Paul Gilbert reveals the surprising guitars he used to emulate Ronnie James Dio's voice, the lead that took 100 takes and his grand guitar solo plans for Mr. Big's farewell tour

Paul Gilbert
(Image credit: Sam Gehrke)

Since his earliest days as a teenage sensation, then onward and upward with Racer X and Mr. Big, Paul Gilbert has captivated audiences with a striking combination of searing theatrics and hyper-fluid virtuosity.

As one of the preeminent players of the '80s, Gilbert found himself on top of the world with Mr. Big, as albums such as Mr. Big (1989), Lean into It (1991), and Bump Ahead (1993) found smash success. Still ever-curious, Gilbert played rover, leaving Mr. Big in 1998 and embarking on a successful, hyper-varied solo career.

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.