Frank Vignola is one of the most accomplished,
players today. Frank is not
only a player, but a composer
and improviser. He is unique
in the diverse range of music
styles that he plays, enjoys
and is inspired by, from jazz
to bluegrass to rock.
After studying at the Cultural
Arts Center of Long Island,
Frank recorded and toured
extensively in the ‘80s with
acts like Madonna, Leon
Redbone and Ringo Starr. He’s also led many of his own projects, from
the 1988 Hot Club of France tribute to numerous sessions with Concord
Jazz. The current decade has brought more recording appearances on a
broad spectrum from Donald Fagen to Queen Latifah. Frank has also had
the rare opportunity to play alongside Les Paul and Bucky Pizzarelli.
Frank’s current project is a touring group, the Vignola Quintet, and he
also performs a wealth of clinics and courses throughout the country.
Additionally, Frank has started his own company, VM Entertainment,
which hosts an online downloadable CD website at vmdownloads.com.
How many TrueFire courses have you authored?
I have authored two courses for TrueFire thus far. The first is Vamps,
Jams and Improvisation and the second, which was just released, is
called Frank Vignola’s Groove Camp
, which is designed to get guitarists
more in tune with the groove. Odd times and Latin grooves are the
focus. This course has a special guest, drummer Joe Ascione who is
considered one of the best drummers on the scene today. His wisdom
and knowledge of rhythm is featured, as I feel guitarists do not know
enough about rhythms.
Is there something you’d like to teach that you haven’t yet?
Yes, I am now working on a course called Beginning Jazz for Rockers
which will be designed for rock players who are looking to expand into
the world of jazz and improvisation.
Is there a mistake practicing guitarists frequently make?
would you suggest to correct it?
The biggest mistake guitarists make is practicing exercises and songs
way too fast. Also, guitarists – myself included – should learn about
rhythm. Learning different rhythms, including clave and other stylistic
rhythms, is very important.
What drew you to jazz?
My father played a lot of records around the house when I was growing
up, especially jazz guitar, including Django, Les Paul and Bucky Pizzarelli.
Having the opportunity to perform and record with both Les and Bucky
has been a real thrill for me, and a highlight of my career.
What is your idea of good “tone?” Whose tone do you really look
I love anybody’s tone that is original – when you hear it, you know who
it is. Ten different guitarists could play the same guitar through the same
amp and each one will sound different. Tone is everything. It is the fingers
and not the instrument.
What is one suggestion you’d give to students trying to improve
Practice slowly and try to emulate the greats.
|Frank’s Gear Box
Benedetto Archtop Frank Vignola models
|Amps & Cabs
JazzKat Gypsy Kat Frank Vignola model
Purple 1.14 mm Dunlop picks