• Comfortably Numb – Greatest guitar solo of all time

    As Brian Damage reports today, David’s tone on Comfortably Numb is voted “the greatest guitar tone of all time” by Guitarist magazine. Of course, this isn’t news for us Gilmour geeks but it’s always nice to see that others have understood what we have LOL! Although I can’t say that I agree with the rest of the list, David is in impressive company:

    1. David Gilmour – Comfortably Numb
    2. Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
    3. Eddie Van Halen – Sinner’s Swing
    4. Brian May – Play The Game
    5. Stevie Ray Vaughan – Couldn’t Stand The Weather

    Comfortably Numb, or the idea to the song, dates from David’s sessions for his 1978 self titled solo album. The original demo has been featured on many bootlegs and it’s easy to hear the beauty of what’s to come. It would have been cool to hear a finished version of David’s idea but I think the genius of the song lies in the combination of Roger’s minimalistic approach and the larger than life guitar solo.

    David’s setup for this “greatest guitar tone of all time” is quite simple and perhaps a bit surprising to fans and guitarists that might not know him that well. He used the Black Strat, which at the time still featured the Di Marzio FS-1 bridge pickup. The guitar also featured, as now, the mini toggle pickup switch combining the neck and bridge pickups. Some sources indicates that this was employed on the first of the two solos and David was seen engaging the combo on the 2006 tour. The guitar is fed into an Electro Harmonix 1973 ram’s head Big Muff and the signal was split in two into a Hiwatt DR103+WEM stack and a Yamaha RA200 rotating speaker cabinet.

    The magic of his tone lies in the production. There are many ways to mic a cabinet and to mix the signal and a good example of how it could have sounded is most of the solos on his first solo album and Final Cut, which is considerably more liquidy and rotary drenched with lots of ambience. Comfortably Numb is quite the opposite with a dry close mic’ed tone that hits you right in the spine. The Yamaha is mixed low but if you listen closely you can hear that the signal has been paned to each side creating a huge stereo sound. The signal also sound like its been compressed and gated a lot too to get that tight punch and attack. Teh movie version is even more extreme.

    Check out Examining: Comfortably Numb for more details about the history, David’s tone throughout the years and how you can get your own killer Comfortably Numb tone!

    Please feel free to share your top 5 “greatest guitar tone of all time”!

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49 Responsesso far.

  1. Nick Veekens says:

    David Gilmour:

    1. Comfortably Numb (Pulse)
    2. Time
    3. Shine on you crazy Diamond
    4. Dogs
    5. Have A Cigar


    1. David Gilmour – Comfortably Numb (pulse)
    2. Jimi Hendrix – Little Wing (cd version)
    3. Brian May – Killer Queen (cd version)
    4. Eric Clapton – While my guitar gently weeps (cd version)
    5. Mark Knopfler – Brothers in Arms

  2. ArtDecade says:

    This is a tough one… these are the ones that I seek out in my playing.

    1. Scotty Moore – Mystery Train
    2. David Gilmour – Echoes (Pompeii)
    3. Frank Zappa – Watermelon in Easter Hay
    4. Mark Knopfler – Telegraph Road
    5. Rory Gallagher – Million Miles Away (Irish Tour)

  3. Yann says:

    Very hard to get just five tones, but…

    1) Marooned (Live – The 50th Anniversary Fender, amazing tone here…)
    2) Coming back to life (Live – PULSE)
    3) Confortably numb (album & PULSE)
    4) Shine on you crazy diamond (PULSE)
    5) Echoes (Live – Remember that night )

  4. 1. David Gilmour – Comfortably Numb (PULSE versin 2nd solo)
    2. Eric Johnson – Cliffs of Dover
    3. Mark Knopfler – Sultans of swing
    4. Yngwie Malmsteen (sorry….) – Far beyond the sun
    5. SRV – Texas Flood

  5. Alex says:

    For me

    – David Gilmour : Echoes “Live at Gdansk”
    – Andy Timmons : Cry for you
    – SRV : LIttle Wings
    – Mark Knopfler : Brother in Arms “Night in London”
    – Andy Summer (The police) : Message in a bottle.

  6. tomtom says:

    1 sorrow (pulse version) – pink floyd)
    2 comfortably numb (pulse version) – pink floyd
    3 when the levee breaks – Led zep
    4 jimi hendrix – voovoo child
    5 kashmir – led zep

  7. Bovin says:

    hmm.. greatest guitar tone?

    1. Jimi Hendrix: 1983 (a merman i should turn to be)

    2. David Gilmour: The Blue (Live in Gdansk 2006)

    3. Rory Gallagher: Tattoo’d Lady (Irish Tour album)

    4. The Eagles: Hotel California

    5. David Gilmour: Time (PULSE)

  8. Vadim says:

    1. David Gilmour – Comfortably Numb
    2. Jimmy Page – Stairway to Heaven (live 1976)
    3. David Gilmour – Echoes (Pompeii)
    4. David Gilmour – Coming Back to Live style tone
    5. Bjorn Riis – All PF Cover and Identity

    [Much too kind… much too kind :) – Bjorn]

  9. tim says:

    Yes! Finally people are starting to take note of the master that is Gilmour. I must say, there’s a bunch of great tones and players out there its hard to pick just 5 but here it goes:

    1)Comfortably Numb(DSoT, Venice ’89 and Knebworth ’90)
    2)Stairway to Heaven(Jimmy Page)
    3)Killed by Death(Motorhead-album and Stage fright DVD versions)
    4)Stages(ZZ Top)
    5)On the Turning Away(A Momentary Lapse of Reason)

    Honorable mentions are:
    Yet Another Movie(Venice ’89)
    Killer Queen(Queen)
    Rough Boy(ZZ Top)
    No Alibis(Clapton)
    November Rain(Slash)
    Sorrow(album and live versions)

    And speaking of Sorrow, took me the longest time but finally nailed the sound on it with my Red Strat. All that was missing was a Boss HM-2 and a chorus pedal. Hope to do the same with Comfortably Numb one day.

    Cheers everyone :)
    Tim in TN

  10. Justin from Texas says:

    Very hard to pick 5!! I think mine right now are:

    1. David Gilmour – Dark Side
    2. Jimi Hendrix – Band of Gypsys album
    3. Eddie Van Halen- early years
    4. Billy Gibbons- I’m Nationwide
    5. Brian May- Crazy Little Thing Called Love

    I have an off topic question as well Bjorn. I have a Roadhouse Strat with Texas Special pickups in it. I really like the middle and neck tone however I can’t stand the bridge, which is a harsh treble sound. I was looking into changing the bridge to a Duncan SSL-5. Do you think it would sound ok to mix these types of pickups? Would there be too much of a contrast between the TX Specials and the Seymour Duncan? Thanks!

    [Although I’ve never tried it I guess it would work fine. The SSL5 has more presence and less mid range than the TS but as a bridge pickup in general it’s awesome and really adds that little extra to your solos. – Bjorn]

  11. Eric Nyberg says:

    David Gilmour- Comfortably Numb
    Keith Richards/Mick Taylor- Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
    Eric Clapton- I Wish It Would Rain Down w/ Phil Collins
    B.B King- The Thrill Is Gone
    Buddy Guy- Baby Please Don’t Leave Me

    There are so many great examples out there, hard to pick 5.

  12. Jay says:

    lol i didnt meen to start such a heated debate, its just when i read hisd reply i was listening to Beck ( Who is my 2nd fav guitarist after Dave) so i had to say something, but i wasing being totally serious. Little off topic but also after i replyd my girlfriends dumb borther walked in with a signature Jeff Beck fender he go for $150…ya its bloody rediculous, mostly because he came home 3 months ago from some kid who needed some grass and the kid showed my friend this guitar he had in back his closest that he claimed was broken and wanted a trade, so when he brought the guitat for me to look at, lord an behold it was a USA 62 Reissue strat..for $20..oh and it wasent broken, kid thought because the bridge was floating above the body it was broekn..i swear its real shame when people dont know have what they got and then sale it to someone who doset eaither…reaaallly bugs me….but ive put enough work in my MIM Black strat that i think its better

    [LOL! – Bjorn]

  13. Gary says:

    Interesting debate ! Personally I think the way that you ‘play’ the guitar – ie what you do with your fretting and picking hands – has a huge impact on tone. It’s not all about the amp/guitar/pedals combination. There’s a lot to be said for having a very simple pedal set up, say a compression pedal,a fuzz and a delay pedal, and concentrating on your playing technique. This way you can develop your own unique style (which is what is so impressive about Gilmour and Beck – they both have unmistakeable tones – give them both just a strat and a twin and they will still be unmistakeable)

