LESSON > SHRED YOUR ENTHUSIASM
BY PAUL GILBERT
Paul Gilbert purposefully began playing guitar
at age 9, formed the guitar-driven bands Racer
X and Mr. Big, and then accidentally had a No.
1 hit with an acoustic song called “To Be with
You.” Paul began teaching at GIT at the age of
18, has released countless albums and guitar
instructional DVDs, and will be remembered as
“the guy who got the drill stuck in his hair.” For
more information, visit paulgilbert.com
learned the songs! This month, I want you
to benefit too.
So I’m going to give you a homework
assignment—a very enjoyable one. I want
you to learn the songs I learned for my
Italian clinic tour. I guarantee you will
come out of the other end of this tunnel with bags of inspiration, ideas, and
improved fingers and ears. Here is my set,
in order, plus some notes on what I found
challenging or interesting.
swingingest grooves of 1969. I extended
the ending fade out into a guitar-scatting
solo to give the guitar fans some extra
• Learn how the song can
become your greatest
• Discover the greatness that
is the balance knob.
• Expose the soft white underbelly of the jazz drummer with
a heavy metal anthem.
“The Point of Know Return” by Kansas.
There is a
the violin plays
in this song. I
was jealous of
the violin hav-
ing all the fun,
so I worked out a way to play it on guitar.
My hint to you: Sweep picking won’t work.
Go for pull-offs, string skipping, and a bit
of left-hand stretching. For bonus points try
the long violin arpeggio in the bridge.
“Riders on the Storm” by The Doors. Yes,
pretty sure that
99 percent of
did not like
this song at
all. Did that
stop me? Nope. I take a perverse pleasure in
giving the shredders what they don’t expect.
It’s all in the name of trying to get guitar
players to rethink their self-imposed stylistic
boundaries. When I was a teenager I never
would have dreamed of playing this song.
But now I love it. The solo sections are
truly challenging for me because it doesn’t
sound right to play loud and fast. I have to
slow down and quiet down and still keep
it interesting with some good notes and
phrasing choices. This can be bitter medi-
cine for the heavy metal guitar player, but
in the end I feel healthier having taken it.
I am writing this month’s column while riding in a van to the next gig of my
Italian clinic tour. With 20 shows in a row
and no days off, the schedule is rigorous,
to say the least. But I love playing, and
that keeps me happy and healthy. Every
show brings musical adventures to me in
the form of a different bassist and drummer. These generous musicians have been
kind enough to learn a formidable list of
songs I send out in advance. I truly enjoy
this rebellion against “backing tracks,”
and it toughens me up to adapt to different musicians’ idiosyncrasies of style and
meter on a daily basis. Mostly, it’s just fun
to jam a bunch of tunes with different
guys every day.
The message that I bring to the audience is this: The best guitar teacher is
learning songs and playing them with a
band. In my clinic, I show how each song
teaches me something valuable. I think the
students learn some good things, but I’m
the one who benefits the most because I
“Waiting for the Bus/Jesus Just Left
Chicago” by ZZ Top. Does guitar playing
get any more
fun than this?
this pair before
but I finally
sat down and
learned it prop-
erly to get the details of the riff right. And
the details are worth getting. Vibrato, vibrato,
vibrato! For a good time, call Billy Gibbons.
“Somebody Stole My Thunder” by
Georgie Fame. I’m guessing that you
this song yet.
go pull it up
on i Tunes or
You Tube and
get a load of
one of the
“Blue Rondo à la Turk” by Dave
Brubeck. I’m fortunate to have a wife who
has spent years
On this tune
she plays the
and I take the
are fast enough to be interesting, but slow
enough to not cause me to panic. The solo
section is a jazzy F blues and it forced me
to expand from my I–IV–V comfort zone
by adding a IIm chord and a IV chord into
the progression, as well as some diminished
moments. These sounds are familiar to me,
but my fingers had no idea where to go, so
I had to spend some time cramming new
shapes into my head. This was time well
spent and the result is that the grimacing
specter of jazz gave me one friendly grin
before resuming its fearful face. Overall this
PREMIER GUITAR FEBRUARY 2012 71