Top 5 David Gilmour guest appearances

David Gilmour guest appearances

David Gilmour has done some memorable guest appearances over the years. His instantly recognisable tone and soulful playing is often what makes those songs so special. At least to me. In this feature I’ll share my top 5 guest appearances by David.

Remember back in the mid 80s when MTV was playing music? Real music? I was about 10, I guess, when I first saw Paul McCartney upon the rooftop singing No More Lonely Nights. Obviously, I knew who Paul was but what caught my attention, every time, was this guitar solo.

At the time, my life was basically all about hard rock. I knew nothing about Pink Floyd nor David Gilmour, but I knew I liked this guitar solo that I heard. For all I cared, it could be McCartney himself playing guitar. Years later, having become a Floyd fan, I heard the song again and then it hit me who it was. No wonder I liked it!

David did a lot of guest appearances in the late 80s and early 90s. This was a time when few outside the business and the hardcore fan base knew his name. People knew Pink Floyd but ask a guy on the street who David Gilmour was and he would probably shake his head. David was not chosen as a guest player because of his name but his playing and tone.

As a guest musician, David often repeats himself. You’ve often heard the lick or tone before but that’s kind of the nature of the gig too. A guest musician is often asked to “do that thing that you do”. Artists choose you because they want that tone on their song or album. Still, it’s remarkable how well David’s playing always fits in and how it almost always takes centre stage.

Here are my top 5 guest appearances by David.

Paul McCartney – No More Lonely Nights (1984)

Despite the otherwise boring album, McCartney deliver a timeless ballad, beautifully arranged and of course, with David’s guitar as the definitive highpoint. It’s one of the few songs I know that doesn’t get an early fade out when played on the radio.

One of my favourite moments is that first lick after the first line in the chorus. There’s nothing subtle about it and the guitar just rips through the whole mix and grabs the listener. It’s a perfect hook.

The song has a warm feel and the lyrics makes you just want to curl up in your sofa but as a contrast, the guitar is cold and aggressive giving the impression of anger and resentment.

To me, this is a perfect pop song. I love everything about it and it’s always been one of my favourite Gilmour moments. Perhaps, partly because it hit me just when I started to discover music but it’s been a huge inspiration for me and my own music and I often have that rainy atmosphere and David’s tone in the back of my head when I’m writing.

For the session David used his 1983 fiesta red ’63 reissue Fender Stratocaster into a (possibly two) Fender Concert amp. At that point, the guitar had been modified with a Roland synthesiser pickup driving a Roland GR700 processor.

It’s hard to tell whether he used the Roland setup. It does’t sound like it and the effects rack used on the About Face tour can be spotted in the studio. If I were to guess, I would say that he used a Boss CS2 compressor into either a ram’s head Big Muff or Boss HM-2 (the latter possibly in combo with a Mesa Boogie MkI head), with a Boss CE2 chorus and MXR digital delay.

Bryan Ferry – Is Your Love Strong Enough

I’ve always been a huge Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry fan and David has done a lot of work with Ferry over the years. Is Your Love Strong Enough (featured on the Legend soundtrack), was recorded in 1985, shortly after the McCartney collaboration and you can hear the resemblance in the way David approaches his tone and playing.

While No More Lonely Nights has this intimate and down to earth feel, this song is bombastic and huge sounding. David delivers a flashy guitar solo that fits the song perfectly, with some amazing bends and whammy bar moves.

But let’s face it. David doesn’t really fit the rock star image and the way he is portrayed in the video, coming out of that wall covered in light and smoke, is so out of character. Still, we get a glimpse of the #0001 Stratocaster, which at least at the time, had rarely been seen.

It’s hard to tell what he used for the session. Although the tone is familiar, it is less typical than No More Lonely Nights and other work sounding a bit mid rangy and dark. Ferry often like to produce the guitars himself, so there might have been the case of David using whatever gear, or at least effects, he was handed although there’s a lot of processing you can do to a recorded guitar in the mixing.

Jeff Beck – Jerusalem (Live at RAH 2009)

This one pretty much speaks for it self. Two of the greatest guitarists on the same stage, clearly showing huge admiration for each other. Jeff Beck’s version Jerusalem is in itself a masterpiece and it was such a surprise to see them do this together.

This is by no means a perfect performance from David. It’s kind of typical of him concentrating on everything sounding perfect, rather than what he’s actually playing. Still, once he gets everything sorted out, he delivers beautifully with an amazing feel.

