A couple of decent Ace interviews were published recently – decent because there’s some gear info in them, some good stuff, but both come up a little short on details (when I interview Ace I’ll rectify that!). Anyhow, here are the most interesting bits from modernguitars.com and iheartguitarblog.com. Anything in quotes is Ace speaking.
Gear Used on Anomaly
“I used my old signature models, some of my favorite Les Pauls and acoustics. I double a lot of my rhythm tracks with Fender guitars, both Strats and Teles, pretty much exclusively.
“Fender guitars have a much different sonic range than Gibsons. It’s usually a little twangier, a little more high end. For some reason when you blend that sound with a Les Paul you get an even richer sound. I’ve been doing that since my first solo record. It’s a format that seems to work. Sometimes I’ll overdub an electric guitar track with an acoustic guitar, but keeping it really low in the mix. You don’t really hear it in the final mix, but if you pulled it out you’d miss it, that kind of thing. That gives a fuller sound.
“I used a bunch of old Marshall amps, old Fender and Vox amps. I used about a dozen acoustic guitars. Les Pauls, about a half a dozen vintage Fenders. I used a (Gibson) Reverse Firebird. I probably used 25 different guitars on the record. I even used a synthesizer guitar on ‘Change The World.’ It was just a Roland synth guitar I had laying around. I just went into Pro Tools and recorded the MIDI information. Then once you have the MIDI information recorded you can trigger anything, any exterior module or plug-in module.”
New Signature Les Paul and Signature Pickups
“The first Ace Frehley signature series guitar came out in 1997. That was a cherry sunburst. The new one’s going to be a blueburst with some special features: pickups I designed, speed knobs, lighting bolts…it’s going to be a special guitar. The new pickups are basically a collaboration between me and Gibson.
“The new pickups are going to be wired to my specs [and] the neck’s going to be a bit different. It’s going to have custom speed knobs with lightning bolts on them, but I don’t want to give too much away.”
> He believes an Epiphone version will be released.
> Apparently he did not use his new signature Les Paul (the blueburst) on Anomaly. He said: “That guitar isn’t even finished yet. It was supposed to be released at the NAMM show in Tennessee, but I guess they’re a bit behind on that. I’m thinking it’ll be ready to go out around the same time the CD is released….”
> “I don’t use the middle pickup very much. I mainly use the treble pickup. In concert I only have the treble pickup – that’s the only one wired.”
> On the tune ‘Space Bear’ he double-tracks a Les Paul and a Reverse Firebird.
> On Anton Fig, who played drums on the 1978 solo album and Anomaly: “I think he’s just one of the best studio drummers I’ve ever heard. If you listen to songs like “Genghis Khan” and “Pain in the Neck” on Anomaly, they have this swing to them. He has this unique way of playing where he never plays right on the beat. He’s usually on the back of the beat and never on the front of the beat. He’s just one of my favorite drummers, and he was available so I took advantage of it.
“When I track with Anton, it’s kind of magical. When I’m thinking in my mind that I want him to do a fill at a certain point where there wasn’t one, he’ll just do it. He’s a lot like John Bonham. You know, Bonham always played behind the beat that gave him that great groove he had. For a lot of drummers, this seems to elude them. If you’re playing a little behind the beat, it just gives the song that swing, that groove that’s hard to put into words, but I know it when I hear it.”