• How to set up your Endless River guitar tones

    David Gilmour Endless River

    Although The Endless River is an unusual album in the Floyd catalog it sure is filled with many beautiful moments and great guitar playing. It’s an interesting peak into the recording of an album and we also get to hear how David’s experimenting with his tones and trying out new gear. In this feature we’ll analyse his setup and I’ll also try to share some tips on how you can achieve the same tones.

    The majority of The Endless River was recorded in 1993. Mainly at Olympia Studios and Astoria in London. Pink Floyd had started writing for a new album but more important, the sessions started out with the band trying to find its form and like in the old days they would spend days just jamming. This is what we hear on Endless River. The material dates from these early sessions where no songs had taken any form or structure. At least not in the sense of how we know them from Division Bell.

    A return to stompboxes

    David is experimenting with his tones but as we can hear on the album he’s really focusing more on the playing and trying to come up with interesting bits and pieces rather than cranking out heavy Muff tones. These came later, when the songs started to form into songs and guitar solos were ready to be recorded.

    As covered in the Endless River Gear Guide, David’s setup for the sessions were fairly consistent. Although the footage reveals a jawbreaking setup he would mainly stick to a very small palette based on his guitar, the amp setup and a few trusted pedals. Both David and his long-time technician Phil Taylor has talked about how they brought out all this gear for the sessions. It was a mix of old stuff David used in the 70s and new gear that they would try out. After nearly a decade of using digital equipment, like most guitarists at the time, this was a return to classic analog pedals and tube amps.

    The new effects

    The Digitech Whammy.

    The Digitech Whammy.

    One pedal that was fairly new at the time and quite unique was the Digitech Whammy WH1. The pedal was able to pitch a note in several octaves with an onboard sweep pedal controlled by your foot. David used this extensively during the sessions for both leads and for creating effects, notably on It’s What We Do.

    Another new tool David employed was the EBow. The device came out in the late 70s but the ’93 sessions was the first time David used it. He explains in an interview with Guitar World (1993): “(…) On a Gibson J-200 acoustic guitar (…) I had a Zoom in my control room one day and I was mucking about with something. Suddenly, I thought I should stick the E-bow on the strings and see what would happen. It sounded great, so we started writing a little duet for the E-bowed acoustic guitar and a keyboard”.

    David Gilmour's 1983 Fender '57 reissue with the EMG SA single coils. (picture by Frederic Peynet)

    David Gilmour’s 1983 Fender ’57 reissue with the EMG SA single coils. (picture by Frederic Peynet)

    The EMG pickups

    Another important ingredient to David’s Endless River tone are the EMG pickups. The set featured three SA single coils and active tone controls, EXG (bass and treble boost) and SPC (mids boost). He had been using these pickups for some time, including on the Momentary Lapse of Reason album and tour, but the ’93 sessions were really the first time when the pickups came to their right and they played a huge part in the guitar sound.

    Their headroom, warmth and hot output gave David a powerful foundation for all his tones. The active tone controls also provided instant EQing and the ability to tailor the tones for specific parts.

    The main setup

    David did use several different guitars, including Telecasters, Les Pauls (with P90s) and a Gretsch but his main guitar for the sessions were his favoured red 1983 ’57 reissue Stratocaster with the EMG pickups.

    The amp setup featured a stereo combo of two Fender Bassmans and two Hiwatt SA212. In addition to this, there was also a Rover rotating speaker. The Bassman lack mid range and can sound a bit thin but the clean tone is unmistakably Fender, with a warm punch and smooth top end. The Hiwatt SA212 has a classic Hiwatt tone, with lots of presence and mid range. Combining these two very different sounding amps gave David the best of both worlds. Although we don’t know how he would use them or how they were mixed, he had the opportunity to use the whole setup together or just specific amps for certain tones.

    David Gilmour's main setup during the 1993 sessions. To the left the 1987 Pete Cornish pedal board and right, the stereo amp setup with two Fender Bassmans, two Hiwatt SA212 and the Maestro Rover on top.

    David Gilmour’s main setup during the 1993 sessions. To the left the 1987 Pete Cornish pedal board and right, the stereo amp setup with two Fender Bassmans, two Hiwatt SA212 and the Maestro Rover on top.

    Rotary tones

    The Maestro Rover rotating speaker plays a big role in David’s lush tones on Endless River. The signal from the board boards where split into the amps, which were dry, and the Rover. The Rover was then mixed with the amps creating a wide 3D effect that swirls on top of everything.

    For the 2013 sessions David would employ his old Yamaha RA200 for rotary sounds. Compared to the Rover, the Yamaha has a slightly more noticeable modulated character. See the Leslies, Doppolas and Rovers feature for more on David’s rotary setups.

    The new guitars

    Large portions of the guitars are newly recorded in David’s new home studio, Medina located in Hove, UK. We do not know with certainty which parts are new but almost all of the original recordings were done live in the studio. This means that there was only one guitar track. Most of the lead guitars and slides that’s present on a track with a rhythm guitar are new.

    The lead on It’s What We Do is from the 1993 sessions. You can hear the combination of the clean Fenders and EMGs, with the watery Rover on top. The lead on Anisina and Louder Than Words are from the 2013 sessions. The tone is slightly more aggressive and brighter and you can also hear the slightly more modulated Yamaha in the background.

    Most of the slides are new as well, like Sum and Surfacing. This was recorded on the blonder Fender Deluxe with what sounds like a Tube Driver. You can also hear the Yamaha rotating speaker being very present.

    Setting up your Endless River tone

    You need a Stratocaster, with preferably EMG SA/DG20 pickups. You can also use passive single coils but you won’t get the advantage of the active tone controls. A way to compensate it either to add an EQ in your setup or choose effects that has either a distinct mids scoop (to compensate for the EXG) or mids boost (to compensate for the SPC). A Les Paul with P90 pickups will also sound similar to the EMGs.

