“I’m a sloppy guitar player! I’ll be the first to admit that… In retrospect, I should have practiced more”: Ace Frehley isn't going to apologize for his loose playing style – but he also doesn't recommend that players follow in his footsteps

Ace Frehley performs onstage at the Haute Spot in Cedar Park, Texas on July 13, 2023
(Image credit: Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Kiss icon Ace Frehley is a beloved figure in the annals of electric guitar, having inspired countless players – young and old – to pick up the instrument. Part of that legacy of inspiration comes from the guitarist's approach – loose, melodic, fun, and unconcerned with technical perfection.

It's led to accusations of sloppiness on Frehley's part, a label that the guitarist says he doesn't mind at all.

Speaking to Total Guitar ahead of the release of his latest solo album, 10,000 Volts, the former Kiss axeman said that the occasional mistake is simply part of his playing.

“I’m a sloppy fucking guitar player! I’ll be the first to admit that,” Frehley says. “I make mistakes, and shit happens – especially live. I play the songs how they’re meant to be played. I deliver the classic Kiss songs and my solo songs how you remember them.”

Though he's happy to defend his own loose style, he doesn't go so far as to recommend that other players follow in his footsteps. 

“In retrospect, I should have practiced more,” Frehley admitted when asked if there was one lesson he could impart to Total Guitar readers. 

As Kiss made the rounds before bidding a fond farewell to their audiences in their last performance last month – without Frehley – the guitarist made a point of noting how his particular approach on the instrument contrasts with that of his replacement in the band, Tommy Thayer.

“I’ve never had a guitar lesson. I was born with a certain technique that many people, namely Tommy Thayer, can’t duplicate,” he opined in a Guitar World interview earlier this month

In the same interview, Frehley spoke highly of 10,000 Volts, on which he worked with Trixter guitarist Steve Brown.

“We [Frehley and Brown] put the pedal to the metal, and we did the best possible songs that we could,” Frehley told GW. “We made some hard decisions and left a lot of songs off. This record reflects how my life has gone – it’s full of spontaneity and some solos I’m very proud of.”

To read the full interview with Frehley, check out the latest issue of Total Guitar, which also features a 2024 guitar workout designed to help you smash your guitar goals in just 30 days.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.

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