10 Questions with Paul Gilbert

Guitar virtuoso and founding Mr. Big member Paul Gilbert stops by and lets us in on a few secrets…

1) I couldn’t live without my…
“Calluses. I need them to bend the strings and get vibrato. After that, I need my Ibanez Fireman and a Marshall amp.”

2) In another life, I would be…
“A primatologist. I’ve been reading a lot about baboons and bonobos lately.”

3) The record that started it all…
“My parents had most of The Beatles’ records. I actually wanted to be a singer like them, but my voice wasn’t so good, so I put more work into playing guitar.”
WithTheBeatles_14) The one that got away…
“Just my hearing. I wish I could have the healthy ears that I had when I was a kid.”

5) My Spinal Tap moment…
“Getting a drill caught in my hair, of course. That one is hard to top.”

6) The best advice I’ve ever been given…
“My uncle taught me to put my hand on the bridge to mutethe strings. That really helpedme. He also told me to practise a lot.”

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7) The first guitar that I ever played…
“I played an acoustic guitar for two years, and then I got a used Les Paul. I didn’t own a bass until I was in my 20s.”
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8) The most important thing on my rider…
“Water, towels and Marshall amps.”

9) My guiltiest musical pleasure…
“Lately, I really love jazz clarinet and saxophone players from the 50s and 60s, when they play blues. Johnny Hodges, Jimmy Hamilton and Artie Shaw are all fantastic.”c10) If I could learn to play one thing…
“Blues clarinet! But if it had to be guitar… I’d like to be fluent with the chords in Chaka Khan’s version of A Night In Tunisia. I took some lessons from a jazz teacher so I could learn those chords. I’ve got them all written down, and practised them a few times. But I need a lot more work before I can play the song without having to read the chart. And I don’t want to read the chart. I want to really know the song.”

Paul Gilbert recently celebrated the three-year anniversary of Paul’s Online Rock Guitar School, featuring hundreds of video lessons. Check it out at artistworks.com/paul-gilbert

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