Ace Frehley was born Paul Daniel Frehley in The Bronx, New York City, New York, on the 27th of April 1951.
Ace came from a musical family, his Mother and Father were both pianists, his brother and sister both play piano and guitar, his brother Charles is an accomplished classical guitarist. In 1964 Ace received an electric guitar for Christmas and began to practice obsessively.
Ace cites guitar heroes such as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Albert Lee and B.B. King as prominent figures in the development of his guitar playing ability as well as bands like The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin.
Ace earned his nickname in high school from school mates who told him he was a real “Ace” for his ability to procure dates with the girls of his school. In his teens Ace become involved in street gangs that would frequent The Neighbourhoods of The Bronx, he credits the guitar and music for giving him positive direction.
Ace dropped out of school to perform music full time with his then band “Cathedral”, he later returned to finish his schooling and receive his diploma at the request of his parents and girlfriend.
During the early 1970’s Ace played in a number of local bands and recorded half an album for RCA records with a group called “Molimo”.
After being shown an advertisement for a lead guitar position in a local band called “Wicked Lester” (soon to be called “Kiss”) by a friend, Ace went to the audition.
Ace played the song “Deuce” with Paul Stanley on vocals and rhythm guitar, Gene Simmons on bass and Peter Criss on drums. The three members were impressed with Ace’s guitar playing and ability to lock in with the group, though they almost didn’t consider him on the fact that he turned up wearing one orange sneaker and one red.
Three weeks or so later, Ace was officially named the band’s lead guitar player and the group changed their name from “Wicked Lester” to “Kiss”.
Ace Frehley has used Gibson Les Paul guitars for a large majority of his career.
His signature Les Paul had a bridge pickup a middle pickup and a neck pickup. The middle pickup was not attached and was primarily used to house a smoke bomb that Ace would activate during his live solos.
Ace Frehley has maintained a loyal relationship with Marshall amplifiers for the large majority of his career.
Musical Techniques, Concepts and Approaches
Ace is celebrated as both an accomplished rhythm guitarists as well as an accomplished lead guitar player.
His distinctive rhythm guitar style pays homage to both The Rolling Stones and The Who with the chords he uses and the progressions he writes.
His lead guitar prowess is celebrated in live performances of the solo from his signature Kiss song “Shock Me”.
Along with the other members of Kiss, Ace contributed greatly to the development of live rock performances with his space man outfit and smoking guitar stunts.
Influence In Rock Guitar Playing
Ace Frehley is considered to be one of the rock guitar world’s most influential figures.
His contributions to the live performance world along with the other members of Kiss is both undeniable and unavoidable.
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