Paul Gilbert Australian Master Class tour

Paul Gilbert is coming to Oz for a master class tour! Paul is a great instructor (as you’ll soon see if you check out his ArtistWorks course) and he’s full of advice for players of every level.

More info over at Thump Music, but here are the essentials:

Dates & Times

1. Brisbane – Monday 8th of October 2012 – 7.30 pm till late – Book now
2. Sydney – Wednesday 10th of October 2012 – 7.30 pm till late – Book now
3. Melbourne – Thursday 11th October 2012 – 7.30 pm till late – Book now
4. Hobart – Saturday 13th October 2012 – 10am till 12.45pm – Book now
5. Adelaide – Monday 15th October 2012 – 7.30 pm till late – Book now
6. Perth – Wednesday 17th October 2012 – 7.30 pm till late – Book now

Standard ticket pricing is $80 per person. However for Thump’s loyal clinic attendants they are opening up an early bird price of $69.00 per person. A Thump Music Show Bag will be supplied to all pre-paying customers, with over $50.00 worth of goodies, which judging from the pic below includes the Pickmaster Plectrum Cutter (which I review here) and Australian Guitar magazine (which I write for).

Check out the guest post Paul wrote for I Heart Guitar in 2009.

REVIEW: GIG-FX Mega Wah

The Gig-FX roster of users includes such names as Prince, who played the Chopper tremolo pedal on Saturday Night Live; Adam Jones of Tool; Juan Alderete of The Mars Volta/80s glam shred band Racer X; Adrian Belew of King Crimson/Bowie/NIN; Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge and Creed; Living Colour’s Wil Calhoun; and Richard Fortus of Axl Rose’s latest incarnation of the Gunners.

WHY DON’T YOU CRY ABOUT IT
The Gig-FX Mega-Wah combines six wah effects and a volume pedal, in a sturdy, practically bombproof construction. The wah modes include Classic, in mono or stereo; Mega-Wah, which is described as the Classic wah on steroids; Trig-wah, a funky envelope filter type effect; Auto-wah, a straight-forward touch wah effect; Stereo- Wah, in which two circuits give twice the awesome wah power, especially good for use in stereo effects chains; Stereo-Reverse Wah, which reverses one channel for some phasey phreakiness; and Foot-volume control (does what it says on the tin).

The Mega-Wah operates with optical technology, which uses an LED array and an optical sensor to control the effect. In this design, the closer the LED gets to the array, the more intense the effect. It’s a method used on some other high end wah pedals, tremolo and compressor pedals, and the entertainingly squeaky Digitech Whammy Pedal, and it provides a very smooth taper difficult to achieve with traditional pots.

HEY, WAH HAPPENED?
The coolest feature of the Mega-Wah is the Stereo-Reverse mode. The ability to have one side wahing up while the other wahs down is undeniably funky. It reminds me, bizarrely, of Eddie Van Halen’s rarely heard and unorthodox wah technique, where he tends to rock the pedal backwards rather than forwards so the wah sweep goes from high to low instead of the other way around. This is such an attention-grabbing sound, especially in the context of 40 years of standard wah operation, that its inclusion here is a further breath of fresh air for this innovative pedal.

BOW-BOW-WAKKA-WAKKA-BOW-BOW-CHICKA-CHICKA
The Classic mode has all the vibe and tone of the original pedal it pays tribute to, while Mega-Wah takes it a step or two further. Trig-Wah sounds especially great with bass for those phat Bootsy Collins moments.

The sound quality and flexibility cannot be argued with, nor can the sheer number of sound possibilities. There was a little bit of extra noise audible with the review model, but these issues have since been addressed: At NAMM this year, Gig-FX released the second generation versions of the Mega Wah and Chopper that feature ‘Better than True Bypass’ circuitry, which will be incorporated into all gig-fx pedals in the future. Gig-FX explains: “Unlike True Bypass, there is no loud pop when the pedal circuits are engaged. gig-fx pedals use optical switching and are noiselessly by-passed when the pedal is all the way back. The bypass circuitry preserves signal harmonics better than a True Bypass by driving cable lengths at the optimum impedance value with open frequency response circuitry. In comparison, True Bypass pedals are audibly less transparent with losses of high frequencies into instrument cables, even expensive cables. Spectrum Analyzer test results of the gig-fx bypass v True Bypass are to be published on the company’s web site and provide definitive results. The tests were performed with cooperation from DiMarzio.”

