Haha. Paul Gilbert admits that the "Paul Gilbert lick" is too hard for beginners

of course, this is a 7 year old vid now…that I am just seeing

I got Intense Rock around 1990ish. Felt like a loser when I couldnt really get the “Paul Gilbert lick” up to any speed. Recently saw where Claus Levin said he sort of had the same issue when he first tried it and that he only started getting better results when he started on single string licks

Well surprise surprise, here is Paul admitting that the PG lick is terrible for beginners since it is actually a way advanced lick. Good stuff

see the beginning and about 4:50

I feel somewhat better about life now lol


Here’s the Claus video in case anyone is curious, although I think he did another one like this recently:

Honestly though it’s a cool lick but from a raw utility standpoint I could think of at least a few other things a beginner should tackle before that.


haha, yeah ive never seen that one but he mentions it in at least 2 other vids.

in essence, jumping to a new string, hitting one note, then jumping back to the original string, is pretty advanced. Thats basically 2 way slanting in one of its hardest applications. if one can start there…more power to them lol.

even adding one note makes it way easier IMO by giving us that little extra time to work it out

b----5–6--8-------------8–6 etc in 16th notes


I just watched the Clause video…I had never heard of him before…seems like a sincere guy. It seems to me that accenting 6 notes at a faster speed is a lot easier that accenting every three notes like he suggests. When I was getting that lick down I just accented to top note…which was an upstroke when I did it.

I think how many hours you must play something to get it down is an interesting subject,which he talks about in the video. For me it wasn’t about how many hours I played a lick that made me be able to play the lick the way I wanted…it was more like it took a certain number of hours to find a way that worked and felt right by trying different things…if I was doing something and I didn’t get it down pretty quickly I would try it a different way until I stumbled onto something that felt good and worked. And then the rest of the time would be remembering the movement so I could use it without thinking about it. That is one of the first fast picking licks I remember getting down. I can’t remember where I learned it…it might of been from the guy I was taking lessons from who got it from Al Di Meola. I used to play it all the time. I still love playing it. I really enjoyed the videos! :slight_smile:

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yeah its pretty deep. How to learn? Seems as humans we would have it all figured out by now. Then again a lot of stuff is “figured out” but hidden. (different subject)

The Paul Gilbert lick. I know its not a perfect analogy but I can equate it to bench pressing. A big strong guy can “show” you how to bench press 315 lbs. Easy, you lay on the bench, being the bar down, push it back up again. Whats the problem?

That being said, you might be years from reaching that level of strength whereas there are people who did 315 the first time they tried benching.

Paul himself said he’d been playing for 8 years before working on that lick

Can u remember back to those beginner days of trying to place each finger on the strings to do a C chord?? and an F chord?? oh forget that F chord lol

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Yes…there are many ways to learn something. The weight lifting thing is an interesting analogy. I wonder how much someone’s setup plays into learning something faster than someone else? If someone is naturally an upward pick slanter and they do nothing but try to play licks that are more geared for downward pickslanting then there is going to be a lot more of a challenge for them than someone who uses downward pickslanting narually and is learning more downward pick slanting type licks.

The person who seems like a natural really just might be someone who was already setup to play certain things without even realizing it and therefore there was not as much of a challenge for them as the person who was not setup for it…if that makes sense. The cool thing is now is with all the stuff Troy explains on here and in his videos it is not a mystery anymore. Which is an amazing thing for someone wanting to get this stuff down now!

yeah, some guys sort of luck up at first and they get some easy progress that really gets them going. Success breeds success. Look at Yngwie…whole house full of musicians including older siblings to expose him to their music and an uncle who owns a recording studio. Nice huh?

Or as you say, a natural dwps guy vs a natural uwps guy. They both start learning ascending 3nps stuff. Boom the uwps guy has 6 notes fall into his lap before having any troubles lol. The poor dwps guy is hitting a brick wall on the 4th note

for me, id say a lot of the mystery has gone out of the mechanics now…but the learning mystery still remains! How to best get this stuff under the fingers etc

we all “know” more, but can we all “do” more?


The PG lick is hard to master for a lot of players, regardless of their level lol!


