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Paul Brandon Gilbert is known for his technical guitar work with Racer X and Mr. Big. He has been voted number 4 on a list in GuitarOne magazine of the "Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time", and holds a spot in Guitar Worlds 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time list.
Ambitious at an early age, around 1981-82 Paul contacted Mike Varney, founder of Shrapnel Records, asking for a gig with Ozzy Osbourne. At that time, Varney couldn't think why Osbourne would want a 15 year old guitarist, but after listening to Paul demo he changed his mind. In 1982, fifteen year-old Paul Gilbert appeared in Guitar Player magazine for the first time, holding a homemade Flying V in his hands, and proclaiming his style to be "Heavy Metal."
By the age of 18 he had moved to Hollywood, California, won the Los Angeles “Guitar Wars” contest, graduated from G.I.T. (The Guitar Institute of Technology), and started teaching there as G.I.T.s youngest instructor. At 19, Paul formed the now-legendary shred-metal band RACER X, and recorded his first album with the group.
RACER X soon became kings of the Los Angeles club scene, and continued to record melodic, yet intimidating metal music, including the instrumental classic, “Scarified”. Gilbert left Racer X in 1988, but ten years later he contacted the members of Racer X for a reunion. In 1999, the band recorded the album, Technical Difficulties, which went gold in Japan. At 21, one of Paul's musical heroes, bassist Billy Sheehan (Talas, David Lee Roth) asked him to join him to form a new band. This band became MR. BIG. Together with vocalist Eric Martin and drummer Pat Torpey, MR. BIG went on to make many classic albums, combining elements of rock, metal, pop, soul, and shred. While in MR. BIG, Paul enjoyed the success of the number 1 hit single “To Be With You”, and the opportunity to perform in sold-out arenas all over the world. Gilbert continued playing in Mr. Big in the 1990s. During that time he became famous for using a Makita cordless drill with three picks mounted on the end of it, which he used most famously on the Mr. Big track ‘Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little boy’.
At 30, Paul felt the urge to take complete control over his musical direction, and left MR. BIG to pursue a solo career. Since then, he has recorded over 20 albums of high-energy guitar rock. Sometimes with vocals, sometimes instrumental, sometimes with his mates from RACER X, and sometimes in collaboration with his uncle, Jimi Kidd, singer/guitarist Freddie Nelson, or with drummer Mike Portnoy.
Apart from being a touring and recording musician Paul is also the most sought-after and YouTube’d guitar instructor of his time. Paul's instructional DVDs and magazine columns have become Shred Encyclopedias for a new generation of guitarists. Listen to any fast metal guitar player today, and you're sure to hear some phrases borrowed from Paul's “Intense Rock” DVD.
In 2007, Paul joined guitar legends Joe Satriani and John Petrucci for the “G3” tour of North America. In the years since, Paul has performed over 250 shows with his band in Europe, Japan, and America.
Paul's recent touring and recording with MR. BIG has put him once again at the forefront of today's guitar scene. Paul now enjoys playing shows at the sold-out Budokan arena in Japan, rocking out for massive audiences at European rock festivals like Download, Gods of Metal, and Sweden Rock, or headlining for thousands of fans in South America, the USA, Indonesia, and Russia.
TonePrints by Paul Gilbert
Videos with Paul Gilbert
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Paul Gilbert Meets Ditto X2 Looper
Paul Gilbert TonePrint for Helix Phaser
Paul Gilbert on achieving great tone
Paul Gilbert on evolving as a musician
Paul Gilbert on great tone
Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big) demoing the Ditto Looper
Paul Gilbert Gear Run (2017)
HD - 2012 Guitar Geek Festival - Paul Gilbert Live! - Technical Difficulties - 2012-01-20
Paul Gilbert || Guitarspot.gr - Interview, Live Setup
Paul Gilbert demos the MojoMojo
Paul Gilbert Creates a TonePrint for the Corona Chorus Guitar Pedal
Paul Gilbert Creates a TonePrint for the Hall of Fame Reverb Guitar Pedal