When I was in high school I met a kid who was way better at guitar than me. His name was Jon Fox, if I remember correctly. United by a love for the guitar, he and I became friends. He was a few years younger than me and a few times better than me as a guitarist. He was already gigging around town and had business cards he’d printed out himself on computer paper. I was so jealous of him…

I grew up on pop music and classic rock. My guitar influences were pretty much all mainstream hard rock guitarists. Jon played blues and jazz guitar. His influences were way different from mine. He knew about musicians I’d never heard of. One of his favorites was Paul Gilbert. Before Jon, I’d never heard of Paul Gilbert. YouTube became a thing around that time, so I looked him up. I was never the same.

Paul is one of my top five favorite guitarists. There are a lot of shredders out there, but I don’t know that there are any shredders who are as insanely precise as Gilbert. He is picking and playing every single note intentionally. If you aren’t a guitarist, you may not appreciate how amazing that is. Most of the time when we play fast licks, we are “cheating,” picking quickly and letting our fingers do whatever they will. Distortion and delay effects cover up the inaccuracies in those techniques. Gilbert doesn’t cheat. He knows what every note is. Even just watching I still can’t keep up with him.

Anyway, enjoy some Paul Gilbert. The video below is one of the videos I watched a thousand times in high school. (I eventualy learned the clean solo he does in the middle.)