Frank Gambale

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Frank Gambale
Frank Gambale in Montréal.jpg
Gambale performing in Montréal in 2011
Background information
Birth nameFrank Gambale
Born (1958-12-22) 22 December 1958 (age 60)
OriginCanberra, Australia[1]
GenresJazz fusion, smooth jazz, jazz, instrumental rock
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, producer
Years active1984–present
LabelsLegato, Victor, Favored Nations, Wombat
Associated actsChick 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 known for his use of the sweep picking and economy picking techniques.

Recording career[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

Gambale graduated from the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood with Student of the Year honors and taught there from 1984 to 1986.[3]

After graduation, he played the jazz club circuit with his own band. In 1985, his first album, Brave New Guitar, appeared on Legato Records, which was owned by Mark Varney, brother of Mike Varney, the founder of Shrapnel Records. Gambale signed with Victor Entertainment in 1989 as part of a five-album agreement and released Thunder from Down Under, the following year.

In 1998 he started his own record label, Wombat Records, after purchasing his 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 released Coming to Your Senses on Favored Nations, a record label owned by guitarist Steve Vai. In 2004, he released Raison D'etre, through Wombat Records, his first album to be self-released.


With the Mark Varney Project, consisting of Allan Holdsworth, Brett Garsed, and Shawn Lane, he recorded two albums, Truth in Shredding (1990) and Centrifugal Funk (1991).[4]

Beginning in 1987, he spent six years as a member of the Chick Corea Elektric Band, playing with Eric Marienthal, John Patitucci, and Dave Weckl. With Corea's band he recorded five albums[5] and shared two Grammy Award nominations. He spent twelve years as a member of Vital Information, led by Steve Smith. He reunited with the Elektric Band in 2002 and with Corea in 2011 when he joined Return to Forever IV with Stanley Clarke, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Lenny White.[5]


Gambale has been head of the guitar department at the Los Angeles Music Academy.[3] He joined the Isina mentorship program as head of the guitar department in 2014.[6] During the next year, he started an online guitar school.[7] In 1988 he published Monster Licks & Speed Picking, the first of many instructional videos and the first book to be written on sweep picking and economy picking, two popular guitar techniques.


Gambale has become identified with sweep picking and economy picking. His interest grew out of a desire to transcend the physical limits of the guitar and borrow from other instruments, such as the piano and saxophone. One advantage of the technique is that it allows him to play faster. He can also approximate the way chords are played on piano by using his invented tuning, the Gambale Tuning, in which "the whole guitar is tuned up a fourth, but the top two strings are down an octave" (A, D, G, C, E, A, low to high).[8]

Custom models[edit]

Ibanez produced the Frank Gambale Model (FGM) signature series guitars, modeled after the Ibanez S. Through 1999, four models were produced: FGM100, FGM200, FGM300, and FGM400. Yamaha also manufactured a signature guitar, the AES-FG. Gambale currently plays semi hollow artist signature Kiesel guitars.


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,[9] Dweezil Zappa,[10] Greg Howe,[11] and Pat Metheny.[12] In a 1991 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, guitarist Jerry Garcia stated that Gambale was one of his favorite players at the time, stating, "My personal favorite lately is this guy Frank Gambale, who's been playing with Chick Corea for the past couple of years."[13]


As leader[edit]

As co-leader/band member[edit]

With Maurizio Colonna

  • 2000 Imagery Suite (also known as Playgame)
  • 2005 Live
  • 2007 Bon Voyage

With Chick Corea Elektric Band

  • 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)

With GHS

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

With GRP Super Live

  • 1988 GRP Super Live – in Concert

With the Mark Varney Project

With Vital Information

  • 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
  • 2012 Live! One Great Night

Instructional videos[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 (ed.). 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). "Richard Hallebeek". Richard Hallebeek. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  4. ^ Monk, Laurie. "Mark Varney: Legato interview with Laurie Monk". Truth in Shredding. pp. 13 June 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  5. ^ a b Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz Guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.
  6. ^ "Guitar Department".
  7. ^ "Frank Gambale Online Guitar School".
  8. ^ Fox, Darrin (1 April 2010). "Frank Gambale". Guitar Player. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  9. ^  Michael Molenda (23 August 2006). "Avenged Sevenfold's Zacky Vengeance & Synyster Gates". GuitarPlayer. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Frank Gambale,Dweezil Zappa: Dweezil explains how Gambale advanced his technique | The Cheap Electric Guitar Blog". 4 June 2012. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Greg Howe Interview – Fusion Maestro | All Out Guitar | Magazine Archive". All Out Guitar. 29 August 2006. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Famous Quotes about Frank Gambale".
  13. ^ Henke, James (31 October 1991). "Jerry Garcia: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 June 2016.

External links[edit]