On an Island 2006

Effects, guitars and amps Settings and setups

On an Island is David’s third solo album and like the first album, it feature many references to his musical roots and inspirations. It’s an honest and laidback album allowing David’s tone and playing to shine without too much trickery. The Black Strat is once again David’s main guitar but he also using a wide range of different instruments including acoustic slide guitars and saxophone.

Pete Cornish All Tubes MKI pedal board and additional effects recording sessions

Pedal board effects listed as in chain
Demeter Compulator
Pete Cornish G-2
Electro Harmonix Big Muff (“Ram’s Head”)
Pete Cornish SS-2
Chandler Tube Driver
Pete Cornish Tape Echo Simulator
Pete Cornish Custom Stereo Chorus (modified Boss CE-2)

Additional units
Digitech WH-1 Whammy pedal
E-Bow (A Pocket Full of Stones recording sessions)
Tremolo effect (Take a Breath recording sessions)
Ernie Ball volume pedals
MXR Digital Delay System model II
2x Digitech IPS 33B harmonizer
Peterson Conn Strobo tuner

Note: David is seen having several single stomp boxes laying around in the different studios while recording the album. It is likely that he used different effects or single pedals when required on the initial demo sessions and later recording sessions than what is listed above.

(left) David used a smaller version of the stage rack for the sessions featuring a Conn Strobo tuner, 2 Digitech IPS 33B harmonizers and a MXR Digital Delay II. (middle) Fender Bandmaster and Fender 2x12 speaker cabinet, Hiwatt SA212 50w combo and the Pete Cornish 1999 All Tubes pedal board in front. (right) David with the 1956 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop and behind to his right is a Marshall JTM45 with a 1x12 speaker cabinet.

Pete Cornish All Tubes MKI pedal board

The pedal board dates from 1999 and was requested by David to be used for future guest appearances etc. The board featured Cornish custom tube preamps between each effect to ensure minimum signal loss. It could also perform in both stereo and mono. Additionally the board was designed not to allow two distortion pedals to be engaged at once, only distortion+overdrive. The board was brought on a backup on the On an Island 2006 tour and later used for 2010 guest appearances.

Guitars and amps recording sessions

Fender Stratocaster “The Black Strat”
- 1969 black alder body with black pickguard, Fender 1983 ‘57 reissue maple neck and Fender ‘71 neck and bridge pickups and a Seymour Duncan custom SSL-1 bridge pickup.
Gibson Les Paul Gold Top
- 1956 model with Gibson P-90 pickups and Bigsby tremolo system.
Gretsch Duo Jet
- 1950’s model with Bigsby tremolo stystem.
Fender Telecaster
- Take a Breath recording sessions.
Gibson early 1940’s EH-150 lap steel
Martin D-35 acoustic steel string guitar
Martin 1945 D-18 acoustic steel string guitar
Taylor Junior model acoustic steel string guitar
- This Heaven recording sessions.
Weissenborn acoustic slide guitar
- Open Em chord tuning (E B E G B E) for Then I Close My Eyes and Smile.
Cümbüs guitar
- Tuned as a guitar.

Hiwatt DR103 All Purpose 100W heads
- with Mullard 4xEL34’s power tubes and 4xECC83’s pre-amp tubes. Modified for linked normal and brilliance inputs.
Fender 1956 tweed Twin 40w combo
- 2x 12″ Eminence speakers and 4×12AX7, 2xGT6L6 and 2×5U4 (rectifier) tubes.
Hiwatt 1970’s SA212 50W combo
- 2x 12″ Fane Crescendo speakers and 2xEL34 and 4×12AX7 tubes. Modified to allow a normal and brilliant input combination.
WEM Super Starfinder 200 cabinets
- with 4×12” Fane Crescendo speakers.
Alessandro Bluetick 20w head with 2×12″ cabinet
- Abbey Road recording sessions.
Marshall JTM 45 head

David is also seen stacking a huge variety of guitars and amps for the sessions and might have used different setups on both the initial demo sessions and recording sessions than what is listed here.

David pictured in his home studio with the main guitars that were used for On an Island - the Black Strat and a 1956 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop with Bigsby tremolo system.

(left) A 1950's Gretsch Duo Jet. David got the guitar around1976-77 and has used it on several albums since. The guitar was featured on Then I Close My Eyes and Where We Start. (middle) David's main slide for the album, a Gibson 1940s EH-150 lap steel. (right) This Turkish Cumbus was used for the opening of Then I Close My Eyes.

Guitar and amp setups

David used Herco Flex 75, D’Andrea custom 354’s (white), Fender 354 (tortoise) and Fender 351 (medium) pics. All electric guitars were strung with GHS Boomers (custom set 0.10-0.48) and acoustics with Ernie Ball Lightwound strings. David’s main setup for the sessions was a Fender Tweed mic’ed with a Shure SM57 slightly off center about 4″ away and a Coles 4040 ribbon straight at the center of the cone (The Shure was mixed slightly higher). All instruments were connected with Evidence Audio speaker cables.

Further reading

See these in-depth features for more on David’s gear: Big Muff, The Black Stratocaster, The Red Stratocaster, Gibson Les Pauls, Slide Guitars and Hiwatt amps & WEM cabinets.

Acknowledgements and credits
On an Island (album 2006), Remember That Night (concert film 2007), EMI EPK presentation, davidgilmour.com, demeteramps.com, tonefromheaven.com, Sound on Sound Magazine (2006) and “The Black Strat – A History of David Gilmour’s black Fender Stratocaster” by Phil Taylor. Thanks to Rafal Zychal, Martin Campbell, John Roscoe and Tony Farinella for help with research.