It’s also interesting to hear how much more technical Beck is and apart the fact that he’s played this song numerous times, he’s seemingly more on top of his game. But listen to David and the way he’s improvising, clearly revealing his deep blues roots. To me, this performance shows just how emotional David’s playing is and it says a lot about why he’s so much more than just the epic Floyd solos.

Setupwise, you can spot three Alessandro tube heads on top of two WEM speaker cabinets and of course, the Black Strat. He’s using the Pete Cornish MkII All Tubes pedal board, with a Tube Driver and delay (and possibly some compression).

Paul McCartney – No Other Baby

Back in 1999 I was starved for anything Gilmour related. It had already been five years since the last Floyd album and tour and apart from the occasional guest appearance, there was just a deafening silence. Then, this album appeared with David being the main guitarist on all the songs.

I’m not sure what I had expected. I knew it was Paul returning to his roots, with a few covers and some new original material but I guess I had expected David to sound like, well, David. He didn’t.

Still, I listened to the album a lot and when the Cavern gig turned up on DVD I thought it was so cool to see David up on that small stage doing something completely different. And it sounded great!

Again, this is a great example of how you can hear a song and as soon as the guitar enters, you go “Ah! I know who’s playing!” The solo is simple but there’s no doubt who’s doing those bends and the little fills in between. 

On this live clip from Live at the Cavern Club, David’s using his ’55 Fender Esquire into a Fender Bassman, with the Pete Cornish All Tubes MkI pedal board. The main effect setup for the show, including No Other Baby, was a Tube Driver with a hint of delay and probably some compression when needed.

Paul Rogers – Standing Around Crying

Standing Around Crying was originally written and recorded by blues legend Muddy Waters in the mid 50s. Paul Rogers (Free/Bad Company) and David Gilmour recorded this version for the 1993 tribute album Muddy Waters Blues, which featured an impressive list of guitar greats.

David’s performance and tone is typical of how he sounded in the early 90s and the many guest appearances he did during that period. You can hear the same approach on songs like Heaven Can Wait (Paul Young), I Put a Spell on You (Mica Paris) and Understanding Women (Elton John).

What I love about this version, apart from David’s amazing tone, is that you can hear where his blues influences are coming from. There’s lots of BB King, Albert King and Peter Green in there and you can almost pin point each lick to each legend. Still, it sounds like David and he’s added something new and unique to the classic style.

I also love that you can hear that this is clearly a single run through (or at least very little editing). It’s not perfect and there are all these little mistakes and fret noises but that’s also the beauty of the performance.

There are no records from the sessions, as far as I know, but it is likely that he used the candy apple red 1983 Fender ’57 reissue Stratocaster, with the EMG pickups into a Fender Bassman or Deluxe. It could have been a Hiwatt SA212 combo but to my ears, the tone sound less mid rangy, which hints towards a Fender.

Effectswise I would assume he used a Chandler Tube Driver, possibly with a Boss CS-2 in front, with a Boss CE-2 chorus and the MXR Digital Delay rack.

So, there you have it! My top 5 David Gilmour guest appearances. I’m sure you have a different list and maybe I forgot one or two gems? Please share!

SviSound OverZoid+ and Optical Phaser review

Svisound Overzoid Optical Phaser

Choosing the right overdrive for your amp can be tricky. The wrong pedal with the wrong amp can sound pretty shitty. However, if you do hit the spot, nothing sounds better. Bulgarian pedal makers, SviSound, recently released the OverZoid+, which promise to deliver anything from clean boost to fuzz. This review will also cover their Optical Phaser mini pedal.

I did a review of the OverZoid about a year ago. It was my first encounter with SviSound and I was very impressed. They’re pedals looks amazing! It’s a work of art – both the insides and the exterior design.

Both the OverZoid+ and the Optical Phaser are beautifully designed and, although design certainly isn’t crucial for the pedal’s tone, it sure is cool to have something like this on the board. It’s not all for show though. They’re extremely well built with high quality components.

OverZoid +

The OverZoid + is the new beefed up version of the OverZoid. While the standard edition feature three controls for gain, tone and volume, the OZ+ has a second gain stage for boost, switchable mostfet or germanium modes and a bass boost.

As the OverZoid, and most of the SviSound pedals, the OZ+ has a lot of mid range and compression. There’s plenty of headroom here, allowing a nice clean, and fairly transparent, boost but the overall tone and character is close to the 808/Klon family of pedals.

On a Marshall or Hiwatt, this might be a bit overwhelming but as we discussed in the “Knowing which Pedals to Choose for your Amp” feature, amps that doesn’t have that mid range and compression, needs pedals that can compensate for the lack of it and make the amp sound bigger and fuller, especially on lower volume levels and in a typical bedroom setup.

