Frank Gambale

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Frank Gambale
Frank Gambale in Montreal.jpg
Gambale performing in Montréal in 2011
Background information
Birth nameFrank Gambale
Born (1958-12-22) 22 December 1958 (age 62)
Origin Canberra, Australia [1]
Genres Jazz fusion, smooth jazz, jazz, instrumental rock
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, producer
Years active1984–present
LabelsLegato, 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 known for his use of the sweep picking and economy picking techniques.


Recording career

Solo albums

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


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]


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]

To further explain the exact strings and tuning used in the Gambale Tuning, Frank posted this explanation on his Facebook page, June 10, 2019

"So, here is GAMBALE TUNING explained...and it only took me 40 years to invent this! ADGCEA. It's the same relative tuning as regular guitar but the lowest string is the 5th string A instead of the regular low E. Also, the 1st and 2nd strings are one octave lower. Here's the suggested string gauges. From low to high use strings from an electric 10 gauge standard set. Use only the A D G and B strings for the 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd strings. The B string will be tuned up a half step to C. Then for the 1st and 2nd strings use a D and a G string from a standard 09 gauge set. These two strings are to be tuned up a whole step so the D will be tuned to E as the 2nd string wound, and the G will be tuned to A as the 1st string."

Regular Light, 10-46463626171310
Notes with Octave E2A2D3G3B3E4
GAMBALE TUNING362617132416
Notes with Octave A2D3G3C4E3A3


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

As co-leader/band member

With Maurizio Colonna

With Maurizo Vercon

With Chick Corea Elektric Band

With GHS

With GRP Super Live

With the Mark Varney Project

With Vital Information

Instructional videos

Instructional books

Related Research Articles

Sweep picking

Sweep picking is a guitar playing technique. When sweep picking, the guitarist plays single notes on consecutive strings with a 'sweeping' motion of the pick, while using the fretting hand to produce a specific series of notes that are fast and fluid in sound. Both hands essentially perform an integral motion in unison to achieve the desired effect.

Allan Holdsworth English guitarist and composer

Allan Holdsworth was a British jazz fusion and progressive rock guitarist and composer.

Return to Forever

Return to Forever was an American jazz fusion band that was founded by pianist Chick Corea in 1971. The band has had many members, with the only consistent bandmate of Corea's being bassist Stanley Clarke. With Weather Report, The Headhunters, and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever is often cited as one of the core groups of the jazz-fusion movement of the 1970s. Several musicians, including Clarke, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira and Al Di Meola, came to prominence through their performances on Return to Forever albums.

Outline of guitars Overview of and topical guide to guitars

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to guitars:

Economy picking is a guitar picking technique designed to maximize picking efficiency by combining alternate picking and sweep picking; it may also incorporate the use of legato in the middle of alternate picking passages as way to achieve higher speed with less pick strokes. Specifically:

<i>Eye of the Beholder</i> (album) 1988 studio album by Chick Corea Elektric Band

Eye of the Beholder is a 1988 album by the Chick Corea Elektric Band. It features Chick Corea with guitarist Frank Gambale, saxophonist Eric Marienthal, drummer Dave Weckl and bassist John Patitucci.

Chick Corea Elektric Band Jazz fusion band

Chick Corea Elektric Band was a jazz fusion band, led by keyboardist Chick Corea. The band was nominated twice at the Grammy Awards. Chick Corea Elektric Band II received an additional nomination in 1994.

T. J. Helmerich is an American musician and audio engineer.

<i>Light Years</i> (Chick Corea album) 1987 studio album by Chick Corea Elektric Band

Light Years is an album by the Chick Corea Elektric Band. It features Chick Corea with guitarist Frank Gambale, saxophonist Eric Marienthal, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Dave Weckl. The album received the 1988 Grammy Award for the Best R&B Instrumental Performance.

