Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Paul Gilbert

Paul Brandon Gilbert (November 6, 1966) is a guitarist best known for his work with Racer X and Mr. Big. Following his departure from Mr. Big in 1996, Gilbert pursued a solo career.
Born in Carbondale, Illinois, he started playing guitar at the age of 5, but soon gave up, becoming frustrated with just learning simple nursery rhymes. Around age 11, he took up the guitar again, but with a skewed memory of the technique; he played only with upstrokes, and only used his middle finger to fret notes. Frustrated after trying to play a fast metal song with a galloping rhythm using this technique, he took lessons, and his teacher explained the error of his ways. His technique corrected, Gilbert continued practicing, and by the age of 15 he was not only touring local clubs with his band Tau Zero but was even spotlighted in Guitar Player alongside fellow up-and-comer Yngwie Malmsteen.
Formed in Los Angeles, this heavy metal band was originally formed by Paul Gilbert (guitar), John Alderete (bass), Harry Gschoesser (drums) and Jeff Martin (vocals). They were heavily influenced by Judas Priest and Gilbert's playing was reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen, displaying fast-driven solos with extreme-level technique. Gschoesser was replaced by Scott Travis in 1986, and Bruce Bouillet was added as a second guitar player. Bouillet was a very skilled player, as he had to play over Gilbert's always difficult and challenging phrases. Scott Travis was later known for being the Judas Priest drummer. Paul Gilbert gained recognition as one of the fastest guitar players in the world due to incredibly technical pieces like "Frenzy", "Scarified", "Technical Difficulties" and "Scit Scat Wah". Gilbert left Racer X in 1988, but he eventually would rejoin the band in 1999. In that year he recorded "Technical Difficulties", followed by "Superheroes" (2000), "Snowball Of Doom" (2002) and "Getting Heavier" (2002). Currently the band is inactive, but he hasn't issued any statements that he left the band.
When Billy Sheehan left David Lee Roth's band in 1988, he joined with Paul Gilbert, who had left his former band, Racer X. They founded Mr. Big, with Pat Torpey in drums and singer Eric Martin. The band was a huge success in Japan, and became famous in 1991, with Lean Into It, their second album, which featured the ballad "To be with you", which received strong media play. Gilbert continued playing in Mr. Big until the late 90s. He left in order to start his solo career, and was replaced by virtuoso Richie Kotzen.
Talking about his influences, Paul mentions many different artists, including Judas Priest, Yngwie Malmsteen, KISS, Van Halen, The Ramones and Green Day. He is also a great fan of The Beach Boys and The Beatles. He claims that George Harrison is one of his favorite guitar players.
Gilbert composes music in a wide variety of styles including pop, rock, metal, blues, jazz, funk and classical, but is perhaps best known for his versatility and speed, which helped him be named as one of the "Top 10 Shredders Of All Time" by Guitar One Magazine. He is also considered to be one of the best proponents of alternate picking, tapping and string-skipping.
Paul Gilbert wrote his own section of the British guitar magazine, Total Guitar, where he normally demonstrated guitar techniques in the magazine and accompanying CD. His period of working with Total Guitar spanned thirty-one issues until the November 2006 issue. Paul also teaches at the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT). He works a great deal with GIT's division in Japan, where he lived for a time before relocating to LA. He also was the former teacher of Brian Carroll also known as Buckethead.
In 2003 he played on an only twice-performing project called Yellow Matter Custard, a Beatles cover band consisting of Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Neal Morse (ex-Spock's Beard), and Matt Bissonette. They take their name from a lyric in "I Am the Walrus": "Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye".
Gilbert along with Mike Portnoy, Gary Cherone, and Billy Sheehan performed three concerts in the end of May 2006 as Amazing Journey: A Tribute to The Who.
He also played with Portnoy, Dave LaRue, and Daniel Gildenlöw in a Led Zeppelin tribute band called "Hammer of the Gods", and with Portnoy, Sean Malone, and Jason McMaster in the Rush tribute band "Cygnus and the Sea Monsters".
He has recently recorded his last solo album, which is also his first instrumental one. It is titled "Get Out Of My Yard!", and was recorded in Los Angeles.
Paul has an endorsement deal with Ibanez guitars, and uses the PGM signature series. His main guitar is a PGM300, however a few years ago he decided to convert it to a fixed bridge model, so Ibanez produced a model based on it which is called the PGM301. The majority of his guitars feature painted "f-holes". He is often seen with Laney amplifiers, and praises them as having "the best natural distortion of any tube amp ever heard." Gilbert uses few effects, especially in comparison to some of his peers. He uses a Dunlop Wah, a BOSS chorus and delay, and an MXR phase 90, running the delay pedal in the effects loop of his Laney amps. On stage he has also been seen using an Fulltone OCD Overdrive. Most recently at The Benefit for Cliff concert that took place at the House of Blues Los Angeles September 30, 2006.
He used ADA preamps and rack effects units prior to switching to Laney. He currently uses the GH100L head and various 2x12 cabinets.
Paul has also used a vintage ADA Flanger from the 70's, you can hear it on tracks like 'Bucket of Rocks' and he also uses it on the 'Snowball of Doom' DVD. Paul claims the Flanger has been modified and he uses it to change the pitch from high to low to create a sound simular to a dive bomb.

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