• What is tone? (part 4)
    Setting up your pedalboard

    In this 4-part feature I’m going to look at the grandest and most difficult topic of them all – tone. Just what is tone? What is a good tone and how do you achieve it? I’m sure there are as many answers to this as there are guitarists. In this fourth and final part of the feature, we’ll look at pedals and effects.

    In the previous parts we’ve discussed the importance of choosing the right guitar and amp to achieve the tones you want. We also looked at how minor adjustments and modifications can have a positive effect on your tone. Check out part 1, part 2 and part 3.

    What is tone?
    Tone is often associated with effects and pedals. Ask anyone about any guitarist and in most cases, they’ll describe the distorted or modulated sound coming from the amp. However, many of the guitarists we admire for having a great tone, has a slightly different approach to their playing. One of my all time favourites, Eddie Van Halen once said that tone ultimately comes from your mind. He had a clear vision of what he wanted and experimented until he got it. His tone on the first Van Halen albums is a combination of his unique technique, tube amps turned insanely loud and a handful of effects. Jimi Hendrix was one of the first guitarists to use a wide range of effects and pedals, but he also experimented with different modifications, speakers and cabinet sizes. Again, the combination of exploring the potential of the gear and a unique technique, created a tone few have managed to replicate. Another of my favourites, Billy Gibbons will tell you that tone comes from your heart and soul. He also claims that learning the blues is the key to developing a good tone. Perhaps not everyone agrees with that but David Gilmour also has roots deep in the blues tradition and although some of his stage setups have been quite overwhelming, his true tone has always been the power of a single, sustained note – just like the many blues legends before him.

    What all this means is that tone isn’t just about your favourite pedal or fancy technique. Tone is a combination of many things. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve experiment and learn how to achieve it and don’t stop until you’ve reached your goal. Ultimately, the best tone is the one you created and the one that will inspire you to play guitar and create music.

    Learn from others
    Most of us learn how to play guitar by copying others. We listen to our favourite bands and try our best to figure out how they created a certain riff or tone. Some will claim that they never listened to anyone else but created their own unique tone out of the blue. However, in one way or another everyone is influenced by someone or something. Studying your favourite guitar players will help you understand and learn different techniques, scales and chords and how to build a tone. Don’t get stuck though but use what you’ve learned to develop your own style and tone.

    David Gilmour started out in his teens learning how to play by copying the old blues masters like Pete Seeger, Leadbelly, BB King, Robert Johnson etc. Once in Floyd, he also got a lot of inspiration from learning how contemporary guitarists like Hendrix, Beck and Green had used the same influences to develop their own unique tone. As Floyd moved on, so did David and by Meddle and not least Dark Side of the Moon, he had created his own style and tone by developing his blues roots and being a pioneer with all the new effects that emerged throughout the 70s.

    Read more…
    David Gilmour, the early years 1968-1969

    Simplicity is often be the best approach to creating your tones. Listen to Dick Dale’s “Surfer’s Choice” (1962). He would puncture the speaker cones and play insanely loud to get that fat overdrive tone. On the legendary 1966 John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers album Eric Clapton plugged his Les Paul into a Rangemaster booster and a Marshall amp. The tone has inspired generations of guitarists. Gilmour recorded the solo for Another Brick in the Wall (part 2) by plugging the guitar into the mixing desk and feeding the signal back to a guitar amp that they miced.

    The foundation of tone
    A tone starts with your mind and fingers. The guitar and amp are your tools and the pedals your colour palette. Don’t start with the pedals but learn how your guitar and amp performs in different situations and how they interact with your playing. This will allow you to determine what pedals you need to get the tones you want.

    Let’s do a little exercise. Plug your guitar into your amp using a good quality cable. Play around with the amp’s controls and listen to it from different angles to be able to dial in the exact tone you want. Once you’ve set the amp, it’s time to learn how the guitar and amp interact with your playing and technique. Listen to how the different pickups sound and how the amp reacts to different picking techniques. Alternate between soft and hard strumming listen to details in the chords and the attack in a single pick. Make small adjustments to the amp’s EQ and listen to how this affects the tone and response. Notice how a loud volume will produce more transients (peaks in the sound wave appearing as harsh treble) and how rolling down the guitar volume just a hair, will produce a softer, more balanced tone.

    Setting up the pedal board
    Regardless of how many pedals you have, your goal should be a tidy setup, with the best quality components that you can afford. This will allow your guitar signal to pass through without getting too noisy or drained. The fine art of building a pedal board is as much about maintaining the pure tone from your guitar and amp as it is to combine the pedals you need to achieve the tones you want.

    A pedal board should feature velcro tape to keep the pedals in place, power supply with separate feeds and multiple voltages (TRex, Voodoo Lab etc), a tuner and good quality patch cables (George L’s, Lava, Evidence Audio etc). Other than that, it’s up to you to fill the rest of the space!

    Start with arranging all the pedals the floor. Take a good look and exclude those that don’t need to be included. Remember, the more pedals you use the more you’ll drain the signal. Plug the guitar into the first pedal and listen to how that affects the signal. You now got the signal travelling through the pedal’s circuit and an extra cable from the pedal to the amp. This will surely drain some of the signal. Add the next pedal and this time also listen to how the pedals affect each other when they’re both off, when one is on and both, if you want to combine them. Repeat the exercise by adding one pedal at a time. Stop when you notice that the direct signal between the guitar and amp is seriously affected, noticed by less attack, treble and an overall duller tone. As an example, vintage style wah wahs are notorious for cutting the high frequencies. Either ditch the pedal that’s messing up the signal or consider if this is something you can live with. Do not adjust the amp settings! This will only make things worse and fool you in thinking that you’ve solved the problem.

    Arranging pedals
    guitar > fuzz > wah wah > whammy > compressor > distortions > overdrive > boosters > modulations > volume pedal > delay > amp

    Once decided on the pedals, the next step is to mount them onto the pedal board. Be sure to use good quality patch cables and make them as short as possible. You don’t want lots of cable draining the signal and cluttering the board. Try to keep all instrument cables and power cables separate to avoid electric interference. Use strips or gaffer tape to keep everything in place.

