The Buyer’s Gear Guide : Effects 2
There are so many pedals to choose between and it’s impossible to mention everything that might suit David’s tones. I’ve made up a list of pedals that I think is the best choice based on hours of testing and trying different combinations. If you have suggestions or disagree with some of mine then please do let me know!
The idea is that you use this guide as a reference for your own decisions. Read through it and compare with the David Gilmour Gear Guide and what he used on your favourite album. Then visit forums like Harmony Central for a bit more in depth user reviews. Hopefully you’ll be able to choose a killer pedal for your rig.
Recommended signal path:
phaser/ flanger/ chorus/ uni-vibe
Used by David mainly between 1968 – 1975.
The term fuzz is often used to describe all noisy/high gain pedals but it’s a very distinct effect on its own and in terms of David’s sounds it can’t be compared to neither a Big Muff nor a RAT. There are two kinds of fuzz tones both determined by the transistors used. Germanium (dark, overdrive) and silicon (bright, aggressive). David used germanium models between 1968-71 and silicon between 1971-77. I recommend a silicon version for the most versatile tone.
– Analogman Sun Face BC108. A dead on replica of the silicon model Fuzz Face David used on Pompeii and Dark Side of the Moon. Also available with a germanium NKT275 transistor for that classic Hendrix/Atom Heart Mother tone.
– Pete Cornish G-2. Tonewise this is somewhere between a germanium fuzz and a Big Muff although that’s far from the whole range of this unique pedal. Listen to Echoes on Remember That Night!
– Fulltone 70’s (silicon).
– Dunlop JH-FI Fuzz Face (silicon).
– MXR Classic 108 Fuzz (silicon).
– Skreddy Lunar Module (silicon). Made with David’s Dark Side of the Moon tone in mind.
– MJM London Fuzz (model 1 germanium/ model 2 silicon).
– BBE Free Fuzz (silicon). An excellent budget model with a fat screaming tone!
Used by David from 1968 – present.
David’s never been a huge wah wah kind of guy although he used the effect a lot during the first couple of years in the band. Most importantly he used a wah wah to create the seagull screams in the middle of Echoes. To achieve the effect you’ll need a vintage model.
– Dunlop Cry Baby
Used by David from 1975 – present.
– MXR Dynacomp. David used this one from 1975 to 1994. The vintage script model is a bit warmer than the block reissue.
– Boss CS-2/CS3. David used the CS-2 from 1984 to 2006. It’s no longer in production but easy to find on EBay and it’s worth the extra money for its warm tone and rich sustain. The CS-3 is an OK substitute.
– Demeter Compulator. David used this on the 2006 tour. The pedal is based on high end studio compressors with a smooth and dynamic tone.
– Analogman Comprossor. A clone of the rare 70’s Ross compressor, which is often hailed as one of the best compressors ever made with a tone similar to the Dynacomp.
– Barber Tone Press. One of the more popular new units on the market. Includes a blend control allowing a mix between the compressed and bypassed signal for a cleaner sustain.
– Gollmer Composus. My favourite! This Swedish boutique lies somewhere between a Compulator and a CS-2. Dead silent and tons of rich sustain. Highly recommended!
Used by David from 1976 to present.
David has always favoured the Big Muff and I do recommend that your rig includes at least one distortion within that tone family. The Big Muff definitely sounds best on a loud tube amp and it can be a huge disappointment on a smaller rig, especially on a transistor you’re using at home so a RAT might be a better alternative. More on that in this article.
David has always combined his Big Muffs with boosters or overdrives, like the Colorsound Power Boost and Tube Driver. This adds more attack and character to the tone. Read more here.
– Electro Harmonix Big Muff ‘71 “triangle” and ‘73 “ram’s head”. David used the “ram’s head” between 1976-1988. It has a bit more gain while the triangle is known for its smooth sustain and sharp tone. Both are deleted but pops up frequently on EBay.
– Sovtek “Civil War” and “Military Green”. David used the “Civil War” on PULSE. These two are more or less identical with lots of gain and bass compared to the 70’s versions. Both are deleted but pops up frequently on EBay.
– Pete Cornish P-1 and P-2. The P-1 is a straight clone of the “ram’s head” while the P-2 is very similar to the Sovtek Muffs with a bit more mid range producing that typical PULSE tone.
