Paul Gilbert Teaches Rhythm And Melody Trade Offs

Paul Gilbert Lesson

Read Time 2 Minutes

Paul Gilbert Lesson
Paul Gilbert

Check it out.  We’re bringing this video of a Paul Gilbert lesson into the limelight because we are of the mutual opinion that he’s really good at articulating aspects of the guitar well into words and giving an appropriate demonstration.

In this particular lesson he covers the importance and application of rhythm.

It’s a bit of an oldie, but it’s a damn goody and if you haven’t seen it before then… well… I guess we’re the first to introduce this to you.  Don’t thank us.  Pay us.

Watch as he builds from a simple rhythm and keeps adding notes while maintaining the rhythm. The possibilities with this technique are pretty much endless and can eventually be used to build an entire song.

Talk about a writers block buster. If you’re finding yourself stuck in a rut this might be a good thing to try out.

Even more importantly, Paul outlines the intricate dance you can weave out of a rhythm by sprinkling in notes, and maybe even start building out a melody. Dangerous stuff.

Down to the point.

Update: If you want to learn more from Paul Gilbert – Check out his Great Guitar Escape.

As for a play by play sports announcer aproach to this – the big point that is stressed in the video is rhythm matters in more ways than just having a sense of timing.  Playing a flurry of 1/16 notes at 350 bpm is fine and all, but don’t expect anyone to accuse you of being an interesting guitarist.

Mr. Gilbert, looking uncharacteristically well groomed save for that cowlick on the back of his dome piece, started simple with a muted rhythm and gradually added leads which followed the rhythm he was playing.

While Gilbert is pretty much inhuman as a guitarist the point still stands strongly.  Changing notation and sexing it up with rests will at least blur the lines between creative and uncreative so if you happen to suck and want to fool your audience with more ease then there’s a good place to start.  If you happen to rock then things like this can help make you rock harder.

In addition to the trade off of melody and rhythm Paul Gilbert’s widely revered for his technical mastery. Among his many skills he’s possibly most well known for his smooth and seamless string skipping prowess which has been known to cause spontaneous combustion on hapless listeners. That’s right. The friction of his own fingers on strings causes others to burst into flames.



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Kyle Smitchens

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.

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9 years ago

Paul can really tickle the fretboard! One of the reasons he can do that is his hand shape. Did you notice the length of his fingers. Like all great guitarists and pianists, he has long slender fingers which enable him to reach notes those of us with pudgy hands have a hard time with. Playing runs like he plays is work for me. Paul makes it look effortless. He is a joy to watch and, because of that, a great teacher. I look forward to more.

10 years ago


11 years ago

This is an excellent lesson and Gilbert is conveying the same type of philosophy that I’ve held for several years now: that the the rhythm of the notes you play is in many ways more important than what notes you play. Playing all the right notes out of time, or out of context with the groove will never sound very good. On the other hand, playing “wrong notes” could sound right or even awesome if played with an interesting rhythm that fits within the groove. Playing fast is easy. Playing deep in the pocket, even while playing fast…that’s the hard part. Gilbert is one of the few that can do both excellently. The rest of us will have to keep practicing. Great lesson.

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