    Buffers or true bypass?
    You can also compensate for some of the signal loss by adding buffers in the chain. A buffer will sustain and drive the signal from your guitar to the amp through long chains of pedals and cables. Too many true bypass pedals can drain the signal and cut the treble but it’s not the pedals them selves that’s causing the problem but the fact that they can’t drive the signal through the patch and instrument cables. Remember, the more cable the more drainage. Too many buffered pedals aren’t a good idea either because the buffers can alter the tone, increase the harsh treble frequencies and amplify the noise. A good balance between true bypass and buffers will in most cases give you the best signal. Personally I like having a buffer first and last in the chain to be able to drive the signal to and from the pedal board. Active pickups like the EMG DG20 will also act as buffers and be able to drive the signal much better than passive coils. Try different combos and listen to what sounds best for your rig.

    Choosing your pedals
    Choosing pedals for your setup can be a true nightmare. I think it’s important to acknowledge that the quest for the Holy Grail is a personal quest. It’s always a good idea to check out reviews, YouTube clips etc but ultimately, the choice is yours. I nor anyone else can’t do much more than share our experience and try our best to guide you along the way. Some will tell you that only they know the secrets of the Holy Grail. Some will even tell you that you made a huge mistake buying pedal that you did. Don’t listen to them. Only your ears can be the judge.

    Read more…
    Tip of the week – buffers VS true bypass
    How to use reverb
    How to use equalizers and compressors
    Noise troubleshooting (part 1)
    Noise troubleshooting (part 2)

    A good tip is to always consider why you need something new on the board. Unless you’re looking for a specific effect, in most cases there are a number of ways to achieve different tones. Rather than having four overdrives on the board, get one or two that’s capable of producing a wide range of tones both by adjusting the controls on the pedal and using the guitar volume to control the gain and overall tone. Hendrix was a master at manipulating a single Fuzz Face for multiple tones and this approach is a good rule of thumb for maintaining a pure signal. A single pedal can easily act as a booster, overdrive and distortion. And just to make it very clear – everyone bends down during a show to adjust the settings. Including Gilmour.

    I can provide a list of all my settings but the truth is that I change them all the time. How to set the pedals depends on the guitar, pickups, amp, where you play, how loud you play, your technique and long list of other things. The point is that what works for me doesn’t have to work for you. Again, it’s important to learn how your guitar and amp sound in different environments. Set the pedals to match the amp and don’t try to force the amp to fit a certain setting on the pedals.

    A common mistake is to increase treble and gain as your hearing is lessened throughout a gig or rehearsal. Rule number one: try not to adjust the amp during a gig but make sure it’s set up as good as possible during soundcheck. Rule number two: do only minor adjustments on your pedals during a show and trust that the tone you heard during soundcheck is maintained.

    Different setups require different settings. As an example, Gilmour’s Tube Driver clean boost setting (level 2:00, hi 2:00, low 2:00, drive 8:00) will sound transparent, clean and warm with a Strat with vintage style low output pickups and a Hiwatt-ish amp. With a Les Paul sporting burstbuckers and a Marshall JCM800, the Tube Driver will sound rather dark with a noticeable break up. Typical low volume bedroom setups will require higher gain settings and even some lower end boost, while a louder tube stack will require less gain as the tubes will interact more with the pedal. Likewise, a delay will need different volume and feedback settings depending on what pedals you combine it with and how loud your play.

    If replicating Gilmour’s tones is your goal then use the settings listed in the David Gilmour Gear Guide as a reference and make the needed adjustments to match your setup.

    This brings us to an end of this four-part feature about tone. It’s a huge topic and although I’ve only scratched the surface, I hope you’ve enjoyed the reading and perhaps even picked up a few tips along the way. Playing guitar and creating music is all about inspiration and a good tone can be incredibly inspiring. Your tone is unique, regardless of how many guitars or pedals you have. Experiment, try new things and listen to other guitarists and develop your technique and ultimately your tone. Please feel free to share your tips and experience with us in the comments field below!

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83 Responsesso far.

  1. Mark says:

    G’day Bjorn, Like the rest here, long time reader and Floyd nut from birth. I’m working on my pedal board atm and wondering where to put my SD Pickup booster? Right now its last in the chain but I’m redoing the board. I have – in order – Big Muff, JD 535q Wah, WF Rat, Tube Screamer, Mooer Flanger, Small stone, Ibanez DL10 Delay and the SD booster last. I’m wondering if it the SD Booster would be better before the modulation effects? Your thoughts would be appreciated and keep up the good work. :-)

    • Bjorn says:

      I think it depends on how you want to use the pedal. It is designed to interact with your pickups, enhancing their tone, so in that sense, it’s best placed first in line so they can “see” the pickups. You can, however, use it as a very effective EQ or booster as well, placed after the gain pedals. I wouldn’t place it last as it can mess up your modulations and delays.

      • Mark says:

        Cheers Bjorn, that’s what I was thinking. I’ll put it between the gain and modulation pedals and have a play around. Many thanks for your thoughts.

  2. Cris Smith says:

    I’ve been a long-time reader and fan of your website, and I just want to thank you for all of this amazing content. This is my first post, and I’m wondering if you have any advice for Marooned tones. I (think) I’m having trouble with the EQ between the normal and octave-up tones. If I dial in a good basic tone, when I engage the octave shift on the Whammy, the highs are just ear-piercing. If I adjust the presence on the amp and dial down the EQ on some of the high frequencies with an EQ pedal, those tones sound great but then the tones without the octave shift engaged sound muddy and lifeless. I’ve tried adjusting every slider on the EQ pedal one at a time, but I can’t find a magic setting that works on both normal and octave-up tones. It makes me wonder if this is impossible to achieve without selective processing and possibly why the song was so rarely performed live. Chain is Strat-Whammy-Drives-EQ-Delay-Reverb-Hi Tone DG50. I’ve also played extensively with several different drives and their own gain/EQ settings, including variants of Muff, Klon, Tube Screamer, and Blues Breaker types/clones.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Cris, thanks for your kind words! Let me know what pickups you have, speakers and what settings you use on the Hi-Tone and I’ll try to help.