– Pete Cornish G-2. Used by David on Live 8 and OAI tour. Tonewise this is somewhere between a germanium fuzz and a Big Muff although that’s far from the whole range of this unique pedal. Listen to Comfortably Numb on Live 8!
– BYOC Large Beaver “triangle”. A dead on clone of the sweetest Big Muff ever existed (at least in my mind)! Incredibly versatile and tons of rich character. Also available as a “ram’s head” model.
– Ronsound Hairpie. One of the most popular Big Muff clones. Choose between all three original Electro Hamonix models.
– Skreddy Pink Flesh. Sadly discontinued this Big Muff is designed with David’s Wall tone in mind with the Colorsound Power Boost combination.
– RAT “vintage” and RAT 2. An extremely versatile pedal that sounds great on any amp and pickups. Highly recommended as a main distortion unit and for achieving that classic Big Muff tone on smaller amps. The modified model by Keeley is recommended!
Used by David since 1972.
David has mainly been using Colorsound Power Boost and Tube Drivers for overdrives and for boosting the Big Muffs. Both are designed to drive a tube amp into warm natural overdrive and the transparent tone makes them ideal to blend with other pedals. The Tube Screamer is a more modern sounding unit capable of producing great PULSE-ish tones and is recommended for smaller setups where the Colorsound and Tube Driver might be a bit too powerful. More on overdrives here.
– Colorsound Power Boost/Overdriver. David used this between 1972-77. Instant Have a Cigar/Pigs tones with tons of powerful rich character. Check out clones like the AA Fist and Vintage FX Colordrive!
– Pete Cornish ST-2. Used by David between 1978-83. Based on the Colorsound Power Boost.
– Chandler/BK Butler Tube Driver. David’s main overdrive unit since 1994. Both are very similar to the Colorsound with a powerful transparent tone. The Chandler is a bit warmer than the BK, – somewhere between the Colorosund and a Tube Screamer.
– Pete Cornish SS-2. David’s main overdrive unit in addition to the Tube Driver between 1994-06. Similar to the MXR Distortion + the SS-2 has a warm creamy character with a range from near clean to mild distortion.
– Ibanez TS9/808 and Maxon OD808. An extremely versatile warm and creamy tone especially suited for the 80’s and 90’s eras. A great substitute for a Colorsound or Tube Driver on smaller rigs.
– Klon Centaur. A mild overdrive with one of the sweetest and most dynamic tones on the market. Ideal for volume boost.
– Boss BD-2. A great all-round booster/overdrive pedal with a transparent glassy tone. Great substitute for the Colorsound and Tube Driver on smaller rigs. The Keeley and Analogman models are highly recommended.
– BYOC Overdrive. A clone of the classic Tube Screamer with true bypass.
– BBE Green Screamer. A great sounding budget model of the Tube Screamer.
Used by David since 1977.
– Boss GE-7
– MXR 6 band EQ
Uni-Vibe and Rotating Speaker Sims
Used by David since 1972.
Like Hendrix and Trower David’s a big fan of the old Uni-Vibe effect and used it on songs like Breathe and Time. David has also used rotating speaker cabinets alongside his Hiwatts and between 1971 – 1994 and they played a part in creating that larger than life tone of his. The Leslies, Yamahas and Doppolas was mixed on separate lines and lower than the main rig so using a roto sim in your effect chain to recreate the effect wouldn’t be quite the same but it’s a cool effect anyway. You can also use phasers, flangers and chorus to get similar tones as both a UniVibe and a roto sim.
– Dunlop Uni-Vibe. The new version of the original UniVox that David’s still using.
– Dunlop Stereo Chorus Uni-Vibe. Technically this isn’t a UniVibe and the tone is perhaps closer to the effect achieved when you use two separate tape recorders to create phase shifting. Very deep and smokey.
– MJM Sixties Vibe. A straight clone of the old UniVox.
– Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe.
– Sweetsound Ultra/Mojo Vibe.
– Fulltone Deja Vibe.
– BBE Soul Vibe. Great sounding budget model.
– DLS Rotosim. One of the most popular on the market with lots of different setting options.
– Boss RT-20. Great sounding authentic tones.
– Line 6 Roto Machine.
– H&K Rotosphere MK 1/II.
