David Gilmour’s tones on the 1994 Division Bell tour are many fans’ favourite and not least the huge, smooth sounding distortion on songs like Sorrow and Comfortably Numb. Many have tried to create a pedal that’ll produce the same wall of sound and the latest addition is the Patriot from Buffalo FX. Here’s my review.
Of course, the pedal we’re talking about, the one David used back in ’94, is the so-called Civil War Big Muff. The pedal was the first generation of the Sovtek Big Muffs. A company started by Electro Harmonix founder and Big Muff inventor Mike Matthews after he’d started the production in Russia in the early 90s. The Civil War Muff is known for its huge tone, with lots of gain, a hint of mid range and silky smooth sustain.
I did a review of Buffalo’s Ram’s Head NOS BC239c about a year ago and I’ve been hooked on their pedals ever since. They seem to have figured out how to make good sounding clones and what it takes to make them fit modern gear, without compromising the original tone and mojo. The Patriot is no exception and there’s really no other word than “huge” that comes to mind when I’m trying to describe the pedal.
Ben Watt, perhaps best known from 90s trip-hop duo Everything But The Girl, will release his new solo album, Hendra, on April 29 and joining him on the track The Levels, are none other than David Gilmour! Watt recently released a clip, featuring David, performing a stripped down version of the song.
According to Watt, he and David met by chance in London just recently: “We didn’t know each other. He invited me to hear his demos. I thought he was joking, but two days later he texted me and invited me down to his studio and we got on well. During my album, The Levels seemed like a perfect track for him. I rang him up and he loved the song and he did it the same weekend. Wish everything was that simple sometimes!”
The clip is filmed in David’s new recording studio located in Hove, just outside Brighton. The room is packed with some familiar amps and guitars and some new and interesting stuff as well. David’s playing the blonde Fender Deluxe lap steel into (it seems) the Alessandro Bluetick amp, using just a clean tone with delay. He’s also using a volume pedal (Ernie Ball?) for controlling the volume and creating swells.
To David’s left sits what looks like two shelfs loaded with different pedals, including two Tube Drivers, Boss CS-2 (?), several Effectrode pedals including the Fire Bottle, PC-2A compressor and Tube Vibe and there’s also a new Peterson Stomp Classic Strobotuner. Next to the pedals, in the back, is a familiar looking Binson Echorec II! Underneath all the pedals are what looks like several Loop-Master switches.
The guitar stand behind Gilmour feature a range of different guitars – top from left: Gibson ES with P90s (?), 1956 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top with Bigsby tremolo, a blonde Fender Telecaster (1950s Custom Shop replica?), unknown black guitar and a customized Black Strat NOS body featuring a fretless neck. Bottom from left: The Black Strat, the Red Strat, Gretsch Duo Jet (?) and a Gretsch Falcon. A third guitar stand feature the Gibson EH-150 lap steel and a (black?) Fender Custom Telecaster with a maple neck.
Behind Watt are several amps. Left to right: Alessandro Bluetick with cabinet, Magnatone 280-A 50w combo, with a Conn Strobo tuner on top, Fender tweed Twin combo, Yamaha RA-200 rotating speaker, with the Alembic F-2B on top, Hiwatt SA212 50w combo, with a Fender Champ on top. The amps are mic’ed with (it seems) both Shure KSM 32 and Neuman u87s.
David’s playing reminds me very much of Fat old Sun and his slide tones from the early days, which fits this song, or at least this performance, very well. Perhaps a glimpse into what we’ll be hearing on David’s own solo album, when that may appear sometime in the future. The rig and choice of guitars and pedals sure look like he’s rediscovering some of his earlier tones.
Every once in a while a pedal pops up with a special appeal to us Gilmour nerds and with obvious references to a legendary overdrive pedal, I had to check out this one. Here’s my review of the Hermida Audio Dover Drive from Lovepedal.
Like many of you, I’m sure, I though “a Tube Driver clone? Do they dare? And without a tube?” Well, they asked for it. Using the familiar graphics known from the overdrive pedal that’s as synonymous with Gilmour as the Big Muff, is risky business.
The Dover Drive is housed in a MXR-sized’ish chassis, with true bypass switching and it runs on 9V battery or Boss-style power adapter. Controls are gain, volume and tone. Inside the pedal, there’s also a bias trim pot, allowing you to fine tune the gain stage.
The fuzz pedal appeared in the mid 60s and with it the whole pedal revolution started. The recent explosion of clones and boutique pedals has given the old fuzz pedal a renaissance and while some stick to the classic designs, others are exploring new ground. Here’s my review of the Effectrode Helios.
The term fuzz is often used to describe any noisy pedal but fuzz is a specific form of distortion or clipping. The tone is unmistakable and although it can appear crude and hard to tame it’s perhaps the most musical of all gain pedals. Learning the potential and secrets of the fuzz will open up a whole new world of sweet tones.
The Helios is housed in a TRex sized chassis with a stage ready bright led, controls for volume and fuzz/gain, true bypass switching and operating on 12v for maximum headroom. On top of the pedal sits a mini-toggle for switching between normal mode and “Fire” for super saturated fuzz.
Just when you think there’s nothing left in the vaults, a real surprise appears – the 1976 Animals demos! Described by Pink Floyd as a very hard album to record, Animals feature some of their best work and perhaps some of David’s finest solos. These newly surfaced demos gives us a glimpse of the process and the studio sessions.
It’s apparent that this isn’t really demos but rather “work in progress”. Most of the backing tracks are done – the drums, bass and acoustics – and even some of David’s and Rick’s guitar and keyboard parts are identical to the finished album versions. It’s also obvious that a lot of mixing and processing has already been done. From what I can gather, this is the very final stages of the initial recordings, right before they recorded the final vocals and overdubs and eventually mixed the album.
Animals was recorded between April and November 1976 in Pink Floyd’s new recording studio Britannia Row, located in Islington, north of central London. According to the source of this bootleg, the tapes dates from June 1976.
2013 is coming to an end and I just want to wish everyone all the best for next year and a merry christmas! I hope everyone will enjoy the holidays with family and friends, eat good food and relax from everyday’s hassle. Maybe Santa brings something nice too?
I also want to say thanks for all your support, for all your kind words and for joining in on the discussions and commenting on the posts. That’s what keeps this site alive! I’m also happy to see that the visitor statistics are growing steadily… even after 10 years running! Next year will see more cool reviews, updated gear guides (including the anticipated guides for delays and budget gear), tone tutorials and more! Stay tuned!
It also looks like we’ll get a new album from David next year. Nothing’s been officially announced but people from the Gilmour camp and contributing musicians are talking loud and spreading rumours. Let’s just cross our fingers and hope for both an album and tour! You’ll get to read all about the gear, tones etc etc HERE on Gilmourish.Com when it’s out there… if it happens :)
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