  3. Samuel says:

    Hey Borjn, I need help with the order of my pedals. Finding information in the internet, the order of my pedalboard is mooer yellow comp, big muff jhs mod, dimebag wah, whammy 4, jhs sweet tea (tube screamer and MI chunch box), boss ce 2 waza, mxr van halen flanger, phase 90 74′ (only with battery is allowed), vintage ibanez tremolo (1980’s), line 6 delay dl4 and hall of fame 2. The problem I have is that the mxr phaser and the vintage ibanez suck tone and in the position of the chain they are, the volume is very very low and I can’t hear them. I have to ways of playing: with the band, I use a boss katana 100w and at home studio, I use the mooer radar instead of the amp plugged to a focusrite interface and a DAW (logic pro) ñ. Regards, Samuel.

    • Bjorn says:

      The vintage phase 90 has hardwire bypass, which will drain some top end of your signal. I think that’s the case for the Ibanez as well although I’m not 100% on that. It shouldn’t be a problem hearing them though. Have you tried plugging your guitar straight into the amp with only these two pedals? Do you still experience the volume drop?
      As for your chain, I’d place the wha and whammy first or after the compressor.

  4. Don says:

    Hi Bjorn

    What pedals would you recommend be put in the effects loops vs in front of the amp?

    Thanks, Don

    • Bjorn says:

      Depends on how you’ll be using the amp. I prefer running the amp clean with all my pedals in the front relying on pedals for dirt. If you use the amp for dirt, then running chorus, flanger, delays in the loop might be a good idea for these to sound more natural. Phasers and UniVibes could go either way.

  5. Joshua says:

    Hey, sort of unrelated to dg, but where would you put a pog 2? I have whammy-muff-crayon(EHX)- pog-volume pedal?- delay……. so I guess my question is the volume pedal in relation to the pog. I’m kind of going for a David Gilmour/Jack White thing. Don’t judge me! Lol.

  6. Rob says:

    Would placing a tuner in front of the fuzz cause any issues?

    • Bjorn says:

      If it’s buffered, yes. In any case I would try to avoid having pedals in front of vintage style fuzz pedals as these sound much better and are much more dynamic next to your pickups.

  7. Pedro Ignacio Facalf says:

    Hey man, i love this web page, it helped me a lot to find my sound. I feel really grateful.
    I would like to know your opinion to put in order my pedals: I tried this and it’s great, but maybe you can help me to make it better: cry baby, boss compressor, rat, digitech overdrive, boss harmonist, small tone phaser, boss chorus, ibanez delay

    Thanks a lot

  8. Fabrizio says:

    greetings Bjorn,

    I’m starting a new pedal board hoping to achieve the Gilmour sound, and this is the first time I do this so I’m in need of a big help.

    I’m about to purchase the following FX and I have no idea how to set the layout (Effects Signal Chains). I will use this for a bedroom set up with an american strat , DG EMG pick up and blackstar ht5 amp.
    the list is as follow:
    truetone buffer
    tc electronic poly tune mini 2
    jam pedals waterfall chorus
    mxr phase 45
    mjm london fuzz (silicon)
    top tone shine boost sb1
    buffalo fx rams head
    whirliwind red box compressor
    demeter opto compulator
    do I miss anything? ans kindly how should I set up the chain?
    Thank you a bunch in advance.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Fabrizio! There are no rules when it comes to organizing a pedalboard but try this:
      guitar > buffer > tuner (could go last) > fuzz > compressors > muff > booster > phaser > chorus > amp.
      You might want to consider a delay as well and keep in mind that fuzz pedals don’t usually like buffers so try the setup above but also hear how the fuzz sound with ONLY the pedal between the guitar and the amp. That should give you an idea whether the buffer alter its tone or not.

      • Fabrizio says:


        My apologies I just saw your reply and first for most thanks a bunch for the advise, and again my apologies for my late reply and thanks.
        your help and expertise are very much appreciated

  9. Toby Harris says:

    Hi Bjorn.
    I first started buying floyd bootlegs about 12 years ago…I remember the first time I heard the Oakland and Montreal 77shows…..wow!!
    I’ve tinkered with the guitar for years and recently felt it was time to upgrade.During my search I came across your website and it blew me away,such a huge amount of work has obviously gone into it.Anyway,I finally bought a fender custom shop 60’s strat relic,with a fat 50’s neck,69 middle and Texas special bridge pickups…it seemed the closest I could find to getting a beautiful tone(going on your recommendations).All I can say is it was worth,to me,every penny I paid for it.Playability and sound are just incredible.
    I’ve also ordered a vick audio 73 rams head.
    I just wanted to say thanks for all the guidance.

  10. Rick says:

    Thanks a million as always Bjorn.
    Your the best :)

  11. Rick says:

    Hi again Bjorn.
    I currently have my pedalboard set out as follows….
    Tc polytune>Maxon cp 101comp>Buffalo Evo>Buffalo TD-X>Vick audio 73 rams head>Ernie Ball vol pedal>Deluxe electric mistress>Flashback x4
    Is there any different order you would put them in and could I please ask you what pedals you would add or replace for a gilmour/versatile board.
    I’m not a huge fan of the Evo and am thinking of maybe selling it and replacing it with a OCD or something along those lines??
    As always any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

    (Current gear used)

    Laney cub 12r head
    Orange 1×12 cab(Celestion v30)
    Black Strat(Cs 69’s neck+mid,ssl5 bridge)

    Kind regards

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Rick, if you use the Muff with a booster, I prefer to place the Muff first, then the booster. This way, you’re using the booster more as an EQ for the Muff and as a booster for the amp. You might want to try that with your 73 and TDX. The OCD is similar to the Evo but a little cleaner and more low end. It often works better on smaller amps, for achieving a bigger tone. Otherwise, your setup looks great. I would perhaps look into some modulation, like a phaser or flanger. You’ll find some tips in the buyer’s gear guide.

