Paul Gilbert and Nathan East Take the “One-Chord Challenge” | VIDEO

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How much can you do with one chord?

That was the challenge shred virtuoso Paul Gilbert threw down to Nathan East, bassist for such legends as Eric Clapton, Joe Satriani, George Harrison and many others.

“Imagine for a second that you’re just limited to A—twenty minutes of playing this,“ Gilbert says to East as he plays a loping rhythm line on his signature Ibanez guitar. “You’ve been sentenced to that prison term of 20 minutes in A.

“How do you think about that?”

What follows is seven minutes of Gilbert and East exploring the full range of techniques, styles and approaches that are possible even when limited to playing one chord.

The result is some very fine jamming—and an object lesson in musical development, something from which every guitarist, bassist or musician can benefit.

So take a look and learn a lesson or two from the pros in how to use your skills, techniques and creativity to make the most of even the simplest musical drill.