Paul Gilbert’s Premier Guitar column, “Shred Your Enthusiasm,” is normally devoted to some serious guitar playing. But the most recent entry involves an even heavier topic: Hearing loss. Have you seen the big headphones Paul wears on stage? There’s a good reason for that. In typically hilarious fashion, Gilbert describes his addiction to excess:
When I play quietly I feel sonically naked. My instinct is to beat the audience over the head with volume, power, and speed. If I play quietly, subtly, and slowly, will they throw a tomato at me? I don’t know. I’ve never tried it. At least not until recently. So far, there have been no tomatoes. I should have tried this a long time ago.
Here are a couple of tips on preserving your ears:
• Don’t insist that your drummer play with an Alex Van Halen-style washy ride cymbal and a sloshy open hi-hat on every song.
• Don’t stick your head into the side-fill monitor to try to figure out the key of an unfamiliar song during the chaos of a multi-guitar NAMM jam. Just mute your strings and go chicka- chicka. That works in any key.
Be sure to take a look at the whole PG PG piece for some serious notes too.