A REALISTIC DAVID GILMOUR GEAR GUIDE - USING GEAR YOU CAN ACTUALLY GET YOUR HANDS ON TODAY!
Want a short and snappy David Gilmour Gear Guide? Read on.
Most David Gilmour gear guides have a complete list of every single piece of gear Gilmour used from 1968 right through to the present day - unfortunately though, most of this gear is not produced anymore and getting hold of anything remotely close to the stuff David Gilmour used back in the day is probably going to set you back the cost of a new car!
However interesting the gear this God of guitar used (and uses) may be, unless you're doing a pub quiz,it doesn't help when you are trying to find out which gear could help you along the way to achieving a similar sound.
So we've made it easy with a David Gilmour Gear guide that won't break the bank.
Our David Gilmour Gear Guide provides you with a modern day equivalent of his most used instruments and most popular sounds, allowing you to achieve a similar tone without having to spend a fortune.
It balances the quality of gear with affordability to provide you with a definitive guide of our best recommendations to get that Pink Floyd sound yourself.
Some of these products might not be the exact gear that Gilmour himself used, but it will help you along the way to getting his sound.
The rest is then up to you.
1. THE GUITAR
It's no secret that David Gilmour's most famous guitars were his black Fender Stratocasters, although not many people know that he started out with a Fender Telecaster in the early days of Pink Floyd.
In addition, Mr Gilmour has also been known to pick up a Gibson Les Paul, choosing one for the 'Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)' solo and using it on the subsequent tour.
However, we'll stick to his main weapon of choice and discuss the Stratocaster. Here is David in the 70s, with three different black Fender Stratocaster guitars.
So, in keeping with Davids sound we've picked the Stratocaster.
This Fender Player Series Stratocaster is available with either a Maple or Pau Ferro fretboard, but we haven't just picked it because it looks the same, but because you can get the classic single-coil sounds that made David Gilmour stand out and the fact that you have the whammy bar to wail on, which is particularly important!
In an interview taken from Gilmourish.com David said: "A Strat was always what I wanted, and I’ve used the tremolo arm since I saw Hank Marvin using it”.
The Fender Standard Stratocaster series offers extremely good value for money, offering guitarists with exceptional playability and fantastic tone from a guitar that will only get better with age.
It's also available in a wide range of different finishes, so if the classic black finish isn't for you, you've got options.
Of course, any Stratocaster will get you quite close to the Gilmour sound, but if you really want to sound like the guitar legend then replacing your bridge pickup with a Seymour Duncan SSL-5 could be the way to go.
This pickup was custom wound especially for David himself, and will make a huge difference to your strat tones. However it's not essential, and you'll still be able to hit those "Echoes" riffs without one.
2. THE AMPLIFIER
Gilmour has used many amps during his time in the studio, but on stage, he has mainly used Hiwatt Custom 100 heads and WEM cabs.
He has however gravitated towards Fender amps like the Fender Super Champ as well as the Fender Twin Reverb head and Fender '65 Twin Reverb on occasion.
The common theme here is valve amps!
However, if you're on a budget a valve amp is not always practical as they can be more expensive than solid-state, they're heavier, and - depending on the amp - you have to crank it quite loud to get the saturated valve sound.
So with that in mind, we've put together a couple of amplifiers that will allow you to get a decent Gilmour sound, won't break the bank and will actually sound decent on stage or in the studio.
FENDER CHAMPION 100 GUITAR COMBO AMPLIFIER
First up, we have decided to opt for the Fender Champion 100 - a modern solution to achieving classic Fender tones.
Featuring built-in Reverb, Delay, Echo, Chorus, Tremolo and more, a tap-tempo sync feature ensures your atomospheric effects stay in-time, with an added FX-loop for your own pedalboard.
With two separate channels you're granted a versatile amp that is stage-ready and handles pedals extremely well - perfect for Floyd tones!
BOSS KATANA 50 MKII GUITAR AMPLIFIER
Next up, we have the BOSS Katana 50 MKII Guitar Amplifier. – a brand new amplifier created by the legendary team at BOSS, which is essentially an amplifier and world-class effects unit rolled into one easy to use, powerful unit.
