The Full Wiki

Paul Gilbert: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Paul Brandon Gilbert (born November 6, 1966 in Illinoismarker, USAmarker) is an Americanmarker musician. He is well known for his guitar work with Racer X and Mr. Big, as well as many solo albums. He also joined Joe Satriani and John Petrucci on the 2007 G3 tour.

He has been voted number 4 on a list in GuitarOne magazine of the "Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time", as well as a spot in Guitar World's 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time list.

Shrapnel Records

Around 1981-82 Paul first contacted Mike Varney, founder of Shrapnel Records, asking for a gig with Ozzy Osbourne. At the time Varney couldn't think why Osbourne would want a 15 year old guitarist, but after listening to his demo he changed his mind. They talked for the next 3 years, until Paul came to L.Amarker for the GITmarker (Guitar Institute of Technology), and then was ready to record Racer X's debut album Street Lethal.

Racer X

Formed in Los Angelesmarker in 1985, Racer X originally comprised Paul Gilbert (guitar), Juan 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 (later known for being the drummer for Judas Priest) 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. Paul Gilbert gained recognition as one of the fastest guitar players in the world due to incredibly technical pieces like "Frenzy", "Scarified", "B.R.O." and "Scit Scat Wah". Gilbert left Racer X in 1988. Racer X carried on for a short time with guitarist (and fellow GIT alum) Chris Arvin and vocalist Oni Logan (later of George Lynch's Lynch Mob) when singer Jeff Martin departed to play drums in Jake E. Lee's Badlands, in which he replaced Eric Singer who left to join Kiss. Shortly thereafter, the members of the re-invented Racer X went their separate ways. The original band would eventually reform (although without Bruce Bouillet, who in-turn did produce the first reunion record), after Paul received an e-mail from a disgruntled fan under the alias "Snakebyte" about the musical direction of his solo albums. Snakebyte accused Paul of abandoning the shred guitar genre that he helped popularize with Racer X.

Paul contacted the members of Racer X, and all agreed to return, with the exception of Bruce Bouillet. In mid-1999 the band recorded the album Technical Difficulties. Technical Difficulties went gold in Japan, and Racer X's new record label requested a follow-up. In late 2000, the band released another album, Superheroes. The record was mixed by former Racer X guitarist, Bruce Bouillet.

In order to further capitalize on their new-found success in Japan, Universal Japan requested that the band record a live show for another live CD and DVD. On May 25, 2001, the band played their first live performance in thirteen years to a sold-out crowd at the famed Whisky a Go Gomarker in Los Angeles. The show was recorded for both audio and video, and in 2002, both the CD and DVD were released under the name Snowball of Doom.

In January 2002, in support of Superheroes and Snowball of Doom, Racer X toured Japanmarker and Taiwanmarker. The band performed these shows in their Superheroes costumes, and the final show, in Yokohama, was hastily recorded in two tracks on the sound board and was to be later released as Snowball of Doom 2. Later that year, Universal Japan pushed for another Racer X release. In October 2002, all four members of Racer X gathered at Gilbert's house in Las Vegasmarker to record Getting Heavier, which was sold alongside Snowball of Doom 2 in a package deal. Although the album was a successful release in Japan, some fans were disappointed with the lighter tracks, which resembled a Paul Gilbert solo album more so than a traditional Racer X album.

Racer X performed at the 2009 NAMM show at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Andy Timmons and his band opened the show, followed by a solo set from Paul Gilbert, and finally Racer X. The Racer X lineup consists of Paul Gilbert, Scott Travis, Jeff Martin and John Alderete.

Mr. Big

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 on drums and singer Eric Martin. The band was initially a huge success in Japan, and became famous internationally in 1991, with the release of their second album, Lean Into It. This album featured the ballad "To Be With You", which received strong media play and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Gilbert continued playing in Mr. Big until the late 1990s. He left the band in 1997 to pursue a solo career, and was replaced by Richie Kotzen. Mr. Big disbanded in 2002.

In June 2009, Paul Gilbert reunited with the rest of the original Mr. Big bandmembers: Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan and Pat Torpey for a reunion world tour.


Gilbert performing on March 2, 2007
In May 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 took their name from a Beatles lyric in "I Am the Walrus": "Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye".

He rejoined Portnoy along with Dave LaRue and Daniel Gildenlöw for a Led Zeppelin tribute band called Hammer of the Gods in November 2003. In September 2005, he joined Portnoy, Sean Malone, and Jason McMaster in the Rush tribute band Cygnus and the Sea Monsters. In May 2006, he joined Portnoy, Gary Cherone, and Billy Sheehan to form Amazing Journey: A Tribute to The Who, playing three shows. The band (excluding Sheehan) destroyed their equipment after the show in homage.

He was also revealed to be the guest guitarist on the Neal Morse solo album, Sola Scriptura.In 2007, Paul Gilbert toured with Bruce Bouillet for promotion of his first instrumental album, Get Out of My Yard, which was released in 2006. Also joining him was his wife, Emi Gilbert, on keyboards. Paul Gilbert also joined Joe Satriani and John Petrucci in the 2007 G3 tour. This was the 5th North American G3 run and the 12th tour worldwide since its inception.