    [Well, without commenting too much on this particular debate I’d say it’s pretty obvious that one’s technique has a lot to do with one’s tone. Sure, the guitar/pickups, the amp and pedals will shape the overall tone but you can have to different guitar players on the same rig and it will sound completely different. Not even the world’s greatest Gilmour impersonator would sound like David on David’s rig because there’s all these little neuances in the technique. Some guitarists, like David, Beck, Knopfler to name a few, have a distinct style that’s easily recognizeable while others might be a little more anonymous but they’re all unique in their own way. Besides, beng a fan will always be highly subjective and persoanl. Can’t really argue with taste… but perhaps the understanding of taste… I don’t know… – Bjorn]

  14. MT says:

    ^ The way you play has a lot to do with your overall tone
    That’s why David can sound like himself on any guitar/amp
    Hell If you don’t get that, I don’t know what the heck you guys are discussing so much


  15. Jean-Francois says:

    ah ! that old debate about the fact that tone comes from gear or from fingers !
    I think it comes from both !

    my fav David’s tones aren’t wall-final cut. Maybe it’s the overall production, but I find it sound to much “80’s”, too much polished distortion sounds. I prefer Shine on (studio), Time, Money, or the “twin” solo on Dogs.

    About Hendrix, I think his best studio tones were on Electric ladyland (watchtower,gypsy eyes, house burning down) or on the fantastic Drifting. Live, I prefer his tone at Woodstock (voodoo child -star spangled banner) or on BBc sessions (drivin south)

    Gibbon’s finest tone is on Blue jean blues : Pearly Gates seems to be crying, don’t you think ?
    I also love his tone on I need you tonight : drive-delay-reverb and fabulous licks
    talking about fingers giving the tone, Gibbons often used to play with a peso instead of a pick, that can change your tone !

    Talking about tone coming from fingers, I’m a huge fan of Knopfler and his tones between 77-79 were incredible IMHO. Of course you can say it’s just a 61 strat into a fender or a musicman, but hey what a tone ! Alchemy(83) is also great.
    I totally agree with Bjorn about the parameters involved in a tone : mic, desk …well, production :). Neil Dorfsman explained that he get the Money For nothing tone by positionning accidentally two mics in front of the JTM-45 and get a hors-phase sound.

    If you like liquid-rotaring-satured tones, you have to check Lou Reed’s Rock’nroll animal. Hunter’s and Wagner’s tones are wonderful, and I find it a bit like David’s tones. It must be noticed that they both played with Gibsons and humbuckers, but they managed to get clear clean rotaring tones in rhythm parts.

    Clapton had his best period during Derek & the dominos IMHO. I know, it’s just a 59 strat (Brownie) into a fender..but…his tone combinated with Allman’s Les paul or SG is worth to listen.
    Also ABB at Filmore has great LP-Marshall classic tones.

    And then the 2 lasts :
    EC’solo on while my guitar : great leslie-double track- les paul isn’t it ? The guitar really seems to “weeps”
    Revolution (single version) : john’s ES 335 craking the amp, that’s what I call saturation !

    [Oh! Blue Jean Blues and I need You Tonight are my favourite ZZ Top songs! Amazing tones from two completely different eras… amazing stuff! – Bjorn]

  16. Mouloudo says:

    you really didnt get the point, if this poll was about the fingers, they would have put David Gilmour on the first place and not the song comfortably numb… the poll was about tone, not playing or they would have put all david’s work on the first place and not one particular tone on one song

  17. bruno sallès says:

    i must admit it: i’m afraid i really don’t give a damn about your opinion my friend(mr Mouloudo) because that’s what i thought you have listened to brian May too loud!!!or too much!!!or both!!!(so i can say lol myself isn’t it funny?)
    at the risk of being crude i repeat myself you really know nothin’ about tone;i saw Mr Beck several times (on marshall;on fender,and on vox)just like fifth of Beethoven it’s never the same thing but it’s ALWAYS a tones lesson.brian May is a good guitarist but he always got the same tone.not Jeff Beck.not David Gilmour.that’s the difference.
    by the way Jeff Beck doesn’t play marshall DSL for about 10 years now.maybe more…at last but not at least,i DO think that shine on riff has definitly somethin’ to DO with Gilmour fingers as much as you CAN’T have the same tone as this Wonderful tones maker named Jeff Beck.because HE IS the sound.you can not like him.but you can’t say what you are sayin’ without taking the risk of being …”un-toned”.cheers to all of you.

  18. Mouloudo says:

    lol, I see I’m receiving some FLak about what I said about BEck ^^ but I was aiming at eric johnson and satriani especially, but I’ll stick with my opinion on Jeff BEck,he uses a strat, a marshall dsl 2000, and a boss BF-3 flanger, nothing particular… what I mean by a common tone, is that, if you take his guitar and hit the 15th fret on the B string it would sound good but common, like probably any strat pluged into a marshall… especially the DSL 2000… his sound comes from his fingers, but I dont htink you can talk about tone in this case, it’s his way of playing that we’re talking about there not his tone… on the opposite you just take David sound on the classic glassy riff of SHine on when the Drums kick in, that is a simple riff, you cant do more basic, but the sound just sends shivers down your spine, and on this particular riff it has nothing to do with fingers… the same with brian May, his home-made red special in his custom made deacy amp in studio, or his 6 AC 30 with treble booster on stage, creat one of the most unique tone ever… David has the golden touch, Brian the orchestration and raw hard rock wall of sound quality

  19. bruno sallès says:

    the gilmour sound is definitly touched by grace.he is one of the both most graceful guitarist i have ever ever heardon records and stage.
    my heart always beats louder when i hear him playin’..but there’s nothin’ to compare with the Animals and wall sound.he’s also got the perfect sound on “final cut” track!!!sweet and powerful like somethin’ comin in your stomach and makin your legs like butter.nothin’ compares to him EXCEPT Jeff Beck who is the another one who’s touched by the grace.this is a few words for Mr Mouloudo who said that Jeff Beck “has got no tone…”hey man if HE has got no tone i’m the new pope!! have a ticket to hear and see him on stage.i believe you will not be able to talk like this anymore..hope you are fine Bjorn.all the best to you and all the tasteful friends.bruno

  20. Eric Nyberg says:

    Bjorn, I know this is off topic but I thought that it might interest you. It was an article in SOS with Steven Wilson of Pocupine Tree regarding their marketing and recording approach.http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun10/articles/porcupinetree.htm

    [Thanks! I think I saw this earlier this year and it’s been an inspiration for the new Airbag album and how we’ve approached the recording process. Wilson is a genuine voice for the new generation of musicians and the way he treats his own music and band is incredibly inspiring :) – Bjorn]

  21. Michael says:

    Just curious Bjorn, whats your “5 greatest guitar tones of all time” list? :)

    [Ah… difficult question. I’ve never really though about it and I guess David would make up most of the list. I guess my favourites would be David’s tones on the latter part of the Animals tour, New York and Montreal 1977. I also love his Wall live 1980-81 tones and Final Cut. I think these are my very favourites. There’s so much though. Echoes (Live at Pompeii), Shine On (PULSE), Shine On/ You Gotta Be Crazy/ Have a Cigar (Ontario, Canada 1975), Any Colour You Like (London, UK 1972), Any Colour You Like (Modena, Italy 1994), The Blue/Then I Close My Eyes (RAH, London, UK 2006), No More Lonely Nights (with McCartney), Is Your Love Strong Enough (with Ferry)… And there’s lots of other great moments too like Most of Zakk Wyldes work on Ozzy’s No More Tears album, Billy Gibbons Tres Hombres/Deguello/Eliminator, Jimi Hendrix Machine Gun and the Band of Gypsys album, Steven Rothery on the Brave and Marbels albums (Marillion), Chris de Garmos work on the Operation Mindcrime and Empire albums (Queensryche)… I also love Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), The Edge, Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music) although no particular period or album… That’s about it I guess :) – Bjorn]

  22. Romain says:

    My current favorite tone from David is from Gdansk Live. The guitar sound is so raw and unpolished, it´s like you can really feel his fingers hitting the strings, even the strings hitting your own fingers!

  23. Iain says:

    It was really great to see a mention from John for George Harrison- Cheer Down (Live in Japan)! George’s tone on that track is just incredible.

