Gambale Instructionals - to buy or not to buy?

I just watched the Frank Gambale interview series and was blown away. Well done!

Question: has anyone tried to tackle his technique? He has a whole course on his website and I’m intrigued. Looks like a crazy fun rabbit hole to go down. Looking for anyone’s feedback/opinion before I take the plunge!

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I have attempted economy picking, for nearly two decades! I was never happy with the sound I was getting with it and also felt that controlling the timing of direction changes was very difficult.

Nowadays I practice a one way economy picking system using forearm and wrist. I was practicing wrist only with two way economy picking but I’ve abandoned it now, except for 1nps type stuff.

It is worth giving it a try though, you might find it really suits you. I’ve seen some people where it came relatively quick to them and there is a load of help and info nowadays for this picking style.

I was trying to learn from an old gambale vhs. I now know the many places I was going wrong due to all the info available about it now!

The original Monster Licks & Speed Picking is probably the best starting point for his sweeping system. He breaks down the fundamentals in scales, sequences, pentatonics, arpeggios, and ends with the big monster lick that combines all of these ideas.

His technique was pretty much complete at this point, I don’t think he’s really added any new mechanics to the overall approach. His other instructional material is great, but mostly just looks at new ways to apply the same fundamental technical system shown here, through different chord progressions and songs, etc.

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Yes - the online tools available today are a LOT better than back in the day!


Cool! I will check that out and see how it goes, then decide whether it’s worth springing for Gambale’s course. Thanks!

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Hey all,
changed the title because this could be a nice general discussion on Gambale’s courses, where people who have them can advise others etc.

One quick advice for @marklee3d: I have 3 of FG’s recent courses (blues, sweeping and rhythm guitar). They are quite pricey but I’d advise to join his mailing list so you can be notified when they have a discount. Wait until they are 33% or 50% off, in which case the price becomes more reasonable.

In terms of sweeping, the new course is basically a continuation (or longer version of) of that “Monster licks” DVD. It’s essentially application-focused: all the examples pretty much assume that you can do the technique already. The course is like a big bag of licks :slight_smile:

In terms of the details of the technique, I’ll of course recommend Troy’s YT feature (ep 1 linked below). I suspect you watched this already though :slight_smile:

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Just chiming in to add that that if you want to match Frank’s pick choice and don’t have a convenient source for the D’Addario/Planet Waves pick he favors, Fender heavy celluloid in the “346” shape seems to be good match in both shape and flexibility.


How critical do you think the pick is? I’ll probably get one and try it. Just wondering if that is a big part of his technique or if it could be done with any pick.

BTW if you’re looking for a good entry point to Frank’s music, the Passages album is really great. Kind of has a Steve Morse vibe to it, but the playing is a lot more fluid in a Satriani kind of way.

The main thing is you don’t want a pick that’s super bendy, and you don’t want one that’s super pointy. In order for the pick to cross the strings smoothly in Gambale-ish technique, it’s easier if the pick has a rounded tip and is reasonably stiff. The 346 shape has a slightly more rounded tip than the “standard/classic” 351 shape descended from D’Andrea picks. A heavy-ish “standard” 351 style pick would definitely work. You can probably make other shapes work too, but the path is probably easier with a heavy 346 or 351 shape pick.

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Ah, I never even thought about the fact pointy picks might make certain direction changes etc more difficult… I often feel like I’m getting a bit stuck with the pick and have to use a really high degree of edge picking to try smooth it out.
Might try a rounder one for this sort of stuff

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And if you want to try a rounder tip with what you already have on hand, the shoulders of a “standard” pick are even rounder than the tip of a 346, but can still give you an idea of how a rounder tip might feel.

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Nice one, I’ll order a few and give them a try

I am interested in some of Gambale’s online courses (mostly the ones on improvisation and phrasing). I’m sure they’re excellent, he’s an experienced and insightful teacher. However, they’re quite expensive.

After Troy’s YouTube series on Gambale, I tried imitating his form with his preferred picks for a little while. Honestly, it’s kind of eerie how effortless sweeping feels with his form and those rounded triangle picks. Neither the form nor the pick choice is very compatible with my picking modes, but it’s definitely something that everybody should try.

I didn’t really enjoy Gambale’s playing when I first heard it as a teenager. Obviously I could acknowledge that he was a monster, but I just didn’t really “get” his playing. Over time, his style and his phrasing started to make much more sense to me. Now, I find his playing very moving and evocative.

I was listening to the MVP albums Truth In Shredding and Centrifugal Funk in my car again this week. Absolutely awesome player.

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As @tommo says, there will probably be a discount at some point. I suspect he may drop the prices at Black Friday.

I signed up to Frank Gambale’s mailing list as @tommo suggested. Sure enough, there is is a Black Friday discount of 50% for members. I’m very strongly considering getting one or two of his courses at these prices.