SPECS:
All analog circuitry
Transparent bypass achieved by a FET switch
Stereo in/stereo out, mono in/stereo out
Optical operation.
Bypassed when pedal is in ‘heel down’ position
9V operating voltage, 30mA to 40mA current consumption

NAMM 2009: Racer X live video

One of the highlights for many at NAMM this year was the performance by Paul Gilbert as part of Ibanez’s celebration of his 20 years as an endorser. Paul’s old band, Racer X, played a bunch of songs, and here is ‘Frenzy.’ Enjoy!

I found this clip on Blabbermouth.net, but you can see a whole bunch of great Paul Gilbert videos on this page of the Random Chatter Music blog

NEWS: Racer X to play at NAMM

From Blabbermouth.net:

RACER X will perform at the 2009 NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show, which will be held January 15-18 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

Commented RACER X guitarist Paul Gilbert: “Ibanez guitars is celebrating the 20th anniversary of my PGM guitar with a concert at the NAMM show.”

The concert will take place on Saturday, January 17, 2009 at the Sheraton Park Ballroom and will not be open to the public.

Paul said, “It is very exciting for me to be the featured artist for Ibanez this year, so I am glad that I can do something special for this concert. I can’t think of anything better than a killer set of RACER X!” He added, “I can’t wait to play some killer heavy metal with my favorite metal band!”

Andy Timmons and his band will open the show, followed by a solo set from Paul Gilbert, and finally RACER X. The RACER X lineup will consist of Paul Gilbert, Scott Travis (JUDAS PRIEST), Jeff Martin (BADLANDS, MSG) and John Alderete (THE MARS VOLTA).

The last RACER X performance in the U.S. was held on May 25, 2001. It was filmed for the live DVD “Live At The Whisky – Snowball Of Doom”.

NEWS: New Paul Gilbert CD, October 22

Paul Gilbert will release a new vocal album, United States, in Japan on October 22, mere months after his second instrumental release, Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar

The album is not a Gilbert solo release, rather the artist is listed as Paul Gilbert & Freddie Nelson. Nelson is a guitarist and vocalist from Pittsburgh who lists his influences as Queen, The Beatles, Nikki Sixx and AC/DC.

Gilbert recently updated his website’s News page with a little hint about the new album: “In between my very busy touring schedule, I managed to make another new CD! I will announce more details about this soon. Let me just say that it will blow your mind when you hear it!”

Resourceful readers at the Racer X board did some sleuthing and uncovered more information, including the October 22 Japanese release date, album cover, and title. It appears the music will bear similarities to Mr Big and Queen.

There is more info, as well as a few photos, at the WHD Entertainment website.

Click here to buy ‘Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar’ on CD.
Click here to buy the ‘Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar Guitar Instructional DVD & Shred Annex.’

NEWS: Shrapnel on iTunes

If you’re anything like me, you probably spent an embarassingly large amount of time during your teenage years searching bargain bins for releases by Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records, a label specialising in releases by guitar virtuosos like Marty Friedman, Racer X, Cacophony, Greg Howe and Paul Gilbert. Well those days of eagle-eyed pointy-guitar spotting amid the racks at obscure used CD stores are over, with the news that Shrapnel’s catalog has just become available on iTunes. Now you can pick up rare releases by Yngwie Malmsteen’s Steeler, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Tony McAlpine, Greg Howe, Richie Kotzen, Vinnie Moore, and many other dudes who spent as much time on haircare as they spent on practicing 8-fingered 4-octave diminished arpeggios – and those dudes spent a lot of time on 8-fingered 4-octave diminished arpeggios.