    You want the amp to have as much headroom as possible. Fenders and Hiwatts has tons of it but if you choose a smaller amp for your bedroom then make sure it’s capable of producing a warm and well balanced clean tone. If you already have an amp, you should set it as clean as possible but don’t be afraid to experiment with the balance between the pre-amp and output. The amp usually sounds best just at the very edge of breakup. If your amp has two channels then the gain channel can often produce a better result. It often has a dash more compression and mid range than the clean channel, which goes well with your pedals. See the Amp Tone feature for more on setting up your amp.

    The pedals

    Starting with the compressor. As a good portion of the tones are either clean or only slightly overdriven a compressor is a powerful tool for enhancing the overall tone, evening out the frequencies and balance it better. David is seen using both a MXR Dynacomp and Boss CS2 although the latter was probably his favoured.

    Next is the Digitech Whammy pedal. Sadly the original is no longer made and its predecessors are not nearly as smooth sounding although the latest addition is very close to the original. Perhaps not a must but definitely invaluable if you want to replicate the pitch effect on songs like It’s What We Do and also Marooned and The Blue.

    Endless River Gear Setup

    The most important pedal in your Endless River setup would be the overdrive. David had Tube Drivers in both the 1993 and 2013 setups and it’s most likely that he used these to produce most of the overdrive tones. The tone is reminiscent of the early Marshall amps, with a transparent tone and a distinct tube-quality producing both a natural break up and slight compression. The Wampler PlexiDrive is in my opinion the closest match and ideal for smaller amps. The Boss BD2 also works great on darker amps, while the Fulltone OCD adds a bit of mid range and warmth to bright scooped amps.

    There’s not a great deal of modulation on Endless River. The amp setup feature two Boss CE2 chrous pedals probably lined up for each rack to enhance the stereo spread but the effect is subtle and personally I think a stand alone chorus would be too dominating. The song On Noodle Street feature a phaser or possibly a UniVibe but unless you want to nail this specific song neither of the effects are essential.

    My tone for Louder Than Words has a bit more gain than David’s. It’s perhaps a better reference to some of his Division Bell tones. David also used his Black Strat when he recorded the solo in 2013. I’m using the EMG pickups which rolls off some of that crisp top-end. I’m using a Wampler PlexiDrive instead of a Tube Driver, which David most likely used, and for replicating the Yamaha RA200 rotary tones I’m using a Boss RT20. My setup is mono so I don’t get that wide stereo spread but setting a moderate effect level on the RT20 produce a similar to as the Yamaha.

    In the next clip, I’m jamming along to Wearing the Inside Out. The song appeared on Division Bell but the Special Edition of Endless River feature the song Evrika, an early version of Wearing. Again I’m using the Wampler PlexiDrive instead of a Tube Driver but to replicate the wide rotary tones of the Rover I’ve sent the mono track to a stereo bus with a Leslie simulation in Logic Pro. This allows the initial guitar track to cut through and I can add just the amount of rotary that I want.

    A good sounding delay is crucial for both Endless River and David’s tones in general. His main delay for the 1993 sessions were the MXR digital delay rack unit. It’s digital but has the warmth of an analog unit. Multi effects like the TC Nova Delay, Eventide Timefactor and Boss DD20 allows provides a wide range of different types of delay and allows you to store your own presets, which can be very handy when covering several songs and different tones. The best stand alone pedal you can choose is probably the TC Flashback. I wouldn’t recommend tape or analog pedals as these are often a bit too dark and lack some of that pristine tone we’re looking for.

    The secret to David’s lush tone on Endless River, both the original recording and the new, is the addition of a rotating speaker. It makes everything sound smoother and it adds an almost watery texture to the overall sound. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to already own a rotary cabinet but if not, there are several ways of simulating this. First of all, a rotating speaker is not the same as a phase, UniVibe, chorus or flanger. Although you can use these to achieve some of the same effect they will not be authentic enough to achieve the tone we want. In my opinion the best alternative is the Boss RT20. Place it either last in your chain or, if you’re running a stereo setup, place it after your chain and lined to one of the amps. See this feature for more on replicating David’s rotary tones.

    My best tip is to keep it simple. Experiment with your guitar and amp and try to get the best clean tone possible. Don’t overdo it with the effects but set up a mild overdrive, add compression if needed and try to set up at least two different delays for different applications. Listen to the album and notice how David’s using different vibrato techniques to create both modulation and sustain. Keeping one finger on the volume control also enables you to create a dynamic tone and a slight top end roll off if needed.

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62 Responsesso far.

  1. Michael says:

    What bd2 settings would you recommend for the endless river?

    • Bjorn says:

      Depends on your pickups and amp but a good place to start is: level about unity, tone 9-10:00, and gain as desired depending on whether you need clean boost or dirt.

      • Mikky Whalan says:

        Thx also sorry for the REALLY late reply
        I’m thinking about getting the “Dirt” tone
        Like the solo to Louder than words
        So gain around 11:30 1:00?
        Where would you put it?
        :D

        • Bjorn says:

          Depends on how hot your amp and pickups are but keep the tone low and raise the gain as much as you would need for that particular tone. Hard for me to say how much but probably somewhere around 11-2 o’clock.

      • Mikky Whalan says:

        Also I use a squire Strat with stock neck and middle pickups and a dimarzio FS1 in the bridge and a hiwatt maxwatt g40 12r
        Bass 11:30 3:30
        Middle Never below or above 1:00
        Treble Never below or above 11:00
        :D

  2. Chad from Dallas says:

    Bjorn,

    Quick question. I read hear that the original Whammy is the best. I am finally looking to add that effect, but don’t want to spend that kind of cash. Which reissue would you recommend.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Chad

  3. Silvio says:

    Well, my Endless River tone is based on

    SSL5 bridge pickup on my Fender Strat
    Diamond Compressor (an optical compressor)
    Costalab Natural Drive
    Costalab Custom Muff
    TC Alter Ego delay
    Boss RT20

    what do you think, Bjorn?

