The Frank Gambale interview is here!


OK, thanks. Also, for Chrome users out there, you need to empty your browser cache and force a hard reload to get the updated zip files.



As usual, you make a lot of sense :slight_smile: Thanks for the answer.

I must say this video once was an eye-opener for me (namely the part about pick resting on the next string):

Playing 3nps stuff with economy picking realizing that there’s a rest stroke became a bit easier.



Also, I really have a hard time grasping what exactly is going on with Frank’s thumb when he descends. I noticed it years ago, but haven’t been able to do the same thing comfortably. Maybe that’s because of different pick, different pick angle etc. Troy’s video with analysis of this thumb movements would be awesome.



Yeah I missed Troy’s analysis of Frank’s playing. The analysis stuff in the older videos was great.



We’re working on this now, for the YouTubes, but these things take massive amounts of time. Disclaimer, unclear how much new stuff anyone who is current with our stuff will actually learn from this. Although we will try to clarify what “pickslanting” means in the context of Frank’s playing. He is a great example of how the “slant” of the pick and the “slant” of the motion are two different things.



I really liked the interview. Fank is truly a monster, isn’t he. I mean, when he first hit the scene everyone was like…what the…? And it’s a rare thing when you get a true innovator who’s willing to teach-and at the same time he’s really gifted in doing so-how he does it. Even before his current school, he’d done great educational job with all his books and video lessons, both on technique and harmony/impro.
Have anyone heard his Natural High project? Acoustic guitar, double bass and piano. He’s taken several jazz standards and wrote new themes over them. So, we have a chance to hear him blowing over typical jazz changes. On acoustic. Yes. I tell you people, I’ve seen it live-that was some scary shit. No kiddin’…



I love Frank, but never met him.
I’ve just got a Roland VG-88 guitar synth, and I’m going to use the virtual guitar part of it to try out the “Gambale tuning”. It sounds super-cool.

1 Like


Yes, guitar synths are great for trying out non-standard tunings without having to actually retune/restring the instrument. When I got my GR-30 long time ago, I was spending a lot of time exploring the Gambale tuning (he had just revealed it by that time, after the “Reason d’être” was released), and also fifths tuning (Holdsworth used it on Synthaxe) which I like a lot.

1 Like


If anyone wants to try the picks mentioned in the interview I’ll be more than happy to give some of mine away. Ordered a pack; only to find out after thirty seconds of use, that they’re really not for me…



I was rewatching the Frank interview and I think it’s my favourite. Frank is great to listen to and he is very soft and calmly spoken. His technique is a joy to watch and it looks like his pick isn’t even touching the strings. He has one of the most efficient techniques I have seen on the interviews so far. He’s my favourite sweep picker for sure.

1 Like


So, we cleared how frank moves his pick but no clue about how he thinks the musical stuff…very clever.



The two are very likely connected. Frank has released a million lessons on harmony, modes etc., or even just by studying the examples in the interview you can get many clues

1 Like


Yes, name one lesson where the method is clearly explained, without guessing or supossing things…

Maybe seeing Yngwie you dont need this cracking the code thingy.



He recently released a lesson (not for free) called “target tones”, where he discusses some of his ideas about chord changes (see link below) - I am actually on the fence with that one.

Even in his old “speed picking” book he explained how he would look for sweepable phrases inside the standard scale shapes (providing examples), and this is at least one of his possible ways to construct licks. But really I think the issue is that he uses a ton of different ideas, even though they all tend to revolve around his mechanics.

In general it would probably be impossible to condense his 40+ years of improvisational experience in a 1h interview.



