|Paul Brandon Gilbert (November 6, 1966) is the guitarist of
band Racer X and formerly of the band Mr. Big. After he parted ways
with Mr. Big in 1996, Gilbert pursued his career as a solo guitarist
and has evolved into a successful solo artist/singer/songwriter.
Born in Carbondale, Illinois, he started playing guitar at the
age of 5, but soon gave up, becoming frustrated with just learning
simple nursery rhymes. Around age 11, he took up the guitar again,
but with a skewed memory of the technique; he played only with
upstrokes, and only used his middle finger to
fret notes. Frustrated
after trying to play a fast metal song with a galloping rhythm using
this technique, he took lessons, and his teacher explained the error
of his ways. His technique corrected, Gilbert continued practicing,
and by the age of 15 he was not only touring local clubs with his
band Tau Zero but was even spotlighted in Guitar Player alongside
fellow up-and-comer Yngwie Malmsteen. Now, he is recognized as one
of the best metal guitar players, a status due to his undeniably
amazing technique, clarity, creativity and versatility.
Talking about his influences, Paul mentions many different
artists, including Judas Priest, KISS, Van Halen and, rather
surprisingly for a guitar shredder, the Ramones. He is also a great
fan of Green Day.
Gilbert composes music in a wide variety of styles including
pop, rock, metal, blues, jazz, funk and classical, 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.
His guitar work is characterized by his floating right hand contrary
to the more common anchored right hand that guitarists like Pink
Floyd's David Gilmour favor. He is also considered to be one of the
best proponents of alternate picking.
Contrary to much speculation, Paul Gilbert is not
Buckethead. Buckethead was Paul's student for approximately a
year, during this time was when he decided to wear a mask. The KFC
bucket came later.
Paul Gilbert writes his own section of the British guitar
Total Guitar. He normally demonstrates guitar techniques in the
magazine and the accompanying CD. Paul also teaches at the
Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) which he attended, along
with Gary Hoey and many other talented guitar players. He works a
great deal with GIT's division in Japan, where he lived for a time
before relocating to LA.
Gilbert along with
Gary Cherone, and
Billy Sheehan will be performing three concerts in the end of
May 2006 as Amazing Journey: A Tribute to
He played on an only twice-performing project called
Yellow Matter Custard, a
cover band consisting of
Mike Portnoy (Dream
Neal Morse (ex-Spock's
Matt Bissonette. They take their name from a lyric in "I
Am the Walrus":
"Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead