How does David Gilmour get that round, sweet tone?
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#1
4th October 2008
Old 4th October 2008
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Thread Starter
How does David Gilmour get that round, sweet tone?

I know he uses a Strat and some sort of echo/delay device. I have a Strat but it sure doesn't sound like his, so I'm wondering if his pickups are different than mine. I also wonder what amp he used. My old Boss analog delay helps me get in his ball-park, but his sound is still fatter with tons more sustain.

I have great "finger tone" -- I've got 35 years playing experience, and I can play in many diverse styles -- rock, jazz, country... I'm good at emulating many other guitarists, but Gilmour's tone is eluding me.

I've done a search here and the threads on David Gilmour didn't provide what I was looking for. I'm not interested so much in what gear he is using now, or what outboard gear he has on his boat, but rather what guitar gear he used on the classic Pink Floyd albums years ago. You know -- pickups, pedals, amp. Any help appreciated!
#2
4th October 2008
Old 4th October 2008
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JustinAiken's Avatar
 

Active EMGs and Hiwatt amp. And lots of vintage delay.
#3
4th October 2008
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IntenseJim's Avatar
 

and compressssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssion
#4
4th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinAiken View Post
Active EMGs and Hiwatt amp. And lots of vintage delay.
no active EMGs on those old records, it was a Seymour Duncan SSL-1 on the bridge and the stock fender '70(ish) pups in the other two positions on his "black strat."

he didn't start with the EMGs until the late 80s.

personally, I think 95% of his tone comes from his fingers & his brain.
#5
4th October 2008
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tomdarude's Avatar
 

yes, besides the tone from his fingers (which is awesome)

some other parts of the picture are as mentioned:

EMGs pickups , Hiwatt DR103, WEM "Super Starfinder 200" 4x12" cabs (with Fane Crescendo Speakers)

Binson EchoRec II was heavily used for delayson the records


actually you can find more than ANYTHING you ever wanted to know about his gear here:

Gilmourish
#6
4th October 2008
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Digitar's Avatar
 

I think you'll find what looking you're for here. Gilmourish

Hope this helps


Sorry, didn't see TomDarude already posted it.
#7
4th October 2008
Old 4th October 2008
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinAiken View Post
Active EMGs and Hiwatt amp. And lots of vintage delay.
they had active pickups in the 70's?
#8
4th October 2008
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IntenseJim's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
they had active pickups in the 70's?
I'm pretty sure they did in the late '70s.
#9
4th October 2008
Old 4th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IntenseJim View Post
I'm pretty sure they did in the late '70s.
did nobody read my post??

the 'black strat' never had actives. he didn't start using them until at least 1985.

the 'classic albums' sound the OP was referrig to (assuming they meant DSOTM, WYWH, Meddle, etc) had nothing to do with active pups!
#10
4th October 2008
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yeloocproducer's Avatar
We've got a DR-103 and it's amazing... you get such a round sound, plus it brings out all the articulation in the player's hands. I think it's what you're after. If you can get a cab with fanes, even better... it'll make it just a touch "milkier" and round sounding...
#11
4th October 2008
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JustinAiken's Avatar
 

Ah well... when I think of David Gilmour tone, I think of the one he had on Pulse, because that's one of my all time favorite tones...
#12
4th October 2008
Old 4th October 2008
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theblue1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
they had active pickups in the 70's?
For sure.
#13
4th October 2008
Old 4th October 2008
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Gear Head
 

G

Just like God made the Earth, Gilmour gets the tone.
Why dont you try making a planet, may be easier.
#14
4th October 2008
Old 4th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IntenseJim View Post
I'm pretty sure they did in the late '70s.
I can't remember any but active electronics, the same thing mounted outside the pickup was commonly used from the early seventies. When I designed that stuff for Rex Bogue we put those circuits in McLaughlin's guitars and all of Frank Zappa's. Listen to "The Lost Trident Sessions" by Mahavishnu or "Weazels Ate My Flesh", "Sheik Yer Booty" and other greats from FZ back in the 70's. You can also hear some active stuff on Stevie Wonder's 1980 "Hotter Than July" on his Hohner Clavenets. He's on tour with them right now if you want to check them out. He delivers, you will get your money's worth.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
#15
4th October 2008
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pootkao's Avatar
 

I've got a '78 Gibson RD Artist. Its active.

