View Full Version : Paul Gilbert Practice Lick at Fast Tempo

03-08-2003, 08:08 AM
I'm new to the site and it looks like a very cool place. I have been playing for quite a few years, but mostly from the slower blues school. I consider myself average in the speed department and not a shredder.

My question relates to the basic Paul Gilbert lick below.


At a faster tempo after picking the E note on the 12th fret on the first string with an upstroke I end up hitting the open B string before picking the downstroke for the D note at the 15th fret on the 2nd string.

I guess my question is what picking motion do use on this particular upstroke to avoid hitting the B string?

It seems like at a slower tempo I have time to jump over the B string, but when I get this lick cooking at a faster tempo I end up accidentally raking through the B string on that same upstroke and sounding the open B string.

Anyone else have this problem and any tips on how to correct it?

Thanks for the advice! :)

03-08-2003, 10:00 AM
One of the great things about this Paul Gilbert lick &/or motif is that it is a great lick that
requires synchronization of the right(picking)hand and the left(fretting) hand.

Not to mention as a motif &/or exercise It is rhythmic, & presents various challenges.

Most significant general observation about this lick:
One of the challenges is that when you play this lick you play the first 3 notes on the 2nd string then are required to go to the adjacent 1st string for the next note.

(for many musicians if they have not practiced alternating from one string to another).

this lick is great for practicing alternation from one string to another.

Now as to your specific concerns,
based on what you've stated in this post this lick starts to break down when you increase your speed of this lick,

Evaluate your playing:
what tempo can you play this lick so that you are satisfied.
what I mean by that is that there is synchronization between both hands, & you able to play this lick IN RHYTHM consistently.

If you can do this:
Eventually using this strategy you will be able to play this lick blindingly fast, yet cleanly & in rhythm!!!

Stylistically as to my own personal solution when I perform this lick
as I am alternate picking from the 2nd string to the adjacent 1st string I will not remove my left hand pinky from the 2nd string but I consciously leave it on the 2nd string.

Let me explain my left hand movement- I fret each of the notes 12, 13, 15 after I fret note 15 I release pressure on the 15th fret but consciously leave my pinky on the 2nd string MUTING IT as I play the note on the 1st string.

As to your concern: "I end up accidentally raking through the B string on that same upstroke and sounding the open B string."

This strategy provides 2 solutions to your concern:
there is no open B string ringing &
Therefore even if I do accidentally rake through the B string it's muted & makes little if any noise.
BUT IMHO if you are playing to a tempo that you start to rake, then it's too fast a Tempo!!

Hope this is helpful!

As stated previously this lick is great for practicing alternation from one string to another.
(& after mastering this lick, you can even create variations, ie. such as starting the lick on the 6th str & alternating to the 5th, or starting the lick on the 6th str & alternating to the 4th, 3rd, 2nd, or 1st this is known as STRING SKIPPING a favorite of Paul Gilbert, Eric Johnson, etc.

here's a PowerTab example of these variations
(BTW for simplicity I chose to create this in 4/4 time).

03-09-2003, 01:10 AM
Thanks Schooligo for tips and the detailed break down on the way you play it.

I'm going to sit down with the metronome and breakdown my execution of this lick and hopefully correct any flaws with my technique.

Earlier I sat down with the metronome and actually focused on the upstroke coming of the high E note and the down stroke of the D note and made a noticeable improvement in a very short time. I think if I just stay focused and work this lick out with the metronome that I should be able to solve the problem.

I was unable to open the one file you included, but that might be because I'm using a Mac and don't have the correct plug-in for it.


03-09-2003, 07:06 AM

Speaking of breaking it down(great segway by the way) :D
check out Eric V's awesome article "Break it all down" HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

03-09-2003, 02:16 PM
When playing the Paul Gilbert lick as u switch from the B string to the E string stub your index finger against the B string. This will mean it plays the E string, mutes the B string, and leaves ur pinky free to play on the E string immediately. BTW the word is segue, not segway, its french, sorry to be pedantic. In fact u should really always use the stub technique to avoid handling noise, open strings etc. esp. with legato, left hand hammers and tapping.
Good luck with it

03-09-2003, 04:33 PM
Actually upon further review I do both techniques, my Pinky mutes the 2nd string(as previously stated) but also my index finger on the 1st string E note also is muting(touching the B string) when it is fretting the E note.

As for the spelling thing I'm going to disagree with you Wizbit81
(not necessarily that I may have spelled it wrong) but that you obviously felt it was a significant issue!

To be truthful, yeah I kinda figured I may have it spelled wrong but it wasn't a priority to have it spelled correctly, as the most important priority to me at the time was to communicate the idea!!

Personally I wouldn't call your priority of how the word is spelled as "Pedantic", I'd call it being ANAL!

I could understand your reasoning of the importance of how the word is spelled IF (by the spelling I used) it didn't convey the necessary message I had intended!

some people are just that way IMHO it's a matter of Priorities, I already stated my priority at that time.

I'm going to take your word for it, that is how this word is spelled, even now I considered using spellcheck but figured what's the point, as it really doesn't matter to me how it's spelled as long as people know what I'm talking about (which you obviously did)!!!

03-09-2003, 08:05 PM
Thanks to both of you again for the great tips!

I just read the article "Break It All Down" and it really fits my problem to the tee and is an excellent article.

Here is another important question regarding metronome use. I will be the first one to admit that through the years I've been very lazy and haven't used the metronome like I should have on a regular basis.

For this Paul Gilbert lick how should the metronome be used as regarding notes per click?!?

I've basically been using 2 notes per click which is straight 1/8 th notes, but after looking at the tab of the lick I noticed it's in 6 note grouping. Shouldn't this lick have more of a triplet feel to it? If this is the case then I should be playing 3 notes per click of the metronome.

Thanks! :)

03-11-2003, 12:02 PM
With this lick its probably easiest to play it triplets, and when you get faster, sextuplets. For good practice you could try playing it 16th notes, which gives a nice rhythmic displacement effect.
Good luck!

ps. schooligo just correcting you so you didn't make a hideous error in the future m8, like on a job application or something. No hard feelings buddy

03-16-2003, 04:55 AM
FYI: Paul Gilbert's videos show that lick as a 16th note pattern. Nearly everything he plays in that video is based off of that lick played as 16th notes. So if you want to be like Paul....