Paul Gilbert: "My slide playing is a risky career move. There have been times when I've tried stuff on stage and people have walked out the door!"

Paul Gilbert
(Image credit: Jason Quigley)

Sometimes we sell Paul Gilbert short. We laud him for his abilities on the electric guitar, and how could we not? He helped stake out the perimeters of what’s possible with the instrument and, in 2021, he remains out there, pushing the limits all the time.

But maybe we don’t talk enough about how entertaining his compositions are, about how he takes the art-form of instrumental rock and gives it a similar sort of box office appeal to what, say, The Ventures were doing back in the day. In other words, like the best of instrumentalists, his songwriting lacks nothing from the absence of the human voice. It’s a meal in itself.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.