Paul Gilbert Retreat!

How often do you get to hang out with one of your musical heroes up close and personal? I recently had a chance to visit Paul Gilbert along with 3 other guitarists for 3 days of studio time, lessons from Paul, and fine dining. What a treat!

Read on to hear more about this great adventure!

I arrived weak and weary after a long drive to Woodlake California, the home of Roseland Studios.  When I arrived at the hotel and began unloading a”few” guitars, a pickup truck  pulled up behind me, spilled out 4 or 5 dudes who immediately came at me asking “what’cha got in the car”?  I’m here just a few minutes and I’m getting rolled in the parking lot, I thought, this is just great.  Well, it turns out it was the other attendees being delivered to the hotel.  I still don’t know what I said in response to that question, I was ready to crash, but needless to say, no gear was lost that evening.

We started with a bit of blues jamming with Paul letting us all have a chorus or two to solo so he could hear us play.  Paul was a great bandleader for our group of 4 guitarists and Don (Drums) and Adrian (Bass) were a rock-solid rhythm section.  With just a bit of jamming, we were were off to learning a few songs suggested by Paul.

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We all experienced the same terrifying feeling when Paul said “your turn, go!”

Paul took some time out after some jamming and walked us through some theory and how to apply it.  My favorite part was when he took all the intervals (half-step, whole-step, etc.) and played an easily recognizable song that incorporated that interval.

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Teach us, oh master of the guitar!

Throughout the 3 days of jamming, Paul would throw new things at us, teach us new songs to jam over, and generally just tear it up on guitar.  There were many jaw-dropping moments where Paul would show us something and we’d all just stare wondering what we just saw.

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Paul holding court.  What did we just see?

I even got a chance to check some of my transcriptions.  Sadly, I found they were in error in so many ways (I’ll update them soon).  As Paul himself said “I have to remember that not everybody has Paul Gilbert hands”.  No kidding.  But, it wasn’t all about guitar technique, we also got some performance tips, in this case, eyebrow lessons:

Paul’s stamina and engagement were amazing.  We’d start early in the morning, and continue on late after dinner.

The folks at Roseland Studios took care of our every need, with three great meals, drinks and even healthy snacks served each day (although, we did beg for pizza on our last night, another 3-course gourmet meal may have taken a couple of us out!).

Finally, the facilities, as you can see in the photos, were exceptional.  Our engineer, Ben, kept everything sounding great and the lights and fog really helped us get lost and stay in the music.

What a memorable experience.  Until next time guys!

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