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Paul Gilbert

Racer X, Mr. Big

"Si tu ne fait pas de bending, tu pourrais très bien être un joueur de clavecin. En faisant des bending tu prétend être un chanteur n quelque sorte, même si tu as une mauvaise voix." Paul Gilbert des groupes Mr. Big et Racer X parle de la puissance de la guitare dans cet épisode de String Theory.

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Paul Gilbert:
Officially I began playing Ernie ball in the mid-'90s, about 20 years ago. I tried the strings, I fell in love with them, and it just immediately solved all string problems.

Paul Gilbert:
The gauges are changing all the time because it really depends on the state of my calluses. If I'm a couple of weeks into a tour and I've got some good calluses, if I've done a couple of sweaty gigs in a row and my calluses have been destroyed, I'll go as light as 8s. Sometimes I'll go as heavy as 11s, and not only gauge but for acoustic guitar sometimes I really like to use a plain G, and there's a set of Ernie Ball strings that's the hybrid acoustic set that has a plain G string. To me, that's a huge difference in what I'm able to do on an acoustic guitar.

Paul Gilbert:
So it's satisfying as a guitar player to play stuff that's related to the blues because, you know, if you're not bending, you might as well be a harpsichord player. Bending is just, you get to pretend you're a vocalist, even if you've got a lousy voice.

Paul Gilbert:
When it comes to songwriting, I grew up in the '70s listening to AM radio, so I have all these pop songs running through my head from, you know, Paul McCartney and Elton John and a lot of stuff that was written on piano. And that's really different than the riff rock that I was into as a guitar player.

Paul Gilbert:
As a writer, a lot of times I'm sort of juggling those two things that I love, and then also juggling the fact that I'm a singer of limited ability and a guitar player who probably knows too much for my own good. So it's, you know, it's all that stirred into a big vat and hopefully something good comes out. But the more that I write, the more basic songwriting principles come into play.

Paul Gilbert:
As human beings we're visual creatures, and it's so easy to play the guitar by looking at it. It's a real challenge to go from that visual way of perceiving the guitar to getting back to that pure sound, connecting to the instrument. I mean, for guitar players, it's such a beautiful way to take what you hear in your head and make it real.