  4. Cameron says:

    Fantastic article as always, this has actually been the basis of several tones I’ve been using on original stuff I’m hoping to record stuff with! The tone I got (to my ears at least) sounds really close to the tones on The Endless River and Division Bell, so I thought I’d share my effects as an alternative set up! Not to devalue Bjorn’s amazing work here, I just want to chip in
    Here’s what I use to get the tone:

    Squire Strat (completely stock for the moment, rosewood fingerboard)

    MXR Dyna Comp (the new block logo, both knobs just past noon, so it gives the sustain and a bit of the pop but not too much tonal change)

    EHX Soul Food (again, drive and treble just past noon, volume set to unity as the Dyna Comp is set for a slight boost)

    Tone City Angel Wing Chorus (with the mix fairly low, a slow speed and depth at about 9/10 o’clock

    Tone City Tiny Spring Reverb (the one control at about 8 o’clock)

    Tone City Tape Machine Delay (time at noon, level at 8, repeats at 10)

    All of that runs into a Fender Champion 110 (the old 80’s one, but the newer ones sound very similar on a clean channel)

    I know none of this gear is gear Bjorn has/would suggest, but all the gear is quite cheap if you can find it, and I’m really pleased with the sound :) but it’s all subjective, I’m probably pleased with it more because I spent all the money on it! Just wanted to share my experience, anyhow :)

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks for sharing, Cameron! There’s lot of gear that I haven’t mentioned on this site that is well worth checking out. Including what you’ve listed :)

  5. Crimson says:

    hi. just noticed on a photo of the black strat that the pole piece of the a string (bridge pickup is very low.

    http://www.theguardian.com/music/ng-interactive/2015/oct/01/david-gilmour-behind-the-scenes-with-a-guitar-legend-in-pictures

    Can’t see that on the ssl-5 or the current ssl-1 custom which are available.

    • Bjorn says:

      David’s SSL-1 was custom wound for him back in the late 70s so there might be some differences to the current specs.

  6. I was listening to the album whilst Reading the article and found I was listening more than usuall. Very enjoyable. I was surprised that the pedal set up was initially quite straight forward and I liked your alternate choices of effects. So it just comes down to technique and talent…..something that doesn’t come out of a box…..

  7. Don Smith says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    In your “Louder Than Words” video it says you were using a Buffalo FX Evolution in your effects chain,
    but in the paragraph below the video it says you were using a Wampler Plexi-Drive…..which one did you actually use in the Louder Than Words video?

  8. Lucas says:

    Hi Bjorn, The fane crescendo speakers in the WEM Cabinet are full range (Extended Speakers with more deeper bass and “higher” highs)? whats the diference between those and normal ones for guitar?

    • Bjorn says:

      What’s a normal speaker for guitar? The Fanes has bigger magnets, which makes them tolerate more abuse but also produce a bigger tone. They’re designed to be used with loud and powerful tube amps, like the Hiwatts, while Celestion and other speakers might have smaller magnets and characters better suited for smaller amps or amps with less headroom.

  9. pcscharfe says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Do you personally use the Digitech WH-1 for Octave Up pitch shifting?

    I recently purchased a mint WH-1, but the Octave Up effect is very dirty when the pedal is completely toe down (wet). It arrives at the octave smoothly, but playing additional notes in the higher register creates a lot of noise/digital artifacts.

    I have searched several different guitar forums and spoken with other WH-1 users, but there is a lot of conflicting information. I contacted Digitech and AnalogMan — both suggest that the noise I am hearing is part of the pedal’s intended effect. Digitech said “….the original WH-1 had lots of ‘artifacts’ in the higher register.”

    If that is the case, how is Gilmour getting such clean notes on Marooned, etc?

    Any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks!

    • Bjorn says:

      It’s years since I owned one so I can’t comment in detail but I remember there was some noise or weird harmonics especially in the higher register. It’s just the nature of the pedal I think. It’s an old circuit and it was ahead of its time when it came out in the early 90s. David’s might have been modified although I doubt it, with the digital circuit and all. He’s using a lot of delay and also some dirt so that’s probably why you don’t hear much of the noise but you can definitely hear a digital or “metallic” character when he play those high notes. It’s more evident on the live versions of The Blue and Marooned at the 2004 Fender show.

      • pcscharfe says:

        Thanks Bjorn,

        I went back to the 2004 Strat Pack performance and noted that there are indeed some artifacts and “metallic” character as you stated. I’ll need to experiment a bit more with building the tone — it must require more dirt to mask the digital noise.

        I also noted in that video that he is not actually using the WH-1, but a Ernie Ball expression pedal. I read elsewhere that Cornish modified the setup prior to that show so that a Digitech IPS33B could be used in combination with an Ernie Ball expression pedal for pitch shifting. I don’t know if that is true. But, the WH-1 can be seen on a variety of other live performances (e.g. Remember that Night) – and sounds pretty great.

        Thanks for all the great info!

        • Bjorn says:

          Yeah, he’s been swapping between the WH1 and the IPS33B (with EB volume pedal) since the 1993 sessions.

  10. Ken says:

    Nice article. I just bought a Reeves Custom 50 and love the amp. I have a Butler Tube Driver that I run in front of it and the tone is great, but not quite Gilmourish enough for me just yet. What settings do you use on your Reeves Amp and tube driver? What other pedals are in your signal chain that get you your best Gilmour tone?

    • Bjorn says:

      Check out amp settings in the amp setup feature. Depending on how you set the amp and what pickups you use, I normally set the TD with the volume, HI and Lo at around 2:00 and the gain as desired. With the gain at 11:00 or beyond I start to roll down the treble.