  12. Simon says:

    Ho Bjorn! You’re site is fantastic! I have a question for you. What kind of compressor it’s best for Gilmour tone? Now I have a costalab comp (classic), the mxr dynacomp is much dark for MY sound. I have hiwatt t20hd with strato USA with emg dg20 PU. Thanks a lot!

  13. Simon says:

    Thanks a Lot Bjorn! what do you think about the Electro-Harmonix Soul Food(after muff)? i can use this pedal to boost/eq the vick audio Ram’s Head and use the tube driver for OD!(whit different tubes, actually i have the 12au7, i change this with 12ax7..like you).
    thanks a lot!


  14. Simon says:

    Hi Bjorn! thanks a lot for you’re job on this site, it’s fantastic! i have a question for You: i have a fender stratocaster usa with emg dg20, hiwatt t20hd. the pedalboard: guitar>buffer>wha>comp>tube driver>vick audio ram’s head>mxr phase 90>electric mistress deluxe>mooer chorus>alter ego delay. in you’re honest opinion the position of the pedals are right? the tube driver are good to boost the vick audio?
    thanks!! thanks!!


    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Simon! Personally I’d place the Tube Driver after the Muff. That is if you want to use it as a booster. It will act like a volume boost and EQ for the Muff. Try it and compare to having it first. Also, I like to have phasers in front of gain pedals. They sound more natural that way. Try placing it in front of the Muff and Tube Driver. Cheers!

  15. Jason says:

    Good article. Don’t think you meant a minimum of quality though!

  16. Jerel says:

    Thanks Bjorn!
    I learn so much from your site.

  17. Andrzej says:

    hello Bjorn
    as your suggestion about arranging pedals:
    guitar > fuzz > wah wah > whammy > compressor > distortions > overdrive > boosters > modulations > volume pedal > delay > amp
    I have 1 question: Pig Hoof MKII (rams head clone) is fuzz, distortion or overdrive character pedal ?
    And Pig Hoof should be before or after buffered Boss CS-2 (old Japan `84) pedal ?

    • Bjorn says:

      You can call Muffs both fuzz and distortion. They’re closer to conventional distortion though and they’re not as sensitive towards buffers as classic fuzz. I’d place the Pig Hoof after the CS2.

  18. George says:

    Hi Bjorn, What do you think of Fender custom shop patch cables? or just fender cables in general.
    Loving the jam sessions on youtube, keep up the good work!

    [Never tried them so I can’t really tell. – Bjorn]

  19. Gustavo says:

    Your tips, your study and analysis is really a great work.
    Also the comments that generates from your articles are very helpfull and putting it all together makes this a reference site.

    i’m gonig to ask a question that perhaps has just been answered, but if so, i can´t find it.

    I have a made-in-usa electro harmonix big muff-pi with tone wicker

    a boss dd7 delay

    and a VOX AC15 tube amp

    I can´t get a decent david sound from the combination of both.
    I try the Time solo, and also the Comfortably Numb solo, but can’t get a decent tone.

    Can anyone help me with tips on how to get at least a decent tone, something that i can say “yes, that’s the way, it’s starting to sound at least a bit nearer a gilmour tone” ! :-)

    Best regards and thanks for any help !

    [Hi Gustavo! Thanks for your kind words :) A Vox amp with a modern sounding Muff will sound more like The Edge than Gilmour. Both have a fairly aggressive and boomy tone so it might not be the best combo for your Floyd tones. Still, you should be able to dial in some great tones with the setup. Start with the amp and set it as clean as possible and be careful with the treble. Muffs like it fairly dark with a bit of mid range. You might want to consider a more vintage sounding Muff. Check out the Big Muff Gear Guide for some tips. Another option is to get a more versatile pedal. It won’t sound 100% like a Muff but a RAT or the Buffalo Evolution that I recently reviewed, are great sounding pedals that probably will get you a lot closer to what you want, without having to tweak for days :) – Bjorn]

  20. Toni says:

    Hi Björn,

    This is Toni from Barcelona,

    Sorry for disturbing you but I’d like to know if you’ve also gone through this problem. Thanks for your time.

    I enjoy an amazing colorsound power boost (CSPB), the one with master volume, is one of the main keys to my tone, but recently I’ve noticed that if I push up the CSPB volume to 15:00 o’clock and the CSPB master volume is placed low, around 10:00 o’clock, the sound and tone are still amazing, breaking up in a smooth way but… there are also weird sounds comin’ out, I don’t mean the usual noises in the background from distortion, I mean some stinging buzzing noises here and there, uncontinous.

    I’ve already tried with different cables, amps and guitars and the result is always the same.

    I’ll visit London next August with my family, but only for four days, and I’ve mailed Maccari’s about the possibility of fixing the CSPB in a couple of days. Unfortunately they do not answer. I’ll make a phone call though I’m afraid it won’t work either.

    Just wanted to know if you’ve gone through this with your CSPB, which I remember to have read that you keep out of the pedalboard (maybe for its size, just to keep it safe or whatever).

    Thanks for your kind support,


    [Hi Toni. If what you’re hearing is a buzzy, bee-like overtone then it’s normal. The Powerbooster is very bright and on bright amps it tends to bleed in the high frequencies when you crank it. It’s just the natura of the pedal and the silicon transistors. Increasing the mids on your amp and lowering the treble on both the amp and pedal should compensate for some of it but you will probably still hear it. Some clones, like the Buffalo FX Powerbooster is voiced slightly darker and it sounds much warmer when you crank it. – Bjorn]

  21. Fred says:


    How do rack effects relate to placement in the chain. For example, The univibe rack effect. How does that relate to the pedal board. Before? After? Somewhere in the middle? Thanks!

