Each month in 2021, we will be featuring a member of the worldwide Gretsch community as our spotlight “featured player” of the month!
The featured guitar player for March is Frank Giffen . . .
Frank Giffen is a Los Angeles-based guitarist, singer, and songwriter who plays in several bands in Southern California, primarily with Aileen Quinn and the Leapin’ Lizards, but also with the Fabulous Esquires big band, and two country bands: Sterling Sylver and the Haywire Country Band.
Frank has played guitar since he was 10 years old, and from an early age, he listened intently to folk, country, and rock ‘n’ roll to the point where he was playing rockabilly before he knew it was called rockabilly.
In high school, his friends called him “Chet Atkins” because whenever he picked up an electric guitar, he’d start playing fingerstyle instrumental stuff while others were playing rock. Once he saw Stephen Stills and Neil Young, he knew a Gretsch White Falcon was the guitar to own, and after discovering Brian Setzer, his fate was sealed. Rockabilly, country, swing, old-school rock ‘n’ roll, and jazz are where he likes to play.
We asked Frank . . .
How old were you when you knew you were interested in becoming a musician?
About 9 years old. Credit the Monkees TV show for making me want to play like Mike Nesmith.
Why did you choose Gretsch?
Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Chet Atkins, Duane Eddy, Brian Setzer, those were the first influences, the number has grown steadily ever since.
What Gretsch gear do you currently use?
Though I’ve owned dozens of Gretsch acoustic and electric guitars, the four “keepers” that will never slip away are my Cadillac Green Country Club, my leather-trimmed Roundup, my Brian Setzer Signature 6120, and 6136T-LDS White Falcon. Something about those four that makes them feel like natural extensions of my hands.
Which musicians were the biggest influence on you and why?
Neil Young and Stephen Stills for starters, the Buffalo Springfield had that mix of country, folk, and rock that I grew to love so much. I’ll admit I wasn’t initially a big Stray Cats fan, but when the Brian Setzer Orchestra came on the scene, they warranted another look, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
How did you adjust and stay musical during the COVID-19 pandemic?
With the Leapin’ Lizards, we’ve rehearsed safely in my driveway and have done a number of webcasts from there that we call “Live From The Drive” to keep in touch with our fans and keep our chops up. I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to do webcasts, and more importantly, how not to do them, and it’s been very educational.
You could be featured in 2021 just like Frank. Click to find out how!