David Gilmour Style: Tones & Effects

David Gilmour is probably most famous for playing a black Strat through a Hiwatt amp, but he has played almost every other type of guitar through the years, through almost any type of amp. The best way to inject some "Gilmour" spirit into your tone is not from playing the same guitar or amp, in my opinion, but more in the effects.

And one of the quintessential Gilmour effects is the delay. He has used the delay for the "washy" and ambient sounds, and for that I recommend a high delay volume with a dark and muffled EQ on the delay, so it stays in the background with lots of repeats.

Apart from the standard lead delay, he also uses it to create an extra rhythmic layer in his rhythm guitar playing. We'll come back to this in the next lesson, but for now try to match the delay volume to the original volume. Then set the delay time to match a dotted eight note - basically three sixteenth notes. Count "1 e and a, 2 e and a". Don't have too many repeats- just a handful or so!

Another classic Gilmour sound comes from a phaser pedal, which creates that psychedelic, slow, swirly sound. There are many types of phaser pedals. Some are completely adjustable, and some, like the one I use, have just one knob, controlling the speed of the phasing. But they produce a sound that will instantly make most people think of Gilmour, and we'll be using that effect in an example later.

Other than that a volume pedal is a good thing to have. You can mute the volume by going heel-down, then strike a chord and raise the volume, creating cool swell sounds similar to what you hear from a pedal steel or a lap steel guitar...

He has also had a special switch on his Strat that would produce a crazy screeching sound when he flipped it, and there are about a million other effects and tricks to get into but for now, let's get to some playing.