You have 5 different selectable amp characters, with variations, to choose from such as Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brown, and Acoustic, so whether you’re playing the huge riffs on ‘One Of These Days’ or bringing it right down for ‘Wish You Were Here’ on an acoustic, all sounds are covered.
You can still tailor your amplifier sounds to exactly how you want them though, should you need to. This particular amp has 50 watts of power, so you’re in good hands whether you’re playing at home on a lower volume or cranking it out on stage or in the studio.
Best of all, you can knock the Power Control switch from 50 watts to 25 watts to 0.5 watt which allows you to enjoy the sound of a cranked amp at lower volumes making it an ideal practice amplifier for around the home.
However, the really cool thing is the fact you have access to over 55 BOSS effects, which are customizable using the free BOSS Tone Studio editor software.
You can even load 15 different effects onto the amplifier and use up to three effects at one time.
This means you can actually download some of the exact effects David Gilmour has used throughout his career and get the same sound.
3. THE PEDALS AND EFFECTS
David is renowned for utilising an array of different effects throughout his career, and getting hold of them all would cost a fortune - and as David uses so many pedals it would actually be extremely difficult to list them all!
So, to make it easy, we'll just highlight a few of the most important options.
The built-in effects such as those found on the BOSS Katana provide you with a huge amount of options including delay, chorus, tremolo, fuzz and vibratone which would allow you to cover most of the modulation effects and distorted tones that Gilmore uses.
ROBERT KEELEY DARK SIDE WORKSTATION
Combining a '77-style Op-Amp fuzz circuit with a multi-head Tape Delay and four different Modulation circuits, this extra-special Keeley Dark Side Workstation is designed from the ground up to give you the best of Gilmour’s tone.
The premium-grade 24-bit DSP engine and fully-analog fuzz allow for a range of tones, with 12 different delays and the ability to change the order of the circuits for complete tonal flexibility.
Featuring a hand-built board and crafted with decades of pedal-building experience, the Dark Side Workstation can also be used with keyboards and synthesizers for further sonic exploration.
For a perfect blend of vintage and modern Gilmour tones, you can’t go wrong with this awesome pedal!
However, should you want the singular pedals to add to your existing pedalboard or set up, these are some of the essentials you'll need.
FUZZ! ELECTRO-HARMONIX LITTLE BIG MUFF PI FUZZ PEDAL
The Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi USA NYC Fuzz Pedal[/caption] If there is one pedal that you need for the Gilmour sound it is a good fuzz pedal.
We recommend the EHX Little Big Muff Pi as it is smaller and more affordable than the regular Big Muff, but with added sustain and presence.
If you want to keep closer to Gilmour's original choice, then go for a Fuzz Face.
Our choice would be the Fuzz Face Mini Silicon, to nail those Live At Pompeii's 'Echoes' tones.
FLANGER! ELECTRO HARMONIX DELUXE ELECTRIC MISTRESS XO FLANGER
The vintage Electric Mistress Flanger/Filter Matrix was a mainstay in David Gilmour's rig and essentially defined his sound throughout 1977-83, arguably Pink Floyd's most influential and poignant era.
Although the original pedal is no longer in production, the team at Electro Harmonix have produced the Electro Harmonix Deluxe Electric Mistress XO Flanger which is a more compact, pedalboard friendly design, but exactly the same effect.
This effect is heavily peppered throughout Pink Floyd's immense back catalogue and especially David Gilmour's solo career.
David used this pedal on the 1977 Animals tour alongside a (ram’s head) Big Muff on songs like Dogs and Pigs to get that signature sound.
It also featured heavily on his self titled solo effort from 1978, appearing on tracks such as Mihalis, So Far Away, Short and Sweet, Raise My Rent and I Can’t Breathe Anymore.
It's safe to say this should be number 2 on your list, if you're putting a David Gilmour inspired pedal board together.
DELAY! BOSS DD500 DIGITAL DELAY TWIN PEDAL
The DD-500 is the newest offering from the legendary team at BOSS effects, containing 12 distinctive delay modes.