Brett Garsed

Brett Edward Garsed is an Australian musician and songwriter, best known for his work as a guitarist with John Farnham and T. J. Helmerich, as well as being a former member of the American band Nelson. Garsed was featured on Derek Sherinian's solo records Planet X (1999) and Planet X's Quantum (2007), and more recently Sherinian's Molecular Heinosity (2010).

<i>Brave New Guitar</i> 1985 studio album by Frank Gambale

Brave New Guitar is the first studio album by jazz guitarist Frank Gambale, released in 1985 through Legato Records.

<i>A Present for the Future</i> 1987 studio album by Frank Gambale

A Present for the Future is the second studio album by guitarist Frank Gambale, released in 1987 by Legato Records and reissued in 2000 by Wombat Records. The third track, "Stephanie", is renamed "Serenity" on the reissue. Harpist Stephanie Bennett was Gambale's ex-wife and was mentioned in the liner notes of all his albums until Passages (1994).

<i>To the Stars</i> (album) 2004 studio album by Chick Corea Elektric Band

To the Stars is an album by American jazz fusion group the Chick Corea Elektric Band, released on August 24, 2004 by Stretch Records. Jazz musician Chick Corea, a longtime member of the Church of Scientology, was inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction 1954 novel To the Stars. Hubbard's book tells the story of an interstellar crew which experiences the effects of time dilation due to traveling at near light speed. A few days experienced by the ship's crew could amount to hundreds of years for their friends and family back on Earth.

<i>Centrifugal Funk</i> 1991 studio album by The Mark Varney Project

Centrifugal Funk is the second and final studio album by the Mark Varney Project (MVP), released in 1991 through Legato Records; a remastered edition was reissued in 2004 through Tone Center Records. This incarnation of the group is a collaboration between guitarists Frank Gambale, Brett Garsed and Shawn Lane. It consists primarily of covers of existing jazz fusion compositions, save for one track performed by Lane—"Lane's Blitz"—which he later dismissed as an impromptu warm-up rather than a planned solo, and thus his dislike for it. Varney, however, disputes Lane's version of events.

<i>Truth in Shredding</i> 1990 studio album by The Mark Varney Project

Truth in Shredding is the first studio album by the Mark Varney Project (MVP), released in 1990 through Legato Records and reissued on November 4, 2003 through Tone Center Records. MVP was a short-lived collaborative project put together by Mark Varney, brother of Shrapnel Records founder Mike Varney. Mark founded Legato in the 1980s, which served as a jazz-oriented counterpart to the rock stylings of Shrapnel. This incarnation of the group features guitarists Frank Gambale and Allan Holdsworth. Besides one track written by Gambale, the rest are covers of existing jazz fusion compositions.

Chris Brooks (guitarist)

Chris Brooks is an Australian author, rock, metal and fusion guitarist most noted for his debut instrumental album The Master Plan and his subsequent work with members of Yngwie Malmsteen, Black Sabbath, Lana Lane, and fellow Australians LORD.

<i>Live!</i> (Frank Gambale album) 1989 live album by Frank Gambale

Live! is the first live album by guitarist Frank Gambale, released in 1989 by Legato Records and reissued in 2000 by Wombat Records.

Jimmy Earl American jazz bass guitarist

James Christopher Earl is an American jazz bass guitarist who is a member of the Jimmy Kimmel Live! band.

<i>The Chick Corea Elektric Band</i> (album) 1986 studio album by Chick Corea

The Chick Corea Elektric Band is an album by jazz and fusion keyboard player Chick Corea, released in 1986. It is the eponymous debut album of the Chick Corea Elektric Band, which at that time also featured drummer Dave Weckl, bass player John Patitucci and guitarists Scott Henderson and Carlos Rios.

<i>Beneath the Mask</i> 1991 studio album by Chick Corea

Beneath the Mask is an album by Chick Corea Elektric Band, released in 1991 through the record label GRP. The album peaked at number two on Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.


  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. 1 2 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. 1 2 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.