3. Here’s just a few items that caught our eye…

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Lot 442
A Harrison 4832 mixing console that was first located at Frank Zappa’s home studio, the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, and later moved to Joe’s Garage, Frank Zappa’s rehearsal facility and studio, in Room Act III. This was the board Zappa used for the recording of his projects from the late 1970s until it was replaced in the late 1980s. Included with the board are the auto power supply, Electronic Design Model CED 196, serial number 02C, and the Harrison Autoset, model Eight Sixty Four.
Estimate: $10,000 - $20,000

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Lot 445
A Neve VR60 recording console with flying faders that replaced the Harrison board at Frank Zappa's home studio, the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, in the late 1980s. The modules are marked "F Zappa" and dated 1987. Also included is the Neve power supply and a computer.
Estimate: $30,000 - $40,000

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Lot 444
A Yamaha RM2408 mixing console, serial number NN01005, and used in Joe’s Garage, Frank Zappa’s rehearsal facility and studio, in the rehearsal rooms as well as on tour. Tape marks on the channels for artist “Lisa” [Loeb].
Estimate: $700 - $900

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Lot 436
An early 1980s Sony 24-track digital audio recorder, model PCM-3324, that Frank Zappa used to record his first digital recordings in the studio and to transfer his analog recordings to a digital format. In addition, he took this recorder on the road to record his 1984 U.S. tour. Julien’s does not guarantee the working conditions of this recorder. It is the responsibility of the buyer to inspect and review prior to bidding.
Estimate: $500 - $700

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Lot 430
An Ampex 24-track MM1200 tape machine with a reel marked “Joe’s Garage Studio Act 3 - Take up reel.” The recorder was used at Frank Zappa’s home studio, the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, and later moved to Joe’s Garage, Frank Zappa’s rehearsal facility and studio.
Estimate: $1,000 - $2,000

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