  11. Phap says:

    hi Bijorn, love your website,can you pls recommend a setup for 300$-500$ pedal board, what is the must have to cover PF and Gilmour sound and still stay within my budget? I play both rhythm and lead
    I have a Strat and Ibanez TSA 15 amp
    Thank you in advance

  12. david Losio says:

    Hi Bjorn, my name is david, from buenos Aires. I recently uploaded my Louder Than Words cover on my YT channel: davlos76. I used a POD HD500 and hours of testing. When I found this article I thought… man, I need to make another patch, but… Well. I´m a humble player. I´ll use your information i think, thanks. Hope you can hear my video and comment. David Losio

  13. Mike says:

    Good work as usual?
    I am a bit confused about the signal chain of the amps signals and the rotary speakers not only on this album but wherever David uses the combination. Is the signal that goes to the rotary speakers split off before or after the effects? (is it a “dry” signal going to the rotary or does it have the color of the effects) In my rig I use a Framptone three way amp splitter at the end of my effects chain. One goes to a Reeves, one to mid ’90s Fender Blues DeVille with a moon vibe between the splitter and the amp to get the rotary effect, and one to an acoustic amp.
    thanks,
    Mike

    [Hi Mike, the split is after the all the effects. It’s basically a split for two amps, with one amp being a rotary unit. – Bjorn]

  14. Nick says:

    Hey bjorn
    Great website ,love your tones .
    Just one question and sorry if your going over
    Things you’ve already answered but what settings do ye
    generally use for the wampler plexi drive?
    Thanks mate
    Nick

    [Hi Nick, thanks for your kind words! Depends on what guitar and amp I use and obviously what tones I need but I like it sounding dark. The bass switch is usually engaged, with the tone between 9-11, volume at about unity level and the gain somewhere between 1 o’clock and full blast. – Bjorn]

  15. stephan says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Could you tell me why the MXR dynacomp, used form Animals to Final Cut, was placed so high in the effects chain, after distortions and among modulation?

    Shouldn’t it be place at the beginning just after the guitar?

    And, in Animals, The Wall, and Final Cut, was the MXR Dynacomp always on? (no indications in the song by song settings section).

    Are we sure it was used in Final Cut?

    Best regads
    Stephan

    [There are no way to be certain of any of this. I have tried to get some info from Cornish but he didn’t remember. My guess is that the Dyna was used for cleans and perhaps to add sustain during the Animals tour. Compressor pedals was quite new at the time and perhaps they thought they’d use it like a studio unit at the end of the recorded signal… I don’t know. Could also be that the board had some routing that we don’t know of. Again we can’t be sure it was used on Final Cut but it was present on the sessions. – Bjorn]

  16. steven says:

    Hi bjorn riis,
    I’ve reda your advices about using the boss rt-20 for all the “leslies or yamaha rotating” areas from meddle to div bell….

    Here’s my question. As boss rt-20 is a buffered pedal like all boss pedals, there must be a problem about using it with a analogman sunface or vick overdribver because as you said they get choked by buffered pedals, placed anywhere in the chain…
    What about pig hoof or bick large beaver or vick 73 muff with the rt-20 again? Same issue?

    How do you deal with that rt-20 issue for the 70’s meddle to final cut area?

    My best regards and a happy new year!!
    Steven

    [Hi Steven. I don’t really bother with rotary for the Meddle-WYWH era. David used a Leslie at that point and I guess the Lex is more fitting than the RT20. Problem with the Lex is that it doesn’t have an effect mix, so you’d have to use a blender pedal with it. Anyway, the RT20 works for for Animals-Final Cut. There’s no problem using it with Muffs. Perhaps just a tad brighter tone but I’m using buffers in and out of the board anyway so it doesn’t matter. – Bjorn]

  17. leo says:

    Hi bjorn, i ‘ve forgotten to ask you if a dedicated buffer at the begining of the chain would work great with the vick audio overdriver, even placed later in the chain.
    Should i consider another clone instead?

    And regarding the modulation effects wich are byoc phase 90, mooer eleclady, boss ce-2 and mjm 60’s vibe, where would you put each pedal? Before or aftet the distortion s/overdrives?
    I never use those units together, just one at the time.

    Regards,
    Leo

    [The Overdriver doesn’t like buffers. Period :) Personally I prefer phasers and UniVibes in front of dirt pedals and chorus and flanger after. – Bjorn]

  18. Gustavo says:

    Good evening, Bjorn!

    I have a question about the configuration of the amplifier… you said that to the ER’s tones is indicated an amplifier with free space to sound clean and not distort.

    In amplifiers guide you said that the amps sounds better on the boundary between clean and the dirty.

    May you explain this question ?

    I play with a fender blues junior. Wich one you recommend?

    Thank you and happy New year !

    Gustavo Checcoli – Brazil

    [That’s part my own taste and based on David’s Hiwatt settings, which we have lots of pictures of. I can’t tell for the Fender amps he’s using but judging by the tone I would assume that he prefers all his amps clean but with the gain high enough for the tubes to get hot. This makes the amps sound warmer and more dynamic and the pedals have a bit more to work with. You don’t really want overdrive or distortion but most amps sound thin if you only go for the cleans. Anyway, it’s very individual for what amp, pickups and pedals you use. – Bjorn]

  19. Rafael Vantolra says:

    Can you recommend a diffrent whammy pedal that will work on marroned or the blue
    or the endless river. Its what we do
    for those who has small budget?
    Thank you

    [Oh… I’m really not that familiar with different whammies… if there are any within a budget range at all. I know some of the effects processors have a pitch effect which you can assign to the on board sweep pedal but again, I’m not the one to ask. – Bjorn]

  20. Leo says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Thank you !!!!

    Please, to recreate David’s tones, particularly the early tones (from Meddle where he first introduced a Leslie, trough the years with WYWH, DSOTM, Animals The Wall and Final Cutwith the Yamaha, where would you put the Boss RT-20 pedal into the fx chain? At the end after delays and before amp?

    Would the following effects chain be Ok:

    GUITAR > TC Electronic tuner > MXR Dynacomp > Big Muff Ram’s head clone (or Analogman Sunface BC 108 depending on the area)> Colorsound Powerboost clone > Univibe or MXR Phase 90 or EHX Electric Mistress or Boss CE-2 (depending on the area) > Vol. pedal> Tc Flashback delay > Boss RT-20 > AMP

    And is the Vol. pedal a necessity for the early years form Obsucured till Final Cut? I can’t hear it on those studio recordings…

    Best regards,

    Sincerely,

    Leo

    [Hi Leo! The chain looks fine. To simulate a Hiwatt+rotary setup, the RT20 should be placed last. You can also place it before the delays to get cleaner repeats. A volume pedal is always handy to control the volume and tone… regardless of whether David used it or not :) – Bjorn]

  21. Leo says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    About the BOSS RT-20 you recommend for all the Pink Floyd areas (leslie on DSOTM and WYWH, Yamaha on Animals / Wall / Final Cut, Maestro rover for Division Bell / Endless River)… what kind of settings would you use for each area, please?