On January 23, 2008, Paul released an instrumental CD titled Silence Followed By A Deafening Roar. It was released in Europe on March 31, 2008, and in America on April 8, 2008. This is Paul's second instrumental album.

On October 22, 2008, Paul released an album with vocalist Freddie Nelson entitled United States. The collaboration has been described as a cross of Queen and Mr. Big. They will be playing their first live shows in the first days of February 2009, with more dates to be announced.

Paul with Racer X performed at the 2009 NAMM show at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Californiamarker. Andy Timmons and his band opened the show, followed by a solo set from Gilbert, and finally Racer X. This Racer X lineup consisted of Gilbert, Scott Travis, Jeff Martin and John Alderete.

Gilbert also joined George Lynch and Richie Kotzen on the Guitar Generation tour.

Paul's appearance at the 2009 Tuska Open Air Metal Festivalmarker was cancelled.

Influences and Style

Talking about his influences, Paul mentions many different artists, including: Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony Iommi, Alex Lifeson, Jimmy Page, Robin Trower, Judas Priest, Akira Takasaki, Jimi Hendrix, Kiss, Van Halen and The Ramones. Paul has stated many times that he was heavily influenced by his uncle Jimi Kidd who was instrumental in getting Paul interested in playing the guitar. He is also a great fan of The Beach Boys and The Beatles. He states on the Space Ship Live DVD that George Harrison is one of his favorite guitar players. Guitar World magazine declared him one of 50 of the world's fastest guitarists of all time, along with Buckethead, Eddie Van Halen, and Yngwie Malmsteen.

Gilbert composes music in a wide variety of styles including pop, rock, metal, blues, funk and european classical music, 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.


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. Even before that, he contributed instructional articles to Guitar Player Magazine in a late 1980s/early 1990s series entitled "Terrifying Guitar 101". His period of working with Total Guitar spanned thirty-one issues until the November 2006 issue. Paul also teaches at the Guitar Institute of Technologymarker (GIT) regularly, and is also an "honorary dean" of the GIT division in Japan. Paul visits Japan, enjoying the lifestyle like his Shrapnel labelmate Marty Friedman, who still lives in Japan and speaks Japanese fluently. Gilbert is known for his instructional videos, one of which teaches students to "pull a rabbit out of the guitar". Gilbert now writes a column for Guitar World entitled "Shred Alert". One of his most famous pupils is avant-garde musician Buckethead..


Gilbert playing his signature guitar 2007
Paul Gilbert primarily uses his Ibanez PGM signature series guitars, identified by their unique painted "f-holes". Although earlier PGM models featured the Ibanez Lo-Pro/Edge double locking tremolo system, many of his guitars (such as his main PGM300) have since been modified to accommodate a fixed bridge, hence the Ibanez PGM301 series. Along with his signature guitars, Gilbert often uses his sticker-covered "Dino" Ibanez RG750, in addition to a wide variety of Ibanez solidbody and semi-hollow electric guitars. Recently, Gilbert has been using Ibanez "Fireman" (a reversed-body Ibanez Iceman with single-coil pickups and an extra cutaway) guitars, which he designed himself.

Regarding amps, Gilbert used ADA preamps and rack effects units early in his career prior to switching to Laney amplifiers. He praised the Laney amps as having "the best natural distortion of any tube amp ever heard". Since the G3 2007 tour however, Gilbert stated that playing with Joe Satriani and John Petrucci inspired him to take a closer look at his own guitar sound. As a result of his search he found the Marshall Vintage Modern series. He currently uses the Marshall Vintage Modern 2266c combo amps. Paul uses Jim Dunlop Tortex picks, of which he prefers the orange (.60mm) picks.

Paul used the following effects as of his tour of Europe in 2008 (he used 12 effects in total):

  • Homebrew Electronics Bajo Mos
  • Homebrew Electronics Detox EQ
  • Tc electronics nova delay
  • Homebrew Electronics compressor retro
  • MXR phase 100
  • BOSS Digital Delay DD-3

  • Ibanez Airplane Flanger
  • MXR Blue box
  • Homebrew Electronics THC chorus
  • Robert Keeley Nova Wah LE
  • Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Electric Mistress
  • Korg Pitchblack tuner

Paul also used a modified vintage ADA Flanger from the 1980s (source: Berlin VIP session interview). You can hear it on tracks like 'Bucket of Rocks', and he also uses it on the 'Snowball of Doom' DVD. Paul stated the flanger had been modified. He uses it to change the pitch from high to low to create a sound similar to a dive bomb. Unfortunately, during Paul's 2008 European tour, his trusty ADA Flanger broke. Thankfully, before the pedal broke, he and Ibanez collaborated to make a similar pedal, with both a regular flanger mode and a mode which can be set to create a close approximation of the ADA pedal's sound, and the pedal has been released as the Ibanez Paul Gilbert AF-2 Airplane Flanger. He also uses the Psilocybe phaser and THC chorus pedals from Home Brew Electronics.

