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Intense Rock I

After all the talk about fast picking and all the related details (how to hold the pick, whether to pick from the wrist or elbow etc.), I wanted to review one of my all-time favorite guitar videos... "Intense Rock I".

Seriously, if you like rock and you wanna really work on your picking-technique, this video is pretty much everything you need. If you can play all the licks shown here even at 60% of Paul's tempo and with plenty of accuracy, you already have developed quite a good technique.

This video was filmed between Paul leaving Racer X (late 80's) and becoming a member of Mr. Big (Billy Sheehan makes a short, funny guest appearance). The 80s-outfits of Paul and everyone else involved might look funny these days, but the information in this video is still absolutely valid.

After a cool intro-solo, Paul explains some basic things and then shows us... guess what... right, the famous "Paul Gilbert-Lick", a 6 note-sequence which should be a basic exercise for everyone working on the technique.

The TAB of all licks is displayed on the screen, no written music included (no booklet). Pauls hands are shown in close-ups, and you can see what both his hands are doing.

He uses a distorted sound, but also switches to a clean sound in between, emphasizing that this is important to check your accuracy.

Each lick and exercise is played both slow and fast (and I mean EXTREMELY fast. Back when I first saw this and had no picking technique whatsoever, I found it motivating, not frustrating, to see Paul playing those licks at "just-below-light speed". And it shows you where you can take it if you work hard enough.

The first segment of this 1 hour-video features several variations of the "PG-lick", focusing on the "problem-points" of picking. Next, Paul takes us through some three-note-per string-scales and -runs.

Between the segments, there are the "guitar tricks"... Paul's an entertainer with a wacky sense of humor. For the "guitar tricks" he is dressed up like a magician and together with his assistant Lisa, he performs amazing (*grins*) magical guitar tricks... he pulls a rabbit out of the guitar, saws the guitar in two pieces etc.

Those tricks might look corny, but they're funny the first time, and sure are quite entertaining between all the information the video's giving away. A nice way to loosen up a guitar-video. And if you don't like them, just fast-forward.

OK, the next segment focuses on legato-technique. Short licks, played with hammer ons and pull offs. Also, some combination-licks, combining picking and hammering / pulling.

Finally, Paul shows us some cool arpeggio-licks... played with the sweeping-technique. This is a good introduction to the technique. Finally, as an outro, Paul plays a long, classical-sounding etude.

Bottom line:
If you wanna work on your speed and accuracy, especially on alternate picking and legato / picking-combinations, this video pretty much is all you need. It helped me tremendously when I was starting to work on my picking technique (I saw this video the first time when I was like 12 or 13).

Everything is well explained, the licks and exercises are basic but wonderful tools to help you improve your picking and synchronization, and Paul really shows you where you can take it with hard work... playing them at an impressive speed, with perfect accuracy. Also, the video is entertaining and Paul explains the concepts well.

This, to me, is not one of the "another shredder is asked to make a video, playing through his most mind-boggling licks, then repeating them slow once" -videos, it really will help you to work on your picking and accuracy if you're willing to work hard.

Reviewed by: Eric Vandenberg

iBreatheMusic Rating:

Suitability: All Rock Guitarists

Available at:
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Reviewed by:
Eric Vandenberg

iBreatheMusic Rating:

All Rock Guitarists

Available at: