If you search for the terms Buckethead and Paul Gilbert online, one of the first results that pops up is the question: “Is Buckethead Paul Gilbert?” There are even online videos that compare their almost eerily identical playing styles. As it turns out, there’s a much simpler explanation. In a recent interview with the Coming Alive podcast, Buckethead revealed that yes, Gilbert was a major influence and he also gave him lessons.

In Buckethead’s words: “I love Paul Gilbert. The first time I saw him play was at the NAMM show - this is the one memory that I always go to - he was at the NAMM show in a booth and he was playing...it was insane! He was just ripping... he had so much control.”

Buckethead

The memory would a defining moment in Buckethead’s journey as a guitar player. As he puts it, “The best way to plant a seed or inspire somebody is by flowing in front of them... to this day, it's still the most intense memory I have of anyone playing that makes me want to rip. I wish I had a video of [it]...And the crazy thing was that I got to know him and he taught me. I still have every lesson he gave me, and he really gave me a belief in myself that I needed because I wasn't around a lot of that.”

Of course, that moment would set Buckethead on course for a stellar career as one of the world’s most innovative guitar players. In fact, in 2010 Gibson honoured his fretboard wizardry by releasing the Buckethead Signature Les Paul, the “ultimate shredder from Gibson USA.”

In addition to his stint as lead guitarist with Guns N’ Roses, Buckethead has also released more than 300 (that’s right) albums.