Gilmour, Guitars & Gear
David Gilmour In Print
In this column, I'll be examining Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour's gear and playing techniques from a musician's point of view. Please feel free to e-mail me with questions and ideas for future articles if you feel you have an idea that readers of Spare Bricks might find of interest. Past articles are now posted here.
In keeping with this issue's theme, I thought I would write about the sources for many of my Gilmour, Guitars & Gear articles that I've found in three excellent magazines.
Numerous guitar magazine articles about Gilmour and Pink Floyd have been an excellent source of information over the years. These articles have appeared in magazines such as Guitar Player, Guitar World, and Guitar for the Practicing Musician. As great as these magazines were, coverage was raised to another level when Guitar Shop magazine did an article about Gilmour's gear in December of 1996. It begins by covering Gilmour's guitars, amps, and effect pedals through the years. Additions include pictures of Gilmour's stompbox setup, rack, MIDI foot controller, amp heads, and speaker cabinets. There's a wiring schematic for Gilmour's EMG setup, and a section titled "How To Gilmourize Your Strat." In this article, the author puts the EMG setup through the paces and attempts to explain how the different tone configurations work for guitar parts in various songs. Finally, there is a list of Gilmour's guitar signal path through his various effects along with a signal path that details the guitar through the pedalboard to the amps and speaker cabinets.
Released in 1996, we hadn't seen this kind of detail before in America. Fans in Europe, however, and particularly the U.K., had been treated to two outstanding issues of Guitarist magazine in January and July of 1995.
The January 1995 issue of Guitarist magazine features an extensive interview with Gilmour's guitar tech, Phil Taylor. The magazine includes an onstage picture of Gilmour's side of the stage, his view from on stage looking out into the seats at Earls Court, Phil Taylor's backstage area, and more pictures of Gilmour's guitar equipment. There's also a section detailing Gilmour's serial number 0001 Fender Stratocaster.
The July 1995 edition of Guitarist begins with a detailed interview with Gilmour. It also includes an insert titled "The Rack Side..." which lists the guitar effects used during the live performances of Dark Side of the Moon. This in-depth listing also includes separate effects for each section of a song such as "Time." For example, different combinations of effects were used for the Intro, Verse, and Solo of this song. The magazine also includes:
Paranoid Ears: This is an interview with James Guthrie where he discusses the recording and mixing of Pulse.
A Saucerful of Secrets: This is an examination of Gilmour's playing techniques. A number of guitar phrases, similar to Gilmour's style, are written in tablature and the structure of their scale forms is explained.
Relics: This is perhaps the highlight of the magazine. Effects guru Pete Cornish is interviewed. He describes the construction and organization of the original pedalboards he made for Gilmour between 1976 and 1980. The pictures are worth the price of the magazine alone. Some of the pictures include a look at Gilmour's setup from the onstage area of The Wall that shows the Cornish pedalboard up front, Gilmour's Hiwatt amps to his right and a monitor and other floor effects between them. There is a picture of the original pedalboard Cornish made for Gilmour in 1976 next to a picture of the studio board that was created for the recording of The Wall album in 1979. Another photograph features a collage of equipment that includes Gilmour's VCS-3, double-neck Fender slide guitar, the back of a WEM speaker cabinet with "Pink Floyd. London" stenciled on the back, a pair of Binson Echorecs, old blue and silver Fuzz Face pedals, an original Univox Uni-Vibe, guitar picks, a wah pedal and a DeArmond volume pedal.
Other photographs include a picture of two of the smaller pedalboards that were used in front of the wall during the Surrogate Band sequences of The Wall performed live. An additional section includes a look at the 24-fret Lewis guitar (seen in the studio footage of the film Live At Pompeii.) This was used during the third guitar solo in "Money" to reach higher notes than those of a standard 21-fret Fender Stratocaster.
Richard Mahon is a staff writer for Spare Bricks.