    Your site has helped me a lot over the last year. In fact it has been a priceless resource.


    [Thank you Fred! A rack effect should go where the pedal would go. You would have to have a send/return feature on the spot where you’d want to place that effect (or a send/return for a routing/switching unit) and assign it. In regards to a UniVibe… David placed his after the gains on a clean amp, while Hendrix and Van Halen (phaser) placed theirs in front of a cranked amp. In regards to delays and a delay rack unit, you might want to place that one in an effects loop on your amp but usually only if you want to use the amp’s gain. David’s using delay rack units but runs them via send/returns in the effects chain and in front of the amp. What’s more important is that you place it where you find it natural and where it sounds best in your ears. Hope this made sense. – Bjorn]

  22. Tom says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    I run an effects loop in an acoustic preamp. From there I go to a mixer then QSC Ks. I listen to some of the later sounds coming out of his Taylor and am blown away. I’m being told overdrives or anything to thicken the acoustic sound can’t be done because I’m not running into an amp. Any ideas what would play well into PA with Taylor to get anything like that sound I’m hearing? Thought about BK Butler but am told it’s not a good fit with my signal chain.

    Thank you


    [I haven’t done much experimenting with acoustic live tones so I’m perhaps not the right person to ask. I do think, however, that you need to combine the piezo mic with a magnetic sound hole mic and use a good preamp/DI. – Bjorn]

  23. Fred says:

    Regarding Pompeii pitch issues.

    If you can take the audio alone and change the pitch -4.1 in Audacity, it lines up. Thanks to the bass player in my band for that one.

    [Cheers! – Bjorn]

  24. Brian says:

    Hey Bjorn, I discovered something I think everyone here should know. I learned how to use any old volume pedal as an expression pedal!

    Take a cable that is TRS (or stereo) on one end and splits to two TS on the other end (two mono). A lot of cables label the two TS’ “Tip & Ring” instead of “Tip & Sleeve.” Plug the TRS into the “expression pedal output” on a delay for example, then plug the “Ring” into the volume pedal input & the “Tip” into the volume pedal output and voila. I never even thought about doing that before. I tested this with a Strymon Timeline & a Rogue vp-201 (bout $15-$20 volume pedal,) works just fine. Unfortunately I did not come up with this idea myself. The vid I saw used an Ernie Ball VP Junior 25K, so I think this setup will work with most volume pedals and pedals with TRS expression outputs. This is great because a cheapo volume pedal like the vp201 and that cable are cheaper & more available than guitar expression pedals, and they can be repurposed for volume or expression as needed if you want to change things up from time to time. Just thought I should share, thanks.

    [Never tried that… thanks for the tip :) – Bjorn]

  25. Bo says:

    Not sure where to put this since the Trex Replica comments are closed but what are Bjorn/David settings for the Trex? I’ve been playing with a ton of settings but curious how I would nail that 310ms setting. Any other favorite settings? Thanks so much. Peace, Legend.

    [Hi Bo! 310ms is just a hair above the 6th dot. Flat volume is on the 8th dot. The repeat and echo should be set to match your guitar, pedals, amp and the song. Hope that helps :) – Bjorn]

  26. Stephen Ford says:

    @ Keith,
    LOL, Yeah I think I may have mentioned that right before you got the board but the GAS was in overdrive. You are totally on the mark. Have your rig before you buy or make the board. I like to lay out my pedals all in the layout I wish to have and then use masking tape and a T-Square and tape out the boarder taking into account any side plugs that may be on the outside boarder and then measure that footprint.

    I really still recommend the bypass looping system in your case Keith. You may be able to go with a pre-made case size with a flat board since you will not need to step on the back row pedals with a looping strip up front. I know of a couple of good sized flat boards that are around $100 and high quality. If you still need larger let me know. :)

    Good luck to all with the GAS!


  27. Keith says:

    Hello all, just a difficult lesson I want to pass along. I made a mistake, and had a large 16″x36″ board handmade. It’s a beautiful board with blue stained red Oak sides, and diamond plate on the top and bottom. It’s without a doubt the most beautiful board I’ve seen, and is also built like a road case, with heavy duty latches and handle. Only problem is, I can’t fit 17 pedals, that contains three Deluxe Electric mistress sized pedals, a wah, volume, and expression pedal. Now I have a brand new, $400.00 board I can’t use, and unless I can get at least 3/4 of my money back, it’ll be quite some time before I get the right size board. So, the moral of this post. Make sure you HAVE ALL YOUR PEDALS, before you buy your board.
    Peace, Keith (Anyone need an unused 36″x16″ board?)

  28. Keith says:

    While I certainly would rather have all TB pedals, with one dedicated buffer near the beginning of the chain, there’s not really anything I can do about the Boss buffers, unless I somehow got the two doubke Bosses, modded TB, and ran the echorec in TB, which kills the trails. So, if those Boss buffers affect the sound too much, do I put them through loopers? And wouldn’t that just help when they were off? But, ic they don’t kill my tone, with 3 buffers at the very end, I should be boosted enough to run a fair amount of cables, correct? And, lastly, Should I run the vibe machine, and dynacomp after, or before the fuzzes? I’ve decided for the time being to go your route, and put my wah after the fuzzes.
    Thanks bro’ Keith

    [Well, yeah, placing buffers in a TB loop will only bypass the pedals when they’re off or when the loop is bypassed that is. But it would help to take the buffers out of the chain for when you’re using the fuzz pedals. Unless you have to use them with the buffered delays… oh, this is complicated. Of course, if you don’t think the buffers do any harm then leave it be. BTW multiplying buffers doesn’t mean that you have twice the horsepower :) The last buffer will drive the signal. Personally, I’d place the Machine Vibe in front of the fuzz, then the fuzz and then the Dyna… there, I think that was all the Qs. – Bjorn]

