Paul Gilbert on Riff-Writing, Rhythm, Marshall VM

January 18, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More
Here's a pic from the clinic, taken by an unknown fan.

Here's a pic from the clinic, taken by an unknown fan.

If you heard Paul Gilbert in Racer X in the ’80s, he was shredding. In Mr. Big in the ’90s he was playing poppy, but still managing to shred. On his solo albums he shreds, but not all the time.

So for many of you, Paul Gilbert may = “shred.” But I think the best thing about him, besides his gargantuan chops and incredible musical vocabulary (and his apparent humility), is his ability to teach in a fun way. So even if you don’t dig his playing or his tone, usually there’s always something to learn from the guy – as recently uploaded Guitar Center YouTube vids demonstrate.

In the following vids he talks about coming up with cool riffs, notably using rhythm. That is great advice and seems a bit at odds with the 16th- and 64th-note shredding thing – which, again, may be his rep but isn’t all he does or can do.

The pedal-board vid is kind of interesting, especially when he stomps on the Xotic Effects RC-Booster for the “Man on a Silver Mountain” riff. That’s the only pedal I heard that I immediately wanted to try (must…resist…). Well, maybe that crazy Airplane Flanger too.

More interesting is the beginning of the vid of him playing the Pat Travers tune “Snortin’ Whiskey” – or as GC spells it, “Snortin Whiskey Drinkin Cocanie,” with “cocanie” I assume being pronounced like the salmon…?!

Anyhow, the beginning is interesting because he talks about the Marshall Vintage Modern amp, which is his amp of choice right now. The VM has been panned about as much as loved, so it’s interesting to hear his comments, however brief. And in keeping with his ability and desire to educate, Paul talks about how the two preamps help him get the sound and “beef” he wants courtesy of the “bassy” and “trebly” overdrive knobs in the preamp.

Hope you enjoy.

Using Rhythm to Write

More on Writing

His Pedal Board

On the Marshall VM and “Snortin’ Whiskey”


> The guitar he’s playing is his signature Ibanez Fireman – which is what you name an Iceman that is flipped upside down. It’s a limited-edition korina body and neck guitar, and the pickups are DiMarzio Area ’67s, which are stacked (humbucking) single coils. For the full specs on the guitar, click here to go to that page on the Ibanez site.

Category: Ibanez, Marshall, Paul Gilbert, Xotic

Comments (1)

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  1. @Bob453 says:

    The Paul Gilbert piece was great. Where do you find this stuff? I am no way close to writing my own stuff, but it was an interesting, and simple, way to approach it.

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