    The electric guitar tones I aspire to are:

    1) David Gilmour: mainly The Final Cut, Dark Side, Wish You Were Here
    2) George Harrison: late-period slide tone (Cloud 9, Live in Japan, Brainwashed)
    3) Ry Cooder: Oh, all of it ;-)
    4) Steve Rothery: Clutching at Straws by Marillion, chiming clean chorus tone

    If I could achieve any of those I’d die happy! What they all share is:

    1) Played on Strats
    2) Sound so good that the players can use very few notes and still rule the roost. I’d rather listen to one or two notes per bar from David or George with their tones than a whole shredding solo from Vai or Satriani.

  24. Dawie says:

    Were the readers required to vote from a list, or could they submit any song they thought appropriate? Because in doing the latter, Gilmour-fans would have diluted their vote among their favourite Gilmour-tones (which we all noted on the Facebook page, and there were many preferences). Because Comfortably Numb is surely not everyone’s preferred tone.

    That is what struck me about “Play the Game” as the song associated with Brian May. As a huge Brian May fan (I play a Brian May guitar), I was dumbfounded that tones like the solos for “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Killer Queen” or even more orchestrated ones such as “It’s a Hard Life” were not the tones associated with May, as they qualify as more “signature”.

    Gilmour and May are my two favourite guitar players, and I find it very difficult to choose between them (and their respective bands, both in their heyday). They sort of represent two ends of a spectrum for me, one very delicate, finely constructed, mignon; the other spacey and ethereal, almost dreamlike.

    [I honestly have no clue how they did the voting. In any case, lists like these aren’t worth anything but it’s all good fun. One day it’s David the other day it’s Curt Cobain and we tear our eyes out. LOL! – Bjorn]

  25. Leandro says:

    Hey Bjorn, sorry for the off-topic but, I would like to know what are your thoughts on the Empress Superdelay vintage modified.


    [I’ve never tried it but it both looks and sound impressive. Judging by the reviews its one of the better on the market. – Bjorn]

  26. Josh says:

    Hi Bjorn! When we do the song, I always engage the toggle switch for the first solo; so, I agree with those sources. It really does sound right. I honestly can’t find another place in the set where I’d use it, but that spot it really does the trick.

    I for one am also a huge fan of Gilmour’s solo tones on The Final Cut. The power behind it just rocks me every time.

    [I think I’ve read somewhere that David said he rarely uses the switch. Seems a bit redundant. I love Final Cut… always have and I think it features some of David’s finest playing and tones. The solos are incredibly soulful and his tone jus underlines the feeling in his playing. Absolutely brilliant. – Bjorn]

  27. Allan H says:

    Nice to see little things like this popping up :)

    I will probably get SLAIN for this, but my favourite Gilmour Comfortably Numb tone is definatley the album/movie version.

    It’s so raw and aggresive, I think even though he and Roger disagreed over the tone, it still came out amazing, probably thanks to Rog.

    While I’m at it I may as well say, I think my favourite live tone David’s had was from the Delicate Sound of thunder tour. Theres just something liquid-like about it that I can’t hear on any other recordings. It seems like he’s running at a much higher gain level.

    Since everyone else is, I’ll do mine too :D although it changes all the time :P

    1. Comfortably Numb – David Gilmour (album version)
    2. Cliffs of Dover/Manhattan – Eric Johnson (Live) (i list the two because he has the same tone on most of his songs :P)
    3. Little Wing – Jimi Hendrix
    4. Good Company – Brian May’s “guitar orchestra” AND the Amused to death Jeff Beck. Can’t choose between them.
    5. The Count of Tuscany – John Petrucci

  28. Hey Tamas,
    I taught my mate Lyndsay to play for his 40th and created a monster.
    He is now 62 and fronts 2 bands…
    The blues band supported us last sunday and dam near blew us away….
    Just plug it in and let it out…
    ps..My 50th on sunday 7th…

  29. Jay says:

    Mine were based off my personal favorites and do reflect off their tone to my ears..however i dont see how your gonna bash Becks tone when he very well could’ve been Floyd’s guitarist insted David dureing Barrets leave, and also was useing some of the same effects Dave was useing in the 70s ,the Colorsound is one example,hes also known to have used a orignal RAT, and beck didnt start really finger picking until the early 80s i belive but it was his fingers that effected his sound and made his music sound cool. Its not about how easy the tone is to achive or the way they used their effects, its about how they use the sound to influence the music’s feel and emotion and just grab you in.

