“I’ve never taken a lesson – whatever I have, it can’t be taught”: Ace Frehley says he never expected to be an inspiration for countless guitar players

“I don’t look at myself as some brilliant guitar player.”

Ace Frehley performs

Image: Jim Dyson / Getty Images

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In a new interview, former Kiss rocker Ace Frehley looks back on his career with the band and the legacy he’s built as a guitarist who’s inspired countless players to pick up the instrument.

“I’m always flattered when people tell me I influenced them,” Frehley tells Guitar World. “If I knew I was gonna influence thousands of guitar players, I woulda practiced more.”

“I laugh, but that’s the truth. I didn’t know I would become this iconic guitar player that so many people would listen to. I’ve had so many players come up to me and say, ‘You are the reason I play guitar,’ and I’m always like, ‘Wow…’”

The musician adds that while the sentiment is “nice”, he doesn’t look at himself “as some brilliant guitar player”.

“I’ve never taken a lesson, and my sense of melody came from singing in the church choir. So, whatever I have, it can’t be taught. You’ve gotta have it in you. Either you’ve got it, or you’ve got nothing at all,” says Frehley, who’s released more than a dozen records after his final departure from Kiss in 2002.

During the chat, Frehley also shuts down a longstanding myth that an Ovation Breadwinner was used on Kiss’s first album, saying “I don’t know what people are talking about when they say that. I’ve seen that for so long, and I don’t know who first said I used the white Ovation guitar on the first Kiss record.”

“I played that guitar during Kiss’s early shows, and it was the guitar I used when Bill Aucoin came to see Kiss before he signed us, but I didn’t use it on the first Kiss record.”

As Frehley explains, he “had been playing the Ovation, put humbuckers in it, and grew to like that sound.”

“I thought it was cool, which is probably part of what drew me to Les Paul guitars, with the other being that a Les Paul has a 6 percent neck angle in reference to the body. You can’t lay a Les Paul flat on the table because of that arch, and when you tighten the strings, there’s tension and body resonance – especially if it’s made of good wood.”

“That aside, I probably played my red Epiphone double-cutaway, the same one Steve Marriott played [Coronet].”

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