I think the Improv Made Easier book is less typical of Gambale’s approach to improv than the system he lays out in the Frank Gambale Technique Book 1+2. The “Improv” book is entirely modal, whereas the “Technique” book gives numerous options over different chord qualities. For example, over the Minor 7 chord (the “II” in the II-V-I) Frank might play:

  1. The Dorian Mode (Dm7 = D Dorian)
  2. 3 Minor Pentatonic Scales: Starting on Root, Maj 2 up, or 5th up. (Dm7 = Dm / Em / Am Pent.)
  3. All diatonic Arpeggios from the relative major (Dm7 = Arps from Key of C major)
  4. Triad Groups / Implied Slash Chords (Dm7 = C + F + G major Triads)
  5. Intervals in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths from Dorian
  6. Chromatic Passing Tones that lead to Target notes in the chord

All this stuff is mapped out in the Technique Books, you should check them out if you’re interested in his approach!



You are right, and the improvising made easier examples seems a bit…composed.
But, still, theres no single example on how he thniks, like the joe pass example mentioned earlier, the method in practice to construct something similar.



Did Frank Gambale have an album he recorded with two other shred type guitarists, or is that Shawn Lane I’m thinking of? Or maybe Shawn was one of the two guitarists Gambale recorded with for that record. Does anyone here know which record I’m thinking if and what the name of it is?

I’d imagine that what he has to offer in his school is pretty different from what CTC’s MIM has to offer. If it weren’t much different, I’m not sure he would have done an interview of this type for MIM, since it would basically be like helping his competition.

As it is, I think Troy and Frank Gambale are helping each other promote their own particular products as opposed to competing with each other.

Maybe @Troy would want to expound in this, but MIM is pretty different from a typical music school. MIM is educational, like a school, but the primary focus is on the mechanics involved in making the music, rather than on the music itself. That’s why the magnet camera is so integral to MIM interviews.

Troy, if a time came when you thought MIM had covered mechanics as completely as was necessary, would your primary focus with CTC shift to offering other types of interviews besides Masters In Mechanics, or do you think there will always be enough new things worthwhile for MIM to explore about the mechanics of picking to keep your focus on explaining mechanics?



Yes it was with Shawn Lane and Brett Garsed and called Centrifugal Force. Very good album with lots of high tech guitar.



Try googling Frank Gambale Shawn Lane; in addition to more info on this collaboration you should find a familiar site in the top few results :wink:

Yep, for sure! There’s so much material and different angles / approaches to musical learning that we always try to think in terms of collaboration rather than competition with the people we work with, many of whom offer their own courses, downloads, lessons, etc.

Mechanics is definitely at the core of what we do, and what put us on the map, but we are interested in other topics too. I think there’s a sort of “Cracking the Code approach”, characterized by e.g. technical analysis and demystifying complex ideas, that we might apply to other areas if/when we think there’s something new we can add. We’ve done a few not-strictly-mechanical conversations already like talking performance/practice with Noa Kageyama, or playing through the changes with Martin Miller…not sure what next but I think it’s a good bet we’ll explore more stuff like this in the future!



Nice answers @Brendan. Very informative! I understand what you mean by the “Cracking The Code Approach” and your explanation of it even adds more insight into the CTC style.

I asked this because it would seem to me that whether it’s 2 years or 5 years from now, you’re going to get to the point where you’ve explained the mechanics of picking so thoroughly that you could get to the point to where you and the CTC team think: We may have reached a point of diminishing returns where the amount of work involved searching for every possible variation of alternate picking styles isn’t justified by the relatively small benefit to be had.

A time will come when you’ve covered the different mechanics of involved in picking so throughly that unless someone comes along who has a technique that allows him to do things nobody else can, or more easily than other techniques of picking allow, it may be that your customers will feel that you’ve already explained everything about the mechanics of alternate picking in more than sufficient detail.

I don’t know when that time will come, but you’ll probably know when and if that time comes if your customers start giving you feedback which indicates you’ve explained picking so thoroughly that they don’t have any substantial questions left regarding explanation of the mechanics behind the different styles in which fast, accurate picking is accomplished and what are the quickest, best ways to learn to incorporate these mechanics into their guitar playing.