As mentioned, the OZ+ is capable of providing a nice clean boost. Single coils and brighter amps, sound warmer and more chunky. There’s a lot of volume on tap here so you can easily boost the front end of your tube amp as well, for a natural tube break up.

Switching between the mostfet and germanium stages reveals the versatility of the OZ+. The Mosfet is obviously more modern sounding, smoother and warmer. I prefer this for that clean boost and the milder overdrive tones. Increase the gain and you’re very close to a Tube Driver and OCD.

The germanium stage takes the OZ+ closer to the classic DOD 250 and MXR Distortion+, with a more 70s sounding character, rich dynamics and a crisp attack. For high gain tones, and the boost engaged, you can easily reach some really awesome fuzz tones, with some amazing sustain.

Like the standard OZ, the OZ+ also feature a switchable bass boost, which is handy for smaller amps and low output pickups or, if you just want more of that low end growl.

The OverZoid+ is highly recommended if you’re in for a versatile overdrive work station for your Fender amps and bedroom setups.

Optical Phaser Techno-FA

The Optical Phaser, from SviSound’s Techno range, is based on both the classic 4-stage Phase 90 and the 2-stage Phase 45.

In addition to the familiar speed control, or frequency as its called here, the pedal feature controls for range (controlling the width of the sweep), depth (amount of effect) and brightness (boosting the high end frequencies for more presence and clarity). There’s also switches for choosing either 4-stage or 2-stage phasing.

The 4-stage is very close to the classic Phase 90. You got that warm, chunky analog phasing that’s spot on David Gilmour’s Wish You Were Here tones and of course all the other greats that have used it.

I have always been a fan of the 2-stage Phase 45. It’s really one of the underrated pedals that should have gotten more praise and attention. The subtle phasing, almost Uni-Vibe-ish, adds a warm and subtle modulation to your tones, making overdrives in particular, more alive and dynamic.

The Optical Phaser does a great job replicating both phasers and with the additional controls, this is probably the most versatile phaser on the market.

See for more.

David Gilmour – the early years 1970-72

David Gilmour Early Years 1970-72

Pink Floyd recently celebrated their early years with a massive box set spanning from the band’s formation in 1965 up until the recording of Dark Side of the Moon in 1972. Crucial for this period, was the transition between Syd Barrett and David Gilmour and how Gilmour’s evolving tone, shaped the sound of the band’s early albums.

This is an updated version of the original feature posted in May 2008.

After Syd’s departure in early 1968 Pink Floyd struggled to free themselves from the psychedelia label. It was also a struggle to maintain some level of creativity without their former songwriter. While 1968-69 was a period of trying to find his place in the band, the years between 1970-72 saw David experimenting a lot more both with his tone and different styles.

Read the full feature here.

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Custom Pedal Boards Mini Board and Pedals review

Custom Pedal Boards

Keeping a well thought out and tidy pedal board is crucial for getting the best performance from your rig. It doesn’t really matter how many pedals you got. The more care you put into it, the less trouble and better tones you get. UK based Custom Pedal Boards should be known for most of you and in this review, we’ll have a look at their new Mini Board and pedal range.

There really aren’t any rules when it comes to assembling a pedal board. A piece of wood does a good job and there are many affordable alternatives out there, in all shapes and sizes.

What Custom Pedal Boards offer, are boards and flight cases that are fully customised for your needs. I’ve been using their systems for some years now (so yes, I’m probably a bit biased) and although my boards are fairly basic, with a tier and flat surfaces, you can pretty much design anything you want, based on what pedals you have and how you want them arranged.

I’ve spent a great deal of time on the road and I have experienced the horror of seeing airport ground personell literally throwing my flight cases and pedal boards onto and off the flight. This was something Chris and the guys at CPB wanted to address and their boards and cases are capable of withstanding almost anything.

The Mini Board

Their newest design, is a neat mini board complete with a removable tier and flight case (the case bottom surface is the board). Any touring musician knows that travelling is ridiculously expensive, so size and weight is crucial for not going bankrupt.

The CPB Mini Board can carry up to five mini pedals like the CPB mini pedals or others, like Mooer, TC Electronic and similarly sized. The board I received and are reviewing, came with a CPB LS4 CPB True Bypass Loop Switcher, a CPB PB-2 mono patch box, power supply (located under the tier) and all of CPB’s five new mini pedals.

The loop switcher ensures a clean signal from each of the pedals but it can also be replaced by an additional 5 mini pedals, making the case fully capable of covering most of your tones and gig needs.