  30. Seb says:

    1. David Gilmour – Shine On Crazy Diamond (live acoustic)
    2. Mark Knopfler – Brothers in Arms (Live – On the Night, 1993)
    3. Slash – Civil War
    4. David Gilmour – Yet Another Movies (Live – Delicate Sound of Thunder)
    5. Steve Lukather – While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Toto Live in Amsterdam)

  31. Tamas says:

    When I was a teenager, I used to listen Pink Floyd. After 25 years, when I was about 40, I watched the Pulse DVD at one of my friends, and it totally changed my life. Comfortably Numb became my all time favourite. Sometimes I listened it 4-5 times a day. I was just wondering, what a fantastic feeling could be to play the gitar like David. After I bought Live in Gdansk DVD, and listened David’s solos on Castelorizon and On an Island tracks, I decided to buy a guitar, and started to learn. I’m 42 now, it is not too easy to for me in this age. But I think, it was my best decision in my life.
    So this 3 mentioned song is my number ones.
    Thank you, Bjorn! Your site helped me so much to start my way to heaven.

    [Cheers Tamas! Music can change lives :) Good luck with your playing! – Bjorn]

  32. John says:

    Top 5 tones:

    1) David Gilmour- WYWH/Wall/Animals
    2) Jimmy Page- The Rover
    3) Mark Knopfler- Sultans of Swing
    4) George Harrison- Cheer Down (Live in Japan)
    5) Edge- All I want Is You- Rattle and Hum

  33. L. de Wit says:

    1. Clapton – Sunshine Of Your Love. I just love his ‘woman tone’.
    2. Hendrix – Machine Gun. Great song from his best album (Band of Gypsys), uni-vibe heaven.
    3. Gilmour – Comfortably Numb. Can’t find a better Big Muff song.
    4. Stevie Ray Vaughan – Texas Flood. The ultimate tubescreamer sound.
    5. Pearl Jam – Black (live) from Live On Two Legs. A modern classic, a mighty Mike McCready solo, true master of the wah-wah.

    Bjorn, keep up the good work.

  34. J.J.F. says:

    1. David Gilmour – Animals / The Wall / The Final cut
    2. Jeff Beck – Amused to death (Roger Waters)
    3. Hank Marvin – XXV
    4. Eric Johnson – G3 concert
    5. Mark Knopfler – Comunique

    They all play STRAT… curious! ;-)

  35. lukas says:

    well, this is my first reaction of what is happening and going on in this i must say perfect web site, and i think this is the best moment to leave a comment to Bjorn, you did a fantastic job a i offer you a BIG thank you for all you v been done for us.
    To davids sound: its been just a question of a time when sameone or samebody (Guitarist) going to wote one of his solos as a best or a best sounding or with the best giutar tone or whatewer… and this is my top 5:
    1. Comfortably numb Gdansk shipyard 2006
    2. Castellorizon same concert
    3. Woodo child
    4.Airbag РColours , G̦teborg, Sweden 2010
    5. Mark Knopfler Brothers in arms

    [Thank you so much Lukas! – Bjorn]

  36. David says:

    Totally forgot, Fat Old Sun solo is up there right next to Comfortably Numb. Can’t get enough of that G2.

  37. David says:

    1. Comfortably Numb (Gdansk)
    2. Crossroads, Eric Clapton
    3. Brian May in general (especially on songs like God Save the Queen)
    4. Boys are Back in Town, Brian Robertson/Scott Gorham
    5. Little Wing/Bold as Love/Angel, Jimi Hendrix

  38. Ricardo Almeida says:

    David have the toutch of MIDAS. Everything he does turns gold. See the song “Dimming of the Day” of Richard Tompson. David version is the best i have ever earded. Just amazing. How can he do such thing????
    The man is a living genious and i have no doubt to say that without him Pink Floyd could’nt never be the Band we know.
    David, Thanks. Thanks for the everyday pleasure i have when i take my guitar and play your solos. Thanks.