  29. Keith says:

    Hi Bjorn, with the Echorec in Trails, or bufferd mode, > Dd-20,> Rt-20 as the last three pedals, should I need a buffer at the front of the chain? I see others are setting the Echorec in TB, because of issues with fuzz. With the Vintage Fuzzes at the beginning of the chain, how could the Echorec cause problems? Lastly, 3 buffered pedals, albeit the only buffered, and last in the chain, do you see any problems there? You should be fairly familiar with what’s on my board by now,( God knows I’ve told you more times than I can count), so I just wanted to address this now, as I start putting them all back on the board.
    Thanks for the great site, great information, and great amount of money you’ve inspired me to spend! Ha-ha! Can’t take it with me!
    Your post crazy friend, Keith :)

    [I don’t think there should be any problem with either the fuzz pedals or the fact that you have 2-3 buffers at the end. However, you need to test how this affects your pedals and the chain in general. Start with plugging the guitar straight into the amp and add one pedal at a time into the chain, starting with the fuzz and so on. Only then will you be able to tell for sure if these buffers do any harm. Having said that, I have not come across any Boss pedal that has a better buffer than a dedicated one. I’m using CostaLab Buffers and have tried a few other models and they all “sound” much better than any Boss buffer. – Bjorn]

  30. Bo says:

    Copy that. Mission Control: Are we set for launch? With your permission…London Fuzz<Sunface<Jam Wah<Buffer either TU3 or CostaLab<Sixties Vibe<Phase 90<Musket<Phantom Overdrive<Tube Driver<Thro Bak<ElecLady<Volume pedal<Echoric<T-Rex Replica

    Sir with your permission we'd like to launch this Lunar Module. May God have mercy on their souls. Thanks for everything Bjorn. This is 5 years in the making. This culmination is beyond description. Bless You.

    [Ha ha, well I don’t want be head of mission control but I can say that it looks mighty fine! I do recommend though to test the buffer after the wah. Try the chain with and without to see how it affects the fuzz pedals especially. – Bjorn]

  31. Bo says:

    Great thanks so much.

    To clarify: Only one buffer needed in total (after the wah). No need for another after the Trex replica? Well, that makes life easier/affordable.

    I’m having problem trying to fit all of this on my board. I’ve a builder who can put a Tu2 tuner integrated on the board so that only the display is shown. I like this idea because honestly i’m out of room for a tuner…even the mini tc poly would cause problems at this point. (I’ve the old hammerite Sixties Vibe mother of a pedal) and it’s size is rather demanding. So perhaps I should go without a tuner if you feel the Tu2 will cause problems with my fuzz and other vintage style pedals? If this is the case then i’ll just put in the CostaLab buffer and leave the tuner out completely. Does the buffer need to be activated? If not, and it is always active then I can sneak it under my board integrated by the custom builder. The Tu2 sounds like it will give me more problems then good? Or do you just like the Costalab and mini-tc combo that much more.

    [One buffer is enough to drive the signal through aprox 100 feet of cable. The TU3 probably wouldn’t cause more problems to your fuzz than a dedicated buffer but buffers like the CostaLab are better and doesn’t colour your tone. It just needs to be powered so it can be placed underneath a tier or inside a board. – Bjorn]

  32. Bo says:

    Good Morning Bjorn,
    I’m here for my final exam. 5 years ago I stumbled on your website and it completely changed my life. On that day I realized that I could pursue my dream of playing guitar and that I had the support of you, the site, and all the remaining voices of the other members who dreamed just like me. For the most part i laid in the weeds, remaining quiet, just reading every inch of this fantastic site. There are some old emails from years ago that i still go through and i am astonished at how much I’ve learned through the years. I feel that i’m ready for my final exam. But please school me as I attempt to put the final pieces of my pedalboard together. I realize that this is just a tad too many pedals…14 in all. I screwed around with the idea of making just an Old School set up and having another pedal board for more modern tones. That would be nice but to keep costs down i’m hoping to put them all on one board. In that sense a couple of the pedals are redundant…to the untrained eye…but i went to Gilmour Academy and studied the ancient arts under Prof. Bjorn. I feel that with this set up I might be able to dial in all era’s of David’s tones. Individully and in conjunction with most of these pedals I’ve gotten some really cool tones. I haven’t dialed the whole thing together…because i’m daisy chaining certain pedals, haven’t applied buffers (tuner on the front end) and i’m still using cheap patch cables. I plan on making those changes upon my graduation.

    Here goes:

    Playing through a 57 reissue Stratocaster with Crazy Diamond pickups into Bassman or Blues Jr. Evidence Audio cables on both ends.

    My proposed chain….for your review.

    London Fuzz (Ge) My favorite effect and most treasured pedal.

    Sun Face 108 (Si) Yes…i find this really cool to be able to go from Atom Heart to DSOTM in a instant.

    Jam Pedals Wah with true by-pass. If you haven’t tried this then i suggest so. I love this wah.

    TU2 tuner? One pedal that i haven’t purchased yet…Haven’t figured out exactly where this goes. I was thinking perhaps before the Wah and right in front of the Sun Face. Or do you like it here, after the Wah. For obvious reasons i want the tuner…but i also want it for it’s buffering capabilities due to all my true by-pass pedals and long chain. This is a pedal i havent’ bought so i don’t know if it will hurt…having it so near my fuzz. Predicament #1…anyways continuing with my exam. Also, Professor…is the TU3 any different?

    MXR Dyna Comp script compressor. Seems like the correct spot here.

    Sixties Vibe. You’ve mentioned plenty of times that you like this here…before the gain effects. Um, this pedal rules. Jaw dropping sounds with my London Fuzz.

    MXR Phase 90 Script. Before the gains as suggested…and yes i love this pedal as well.

    Muff…i went with the Musket because as we’ve talked before…i play mostly at home and this does the job at bedroom levels. Awesome.

    Overdrive…i want something at normal volume levels for home and the Phantom Overdrive by mjm is it. Thanks! I also feel this gets me some neat SRV sounds and basically whatever OD sounds i need…and yes i love it and don’t wish to part with it.