But it sounds nothing like Gilmour.
#16
4th October 2008
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BOWIE's Avatar
Really thick strings are key. Dave used 11's on his Strat. He's down to 10's & 10,5's now though.
I've bought a lot of toys in an effort to recreate that sound and here's my faves:
Mojo Vibe (improvement on the Univibe )
Roland Space Echo RE-201 (for "The Wall" sound)
Maxon AD900 analog delay (for "Dark Side" sound)
#17
4th October 2008
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BOWIE's Avatar
Guitar World: How does Dave achieve the classic sound that we hear on the solos of songs like "Comfortably Numb"?

Phil Taylor (Dave's Tech): It think it's just pretty much him. He is obviously using a couple of effects, like a Big Muff and a delay, but it really is just his fingers, his vibrato, his choice of notes and how he sets his effects. I find it extraordinary when people think they can copy his sound by duplicating his gear. In reality, no matter how well you duplicate the equipment, you will never be able to duplicate the personality.
84K
#18
4th October 2008
Old 4th October 2008
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84K's Avatar
hiwats.... pedals by Pete Cornish... .
#19
4th October 2008
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octatonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BOWIE View Post
In reality, no matter how well you duplicate the equipment, you will never be able to duplicate the personality.
Words to live by.

I'm doing a degree in 'contemporary music' so we get to do a song once a week where all the students get up and play the same song though the same gear, although you can bring your own guitar.

Even accounting for different guitars, there is such a huge difference in tone and that, imho, is the playing and the player.
#20
4th October 2008
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sahiaman's Avatar
 

I'm sure you are a very capable guitarist and know your technique well, but its like asking how to get Eric Johnson's tone. I've seen people with the same gear as EJ and they can't nail it. And I've been EJ play through a fender digital amp, and it sounded like EJ.

The guitar is a very personal instrument with way too many variations in how one person plays. Unless you think and feel music like that person you won't be able to mimic that tone.
#21
4th October 2008
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Sid Viscous's Avatar
 

Well, you start with DG's hands...
if you don't have those, forget it.
#22
4th October 2008
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This place should be renamed fingerslutz ...
#23
5th October 2008
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richiepalooza's Avatar
 

you'll need a pair of early silverface Fender twins if your gonna nail it.
#24
5th October 2008
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Blast9's Avatar
 

I know that part of "that tone" is an alembic tube bass preamp >>> compressor >>> DR103 >>> Fane Coliseum speakers

I believe he uses the Hiwatt as a power amp.

(Guess) I reckon he must cut treble with the Alembc as the Hiwatts are bright amps especially when you turn them up. But what the Hiwatts also do when you crank them is the Bottom End really fattens up.

So turn the mutha up!
#25
5th October 2008
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Here is a small comment i've gratuitously pasted from gilmourish:

Quote:
General effect facts
- Pete Cornish modified most of David’s effects for both correct level and impedance matching. He also included several custom features for improved tone and usability, - such as changing capacitors to hight temperature, low leakage, types and changing transistors and resistors to low noise types.
- All effects has specially designed separate power supplies to prevent currant interferance.
- The Boss GE-7 EQs are modified by Cornish to give a flatter response at “0″ and a better overall signal.
- The Ernie Ball volume pedal is modified with a 10k pot to reduce high end signal loss.
In other words - practically everything is customised. Also, there is a big difference between the logistics of playing a whole show live, and actually recording the tracks in the studio.

I've learnt to absorb information, and then ignore it, when it comes to who plays what etc. The industry is colored with ensorsement deals, secrets and lies.

I will say that i've never seen so many eq pedals on a board before ...

I'm sure a lot of great players get great sounds, despite arguably poor choices in gear and impossibly long gear chains. Then again, maybe there is some primal subconsious comfort in a bunch of white noise and signal degredation...

Gear is just tools for professionals to use. A professional gets the job done, with whatever tools he has. Just buy stuff that works for you, and keep looking. And never rule out the concept of customising stuff.

I'm convinced that tone starts in the soul. If you know the tone you want, that informs your head and fingers to choose and tweak the gear out of what you actually have on hand.

