60 Sec­onds with...

A minute’s enough to find out what makes a great gui­tarist tick. Be­fore his limo left for the air­port, we grabbed 60 sec­onds Paul Gilbert

Guitar Techniques - - Intro -

GT: Who was your first in­flu­ence to play the guitar?

PG: It was The Bea­tles, The Par­tridge Fam­ily, The Osmond Broth­ers, and my un­cle Jim. I heard Led Zep­pelin and Jimi Hen­drix soon af­ter.

GT: What was the first guitar you re­ally lusted af­ter?

PG: What­ever was in the Sears ‘Wish­book’ cat­a­logue in 1973. Knobs, switches, and pointy cut­aways were im­por­tant. And then I saw Jimmy Page in The Song Re­mains The Same, and I wanted a Les Paul.

GT: What was the best gig you ever did?

PG: It was at clinic years ago, in a city in the mid­dle of Tai­wan. I just played ev­ery­thing right. Not a sin­gle clam… lots of in­spired bend­ing… and mer­ci­less tear-your-face-off shred. I rocked those 229 peo­ple!

GT: And your worst play­ing night­mare?

PG: Ev­ery time that I play my home­town in Penn­syl­va­nia, some­thing goes wrong with my gear. It’s my fault. I imag­ine that all the peo­ple that I knew in high school must be in the au­di­ence, and I want to im­press them, so I stomp on my ped­al­board so hard that it pulls out the power ca­ble.

GT: What’s the most im­por­tant mu­si­cal les­son you ever learnt?

GT: Do you still prac­tise?

PG: When I was 11, my un­cle heard me play, and he said, “You should put your hand on the bridge, so all the strings don’t ring out.” He also said some­thing about prac­tis­ing all the time. And he told me to that I had to buy an al­bum called War He­roes, by Jimi Hen­drix. Those three cer­tainly got me headed in the right di­rec­tion. PG: I don’t run scales up and down with a metronome. I think I’d quit guitar if I had to lis­ten to that again. But I love to prac­tise new sounds that I find. The fret­board is still full of un­solved mys­ter­ies. I love to play and to lis­ten, prefer­ably both at the same time.

GT: Do you have a pre-gig warm-up rou­tine?

PG: If it’s re­ally cold, I’ll try to find some way of warm­ing up the room. I brought a space heater on my last Euro­pean tour. I kept blow­ing fuses back­stage! But my chal­lenges are usu­ally more men­tal than phys­i­cal. My set of­ten has new songs that I barely know, so I’m just try­ing to re­mem­ber the lyrics, ar­range­ment, and where the good notes are.

GT: If you could put to­gether a fan­tasy band with you in it, who would the other play­ers be (dead or alive)?

PG: Bon Scott on vo­cals. An­gus and Mal­colm Young on guitar. Cliff Wil­liams on bass. And me on drums! I’d like to play drums with The Bea­tles as well, but I’m not good enough to han­dle the tricky stuff on I Feel Fine.

GT: Who’s the great­est gui­tarist that’s ever lived?

I imag­ine all the peo­ple I knew in high school must be in the au­di­ence, and I want to im­press them.

PG: When I saw Ed­die Van Halen in 1979… I don’t think I’ve ever been as in­spired.

GT: Is there a solo you re­ally wish you had played?

PG: Ac­tu­ally I have more envy for singers than gui­tarists – the guys that can hit those high notes. If I could go to a mu­sic store and buy a vin­tage McCart­ney, Mer­cury, Zan­der, or Dio… But guitar so­los? I prob­a­bly would have messed them up with wid­dly-wid­dly. I’m glad Neal Schon is Neal Schon. No­body could have writ­ten and played those melodies bet­ter.

GT: What’s the solo or song of your own of which you’re most proud?

PG: I like Green-Tinted Six­ties Mind. It’s got a good in­tro, and the au­di­ence al­ways re­sponds well when I play it. In gen­eral, I don’t pay much at­ten­tion to my own mu­sic af­ter I’ve played it. It’s like a meal that I’ve al­ready eaten. It’s like, “On to the next! Where’s the menu? I’m hun­gry!”

GT: What would you most like to be re­mem­bered for?

PG: I played drums with Cheap Trick! What else could I ask for?

GT: And what are you up to at the mo­ment – tours, gigs, al­bums, new gear etc?

PG: I just fin­ished a solo al­bum called Stone Push­ing Up­hill Man. I think it’s good… too many notes, prob­a­bly, but many of them are bent, so it’s all right. I also just fin­ished a new Mr. Big al­bum. It’s good too! It has just the right amount of notes, since there is a pro­ducer in­volved. I’ll be tour­ing with Mr. Big later this year. I have an on­line guitar school with a com­pany called Artist­works, so I’m teach­ing there daily. And new gear? Yes, my 25th An­niver­sary sig­na­ture guitar is out from Ibanez. It’s a maple flame Fire­man. I love that guitar like a ripe nec­tarine in sea­son. More from www.paulgil­bert.com

Paul Gilbert: in­spired bend­ing and tear-your­face-off shred!

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