Pink Floyd's David Gilmour Discusses His Technique and Gear in 1988 Guitar World Interview
Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour discusses his technique and gear in this interview from the July 1988 issue of Guitar World magazine.
Here's our interview with Pink Floyd's David Gilmour from the July 1988 issue of Guitar World magazine, which featured Eddie Van Halen on the cover. The original story, which started on page 34, ran with the headline, "David Gilmour: Absolute Sound."
If the world didn’t clamor for his searing guitar lines, the Floyd man would be just another semi-reclusive Englishman with a house in the country and interesting collection of Strats.
It's 2010. A joint Soviet-American space mission has successfully established a sprawling colony of settlers on the moon. The two dozen cosmonauts, astronauts, scientists and assorted astronomers have been living in peace and harmony for nearly a year.
Their general consul, made up of an equal-numbered contingent of Yanks and Ruskies, has set up a series of laws by which all abide. And they have chosen a national anthem for their Lunaville home.
By majority vote, they picked Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, a 20th-century classic that is still, amazingly, surfacing in the Billboard charts back on Earth, nearly 40 years after its initial release.
David Gilmour, guitarist extraordinaire and only surviving member of Pink Floyd, is in his mid-sixties and still an active recording artist. His latest release, Brain Spurs And Otber Cognitille Mishaps, is riding high on the Billboard Next Age charts, and the hologram of his hit single, "I Put A Mind Probe On You," is selling particularly well in the Soviet Union.
Yet, in spite of the widespread popularity and critical acclaim he's enjoyed over the past 15 years as a solo artist, Gilmour still fondly recalls his days with The Floyd.
The ever-selling Dark Side Of Tbe Moon holds a particularly special place in his memory banks, though when asked to list his favorite project over the last 40 years of his career, the sexagenarian axman says, "Well, you know ... I really quite liked A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. I think my playing was rather good on that one, actually."
I would tend to agree with Ol’ Man Gilmour on that. Sure, he has played some memorable solos since he joined Pink Floyd on February 18, 1968 – “Comfortably Numb" from 1979's The Wall, "Money" from 1973 's Dark Side Of The Moon, "Pigs" from 1977 's Animals, “All Lovers Are Deranged" from his 1984 solo project, About Face, to name just a few. But on A Momentary Lapse Of Reason , the first Floyd album where Gilmour is truly and forcefully in the driver's seat (freed as he is from the domineering influence of his old nemesis Roger Waters, who split the Floyd to pursue a solo career), the guy is absolutely killin' with that Strat.
Make that a Strat and a Steinberger. On the cut "Sorrow," the man who has for so long been associated with Fender Stratocasters plugs in one of Ned's headless wonders, lays on the TransTrem and the results are earth-shaking.
“That very nasty distortion you hear at the beginning of the song is basically the result of the Steinberger going through two little amps in the studio -- a Fender Super Champ and a Gallien-Krueger. I use a Boss Heavy Metal distortion pedal and a Boss digital delay pedal, which then goes into the Fender Super Champ. And that in combination with the internal distortion on the Gallien-Krueger was how I got that particular sound.
"Funny enough," he adds, "I wrote the lyrics for that song first. I sat at home one night ... I was kind of hoping the music would come out of the air and the song would magically write itself. But it didn't. But I did write all the lyrics that night and the next day I went into the studio, plugged in the Steinberger and that was what came out.
“I had no particular plan. I had just gotten the Steinberger and hadn't really played it all that much at that point. But I rather liked the sound it makes naturally. And then the combination of bending up with the wang-bar on whole chords while simultaneously fading in with a stereo volume pedal ... that's the sound."
A very nasty sound indeed, guaranteed to please connoisseurs of "sick" guitar. Elsewhere on A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, Gilmour plays his familiar red Strat with typical lyricism, cut with a definite blues bite. His clean, economical lines on the instrumental "Signs Of Life" (recorded direct to the desk with no effects whatsoever) features some classic Delta blues licks at the tag. And his piercing Single-note work during his stinging exchanges with saxman Tom Scott on "Terminal Frost" is right out of the Albert Collins school of toe-curling blues riffs.
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