    Tube Driver….sweet sounds coming from this! There is no way i’m leaving it off my board. I’ve the replacement ECC82 bulb in and i love it. Great for modern tones, thanks.

    Thro Bak OverDrive Boost. Sweet! This really helps out with my fuzz at bedroom levels and kicks ass all on its own. Great suggestion. I’m also using this to boost my OD and Tube Driver. Also it’s DSOTM in a box. I’m able to cover the modern tones with the Tube Driver…The 70’s tones with the Thro Bak OD boost. I like the transparent Thro-Bak last in my chain of dirt… to boost anything that gets in the way :)

    Mooer ElecLady placed after the gains as suggested. Sounds fantastic and good enough for my ear compared to your favorites. I like the small footprint…as i need it.

    From here i’m going to the Volume Pedal. Ernie Ball jr. as suggested this is very cool at home and in conjunction with my London Fuzz and Sun Face. Thanks for the tip.

    Afterwards is my delay as suggested.

    Caitlenbread Echoric…very cool. but like others i needed to put it on true bypass mode to get it to work with my London fuzz. Love this thing! Very musical.

    Next is T-Rex Replica. Holy shit. This makes everything come together. I don’t have a digital delay but perhaps in the future…but with the Trex i havent’ lost any sleep over it. This makes my sound palatable.

    Now i’m thinking about one more pedal here and that would be a Buffer…others have said that the T Rex might be able to buffer the chain on it’s own. Would you put a buffer here?

    There it is! I feel that i might be a tad too many pedals but i’m basically trying to cover every genre right here on this board without going…overboard…I don’t feel that any which pedal is overly redundant as they all have their purpose. I’d like to have them all at my disposal.

    How does this chain look? My next steps is to completely build my board so… I’ll need Voodoo Power source, some very expensive patch cables and perhaps that other Buffer. Also the board itself.

    What say you Professor ToneHeimer? Please school me. What lessons did i miss? It’s my senior year and i want to build this pedal board in completion by summers end. Thanks for everything Bjorn. You are an incredible talent and a huge inspiration to me. I was far too overwhelmed to gather a authentic sound on my own and not only did you help me get over that but you also inspired me to pick up the guitar which was far too intimidating. Flash forward…5 years and i’m having a blast playing my guitar and loving life more than ever. New car, caviar, 4 star day dream.

    Your Student,


    [Hi Bo! Very sorry for the late reply. First of all, thanks a lot for your kind words! Glad you’ve found my site to be an inspiration in your quest for the tone! You’ve been a dedicated student :) Your setup sounds great! All the pedals should go well with your amps and you have a combination of pedals that will provide tones for all eras.

    The Replica is true bypass. One of the few TRex pedals that are, I think, so it won’t drive your signal. I haven’t done any research on the differences between the TU2 and TU3 but I think it’s just some new and updated features. There shouldn’t be any difference in how they and their buffer interact with other pedals. Personally, I’ve replaced my TU2s with TC Poly Tune Minis. They’re super fast, accurate and true bypass. I prefer having as many TB pedals as possible and use one dedicated buffer to drive the signal. This way I can have better control over the signal path and be sure that there aren’t any conflicts between buffers. I’d place the buffer where you suggested, after the wah. Whether this is a TU2/3 or a dedicated buffer is up to you obviously but I think buffers like the CostaLab Buffer provides a much better signal than the Boss pedals.

    As for pedal boards I warmly recommend custompedalboards.co.uk. They’ve done two boards for me to my exact specs. Awesome stuff and very helpful people. I also recommend the Evidence Audio SIS patch cable system. Check out earsproaudio.com for pre-assembled custom lengths. All this is perhaps on the more expensive side of the budget and by no means a must to get the tones you want but I’m very happy with it.

    Hope this answered some of your questions. Let me know if you need more help :) – Bjorn]

  33. Josh says:

    OH, one more thing, in the second to last picture in this article, what kind of patch cable is that connected to the colossus?

    [Evidence Audio Melody. – Bjorn]

  34. Josh says:

    Hey Bjorn, Would a UniVibe cover phaser tones? Also do you anything about Dunlops Rotovibe? If so, is this a good univibe? Thanks

    [I would say the other way around. Phasers can do a UniVibe but a UniVibe wouldn’t sound right for phaser tones. The RotoVibe is actually one of my favourite modulations. Been using it for years. Doesn’t quite sound like anything else. Kind of a mix between a phase 90 and a UniVibe. Very creamy and fat and it blends much better with high gain effects than UniVibes. – Bjorn]

  35. Keith says:

    I hate to post 3 times, but do you have an estimate for the updated gear guide? I’ve wanted to ask, but kept forgetting to add the question to my previous posts. Glad to see on Facebook that the recording process is moving along smoothly, and can’t wait for the new record!
    Thanks Bjorn, you are a good man! Uncle Ebb

    [Amps, pickups and an updated Big Muff guide will be posted before christmas. The rest of the guides will be updated early next year. It’s great fun to be back in the studio and we can’t wait to have the album out… whenever that may be :) Cheers! – Bjorn]

  36. Keith says:

    @ Stephen Ford, I am well aware about what humidity can do, but didn’t thinkl the open window would be an issue, because it was about 2-3 feet away, and tyhe A/C was always on. as for the scale, my luthier said that he can use the Standard Bridge he was getting ready to put on when he realized the small scale would not allow the bridge to work, but he broke out a tape, and the bridge, and said that if I changed the neck, the bridge would work. The short scale neck has abridge, with super long screws, but with the standard bridge, and it’s saddles, and screws, it should intonatte perfectly, at least that was his opinion at a glance. The bridge would have had to be moved forward, and would not have worked with the Standard bridge, but should be able to remain in place, because the saddles are in a completely different place. Check it out, and see if that’s right, I’d be interested, as like I said, that was after just a cursory examination, but he’s been building for 30+ years, and his Classicals demand between 4- $12,000 and sell as (slowly) as he makes them. I mean fast! LOL Perfection does take time, as I’m sure you’re aware!
    Peace Love, and all things MUSIC. It truly soothes the savage beast in us all, KC