    – RT20 SETTING FOR Leslie on WYWH & DSOTM:
    – RT20 SETTING FOR Yamaha for Animals / The Wall / Final Cut:
    – RT20 SETTING FOR Maestro Rover for DB / Endless river:

    I’m about to buy the RT-20 but need to have a good idea of the possible settings before….

    Thank you, Best regards, Leo.

    [Please see my previous reply for the settings :) – Bjorn]

  22. leo says:

    Thank you bjorn for your answer. About your advice about using boss rt-20 in order to replicate david’s rotary tones (maestro rover yamaha, from dsotm to div bell including wall animals), could you tell me what would be your settings for those different areas? (Rt20 has so many knobs!!!!) And please, where would you put the pedal into the fx chain? At the end after delays and before amp? Or before delays like your own pedalboard with strymon lex?

    Last question: on your facebook page you once wrote that you could easily replace boss rt 20and replicate david s rotary tones with boss ce 5 or mxr chorus….
    Regards

    Leo

    [The CE5 in particular can produce a similar tone although not quite. The RT20 is IMO the best option for replicating David’s rotary tones. I mainly use the same settings for all eras.
    Mode 1, effect 9:00, direct 11:00, balance 11:00, overdrive off, slow rate 1:00. The fast I rarely use and the rise time I keep at noon. – Bjorn]

  23. Justin Bomar says:

    I Love This New album and love putting it On and Jamming to it putting my leads, rhythms and solos where ever I can. It Is really great practice. Bjorn, David said in an interview That His upcoming Solo album Isn’t Going To sound like The Last One …far From it. I hope to Hear some Good Muff Tones or at Least some dirt Sustaining Lines That Is the Tone I Love. Oh yea I got the Ehx Nano Small Stone Phaser and It Is Fantastic.

  24. leo says:

    hello Bjorn Riis,

    I’ve discovered your website a few years ago and i have to say it’s a pure heaven not only for Floyd fans, but also for every guitarist ! There’s no equivalent in precision about guitar tone!
    Respect!!!

    If I may, I would like to ask you a few questions about the settings section into David’s Gear page. I’ll ask them album by album:

    – Dark Side of the Moon /studio setup:
    You write that there are 2 colorsound Powerboost settings (mild boost and heavy boost).
    But into the songs details, sometimes you write “Colorsound mild boost”, sometimes only “Colorsound Powerboost” with no other precision: does that second terminology mean “heavy boost” ?
    Was the Colorsound sometimes used in combination with the Fuzz Face (like later with a Big Muff boosting it)?

    – Wish you were here / studio setup:
    Same question, in Shine On, was the Fuzz face (solo on shine On part#2) used alone or combined with Powerboostt mild Od?

    – Animals / studio setup:
    If I understand well, the Muff (pete Cornsish P1), was used Alone in studio , as opposed to Live situation where iit was combined with Colorsound Powerboost (mild)? Am I right?

    – The Wall / studio setup:
    Same question: I guess the Muff was used alone ( or with electric mistress or Yamaha), as opposed to Live where it was combined with a mild overdrive (Pete Cornsih St-2 or Colorsound powerboost).

    – The Final Cut:
    Same question : Muff alone (no OD boost)?

    And another important question:

    What is the pedal that would give me the closest match for the earlier leslie ( Dark side of the Moon…. ) ,to the Yamaha Rotating speaker or maestro rover (Animals, the wall , Division Bell)…..: Boss Rt-20, Strymon lex Rotary? , H&K roto, Pigtronix, Neo ventilator, etc etc…..?????
    I can see you have both Rt-20 and strymon Lex…

    And where would you put that kind of pedal? at the end of the effects chain after delays? just before the AMP?

    I am sorry for all those questions….
    Thank you anyway!
    have a good night.
    Sincerely,

    Leo

    [Hi Leo! Thanks for all your kind words! Sorry for my late reply.
    1. There are no official records on how he used the Colorsound. We know it’s his main overdrive between 1972-77 and based on what we hear on the albums he probably mainly used it as a dedicated overdrive and not so much as a booster. It was used in combo with a fuzz on the Dark Side tour for songs like Echoes, Time and Money. My listings are mainly indications on what tones we’re hearing.
    2. The fuzz was probably used alone. Boosting in a studio setting will often cause a lot of noise and feedback.
    3. He probably always used the Muff alone in a studio setting. It was mostly used alone in the live setup too although you can definitely hear on songs like Dogs and Pigs on the 1977 tour than he combined the Muff and Colorsound. He used an Electro Harmonix Big Muff on the Animals sessions BTW.
    4. His main recording setup for Animals, Wall, Final Cut and his 1978 solo album was guitar > Electro Harmonix Big Muff into a split between Hiawtts and Yamaha rotating speaker. He occasionally added a Mistress flanger. On both the Animals and Wall tours he combined the Muff and Colorsound (ST2 on Wall tour) for certain solos.
    5. Muff alone for Final Cut.
    6. I think the RT20 is the closest match. The Yamaha and Rover sound much more liquidy and less defined than a Leslie. The Lex is an excellent Leslie sim but not quite what you want for David’s tones. The RT20 allows you to dial in the amount you need using the effect blend control.
    Hope this helped :)
    – Bjorn]

  25. KEITH says:

    I just wanted to wish Bjorn, and all the members of the Gilmourish community a Very Merry Christmas, or happy holiday of your choice! It’s been another excellent year for Gilmourish, especially with a new Pinj Floyd album, and the news of a coming solo album, and Tour! Also a year that witnessed the growth of Airbag’s popularity, as well as an excellent solo album from Bjorn! Bjorn, as busy as you are, I hope you will continue to run the greatest site on the web for many years to come, and that all your dreams become reality!

