Andy Timmons and Paul Gilbert recently sat down with Sweetwater to discuss gear and trade tales, and they concluded the video segment with an epic improvised jam of The Doors’ classic Light My Fire.
Gilbert gave Timmons a total of seven seconds to understand the chord progression – which alternates between A min and B min, with both anchoring on the open A string - before hurtling into the jam.
Timmons leads the way, weaving through Robby Krieger's iconic licks before twisting into his own stylings.
There’s then a rare sighting of Paul Gilbert proving he’s human as he lands on a duff note shortly after taking over soloing duties. He dutifully brushes himself off and rips into the kind of short bursts intertwined with sharply bent note kind of playing he’s synonymous with.
It’s interesting to hear the tonal differences between both their guitars and rig setups, with a gentle wash of flanger giving Gilbert’s licks a warmer, more rounded quality. The single coils of Timmons’ guitar and flanger-free tone, meanwhile, provides a much cleaner, sweeter sound.
Gear-wise, it’s a double-headed Ibanez affair. Timmons is playing his workhorse signature guitar, the ATZ10P-STM whilst Gilbert sports the black edition of his PGM50 signature model.
The ATZ10P-STM boasts the classic Stratocaster combo of an alder body and bolt-on maple neck. It's loaded with a triple threat of single-coil DiMarzio pickups comprising Cruisers in the neck and middle positions, and an AT-1 in the bridge.
In contrast, Gilbert’s guitar offers a HSH setup. Also equipped with a trio of DiMarzio pickups, its Air Classic humbuckers boasting black and gold bobbins to match the guitar's finish, with a PGM single coil in the middle.
The candid jam session ends with a quickfire lick trade-off which finds the pair at their improvisational best. They even lock into a harmonized run (with a few missed notes for good measure) that threatens to go down Technical Difficulties territory.
It’s pulled back, though, as they lock into the vocal melody instead of beaming off into the shred stratosphere.
“There you go ladies and gentlemen,” says Gilbert to punctuate the jam, whilst Timmons heralds the Mr. Big guitarist's playing, saying: “He’s the best. It's beautiful playing with you man; so inspiring.”
Timmons, who launched his signature Keeley Electronics Muse Driver at NAMM 2024, is no stranger to jamming with the greats. Earlier this week producer Josh Smith posted a clip of him trading licks with Joe Bonamassa in the studio, with the Guitar World columnist featuring on the follow-up to Timmons 2022 album, Electric Truth.
Paul Gilbert recently shared his tips learned from a lifetime of studying Van Halen with Total Guitar.
“I was lucky enough to see every Van Halen headline tour from 1979 until 1984,” he said. “To be there in person was amazing.
“With all of the fiery things, especially Eruption, Eddie was like a new sun appearing in the sky. You could sense that the world would never be the same. So I was lucky to see them with my own eyes and take in what Eddie had to offer. I actually still have recurring dreams about those experiences because they were so exciting.”