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Paul Gilbert’s secret weapon? Yamaha’s tiny THR5 desktop amp

When you think Paul Gilbert, you tend to think cranked Marshalls, rather than tiny digital modelling guitar amps… but the nicest guy in shred has recently revealed his secret weapon when he’s on the road: the Yamaha THR5.

“I’m on the road doing shows, but I still need to keep up with my school,” Gilbert says in the Yamaha video above, in between red-hot playing clips.

“I’m in my hotel room, I’ve got my laptop, and I bring my THR5 - the little one, because it’s the easiest to transport - and I just stick it right next to my laptop and it sounds awesome.

It’s just simple, I get it set up real fast. That’s how I get my tones on the road

“It’s just simple, I get it set up real fast. That’s how I get my tones on the road. This has been around the world with me.”

That’s a world away from the raucous rig the Mr Big guitarist employed on his most recent album, Behold Electric Guitar.

“I used a Marshall Bluesbreaker combo for the whole album,” Gilbert told GW last year. “I put it right in front of me, so I could really feel the punch and percussion when I picked a note. It’s so much better doing it that way than having the amp isolated in some other room.”

UK fans can catch Paul at the UK Guitar Show in September, where he’ll be hosting a guitar masterclass and Q&A.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.