    Peace on earth, goodwill to all, Keith

    [Thanks a lot Keith! Enjoy the holidays and we’ll talk next year :) – Bjorn]

  26. John says:

    Bjorn,
    I wanted to thank you for your advice on the H&K Tubemeister 18w. Upon receiving it, I was very disappointed that my gains were sounding thin and fizzy and you suggested ditching those crap Chinese tubes for some JJ’s. Problem solved! Unbelievable difference in tone and all my pedals sound as they should. You basically gave me a new amp for Christmas, so thanks Bjorn!
    John

    [Awesome! – Bjorn]

  27. Daniel Krause says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Great article…as always!
    Really good to hear and read your still using the RT20 and are so happy with it.
    I’ve always used it in the same way you do. Low in the mix…just to get that nice watery background. Regarding chorus on Endless River and/or Division Bell. I think there’s some in a couple of songs, just a little though, but it sounds different then just the rover or RA200.

    Btw…just ordered your album…really looking forward to finally hearing it! Saw you’re coming to Helmond next year. Hope I can make it!

    Cheers,

    Daniel

    [Thank you, Daniel! Would love to see you there! – Bjorn]

  28. Lilian says:

    Bjorn,

    I’m a bit lost with your Rt-20 settings for Db tones:

    You said “mode 1, effect 9:00, dry 11:00, slow speed 2:00, gain off”.

    What do you call “dry” please?
    And how do you set the “rise time”, “direct”, and “balance” knobs?

    Thank you and best regards.
    Lilian

    [Sorry for my late reply. By “dry” I meant “direct”. I keep the “rise time” at noon and the “balance” at 11:00. – Bjorn]

  29. Brad W says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Just want to report on my finally, after years of ogling from afar, landing a Strymon Lex pedal. I was able to get one local to me, used, at a great price.

    Wow. This thing just sounds great. Maybe the RT-20 does it better, but I must say, I think it is definitely possible to get a subtle, blended sounding, slow speed on this thing that will give your Wall era solos plenty of “air” and pulse, and 3d feeling. It’s a matter of playing tweaking the mic distance and horn level controls. I will soon be purchasing a mesquite blender, because I believe I want the additional control over the mix, but I’m not sure it’s needed.

    Besides that, when not using it to try to emulate DG’s “leslie blend”, it is a freaking great sounding, useful pedal. I never expected to be saying something like this, but, it almost makes my Hartman flanger unnecessary. You can tweak this thing to get a really cool flange-like quality on the slow speed that’s jaw dropping, and can be subtle enough to be “always on.”

    It also plays really nicely with all my other pedals. I was surprised how good it sounded, on slow, with my Dry Bell Vibe Machine engaged before it in the chain. I didn’t expect to necesarily use those effects together, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if it just turned into a jumbled mess, but it was awesome! It works fantastic with dirt pedals, too, which was one thing I was worried about, as I’d read somewhere the mobius didn’t sound as good with dirt. Not true for the Lex! It sounded vintage and growly as hell after my Xotic SL Drive.

    I used to be an analog purist, but you just can’t argue with a pedal this good.

    Wishing you and Gilmourish readers a festive and fantastic holiday season!

    Brad

    [Thanks for sharing, Brad! The Lex is a great pedal. Use it all the time :) Enjoy the holidays! – Bjorn]

  30. Lilian says:

    Hello Bjorn Riis,

    I was wondering where in the effects chain you would put a digitech whammy? Between Boss CS-2 and Tube Driver (or Plexidrive)?

    And please Bjorn, what are you Boss RT-20 settings for those Division Bell / Endless river tones?
    Slow speed I guesss, but what about mode, rise time, effect, direct, balance, overdrive, slow, fast?
    So many knobs!
    I guess it has some modulation in it, as you don’t recommend a stand alone Chorus in the Chain, am I right? Does it actually replace the chorus?

    Cheers!Keep on rocking!

    Lilian

    [I’d place the Whammy either first or after the compressor. My RT20 settings: mode 1, effect 9:00, dry 11:00, slow speed 2:00, gain off. I don’t use chorus for the ER or DB tones. The RT20 is enough but they different setups and hear for yourself :) – Bjorn]

  31. KEITH says:

    I left out that the ones who vehemently say no Boss pedals will ever grace their board, have never even played through any of their pedals, and it’s Duncan, and many other big brands that get that treatment….

  32. KEITH says:

    Bjorn, do you agree that many looking for Gilnour’s tones, and the tools,( Pedals), to achieve them limit themselves to a certain degree by not trying, or using certain brands of gear because of those brands not being exactly what David uses, or because some gear snobs lead them to believe a certain pedal is a necessity, while other brands get a bad name? Like I mentioned above, I’ve heard many say that they hate Boss pedals, and would never use them. In my opinion, if not for the Roland Corporation, the technology behind most of the pedals we now use wouldn’t be around yet, as the Boss line of pedals, are responsible for many of the circuitry now used in all pedals, and without that contribution of R&D, many pedals would likely not be here for another 10 years! Boss ruled the 80’s, and even DG used many Boss pedals when they were the only stompbox effects going! Just a bit of advice from an old man who’s seen it all! Don’t listen to people on forums as an end all opinion. Play everything you can get your hands on, and decide what sounds like you want it to sound. Even YouTube greatly colors pedals if not recorded properly. I narrowed my Digital delay down to the Nova, and the DD-20 based on many factors, and both were the same price that day. I was pushed towards the Nova, but after a great deal of AB’ing the two, the DD did exactly what I wanted it to. So, don’t let a name, or a reputation among forum folks make your decisions for you, let you ears make the choice.