– Korg G-4. Sadly discontinued this unit is hailed as the ultimate roto sim.
Used by David between 1974 – 1983.
The Phase 90 was extensively used on the WYWH album and on many songs on The Wall.
– MXR Phase 90. David’s main phaser in the 70’s. There are many versions of this and the original (or reissue) script model has a warmer tone than the new block model.
– Electro Harmonix/Sovtek Small Stone. Featured on David’s Animals/Wall board in addition to the Phase 90. My favourite! The tone is a bit more mellow and smokey than the Phase 90. Noise and volume issues are fixed on the Nano version.
– BYOC Classic Phaser. A dead on clone of the old 1974 Phase 90.
Used by David between 1980 – 2002.
Chorus is a bit tricky when it comes to recreating David’s tones. Normally one would place the chorus after the high gain effects but David often use the chorus assigned to just one of his amps. This creates the impression of a bigger stereo sound while at the same time it doesn’t drench the tone in chorus. Placing the chorus directly in your chain will work but it’s not ideal. I’m a bit torn on chorus and unless you’re absolutely determined that you want one I’d go for a flanger or phaser instead.
– Boss CE-2. David’s main chorus pedal since 1980. Authentic warm analog tones. Discontinued.
– Boss CE-5 and CH-1. Both are perhaps a bit too dominant compared to the CE-2 but fully capable of producing great tones.
– Ibanez CS-9. Very similar to the CE-2.
– BYOC Analog Chorus. Very similar to the CE-2.
Used by David mainly between 1977-83.
It’s really hard to recommend anything other than the Electro Harmonix Electric Mistress. The pedal has a unique tone compared to most flangers and so essential for David’s Animals, DG78 and Wall tones. The Mistress is also capable of producing some wonderful rotary tones without getting detuned like most flangers and chorus pedals.
– Electro Harmonix Electric Mistress and Deluxe Electric Mistress. The original 1976 Mistress has a bit more liquidy tone compared to the Deluxe. Both have a slight volume drop when engaged but the ’76 model has no noise filter and is therefore quite noisy.
– Hartman Analog Flanger. A great sounding clone of the 1976 Mistress with corrected volume drop issues.
The Electro Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress is closer to a chorus and I wouldn’t recommend this as an alternative to the older models.
Used by David mainly on Money.
A tremolo is perhaps not the most important Gilmourish effect. After all it’s mainly used on one song. Still, it’s a vital part of Money and a cool effect on its own.
– Boss TR-2.
– Demeter Tremulator. David used this one on a couple of songs on On an Island.
– Empress Tremolo. Great vintage tone.
– BYOC Tremolo. Cool clone of the tremolo known from the old HH amps Pink Floyd used to record One of These Days.
Delay and Echo
Used by David since 1968.
Delays or echo is perhaps the single most important Gilmour effect. Nothing characterizes his tone more than that rich echo. I recommend that your rig includes at least one echo and one digital delay. That way you can get both the pre-Animals echo tones and the more accurate delays for songs like Wall 2, Run Like Hell etc. The main difference between the two is that echo is darker with a muffled decay. A digital delay is bright with a linear decay and accurate time.
David used Binsons in the 70’s. These are extremely hard to find and cost a small fortune. A good sounding tape simulator or analog delay will do fine.
– Electro Harmonix Memory Man. One of the most authentic analog units on the market with warm smooth echo.
– Boss DD-20. A versatile unit with different delay/echo modes and 4 preset banks.
– MXR Carbon Copy. Warm authentic analog delay.
– BYOC Digital Echo & Ping Pong Delay. Separate echo and ping pong delay or simply combine the two! One of the few true bypass delay units on the market.
– TRex Replica. Used by David on the 2006 tour this unit produces incredibly warm authentic vintage delays.
– Eventide Timefactor. Incredibly versatile delay ideal for David’s PULSE tones. 9 different types of delay and 10 banks!
– TC Electronic Nova Delay. Great for modern Gilmour delays with lots of features and different delay modes.
– Boss DD-2 and DD-3. Great all-round pedals suitable for all eras. The DD-2 (discontinued) has a much warmer tone than the DD-3.
– Ibanez DE-7. Great sounding budget model with echo and digital modes.
Thanks to Eivind Engdal for help.