In the intro to "Get Out Of My Yard" Paul uses a Boss DD-3 Delay pedal to achieve the altered pitch looped effect at the beginning of the track. This was also demonstrated by Paul on the instructional DVD of the same name.

In 2009, Ibanez released a new PGM model, the Ibanez PGM401, which is rather different from most of Paul's previous models, with an ash body (most of his previous models were made of basswood, although his PGM800 guitar was made of lightweight ash (a similar but different wood than that used in the PGM401), Trifade Burst finish, Cosmo Black hardware and a regular headstock replacing the reversed one of the previous models. Also, rather than the DiMarzio PAF Pro, Tone Zone and Super Distortion pickups used in his previous models, the PGM401 comes with Paul's favorite humbucker model for the past five years, the DiMarzio Air Classics, arranged in a dual humbucker arrangement. Paul has stated that he had the bridge pickup moved 1 mm closer to the neck, which he said results in a warmer and thicker sound, particularly for the high notes he often uses in soloing. The F-holes are 3% smaller, to make the look more balanced with the pickup mounting rings. But perhaps the biggest difference from other current Ibanez guitar models, is that the PGM401 uses the old late-1980s neckjoint, which is thicker than the current neckjoints on other Ibanez guitars.


Black Sheep

  • Trouble In The Streets (1985)

Racer X

Mr. Big

Other appearances

  • Atomic Basement Tapes - Missing Lynx (1981)
  • Revelation - Darrell Mansfield Band (1985)
  • Pump It!' - Jeff Berlin (1986)
  • Out of the Sun - Joey Tafolla (1990)
  • Humanary Stew - A Tribute to Alice Cooper
  • Guitars That Rule the World (1992)
  • Smoke On The Water: A Tribute (1994)
  • Jeffology: A Guitar Chronicle (1996)
  • Akira Takasaki - Wa (1996)
  • Merry Axemas - A Guitar Christmas (1997)
  • Mikazuki "In Rock" Sound Track, Guitar on tracks "Crescent Moon" & "Theme for Kazeo" (2000)
  • Becker 2001, Warmth in the Wilderness -A Tribute to Jason Becker(Guitar and vocals for Hawkin)
  • Hughes Turner Project - HTP (2002)
  • Battle Gear III: The Edge (played on "Charge and Discharge," "Morning View," and "The Machine of Rage" bonus tracks) (2003)
  • Kim Fox Return to Planet Earth (2003) Guitar on track 4
  • Guitar Wars (2003)
  • Return to the Planet Earth - Kim Fox (2003)
  • One Night in New York City - Yellow Matter Custard (2003) Available @
  • "Mieze" - Marco Minnemann (2004)
  • "Contraire de la chanson" - Marco Minnemann (2006)
  • Light at the End of the Tunnel - War & Peace (2006) (with Richie Kotzen, John Norum, Jeff Pilson)
  • Two Nights In North America - Hammer of the Gods (2006) Available @
  • One Night in Chicago - Cygnus and the Sea Monsters (2006) Available @
  • Live with Sex Machineguns - Tokyo (2005)
  • One Night in New York City - Amazing Journey (2007) Available @
  • Spin The Bottle - An All Star Tribute To Kiss (guitars on "I Want You") (2004)
  • Numbers from the Beast - An All Star Tribute to Iron Maiden (guitars on "The Evil That Men Do") (2005)
  • Evil Lives: A True Metal Tribute to Black Sabbath (with Racer X on Track 4: "Children of the Grave") (2006)
  • The Fool - Jeff Martin solo album (2006)
  • Sola Scriptura - Neal Morse (2007)
  • G3 Tour (2007)
  • Guitar Hero Hero (Beating Guitar Hero Doesn't Make You Slash) - MC Lars (2008)


  • Intense Rock - Sequences & Techniques VHS version
  • Intense Rock II VHS version
  • Guitars from Mars Japanese DVD release
  • Guitars from Mars II Japanese DVD release
  • Terrifying Guitar Trip VHS version
  • Eleven Thousand Notes DVD
  • Guitar Wars DVD
  • Space Ship Live DVD (2005)
  • Complete Intense Rock DVD (2006)
  • Terrifying Guitar Trip DVD (2006)
  • Get Out Of My Yard Guitar Instructional DVD (2007)
  • Get Out Of My City Guitar Instructional DVD/VCD (2007)
  • One Night In New York City - Yellow Matter Custard (2003)
  • Two Nights In North America - Hammer Of The Gods (2006)
  • One Night In Chicago - Cygnus And The Sea Monsters (2006)
  • One Night In New York City - Amazing Journey (2007)
  • Silence Followed By A Deafening Roar Guitar Instructional DVD And Shred Annex (2008)
  • The Last Note of Freedom


  4. News
  10. Buckethead Biography, NME, Accessed Jan 6, 2009

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address