You have a huge amount of tape delays, warm analogue delays and vintage digital delays that will keep delay fans happy, however it's the new update that features the Binson Echorec setting we need to talk about so you can appreciate how important the Boss DD500 Digital Delay Twin Pedal really is.
Gilmour's main delay effect was the mega-rare (and mega expensive!) Binson Echorec.
In fact, the Binson Echo Rec was responsible for THE delay sound made famous by Pink Floyd on their iconic 1970’s albums.
You can hear it prominently on the likes of 'Echoes' in that massive interlude before Gilmour decides to wake up at 18:13 and blow our minds with that amazing guitar line, as well as tracks like 'Interstellar Overdrive', 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' and "Time".
Both guitarist David Gilmour & keyboard player Richard Wright BOTH used these units to create their signature, psychedelic tones!
The Binson EchoRec was and still is, ( if you can get your hands on a decent 2nd hand model for less than £2.5k !!! ) an incredible vintage delay unit that used a completely different method of creating it’s delay sound.
Most units at the time relied on a tape based system the Binson system used what they called the “Memory Disk” (effectively sound is recorded onto a metal disk and then played back over one of four playback heads – or a mixture of them)
If you can't afford one, and we don't blame you as they cost the same as a 2nd hand car, the best modern-day alternative is the Boss DD500 Digital Delay Twin Pedal, which has a Binson Echorec mode.
The sound of this unit has painstakingly been re-created in the BOSS DD-500 Version 2 Update. In fact, Boss went so far as to purchase a Binson Echorec System from France, carefully selecting a model that was in excellent and most importantly, original condition.
The Valve driven, Model T5E has been meticulously tested with the sound analysed in depth to create the new ECHO-R model you will now find in the DD-500 Version 2 Firmware update.
The engineers have paid close attention to all the details that help create the unique, warm and rich sound of a Binson and its repeats and created the ECHO-R sound from the ground up. Pink Floyd fans will appreciate the fact that special attention has been given to the oscillation sound when turning the feedback all the way.
It’s designed to feedback in the same way with the same characteristics of the Binson T5E. The DD-500 ECHO-R Sound gives you longer delay times, extra “Disk Head” Selection options, optional modulation (to really dial in that vintage, well used sound) and offers all of the standard DD-500 options like Effect panning, carryover and ducking.
You can quickly and easily dial in those 70’s Gilmour tones, the 50’s Hank Marvin Sounds that inspired David Gilmour and Spacey Psychedelic sounds of the 60’s and with the power of DD-500’s 32Bit 96kz performance.
YOUR PLAYING STYLE
No matter what gear David uses, you can tell it is him playing by the sound he gets out of it. This all comes down to his playing style.
Lets take a look at some of the techniques that define the Gilmour sound:
Bending - To sound like Gilmour you need to be able to bend a note properly. It is a huge part of his style that is heard in nearly all of his solos. We're not just talking about bending the note and getting a different sound - you need to be able to bend notes pitch perfectly - that is bend one note to make the next note, without being sharp or flat.
Picking - David's right hand contributes a lot to his sound. His picking style is quite aggressive, and you will find that you really need to 'dig in' to get that specific tone.
Vibrato - Widely used throughout his playing, the vibrato effect is achieved in two ways. Using the tremolo arm is the best way to get that vibrato effect when playing chords, whilst the left hand can be used during solos for single notes.
Used alongside a pitch perfect string bend, this is a prime example of how technique can make you sound amazing.
It is worth watching a few Gilmour clips on YouTube now that you know what to look out for in his playing style. So there we have it - your very own Gilmour setup on the cheap.
However, it's up to you to develop the technique and playing style to get the most out of your gear, and we wish you the best of luck!
Any other recommended gear to get that Pink Floyd sound? Let us know below!
We hope you enjoyed our David Gilmour Gear Guide.
Shop a complete range of guitars, pedals and amplifiers over at PMT Online today or call into your local PMT store to speak to any of our experts about getting the perfect tone for your set up.