“Sometimes you come up with things you wouldn’t with an electric guitar”: Ace Frehley often writes riffs on bass guitar and transfers them to his Les Paul

“It just puts your head in a different place.”

Ace Frehley performing live

Credit: Gary Miller/Getty Images

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One of the most celebrated guitarists in rock and roll history, former Kiss man Ace Frehley is ostensibly associated with the six-string. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t dabble in the lower registers from time to time, particularly when writing new music.

In an interview in the spring 2024 issue of Goldmine, Frehley recounts the making of Ace Frehley, his eponymous 1978 debut solo album which, released four years prior to his first Kiss departure, went on to achieve platinum status, quickly selling over one million copies.

On the album, while three of its nine tracks feature bass played by Will Lee, the low end on the other six was covered by Frehley himself.

“I like playing bass; bass is fun,” he reflects. “Sometimes I’ll pick up a bass guitar and sit down and start fooling around, and I’ll write a riff that really sounds good on a regular guitar on a bass because you think differently when you’re playing a bass than you do with a guitar.”

He goes on: “I’ve written riffs on a bass and then transferred it to the Les Paul. It just puts your head in a different place, and sometimes you come up with things playing on a bass guitar that you wouldn’t on an electric guitar.”

Earlier this year, Ace Frehley released his eighth studio album, 10,000 Volts. Around the time of its release, he said he’d been leveraging social media to aid in promotion, but admitted that he “never knew what TikTok was until recently”.

“They hired a social media guy to help me promote myself on social media,” he said. “I never knew what TikTok was. My fiancée’s stepkids use it all the time; it’s more of a young person’s format. But since we put that up – it hasn’t been more than four weeks – I got over a million views.”

Elsewhere, Kiss said farewell with a final show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in December, and Ace Frehley has since reflected on his relationship with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.

“We’re just like brothers. Brothers have arguments, brothers have misunderstandings, they curse each other out, and then they make up.”

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