David Gilmour Gear Guide - The Pink Floyd Tone on a Budget
A Realistic David Gilmour Gear Guide - Using Gear Of Today
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 - and most of this gear is not produced anymore. However interesting this may be, it does not help when you are trying to find out which gear could help you along the way to achieving a similar sound.
Our David Gilmour Gear Guide provides you with a modern day equivalent that allows 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. It might not be the exact gear that Gilmour himself used, but it will help you along the way to getting his sound - kind of. The rest is then up to you.
Gilmour's most famous guitars were his black strats. Here is David in the 70s, with three different black stratocasters.
We have picked the Squier Vintage Modified 70s Stratocaster. This Squier looks very similar in appearance to David's strat and is a 70s model, but they are not the only reasons we have picked it. The Vintage Modified series from Squier offers extremely good value for money, and can both feel and sound great once set up correctly.
Any strat will get you quite close to the Gilmour sound, but if you really want to sound great 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.
The AmpGilmour has used many amps during his time in the studio. On stage, he has been known to use Hiwatt guitar amps, with the occasional Fender here and there. One of those Fenders was a Super Champ.
We have decided to opt for the Fender Super Champ X2 - it is a modern re-issued 15w valve/digital hybrid amplifier that is extremely versatile.The voicing knob gives you 16 different amp types to choose from, with 15 effects and tap-tempo built in to give you access to get some Gilmour tones without having to invest in a full pedalboard.
It is quiet enough for home practice and loud enough for band practice, and would stand up to gigging in small venues once mic'ed up.
For that classic tube tone with the versatility of the amp models and effects, the Super Champ X2 is a perfect way to achieve a Pink Floyd sound.
Any guitar amp that can be turned up loud whilst still delivering a clean sound will allow you to get that Pink Floyd sound.
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.
The built-in effects of the Fender Super Champ amp provide you with a decent delay, chorus, tremolo and vibratone which would allow you to cover most of the modulation effects that Gilmore uses.
David uses so many pedals that it is difficult to list them all. If you decide to add any other pedals alongside the Big Muff, we recommend a delay and phaser. Gilmour's main delay effect was the mega-rare (and mega expensive!) Binson Echorec. If you can't afford one (they go for over £3,000 these days!) the best choice is the new TC Electronic Alter Ego V2 vintage delay pedal, which has a Binson Echorec mode.
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. Just watch this video, and it will all become clear:
Picking - David's right hand contributes a lot to his sound. His picking style is quite agressive, 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. Here is a few tips on getting a good vibrato sound:
It is worth watching a few Gilmour clips on YouTube now that you know what to look out for in his playing style. Here is a fantastic video that has a lot of close ups of David's left and right hand:
So there we have it - your very own Gilmour setup on the cheap. It is up to you to develop the technique and playing style to get the most out of your gear.
If you want to find out the exact gear Gilmour used, then gilmourish is a great fountain of knowledge.
Any other recommended gear to get that Pink Floyd sound? Let us know below!