Frank Zappa once told Steve Vai his guitar tone sounded “like an electric ham sandwich”

[L-R] Steve Vai and Frank Zappa
(Image credit: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

Steve Vai has achieved legendary status in the guitar world over the course of his 40-year-plus career, but that's not to say he hasn't received his share of criticism along the way.

In a new interview with Australian Musician, Vai recalls his tenure in Frank Zappa's band – which spanned 1980 to 1983 – and remembers how the late musician described the sound of his early guitar tone as “like an electric ham sandwich”.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.