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 signed 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 been with the group Vital Information for 13 years. The group includes drummer Steve Smith, keyboardist Tom Coster and bassist Baron Browne. With this group Frank has performed on and contributed songs to over 7 albums. Another side project has been 3 trio recordings with bassist Stu Hamm and drummer Steve Smith 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 was a strong follow up.
The third one, came out earlier this year is simply called GHS 3. Frank has recently left Ibanez for a new 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. The guitar has already sold 40% beyond projected sales so it's all smiles at Yamaha.
There is also a new contract with Carvin to design a preamp which will be ready for release at the January 2004 NAMM in Los Angeles. A combo amp and amp head may follow later. This is an opportunity granted to very few people.
Frank has also recently completed something he has always wanted to do, namely, a concert DVD which was shot recently. It's called Concert With Class. It's a 90 min. concert featuring FG, Ric Fierabracci on bass, Steve Smith on drums and a guest appearance from Steve Tavaglione on tenor sax. There is also 90 minutes of instructional material related to the performance part.
Last year the celebration of Chick Corea's 60th birthday brought back together the Elektric Band which kicked off a reunion tour with a performance to 15,000 at the Hollywood Bowl Aug 28th. A two week tour in the U.S. followed in Oct/Nov. The band consists of Chick Corea, Frank Gambale, Dave Weckl, John Patitucci and Eric Marienthal. This summer, 2003, the Elektric Band toured for 6 weeks in Europe and performed at many of the major European Jazz Festivals. The group has just record a new album called To The Stars to be released in the spring of 2004.
Mr. G will also tour Europe in February and March 2004 and also again with the Chick Corea Elektric Band in the summer of 2004.
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 and is happiest when working to the extreme."I can't believe I get paid to do what I do, I wouldn't trade it for the world ".