    Peace to all, and Merry Christmas, and happy holidays, Keith

    [Definitely. This is a big topic but pedal brands are as subjected to snobbery and hype as anything else. Part of the reason is that people obviously haven’t tried the pedal or they had a bad experience with it. Perhaps used the wrong amp and/or guitar with it. It’s also the hype. Rare pedals and pedals used by certain guitarists tend to get more hype than others but the majority of all guitarists use off the shelf pedals. Even Gilmour. Of course there are differences in quality but the biggest and most noticeable difference is tone and that’s down to taste. There’s so much going on in the pedal industry today and most of what’s available has a very high quality. Even the cheaper brands. I think what people often forget is that price doesn’t tell the quality. Boss mass-produce their pedals to a huge audience and therefore can keep the prices low. Smaller brands and one-man operations has a very different cost scenario and can’t compete with that. It doesn’t mean that the pedals are better. Overall I think that you can pretty much use any pedal and get great tones with it IF you know how to use it. Again, this is a huge topic :) – Bjorn]

  33. Brad Roller says:

    Ok Bjorn I know I bug you a lot, but we know David used his ra200 for modulation on songs like raise my rent, Final Cut, and Dogs fast solo’s. Well that’s always been my favorite tones honestly, the more dominating rotary tones. So, that being said, if I wanted to get close to those tones, live, couldn’t I just mic my rotary cab real close as David did in the studio? Obviously the sound will be less and less dominating or more dominating depending on the surroundings but if you miced the cab you could get that sound coming from the monitors atleast correct? Thanks so much for your help man. I play at a church every Sunday when I ain’t working and they really really dig the tones I get(I give you credit! Lol) I wanted to give these tones a try there. Thanks man!

    [That should do the job I guess. The Yamaha does sound very different from most rotary cabs though. It’s much more watery and modulated than a Leslie, which has a much wider spread and a more subtle modulation. Experiment with different mixing positions and volume levels. – Bjorn]

  34. Stephan says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Could you please confirm the following effects chain for Division bell / Endless river, with vol. pedal included:

    Guitar > Buffer 1> Tc electronic tuner > Compressor CS-2 > tube Driver > Boss CE-2 (chorus or no chorus for DB tone?)> Tc Flashback delay > Boss RT-20 > Vol pedal > AMP

    Does the Vol pedal need to be put before or after the RT-20?

    (My volume pedal is an active Earnie Ball VP Jr 25k modified by analogman, it has his buffer built inside it.. It is like having a dedicated buffer placed just BEFORE the Vol pedal.)

    Sincerely,
    Stephan

    [The chain looks OK. Personally I’d place the VP before the delays to be able to make delay swells. There is a chorus in David’s setup but I can’t hear it on DB nor Endless River. It might be there. It might not. Either way I don’t think it’s an essential effect for the tones. – Bjorn]

  35. KEITH says:

    I agree that the RT-20 sounds on some settings like a mild chorus, but if you use the stereo outs, into two amps, it pans back and forth, almost perfectly replicating the RA-200 sound, and I have a great deal of rf noise in my area, but have never noticed any real noise, or coloration issues with the RT-20. It is dead last in my Chain, and has the DD-20 just before it. I find no real issues with either pedal, and have become very fond of both pedals. I think the biggest problem people have with both pedals, is the name stamped on them, and find the DD-20, Only slightly different in features, with the Nova. The DD does some things better, and the Nova others, for example, tha Nova is easier to switch presets, but the DD is more versatile in general. The Sound on Sound while different than DGs method, does it well. And I know I don’t need to convince Bjorn about the value of the RT! All one need do, is spend an evening with one, and it becomes evident that it’s not a 147 Leslie, but does a damn good Yamaha!

    Peace, Keith

  36. Sebastien says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Ok, if I understand well , you use the TR 20 like a chorus, which has a mix knob, so you can set it very subtle in the Mix, AM I right?

    I do own both CE-2 (Japanese), and I must have kept my old Boss CE-5 bougth in the 90’s, and a buddy has the CH-1, so I can borrow it.

    Would any of those 3 pedals, replace the Rt-20 in it’s function (recreate Division bell discrete rotary tones, and Endless river….) – If Yes How to set them???

    Regards,
    Sebastien

    [Not really. Perhaps you can tweak the CE5 for something similar but although the RT20 sounds more like chorus than a Leslie, you can’t replicate the tones with a chorus. – Bjorn]

  37. Stefano says:

    Hello M. Riis,

    I can’t say that I have a gift in identifying all the guitar effects just by listening to a song, BUT: I really can’t ear any Leslie type of effects on the guitar tracks when I listen to The Division Bell….or Endless River.
    I can ear Leslie on the Keyboards yes, but not on the guitars……..
    Is it sooo subtle that I can’t ear it?

    Same problem with the Chorus….. Is there a hint of Chorus in those songs? can’t ear it!!!

    Have a nice day,
    Stefano

    [Actually, I’m having a hard time hearing any chorus but there’s definitely rotary on the guitars. David always mixed the rotary lower than the amps and rather than using fast rotary, as you would on a Hammmond or like Clapton and Vaughan did, David’s almost always using the slow speed. This adds a texture and almost a 3D feel to his tones. It’s mixed very low on Division Bell but it’s all over Endless River. Put on a pair of headphones and hear how the guitar has this lush and wide stereo spread, with just a hint of modulation. – Bjorn]

  38. Sébastien says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    So if you think that the amount of chorus for Division bell should be very soft / discrete, and that the CE-2 would be too dominant… should I use instead my Boss CE-5 or my Boss CH-1? Or should I go for a Mooer Ensemble king instead?

    Regarding TC Shaker, I ‘ve read that it can get very close to Leslie settings… The factory toneprint you get when you open your box IS a Leslie type of setting…. and the speed and ramp knobs, seem to take the pedal much more further than a simple tremolo bar effect, at least from what I hear in their soundclips… there’s also a choice between a few Leslie type of settings in the Toneprints….

