Frank Gambale

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Frank Gambale
Frank Gambale in Montréal.jpg
Gambale performing in Montréal in 2011
Background information
Birth name Frank Gambale
Born (1958-12-22) 22 December 1958 (age 58)
Origin Canberra, Australia[1]
Genres Jazz fusion, smooth jazz, jazz, instrumental rock
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, producer
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1984–present
Labels Legato, Victor, Favored Nations, Wombat
Associated acts Chick Corea Elektric Band, Vital Information, GHS, Return to Forever

Frank Gambale (born 22 December 1958)[2] is an Australian jazz fusion guitarist. He has released twenty albums over a period of three decades, and is renowned for his use of the sweep picking and economy picking techniques.

Recording career[edit]

Gambale graduated from the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, with Student of the Year honors. He also taught there from 1984 to 1986.[3] After graduation, he played the jazz club circuit with his own band and in 1985 released his first studio album, Brave New Guitar, through Legato Records (owned by Mark Varney, brother of Shrapnel Records founder Mike Varney) in what was to be a three-album contract. In the summer of 1986, he toured with Jean-Luc Ponty and shortly afterwards began a six-year stint with the Chick Corea Elektric Band in 1987. During his time with the latter, he has participated in five albums and shared a Grammy Award (with two nominations).

In the 1980s, he released two studio albums (Brave New Guitar and A Present for the Future) and a live album. In 1988 he released Monster Licks & Speed Picking through REH Publications, and later reissued in 1994 through Hal Leonard Publications. This was the first of his many instructional videos and particularly the first book to be written on the subject of sweep picking, now a widely used guitar technique. A 1987 endorsement deal with Ibanez guitars transitioned into the 1991 debut of the Frank Gambale Model (FGM) signature series, modeled after the Ibanez S. Through 1999, four FGM models were produced: the FGM100, FGM200, FGM300 and FGM400. Yamaha also manufactured a signature guitar, the AES-FG, after he left Ibanez later in the 1990s. Gambale signed with Victor Entertainment in 1989 as part of a five-album agreement, and released his third studio album, Thunder from Down Under, the following year.

The 1990s began for Gambale with a pair of albums, Truth in Shredding (1990) and Centrifugal Funk (1991), as part of The Mark Varney Project. These were collaborations with fellow guitarists Allan Holdsworth, Brett Garsed and Shawn Lane, in a jazz fusion supergroup concept put together by Mark Varney.[4] Around this time, he served as head of the guitar department of the Los Angeles Music Academy.[3] In 1998, having parted ways with Victor, Gambale started his own record label named Wombat Records after purchasing his entire Legato discography with the intention of reissuing it himself. A live double album, Resident Alien – Live Bootlegs, was released in 2001, along with Imagery Suite; a duet featuring classical guitarist Maurizio Colonna. He also released a studio album, Coming to Your Senses, on guitarist Steve Vai's Favored Nations label in 2000. In 2004, Gambale released his ninth studio album, Raison D'être, through Wombat Records; this was his first to be self-released and also the first to feature his newly invented 'Gambale tuning'.[clarification needed]

Gambale has also been a member of the jazz fusion band Vital Information since 1988, with the group consisting of keyboardist Tom Coster, drummer Steve Smith and bassist Baron Browne. Furthermore, in a group known as GHS, he has released three collaborative albums (Show Me What You Can Do, The Light Beyond, and GHS 3) with Steve Smith and bassist Stu Hamm through Mike Varney's jazz-oriented label Tone Center Records. In addition to concert recordings, he released an instructional DVD called Concert with Class in 2003. A reunion with Chick Corea came about in 2004, and Gambale subsequently toured with the Chick Corea Elektric Band. In 2006 and 2010, he released two all-jazz studio albums in the form of Natural High and Natural Selection, respectively. In 2011, he endorsed the Carvin FG1, a thin hollow body guitar made at the Carvin factory in San Diego, California.

In 2014, Gambale joined the Isina mentorship program as head of the guitar department.[5][6] In July 2015, Gambale will release a new online guitar school website featuring video-streamed instructional courses.[7]


Gambale has been featured on the covers of many guitar and jazz-orientated magazines worldwide, while having been cited as an influence by many notable guitarists including Synyster Gates,[8] Dweezil Zappa,[9] Greg Howe,[10] and Pat Metheny[11]


In a 1991 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Jerry Garcia stated that Gambale was one of his favorite players at the time, stating, "And my personal favorite lately is this guy Frank Gambale, who's been playing with Chick Corea for the past couple of years."[12]


Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 2006: Best of Jazz & Rock Fusion
  • 2006: Best of the Smooth Jazz Side
  • 2006: Best of the Acoustic Side

The Mark Varney Project (MVP)[edit]

Stuart Hamm and Steve Smith[edit]

  • 1998: Show Me What You Can Do
  • 2000: The Light Beyond
  • 2002: GHS 3

Maurizio Colonna[edit]

  • 2000: Imagery Suite (also known as Playgame)
  • 2005: Live (with Maurizio Colonna)
  • 2007: Bon Voyage

Chick Corea Elektric Band[edit]

  • 1987: Light Years
  • 1988: Eye of the Beholder
  • 1990: Inside Out
  • 1991: Beneath the Mask
  • 1996: The Songs of West Side Story
  • 2004: To the Stars
  • 2004: Chick Corea Elektric Band Live at Montreux (DVD)


  • 1988: GRP Super Live in Concert

Vital Information[edit]

  • 1988: Fiafiaga
  • 1991: Vital Live
  • 1992: Easier Done Than Said
  • 1996: Ray of Hope
  • 1998: Where We Come From
  • 2000: Live Around the World
  • 2000: Live From Mars
  • 2002: Show 'em Where You Live
  • 2004: Come on In

Video releases[edit]

  • 1988: Monster Licks & Speed Picking
  • 1991: Modes: No More Mystery
  • 1993: Chopbuilder: The Ultimate Guitar Workout
  • 2003: Concert with Class
  • 2007: Acoustic Improvisation

Instructional books[edit]

  • 1994: The Frank Gambale Technique Book I
  • 1994: The Frank Gambale Technique Book II
  • 1997: Improvisation Made Easier
  • 1997: The Best of Frank Gambale


  1. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 2012-01-23.
  2. ^ Gilbert, Mark (2002). "Gambale, Frank". In Barry Kernfeld. The new Grove dictionary of jazz, vol. 2 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. pp. 8–9. ISBN 1561592846. 
  3. ^ a b Hallebeek, Richard (20 October 2001). "Frank Gambale (2001)". Retrieved 2012-01-23.
  4. ^ Monk, Laurie (13 June 2010). "Truth In Shredding: Mark Varney: Legato interview with Laurie Monk". Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  5. ^ Frank Gambale Head of the Guitar Department at ISINA. YouTube. 30 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Guitar Department". 
  7. ^ "Frank Gambale Online Guitar School". 
  8. ^  Michael Molenda (23 August 2006). "Avenged Sevenfold's Zacky Vengeance & Synyster Gates". GuitarPlayer. Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  9. ^ "Frank Gambale,Dweezil Zappa: Dweezil explains how Gambale advanced his technique | The Cheap Electric Guitar Blog". 4 June 2012. Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  10. ^ "Greg Howe Interview – Fusion Maestro | All Out Guitar | Magazine Archive". All Out Guitar. 29 August 2006. Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  11. ^ "Famous Quotes about Frank Gambale". 
  12. ^ Henke, James (October 31, 1991). "Jerry Garcia: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 27, 2016. 

External links[edit]