The Mini Pedals

As for now, Custom Pedal Boards offer five mini pedals. All are gain pedals, voiced for different applications and tones. Perhaps a bit limiting, as you probably want a few other pedals like a tuner or delay but the choice fits CPBs philosophy and product line. You get the boards and cases and the tools to go with them – loopers, patches and gain pedals for boosting and drive.

All five pedals are, in true CPB style, very well built. You really feel you can trust these… compared to some of the other mini pedals on the market. The fact that they’re slightly heavier, with straight angles, makes them sit better on the board as well, so you don’t have to worry about not stomping too hard and having them fall over.

I must say that I’ve been positively surprised. It would be easy to understand that boards are their main business and that the pedals are just something they offer on the side, but it’s obvious that a lot of thought has been put into these.

Mr Squeezy
This single knob compressor provides a transparent and musical compression, ideal for fattening up your single coils and adding sustain. No doubt based on the old Dan Armstrong compressor, Mr Squeezy perfectly fits David Gilmour’s late 70s tones.

It does provide a nice volume boost but the single knob might limit its use for some players. I would prefer separate controls for compression and volume, but the setup works really well and, as you can hear in the clip, it goes incredibly well with some mild crunchy tones.

Mini Driver
The Mini Driver provides convincing amp-like tones, from transparent cleans, with a nice volume boost available, to crispy crunch. Like a tube amp, the more gain you add, the more mid range and compression you get and at full blast, the Mini Driver enters Powerbooster and Tube Driver territory, although with less gain on tap.

The Mini Driver is my favourite of the CPB mini pedals. A great tool for both boosting and adding life to the amp. Especially smaller bedroom style amps, which often needs some of that mid range and compression compensation.

Mustard Drive
Based on the classic Distortion + and 250 Preamp, the Mustard drive has a lot of gain on tap, ranging from clean boost to crunchy overdrive and near fuzz. Some of most iconic rock riffs has been created with these tones.

Perhaps not the obvious choice for David Gilmour’s tones, but the Mustard (and those other yellow and grey pedals), can provide a very convincing overdrive close to the Tube Driver. You will need to combine the pedal with some amp break up to get there, or a second booster/overdrive, but the Mustard sounds really smooth and dynamic, with a very musical attack and compression.

The Mustard is slightly brighter sounding compared to the D+/250 and I miss some of that slightly unpredictable and dirty germanium mojo but again, a very versatile overdrive pedal capable of a wide range of tones.

Muff War
As the name implies, the Muff War is a Big Muff, based on those elusive early 90s Civil War Sovtek Big Muffs. It’s got that huge ballsy character, with lots of low end and silky smooth gain.

I’m not sure whether the Muff War is cloned after a specific pedal or just based on the tonal characters of the Civil War but CPB has done a great job in capturing that classic and much sought after tone.

Compared to some of the other clones out there, the Muff War is perhaps a tad brighter and it’s not as loud as some of them, but, in my very humble opinion, you won’t find a better sounding Big Muff mini pedal on the market today.

Big Up
The Big Up is a no frills, single knob 0-20dB volume boost. A handy tool for your pedal board, whether you want to boost your cleans or gain pedals, drive the front end of a tube amp or, for making sure your solos really kicks through.

I’ve had some great fun with this mini board and pedals. Everything is sold separately and, as mentioned above, you can use whatever mini pedals (or bigger pedals) you want. If you’re in the market for some mini pedals, I do recommend that you try some of these. The price is right and the tone even better!

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David Gilmour – the early years 1968-69

David Gilmour - Early Years 1968-69

Pink Floyd recently celebrated their early years with a massive box set spanning from the band’s formation in 1965 up until the recording of Dark Side of the Moon in 1972. Crucial for this period, was the transition between Syd Barrett and David Gilmour and how Gilmour’s evolving tone, shaped the sound of the band’s early albums.

Prior to joining Pink Floyd, David played in several local Cambridge bands. His gear was mainly based on a limited budget and borrowed stuff. While with Joker’s Wild (1964-66), he is seen using a Hofner Club with Bigsby tremolo and Vox amps.

David got his first Fender in March 1967. A mid 60’s white Telecaster with a rosewood neck that his parents gave him for his 21. birthday. David is seen using the guitar with Bullitt, – his last band prior to joining Floyd. Bullitt was to reunite on David’s first solo album in 1978.

Read the full feature here.

Please note that the comments are switched off for this post. Please feel free to comment in the comments field under the feature.