Born: December 22, 1958 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Frank began playing guitar at age 7 in Canberra, Australia where he was born and raised. He was influenced by the blues playing of Jimi Hendrix , John Mayall / Eric Clapton, and Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia . In his mid-teens he discovered Steely Dan, The Brecker Brothers and Chick Corea, which pointed him in a jazzy direction. In 1982 at 23 he decided to leave his home to study at the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood. He graduated with the highest honor, Student of the Year and was offered a teaching position which he kept for 4 years. During that time he was playing the local jazz club circuit with his own band and already had his first book Speed Picking published. In 1986 he signe a 3 album contract with a small label called Legato and began his recording career.
The same year he was recruited by Jean-luc Ponty to tour. Shortly after that tour, he auditioned for Chick Corea and began a 6 year stint which culminated in 5 albums, a Grammy award and two Grammy Nominations. Chick helped expose Frank to the world, for which he is very grateful, playing with Chick was like a dream come true says Frank. That same year Ibanez guitars approached him to endorse their guitar which culminated in a long relationship and spawned the Frank Gambale model guitar which was first on sale worldwide in 1987. They made 4 versions of the guitar, the FGM100, FGM200, FGM300 and FGM400.
In 1987 Frank signed a 3-video deal with DCI / Warner Brothers for instructional videos. In 1988, Frank signed a major label deal with JVC. In 1990 he released Thunder From Down Under which sold well all over the world and at one point it was #1 on the Japanese Jazz charts along with all his three Legato releases in the top 10 at the same time.
In 1992, Frank decided it was time to go out there on his own and has been touring with his group ever since. He has toured in many countries with his own band including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and the U.S. He has done countless seminars and master classes worldwide to countries as far away as South Africa and Uruguay.
In 1996 Frank was offered a position of Head of the Guitar Department of a new musical school in the Los Angeles area called the L.A. Music Academy (LAMA). He wrote the core curriculum/ study program for this one year vocational school including Harmony and Theory, Improvisation, Technique and Composition courses. The school is a great success and is an inspirational place for guitarists the world over. He teaches one, sometimes 2 full day a week at the school when he is in town and maintains the guitar department, and chose the teachers.
Recently Frank began his own record label called Wombat Records on which he re-released his early Legato catalog and has just released a new a double live CD called Resident Alien - Live Bootlegs, and a duet CD with Maurizio Colonna, the famous Italian Classical guitarist called Imagery Suite. There are also 2 new releases, the first is a live album recorded in Poland in 1996 where Frank plays lives versions of music from the Passages and Thinking Out Loud period. The other new release is Tony Muschamp More Bass Please. Muschamp is a longtime friend of Gambale and Gambale solos on every song.
Gambale also delivered one album for Steve Vai's new record company called Favored Nations called Coming To Your Senses, one of his strongest albums ever. Frank has also played and contributed songs to seven Vital Information albums and three trio recordings on Mike Varney's Tone Center records. The first released in 1999 called Show Me What You Can Do was well received, and the second called The Light Beyond came out in July 2000 and the third one is simply called GHS 3.
Frank left Ibanez for a deal with Yamaha guitars and a new Frank Gambale model is out designed by FG and Dave Cervantes with some input also from Ken Dapron at YGD ( Yamaha Guitar Design ) in North Hollywood called AES-FG. A second model is being designed currently for an expected release in the summer of 2007.
Frank is also under contract with Carvin and has helped design a preamp called the Tone Navigator which was released at the January 2004 NAMM in Los Angeles. This is an opportunity granted to very few people. There is also the possibility of a signature series acoustic guitar for Carvin.
Frank has also recently completed something he has always wanted to do, namely, a concert DVD. It's called Concert With Class. A 90 min. concert and 90 min. instructional material related to the performance part.
Late in 2002 the celebration of Chick Corea's 60th birthday reunited the Elektric Band after a 10 year hiatus with a sold- out performance to 18,000 at the Hollywood Bowl Aug 28th. The band received a GRAMMY Award and two NOMINATIONS in the late 80's and early 90s. The show kicked off a wave of reunion tours. The band consists of Chick Corea, Frank Gambale, Dave Weckl, John Patitucci and Eric Marienthal. The group recorded a new album called To The Stars and a live DVD at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival.
Mr. G toured Europe in February and March 2004 with his own trio and again with the Chick Corea Elektric Band in the summer of 2004.
Mr. G has recently recorded and released a new acoustic jazz album featuring FG on acoustic guitar, Otmaro Ruiz on piano and alain Caron on acoustic bass. The album is called Natural High and and has received great reviews. The album before this latest release is called Raison D'etre and featured the great Billy Cobham on drums.
Frank has always been considered an innovator on guitar having brought to the world a revolutionary technique called Sweep Picking which is a picking method mostly using brushing or sweeping strokes across string to facilitate incredible speed and effortlessness, but more importantly, a unique style of playing guitar. If this isn't enough of a contribution to the guitar, on the Raison D'etre album Frank presents a revolutionary new tuning called Gambale Tuning, which is a totally different stringing of the instrument to create, as Frank puts it a way to bring the guitar closer to the liberty that piano players have to play any chord no matter how close the notes are voiced.
In September 2006 Wombat Records will release three new Best Of collections spanning Frank's 20 year recording history. each album will focus seperately on The Acoustic Side, The Smooth Jazz Side and The Rock and Jazz Fusion Sides of Frank's work.
Gambale keeps a busy schedule for sure either writing for an album, book or video, touring or helping design a new guitar model with Yamaha, or giving seminars in Asia, or doing a session for an Italian pop record. Frank loves his work ato say the least. I can't believe I get paid to do what I do, I wouldn't trade it for the world.