An Invitation from Paul Gilbert
Hello friends! I’d like to personally invite you to join me at my upcoming Great Guitar Escape at taking place at the Kellog Conference Center, Pomona California July 28-August 1, 2022.
The upcoming GGE is my 6th camp, which is such an amazing honor. Especially considering the people who have joined me with them. Guitar players from all over the world come together and have the best time. The best time we could ever imagine. It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent just a few years on the instrument or you’ve spent your whole life with it. I want to make it so it doesn’t matter – you don’t have to put some insane amount of work into it in order to enjoy it, in order to connect with it. It’s a language and you should be able to speak at any level. I like to open the door for everybody. Great Guitar Escape is not something where you have to wait until you’re perfect. You can get in on any level.
To me, GGE is about making a connection. Everybody’s a human being and everybody has some music inside of them. Great Guitar Escape is not just me on stage, performing and teaching. There’s a back and forth that I think is really special. I bring everybody up, one at a time, and we jam back and forth. So in the space of just a few hours, I end up jamming with about seventy or eighty people, which, for me is an incredible experience.
When you connect to music, when you connect to a musical instrument, you connect to people. People who play music know that and that’s why they do it. People who are musicians, they’ve acknowledged that music is something that’s very important to them and they’ve decided to go deep. It’s wonderful to get that breed of people together in a room, because that’s where we go deeper. To me, that’s something important and priceless and irreplaceable.
When you interact with other musicians, you discover a whole range of styles and abilities. It can be very easy to think, Oh, this is the only way to do it. But when you connect with other musicians, you realize they’re also getting it done, but in a different way. That’s wonderful to learn. There’s more than one way to make music. And there’s more than one kind of music. If it sounds right, it is right. That’s the wonderful thing about human beings. We find a path and it’s not always the same path. And when you get closer to people, you can see that more and more. You look at how people approach the instrument and everybody’s a little different. It’s not that way at all, everybody has a different approach.
As usual, my lineup of guest instructors is very diverse, each from different backgrounds and offering unique approaches. Some of my closest friends and favorite all-time players will be with us, including Great Guitar Escape veterans Andy Timmons, George Lynch, and Greg Howe. We’ll also be joined by some players that I’ve been following for a while. Jared James Nichols is really fiery, taking the style that was born with Hendrix and continued into the 70s, classic high energy blues rock guitar playing. It’s so nice to see a younger guy really getting a grip on that sound and putting his own thing into it as well. Gretchen Menn is highly regarded for her own original instrumental work and as lead guitarist for Zepparella, an all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band. Her dad is actually Don Menn, the former editor-in-chief for Guitar Player magazine! I’m definitely excited to jam with her.
We’ll also be joined by legendary session guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist and composer Mike Kenneally, who has of course played with everybody from Frank Zappa to Steve Vai to Joe Satriani. And then Greg Koch is an amazing guitarist, bandleader, and author. He’s a master of hybrid picking, which is actually something I’m unable to do, but my regular picking has improved enormously trying to copy that style. I’ve not met Greg in person yet, but apparently he’s 6’7″ so for the first time, I’m not going to be the tallest person on stage!
When you connect to music, when you connect to a musical instrument, you connect to people.
Besides doing my own performance, I organize jams with the other instructors and the big jam that I do with the students. But that’s not all there is to it – there are jams going on all night, where anybody who wants to can participate. I know a lot of people stay up all night to jam with their buddies and then come to the morning classes, loaded with enough interest and energy to make it through. By the end of the camp, a lot of people are like, ‘Oh, man, I have got to get some sleep!’
Great Guitar Escape is a place where we’re going to connect musically, we’re going connect as human beings. We’ll share our thoughts about gear, our senses of humor, whatever, all those things that bring us together. That one of the joys of life. Without that, it’s really a struggle. Great Guitar Escape is the opposite of that. This camp is a joy and I really hope you’ll join us.
See you soon,