  39. Brett says:

    1.) Shine on You Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd
    2.) Machine Messiah- Yes
    3.) Cliffs of Dover – Eric Johnson
    4.) Dogs – Pink Floyd
    5.) Ampersand – Adrian Belew

  40. Mouloudo says:

    I agree with Brian May’s tone but play the game is clearly not the best ” sample ” of his sound… I’d put David first for the heavenly tone, Brian for the original, noticeable in a million, metallic though liquid tone, and Hendrix for the pioneer quality… I dont really agree with Jay for jeff beck, satriani and johnson, they have a personal technique but not tone in my opinion, Eric johnson sound is very easy to replicate, of course he’s playing isn’t and the same for the others… jeff beck sound comes from his fingers and vibrato playing but not his tone

  41. Jay says:

    1.Shine On from New York 1977 bootleg
    2.Castellorizon/On an Island Royal Alber Hall
    3.Cliffs of Dover :Eric Johnson
    4.If I Could Fly : Satriani
    5. Brush with Blues: Jeff Beck

  42. Gabriel says:

    Well, there´s little doubt about CN tone being one of the greatest. I will add Time and Echoes in Pompeii as someone have posted here. Echoes solo in Pompeii sounds so powerful and intense yet very controlled.

    And I will also mention Adrian Smith on Seventh Son album, wich I think is great (actually Adrian is in my top 3 guitar players, and maybe the one that made the greatest impact in my guitar playing).
    And Marc Ford, his tone on his first solo album sounds like a time travel machine.


  43. syd says:

    Yesssss! the best of the best..funny thing though. I don´t know why the final cut sounds better (IMO) if David´s rig is the same..

    [As I said, there’s a number of ways to record an instrument and although the Final Cut was recorded with more or less an identical rig – so was Animals – some very simple studio trickery can do wonders. Just try and move the mic an inch off the center of the speaker or away from it. Use a different mic, use several mics positioned differently… it’s up to your imagination. – Bjorn]

  44. Giorgio says:

    Well, what can I say? … Of course it’s the bloody best tone of all times!

    Hey Bjorn, a bit of trivia: are we positive that the pickup used for the record is the Seymour Duncan and not the Di Marzio FS-1?
    Phil Taylor’s book is ambiguous: it says the SSL-1C was ‘first used on The Wall shows’. However the invoice from Seymour Duncan shown on the book is dated June 1979, and The Wall was finished in October 1979. Is this another Publius Enigma?

    [Opps! Thanks for noticing. I ment to say that the guitar “still featured the Di Marzio FS1”. Sorry. As far as I know, the main guitar sessions were done when the Duncan was installed. Although the invoice is dated June, it’s fair to assume that it wasn’t installed until later. But anyway, the guitar sessions were done at the time. – Bjorn]

  45. ruodi says:

    Amazing! Do these other four listed chaps play the guitar, too?

    [I’ve no idea who they are. Need to check them out… LOL! – Bjorn]

  46. Other than His Lordship…
    1,Brian Robertson/Thin Lizzy..Still in love with you(live and dangerous)..
    2,Mick Ralphs/Bad Company(Straight shooter)Whole Album..
    3,Neil Young/Powder and the finger(live Crazy Horse)
    4,Rory Gallagher/Stage Struck(live)
    5,Bjorn Riis/Airbag(Identity)…

    Not in any order…
    Theres dozens to choose from…Garry moore,Snowy white,
    EC,Billy Gibbons…
    Even my mate Eric Aranda has a great tone…

    Just put a Fulltone Plimsoul on the board will fire it up at rehersal tonight…

    [Nice to see Brian Robertson on your list. He’s often forgotten in these kind of rankings. Thanks a lot for adding me as well… although I hardly think I deserve it :) Cheers! – Bjorn]

  47. Gary Halloran says:

    Without doubt Comfortably Numb is the best ever guitar solo, also the best ever solo tone. Amazing sound, very hard to get anywhere near it, it’s a tone from heaven for sure! I will die a happy man when I can get “that tone” from my black strat!

  48. Michael says:

    Finally, some people have woken up! :)

    I`d have to say my two absolute favorite guitar tone songs, (theyre both by Gilmour, of cource) are Time, and Echoes, Live in Pompeii. Those two songs really make me want to grab a guitar and crank a tube amp!!

  49. jova says:

    Finally, Mr. Gilmour is getting the acknowledgment he deserves as a guitar player. In my opinion “Comfortably Numb” is not only greatest guitar tone of all time, but the GREATEST GUITAR SOLO OF ALL TIME (and yes I’m talking about P.U.L.S.E. version :-D )!
    If I don’t count “Comfortably Numb” my top 5 greatest guitar tone of all time would be :
    1. David Gilmour – Time
    2. Jimi Hendrix – Little Wing (Live at Royal Albert Hall)
    3. Gary Moore – Still Got The Blues
    4. David Gilmour – Dogs
    5. Steve Vai – Tender Surrender