    What is so special about the Boss Rt-20? In your Buyer’s gear guide you said it was not a real Leslie simulator, much more a delay?…. I can’t hear much better Leslie tones in it than with Tc Shaker…

    Regards, Respect,

    Sebastien

    [I haven’t tried the Shaker myself but in general, a vibrato pedal is not a Leslie sim. There are different types of vibrato pedals but the principle is based on the tremolo or vibrato effect in old tube amps and the effect you get from using the term arm on your Strat. You can tweak a vibrato pedal for Leslie tones but I don’t think it would sound any more authentic than a phaser or UniVibe. Again, I haven’t tried the Shaker myself so I can’t really comment on it. I’m sure the TonePrint also allows you to tweak it further and closer to a Leslie.
    David’s not really using rotating speakers for the rotary tone but rather for adding a texture or mild chorus effect to his tones. Using a Leslie sim, phaser, vibrato or whatever in the traditional sense won’t be the same. That’s why the RT20 works so nicely because although it sounds pretty bad as a Leslie sim it’s a really nice chorus and the effect mix control also allows you to dial in the right amount of the effect. (I called it a chorus. Not a delay). Anyway, it’s my taste and opinion so trust your ears and use the rotary or vibrato effect that works best for you and your setup :) – Bjorn]

  39. Alan Day says:

    It is interesting, the Red Strat sounds smooth and compressed while the Black has that bright “edge” – a dead giveaway for which leads were done in 2013. Remember that David didn’t have the Black during the recording of the DB, it was on lone to The Hard Rock Cafe then.
    I’ve been experimenting with the tones for Louder than Words with a really small bedroom setup (Fender Mustang 1 V2)
    Simple setup: Mad Prof FG Compressor, Coloursound Overdriver (clone), Blackstone overdrive (Brown channel) Sometimes a Rams Head for the lead solo – but not always.
    Although I have a Leslie sim (Tech 21 Rotochoir) – I am not using it, as I do for DSotM. Instead, I am only using a CE-2 (sometimes) and an Empress Superdelay with the slow mod switched on. Leads sounds sweet with the Strat neck pup. Rhythm – mid pup. Not a fan of the RT-20 – I find it big and noisy (OK – the Rotochoir is also noisy – but IMO a better sim)
    If i had only budget for a single Modulator Pedal for Davids tones – it would be an old CE-2. Mine has a Monte Allums mod and it sparkles.
    A

  40. KEITH says:

    Hey Bjorn, out of curiosity, were those stock Chinese tubes quite a bit smaller than the JJs? When I swapped the Chinese crap tubes out of my TubeScreamer head, the JJs barely fit! I found it safer, and far easier for that head, to take it out of it’s enclosure, swap tubes, and put it back, if not, you had to put them in at an angle, risking bent pins!!! I ask, because it made so much difference in the sound of the amp as well, those small Chinese tubes sounded awful!

    Peace, Keith

    [I can’t really remember. I threw them in the bin right away. There are no space issues on the H&K so I didn’t pay it any attention. – Bjorn]

  41. Rafael Vantolra says:

    Hello
    this whammy wh1 pedal that you talking about.
    will make or give me the sound or tone of marroned?
    Or is what we do?
    BTW. You are the best!!!!!

    [Hi Rafael! David used the Whammy on Marooned, Wearing the Inside Out and It’s What We Do. He also used it on The Blue from his 2006 solo album. – Bjorn]

  42. Sébastien says:

    Hello bjorn, i’d like to know if the tc electronic shaker would do the job for a leslie simulation at the end of the effects chain instead of the boss rt 20. I hate those boss dd 20 and rt 20 which are real tone suckers. The youtube clips for tc shaker seem to show a great item in order to replicate leslie sounds don’t you think? Have you tried it?

    You agreed in the first comment that a vol pedal was needed for division bell tones, but what about the boss ce-2 eventually? Yes or no? If yes where to put it in the chain and how to set it to be really gentle/discrete?

    Best regards,
    Sébastien

    [I don’t think the Shaker will give you true Leslie tones. It’s a vibrato and although you can tweak it for some rotary tones it’s really not the same. More like using the term arm on your guitar. The CE2 is not a must. It’s definitely more present in David’s 1987-90 and PULSE tones but not that evident on Division Bell or Endless River. The CE2 will sound more or less the same no matter where you place it but clones like the CostaLab ChorusLab and Mooer Chorus Ensemble has a mix control, which allows you to dial in the amount you want. – Bjorn]

  43. John says:

    Hi Bjorn!
    Just wanted to compliment you on this article. It’s very interactive for those of us dying for our guitar tone to sound like that. I can hardly believe the tone I’ve been getting, or “tones” as there are many and equally awesome. Thanks for taking the time to show us some different ways to achieve and often nail some tones that have eluded me for the better part of a lifetime. I messaged you a few days ago, I know your busy as hell this time of year, especially with the new solo album and the new PF album being released, etc. You may have already answered this on another post and I do apologize for sending another so soon. It’s just I only have a short time before I take a few weeks off for the holidays to play and record with some friends out of town and I think you might know what to do. It’s the H&K Tubemeister 18. I just got mine in the other day and the clean channel sounds great but my gains all sound thin and fizzy. I’m not so educated on the maintenance or alteration/modification of amps. I think after reading the manual that its an issue with the power tubes. I just wondered if that was a common symptom of bum tubes or of H&K heads. Also, should I replace the 12AX7’s too? Thanks Bjorn,
    John

    [Thanks for your kind words :) I replaced the stock tubes on my H&K right away. Those cheap chinese tubes were incredibly noisy. The clean channel doesn’t handle gain pedals very well. At least not on low volume. It sounds thin and fizzy. I’m using the gain channel, with these settings: bass and treble 10:00, mids 11:00, gain 8:00, master full. – Bjorn]

  44. James says:

    Awesome article Bjorn. I’ve found the Boss GE-7 to be a good substitute for the mid boost active DG-20 sound. With the mids slightly boosted and the volume boost level at full, I can nail those fat, bluesy overdrive sounds on my Laney Cub at full gain. Another important aspect of the 93′ sessions is the use of the volume pedal. It’s difficult to nail the likes of Cluster One, Wearing The Inside Out, Marooned and plenty of The Endless River without one.

    [Yep, good point. He’s using the volume pedal a lot. – Bjorn]

  45. Brad Roller says:

    Man great article! The motion sound srv112 rotating speaker does great for this application IMO! Since it’s not a very dominating rotary tone, similar to the rover. I’ve been getting some great Division Bell and Endless River tones with it. I never knew what you meant by “the rotating speaker smooths some harsh tones out” but I do now! Anyways, this is a great album with great tones. Now we can look forward to David’s new solo album! Gah I hope he returns to more ra200 tones like on animals and his first solo album! Great job on the article man, I live to read your site man! God bless!

    [Thanks! Yeah, I’d love to hear him using the Yamaha on the upcoming solo album. The fact that he did use it for the new Endless River recordings is promising! – Bjorn]

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