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Paul Gilbert And His Legacy

By Andrew Catania

A former member of ‘Racer X,’ and the co-founder of ‘Mr. Big’, Paul Gilbert has much more to his stake his claim, that eventually saw him rank 4th, in the Guitar One Magazine’s list of the Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time. He has also made into the Guitar World Magazines, the list of the 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Times.

Paul Gilbert is a prominent, and sound name in the music sphere, specifically in the rock and heavy metal genre. His penchant for veering off from the conventional techniques, trying improvisations and his natural curiosity to experiment outside the prevalent, and well-grounded trends, compels him to test his expertise in a variety of genres.

Having a firm knowledge of the tactics, techniques, and intricacies of a variety of instruments, such as bass, keyboard, harmonica, and percussion, Paul Gilbert eventually settled to play the guitar. His techniques are finely calculated, intricate, have great depth, and utmost attention to detail. It is this precision of his shredding style, that makes even the loudest of tones fall smoothly onto the eardrum, and makes one experience ultimate musical ecstasy.

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Paul Gilbert’s playing style is unique and unbelievably complexed to be true. His one mere shred occurs with such force that few can match. Playing on fretboards, similar to those used by his contemporaries, his exceptional command over the chords sets him a class apart from the rest.

Lightning fast, dense, dynamic and fluctuating with aesthetic and carefully-handled nuances, Paul Gilbert has enchanted millions of rock, and metal enthusiasts worldwide, through his vibrant and addictive tones. His technique is neat and has a ferocious frequency which is squeezed out at an overwhelming speed. Besides that, his immense control over the length, the graduation of tones, and prolonged picking without taking an anchor or bridge is a worthy testament to his incredible and extraordinary skills. No wonder he is ranked among Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Rusty Cooley and other legendary names that have redefined the rock and heavy metal genre.

Paul Gilbert’s signature style has evolved through his self-taught, and experimental approach. He mentions the work of notable legendaries including Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, Tony Iommi, Jimi Hendrix, Yngwie Malmsteen, Kim Mitchell, Steve Clark, Akira Takasaki, Jimmy Page, Robin Trower, and much more as his inspiration. Being a keen observer and a quick learner, he attempted to learn, and master each’s technique, and improvised to include a fusion of his own. It is because of this, that he’s equally famous among the fandoms of other heavy metal legends, as his style reflects a flavor of his prime influences while maintaining its signature essence, and uniqueness.

While he’s ranked at an unparalleled stature among other heavy metal virtuosos, Paul Gilbert, experiments and composes his music in a variety of genres, including pop, metal, rock, funk, and blues. The speed, versatility, efficiency, timeliness, and seamless control visibly rule over all genres that he plays. His fusion of fast picking, combined with legato, and his precise-to-perfect staccato-picking, is a powerful depiction of his nonpareil excellence and is a sure-tell sign that the milestones he has set in the heavy metal genre, will demand a lot from his predecessors to come close to matching his legacy.

Mr. Big’s new record, Defying Gravity, will be released on July 7th, 2017 via Frontiers Records.

Doug Marks – The Metal Method and his Legacy

By Andrew Catania

Doug Marks, a prominent figure in the contemporary rock and metal guitar community thanks to his more than 30 years of experience as a guitar teacher. He developed what would be known as one of the most popular guitar methods of the world: The Metal Method. Doug’s early days as a teacher started doing private guitar lessons in Denver, Colorado as a way to help other fellow guitar players to develop their potential; he also learned from his students’ questions: when he didn’t know about something, he did the necessary research to find the answer, making him grow as a musician and teacher. When he later moved to Los Angeles, his students were interested in keeping in touch with him. They thought that Doug’s method of instruction was excellent, so he was encouraged by his pupils to find a way to give long distance guitar instruction.

By 1982 he was pursuing a career as a heavy metal musician with his band, named Hawk. Doug had the opportunity to work this project with many great musicians that were not so known at the time: Charlie Morrill (ex-Black Night), Teddy Days (ex Hellion), Scott Travis (Judas Priest, Racer X, Thin Lizzy), David Fefolt (Forgotten Realm, Valhalla) and  Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver). Doug managed to release the first Hawk studio release independently in 1986 as his personal project, a solid ten track album with Marks taking the leading guitar role, demonstrating a clean, bright and virtuosic heavy metal sound that was going to support his reputation as a metal guitar teacher.

The Metal Method

To keep in touch with his former students from Denver, and to make his method available to a larger audience, Doug Marks started to develop what was going to be known as The Metal Method. Metal Method Guitar Lessons has founded in 1982 thanks to his students’ questions; this was the way in which the method was shaped from the very beginning, and it owes his success and popularity to the fact that, to this day, Metal Method answers your needs as a guitar player.

The method consisted of a mail-order business in which Doug made his lessons available through audio cassettes and video tapes, where he explained the foundations of guitar playing, from the very beginning, under the assumption that you never picked up a guitar before. This was going to be known as the Basic Course in 1982, and it was the genesis of all. Doug takes you step by step into the paths of heavy metal technique and musical theory in a moderately increasing difficulty that is reasonable regardless of your playing level, avoiding you the pain of getting frustrated with impossible goals and overwhelming information.

The examples are played at different speeds, so you can easily keep up with the music, allowing you to analyze and practice each lesson in a way that you can get the most out of it, without being overwhelmed trying to play them at full speed right away. One of the most successful factors of this course was the fact that you can feel how Doug Marks is talking to you, not to a microphone or recording equipment, but to you as a student, as someone who’s eager to improve! That’s something that was not being offered in the market back in the day: a personal relationship between tutor and student, which is something the Metal Method offers.

The method was successful right from the beginning thanks to the philosophy of great guitar lessons at a lower price, with a high volume of sales. It was expanded into many editions that focused on specific areas of the guitar technique: Speed and Accuracy for Lead Guitar, Easy Guitar Modes, Guitar Mastery Package, Classic Guitar Licks and many others made in collaboration with guitar legends like Michael Angelo Batio: Speed Kills 1 and 2, Star Licks Master Series videos are an example. The Method has grown into a thriving business with plenty of information for all guitar players out there. In Doug’s website, he interacts with the people, answering their doubts and hanging around with them, showing how down-to-earth he is, and proving that he cares about the students and their learning process.

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The Metal Method Legacy

It is amazing how the Doug Marks legacy is evident to this day. Worldwide known guitar masters such as Rusty Cooley or Myles Kennedy have said how important the Metal Method was to them! Doug is right when he states the following on his website: “We’ve been in business since 1982 for one reason – our program works!” The basic course is still going now in his 2016 revision! In the field of guitar lessons, we are always searching for the perfect answer to questions like “how can I play faster?” “How can I approach lead guitar?” “What is the musical theory I should know to play what I like?” and the Metal Method is positively answering these questions to all of us!

The influence of the Method has been around for 34 years already, helping many guitar players out there to achieve the desired improvement in their guitar playing technique. And don’t let the word “metal” fool you: if you are into any other genre like blues, country, jazz, rock, and roll…you will get plenty of advice and useful information from the Method, because of all the resources it has to give to any aspiring artist.