INTERVIEW: Paul Gilbert

In the world of guitar heroes, Paul Gilbert is the everyman’s shred god. Vai has the alien freak thing down, Satch is the shiny Silver Surfer, and Yngwie is the neoclassical reincarnation of the roadrunner. Gilbert just comes across as a cool guy who loves to rock. With a career spanning classic shred band Racer X, through to Mr Big (admit it, you’ve strummed “To Be With You” on an acoustic guitar around the campfire at least once), covers projects with Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, and a solo career that’s seen him play everything from jangly guitar pop to all-out metal, with a few classical detours along the way, it’s surprising to note that 2006’s, “Get Out Of My Yard,” was his first all-instrumental album. In October of that year, Gilbert took some time out from defending his yard to tell me all about it.
PETER: Why did you wait until now to release an all-instrumental CD, and what inspired you to do it?
GILBERT: When I was a kid, all the coolest guitar players were in big rock bands, playing arenas, and being played on the radio. And all these bands had SINGERS. Eddie Van Halen with David Lee Roth, Jimmy Page with Robert Plant, Randy Rhoads with Ozzy, Alex Lifeson with Geddy Lee, Michael Schenker with Phil Mogg… and even Allan Holdsworth had John Wetton. I loved these guitarists, but I also loved their BANDS. So when flashy guitar playing started to become a niche that was aimed solely at an audience of guitar players, I wanted to stay away from it. From the beginning, my band RACER X had singing and songs. MR. BIG, of course, went even further in that direction. And as a solo artist I surprised everyone and went in a pop/punk direction rather than make the shred album that most people were expecting. But as much as I love rock and pop songs, I AM a guitar player. And after playing for 30 years, my guitar had some things to say. So I thought I would quit complaining about the guitar niche and heartily join in by making the coolest CD of pure guitar music I could dream up.
PETER: Did you stumble across any cool new techniques during the recording of the album?
GILBERT: The first song I recorded was the Haydn symphony. I used my guitar to replicate every instrument in the orchestra. I learned bassoon parts, oboe parts, cello, clarinet, flute, bass, viola, and of course, the main violin parts. The arpeggios and scale sequences in classical music are always a challenge to play on guitar, so I have no choice but to invent some unusual fingerings to make the notes happen. After recording the whole piece, I was definitely warmed up to do the rest of the record!
PETER: What happened to the song titles for the album that you originally posted on your website, that when strung together formed a paragraph about pesky kids in the yard?
GILBERT: Ahh! You saw that! I thought that would really cool at first, but I couldn’t remember which song was which, so I went back to my original titles.
PETER: What guitars did you play on the album?
GILBERT: I used an Ibanez PGM300 with a Kahler tremolo on it. I haven’t used a whammy in a long time and it was fun to try it again. You can hear that guitar on the solo in “The Curse of Castle Dragon”. I also used it on the main parts of the Haydn symphony. I have a custom Ibanez doubleneck that I used for the opening “Get Out of My Yard” solo. One of the necks is strung with just 3 strings, all tuned to “E” in octaves, low, middle, and high. This is really good for playing arpeggios with hammer-ons and pull-offs. I used this tuning with a capo in a bunch of different positions to make the intro happen. I also have some vintage Ibanezes that I really like: a ’79 hollowbody Artist, a ’77 Deluxe 59’er Les Paul copy, and a ’77 SG Custom copy. I bought these all on ebay. They are killer!
PETER: Will there be any new PGM Ibanez models in the near future?
GILBERT: I just got a new prototype with a narrower fingerboard and three gold covered humbuckers. It’s really cool! For something to become a production model, I would really have to become my main guitar. And the current PGM301 is still hard to beat.
PETER: How did you get to be so damn good on the guitar? Do you practice a lot these days, or do you not need to any more?
GILBERT: Thank you the compliment. I don’t practice ALL the time, but often enough. I definitely had to practice for the Haydn symphony!
PETER: What’s the strangest place you’ve heard one of your songs played?
GILBERT: The first thing I can think of is… a few years ago I was doing a guitar clinic… I think it was in Kansas. A kid who worked at the music store picked me up from the airport, and as soon as we got in his car he turned on his stereo and starting listening to “The Jam”. This the last song on my first solo album “King of Clubs”. It’s a 20 minute long guitar battle where the rhythm section basically never changes, and Bruce Bouillet and I just solo and solo and solo and solo. So, back the story… the song was about 17 minutes into it when he turned it on. That meant he had already made it that far. And then, 3 minutes later, the songs ended… and STARTED AGAIN. He had the thing in “loop” mode. 20 minutes of non-stop soloing was NOT ENOUGH for this kid. He needed it AGAIN. Insane.
PETER: Godzilla is tearing apart the city. You have time to save one guitar before he eats the rest. What guitar will it be?
GILBERT: At the moment, I really love my ’79 Artist hollowbody. I haven’t played hollowbodies much before but the thing just resonates so beautifully. Even at a low volume I get great feedback and sustain. Plus it’s BIG and since I’m very tall it’s nice to have a guitar that’s more my size. Maybe, armed with this guitar, I could fight off Godzilla and preserve the rest of my guitar collection. I would certainly try.

GET OUT OF MY YARD is on Mascot Records
Click here to buy ‘Get Out of My Yard’ on CD.
Click here to buy the ‘Get Out of My Yard’ instructional DVD.
Click here to buy ‘Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar’ on CD.
Click here to buy the ‘Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar Guitar Instructional DVD & Shred Annex.’