I’d go as far as to say that past a certain speed even 99% of the elite players either swipe it or don’t play it in time. Disclaimer: this statistics came out of my #@! :sweat_smile:

Edit: however, in the anti-gravity seminar Troy demonstrates a clean execution at a very impressive tempo.


You mentioned Troy pulling it off. In the latest Martin Miller interview, Miller plays it a couple of ways, and he does a very clean fully-picked version that sounds amazing. I don’t remember specific Andy Wood examples, but he’s a beast with those types of licks as well. Not to detract for your main point though; I think very few “famous” players do this type of lick with the precision of someone like Martin Miller.


We should start a class action lawsuit like in the documentary the jerk. (think optigrab and crossed eyes) but instead we could just demonstrate our horribly confused picking.

We could ruin him

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It all depends on what you consider a beginner and who the person is. I was teaching a guy who had no experience except strumming chords and after less than a year of lessons I showed him this lick, the PG lick. He wasn’t even particularly talented but he worked hard and he did what I told him to do. After I showed him this lick and he’d been practicing it for a week he came back for his next lesson and said it was the best picking exercise I’d ever taught him.

Was he a beginner? I’d say he was, or maybe advanced beginner, but it did wonders for his alternate picking.

The other guys here who have taught guitar will also tell you, it all depends on the person. If everyone were the same, we’d give everybody this picking exercise at the same point in time but you have to factor in variables such as age, talent, and work ethic.

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well the word “beginner” isnt the key to the point I was making. basically i was saying that the PG lick is FAR from a “low level” lick. its quite advanced and tricky

I think Claus and Troy (in the volcano seminar) are way more correct in starting people off on one string licks

The guys you mentioned are making educational videos for a mass audience; they don’t have the luxury of tailoring a lesson to the specific needs of a particular student. I understand why they might say the PG lick is too hard for beginners. It might very well be too advanced for a lot of the beginners in their audience, but again it depends on what you consider a beginner. Also, people vary as to how teachable they are. This particular student was very teachable and the PG lick helped him a lot, even though people might say he was still a beginner because he’d been playing for less than a year.

Because people vary so much in regards to how teachable they are, their work ethic,and so on, when they’re going to be ready for this particular picking exercise will vary. Also, people vary so much with regard to what they find difficult, I don’t think you can ever say “Don’t teach this to someone unless he’s been playing for x amount of time.” If a teacher gives a student a picking exercise that it turns out the student wasn’t quite ready for, the teacher can modify the lick until it is appropriate for that particular student at that particular point in time.

That’s why private lessons are still the best way to learn. The teacher can design his lessons exactly for the specific needs of each of his students. I’d caution against not even trying this lick because somebody is still a beginner, or because someone has only been playing 9 months or whatever the case may be. In the example I described teaching that student of mine this lick when he was still what a lot of people would consider a beginner produced great results. Results are what we’re after. You can’t argue with success.

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not only did “they” say it…PAUL SAID IT lol

Intense Rock was by no means for beginners. Put the word “beginners” out of your mind.

This lick that many have struggled with is a super hard lick. It is unfortunate that Paul stuck it right at the front of his video as an implied starting point…as he himself admitted

Me personally I had played for maybe 2.5 - 3 years when I ran across Intense Rock. But i was not much of a disciplined practicer IIRC. So that lick was simply not going to work well for me lol

I probably couldnt pick fast with a rhythm on ONE string.
I definitely could not outside pick quickly going to a higher string

I absolutely, most definitely, could not outside pick going to a higher string AND then immediately outside pick coming back to the lower string. Not even close

That being said, yeah some guys fall naturally to outside picking. They struggle with inside picking…which seems weird to me lol.

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That’s me… I never had any problem with that lick in its outside picking version. But the same lick inside picking has eluded me for a very long time. Because of that I did not thoroughly worked on alternate picking, because the fact I could do the outside easily and couldn’t do the inside the same way drove me nut.

me and you should get together and split up the licks lol. i’ll do the inside stuff. We just gotta work out a way to pass the pick between us quickly lol

ive been thinking of a way to design a guitar with no outside string jumps but im stumped at the moment

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That would be DHP aka ‘Double Hand Picking’. Worth a seminar …

well I have also considered just cutting the outside part off of the strings…to just be done with outside picking altogether

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