A couple of days ago Paul Gilbert was nearby for a concert/clinic at RNR Arena, Romagnano Sesia.
Any attempt to describe his passion when he plays or his humor while teaching and explaining are doomed to failure.
What follows are 13 condensed tips sum up both his clinic/performance and Q/A:
- Use the thumb (to mute the lower string);
- Use the blues major pentatonic (then he played Hendrix's Red House);
- Use dynamics: play quiet and loud, loud and quiet;
- Use rhythm variations: play long and short, short and long;
- Learn to play melodies on guitar (singers are a great inspirations as well as clarinets and other jazz instruments);
- Learn vibrato. Choose a vibrato hero and try to imitate him/her;
- Learn a lot of rhythm parts!
- Learn a lot of Beatles song! (In the Q &A, Paul said that Beatles have an interesting use of the dominant chord in their harmony: they use it pretty often in positions different from the fifth chord);
- Focus on your upstroke. Practice swing feel eight notes on single string for the first 3 beats, add a triplet in the final beat;
- Picking practice (part I): a variation on the Paul Gilbert lick. Play four ascending notes (3 on a string, then 1 on the string below) and keep repeating. Start off beat;
- Pickinc practice (part II): focus on string changes. Paul said he benefited a lot from studying 3 notes blues licks that have one note per string. They force you to invert the picking on every repetition.
- Your hands are your hears: always focus on your sound rather than on how fast your hands are moving aroung the fretboard;
- Fast playing is a combination of legato and alternate picking. "Sticking only to alternate picking would make most of my playing disappear" he said.