We could argue for hours over small differences between amps & speakers and pedals - but if 'that' tone was achieved with a drastic eq setting on a modified Boss stompbox, does any of that really matter ...
#26
5th October 2008
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasongardner View Post
Just like God made the Earth, Gilmour gets the tone.
Why dont you try making a planet, may be easier.
it is in his fingers and not in his guitar....or amp I hate this questions.
I would never ask:

"How can I get the Eric Clapton sound" because only Mr. Slowhand has that sound.
And it makes no sense to copy him because creating something new makes more sense to me.

He is unique and it is his way to play the guitar.
To copy him just would rob off my creative part.
#27
5th October 2008
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... or alternatively, one could concede that the choice of gear is a major component of an electric guitar sound and, considering that this place is called gearslutz, talk about gear for a change, instead of jerking off ..
#28
5th October 2008
Old 5th October 2008
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Blast9's Avatar
 

PS I don't know if he has changed, bu he was using Kinman noiseless alnico pickups in recent years (Woodstocks)

Quote:
from Kinman site kinman.com

Details:

CAUTION: If you want a Strat on steroids with heaps of punch, heaps of dynamic range, aggressive attitude and an exciting feel with a huge sound, then look no further than the 2nd generation of my Woodstock's (revised in late 2001). A Stratocaster* equipped with a set of these will stand it's ground against a Les Paul, and will make less hum.

Named for the Woodstock era (not just for Jimi), my Woodstock sets are very powerful and dynamic pickups that pack such a wallop that they may require a little experimentation in height adjustment to tame the performance to what you are accustomed to with regular single coils. They overload the front end of an amp easily. Turning the volume control down a tad [with my bypass filter fitted] sweetens the sound up nicely.

This set has a big powerful darker sound and features aggressive, fast semi-aged attack and superb dynamic response. Accenting the dynamic, extremely fluid and super responsive feel of one of the great inspirational Stratocaster* masters of all time. Bright and bold, extremely responsive with loads of feel and punch. It's almost too easy not to sound polite with this set. Retains remarkable definition, clarity and presence under heavy overdrive. These pickups behave and sound better than most all Strat pickups when cranked. The non-wound strings are unusually powerful. Perhaps surprisingly switch positions 2 and 4 produce recognozable Knopfleresque quack sounds.

These Woodstock's make it easy to sound more like Jimi than Jimi himself did, and you won't have to use a curly cord to get his sound. These are a Strat Virtuoso's delight and packs such a wallop your playing will project with a voice of authority. If you own a Fender with stock pickups you are in for a REALLY BIG surpise. Les Pauls move over.

The AVn-69's are great for matching bridge humbuckers both in terms of sound character and output. No regular Alnico Strat pickup comes close. Combining these with a humbucker works best in my (SS+H) NoSoldering Harness designed to automatically adjust the pot load according to pickup selected. 250K for single coils and 500K for humbucker, and it doesn't require separate pots. One more innovation from Kinman.

With the Woodstocks being such high output you can play clean and sweet with the volume set to 7 or 8 and turn up to 10 to get instant boost for crunch n overdrive.

This set is a 'Charicature' (magnification) of semi-aged Alnico Strat* tone that's especially suitable for Hendrix, Richie Blackmore (Machine Head) etc. Some players will find these too strong and aggressive for Jazz.
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#29
7th October 2008
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Thread Starter
Thanks for the tips, guys!
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#30
7th October 2008
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
it is in his fingers and not in his guitar....or amp I hate this questions. I would never ask:

"How can I get the Eric Clapton sound" because only Mr. Slowhand has that sound.
And it makes no sense to copy him because creating something new makes more sense to me.

He is unique and it is his way to play the guitar.
To copy him just would rob off my creative part.
That is so wrong. Wrong wrong wrong! Where do you think Clapton got his tone? He started by imitating other guitarists, like B.B. King. Clapton's recent sound is easy to imitate. His old Cream tone is somewhat harder but I had his sound nailed thirty years ago. In those days, my band did fine cover versions of many great bands of the sixties and seventies and I learned to sound like -- and play like -- everybody from Jerry Garcia to Duane Allman. But you develop pretty fast iff you play guitar 12 hours a day everyday like I did back then...
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