  37. Keith says:

    Thanks for doing the research Steve, I was going by what the luthier who is just a few days away from completing my handcrafted “Not Quite Black, 1969 Gilmour replica,( which by the way is 100% handmade, qmong the best guitar’s I’ve ever played, by a large margin, and abou 2/3 the price of a CS DG model!), and by may ear, having owned several single coil Gibsons. But being exonerated, so to speak, sure is nice.
    Thanks Steve, and Bjorn for posting, Peace to all, KC

  38. Steve says:

    Keith – your story was so weird I had to Google it. Well – weird but true! Apparently, Squier makes 3 different models of the Thinline Telecaster . . . and 2 of them have the shorter scale. “However, in a break from the usual Fender standard, the master series and Vintage Modified thinline telecasters both feature the more Gibson-esque shorter 24.75″ scale where Fender use a 25.5″ scale.”

    Very confusing . . . .a tele is all about twang . . . and the longer scale gives more high-harmonics = twang . . .

  39. Stephen Ford says:

    Keith you are correct. The higher tension due to the longer scale length and the 6 tuners on one side make up a good part of what makes a Fender sound like a Fender…that and single coil pick ups. Interesting side note. Jimi Hendrix prefered playing right handed Fenders because this would wind his High E string on the inner most tuner not the furthest tuner lowering the string tension making extreme bends easier. To really nail Jimi’s tone you really need to reproduce this meaning playing a left handed Strat if you are right handed.

  40. Stephen Ford says:

    @ Keith…

    Not sure if you are aware but you will not be able to put on a Fender Scale neck on a guitar with a Gibson scale neck on it because your bridge placement is set to the scale length of the neck that was made for the guitar. If you do the guitar will never intonate properly. Scale length does not end at the end of the fret board but extends to the bridge. To check proper scale length measure from the nut to the 12th fret and then that same measurement should be measured from the 12th fret to the bridge +1/16th”

    Also you should NEVER place your guitar near open windows, Radiators or any cooling or heating if you want it to work the next time you pick it up. Guitars are made of wood and contract and expand with temperature and more over humidity changes. Acoustic guitars are much more sensitive than solid body guitars but do not be under the false assumption that a Strat or a Tele is free from these issues.

    Most well built guitars are built at 45% humidity to allow for the largest variable in humidity in either direction +/-. If you have a guitar you care for you should keep it as close to 45% at home. You can not control for change of climate in other situations but avoid drastic temp and humidity changes…IE do not leave guitar in your car, or by an open window unless you live in paradise where the temperature and humidity are never changing.

    Glad you are bringing business to your local Luthier. As a builder, I know the value of a hand built guitar over mass produced instruments…worth every penny!


  41. Mat says:

    Hi Bjorn, today I tried a radical reduction on my pedalboard, because my sustain was very low when I played the time solo. I just used the MUSKET and the T-REX Replica, and sound was great. Normally my setup is this:

    Fender USA Strat with EMG DG20, Callaham Bridge –> LEHLE Sunday Driver (Buffer/Booster) -> BOSS CS2 -> MXR Dynacomp Script -> MUSKET Fuzz -> Colorsound Power BOOST -> BK TD -> MXR Phase 90 -> BOSS CE2 -> BOSS DD2 -> T-REX REPLICA Delay –> HIWATT DR504

    I use short EVIDENCE audio melody cables. I ever believed that signal loss is very low when using very good equipment. But when I played only with Fuzz and Delay, the sustain was GREATER.

    But for songs like SOYCD I need the compressors, Phase 90 and Chorus. My question is if you have an advice which of my pedals could be a signal killer, could it be that old pedals like the CS2 / DD2 /CE2 are not matching with the other pedals ? I viewed your pedalboard, and it contains many pedals, too.

    Best regards, Mat

    [Hi Mat. There could be a number of reasons why you experience a loss of sustain. Obviously, the signal will stay cleaner the less pedals you have. Regardless of using buffers in the chain. There could be a patch cable that’s not working properly or one of the power supplies. Some of the older Boss pedals also tend to mess up the signal when the parts starts to deteriorate. I’d unplug everything, make sure each patch cable is working properly and make sure all pedals have the correct voltage. Add one pedal at a time and check the bypassed signal. Stop when you add a pedal and notice a considerable signal loss. – Bjorn]

  42. Keith says:

    Bjorn, you didn’t comment, but I’m curious. Did you know they were making these shorter scale necks, (to obviously gain an extra inch of wood from every neck to get say 21 necks from a blank, instead of 20!), and how much it affects the tone. the bitch was, a standard Tele bridge won’t fit, so I’m stuck with the Ashtray until I get one from Callaham. Not a huge deal, but enough to make a definite difference in tone! However, the bone nut, and a drop of super glue on the saddles height adjustment screws made a big difference in the guitar staying in tune. (The screws were backing themselves out, and changing the angle of the saddles, wreaking havoc on the intonation.), Super glue works great, and a little heat from a soldering iron breaks the bond quickly if needed. Just stuff I think everyone should know.
    Peace, KC

    [Interesting topic. I wasn’t aware… I’ll leave the commenting to the others in this thread :) – Bjorn]

  43. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, and all Gilmourish readers. I found out something interesting yesterday about some Fender guitars that some may know, but I certainly didn’t. I bought a very nice playing, and sounding Squire thinline Tele, because the body was real Alder, and the neck was a very nice maple, with Indian rosewood fretboard. I took the guitar to Tom Rodriguez, who is just finishing up the neck on my handcrafted Strat,( handmade guitars take FOREVER!) and had him put nos wire, pots, cap, switch, and jack in because the eletrinics were crap. He also dressed the frets, and told me the body, and neck were great, and I got very lucky. Well, up until about a month ago, my bedroom window was always open, so I could smoke in the house, a habit I’ve almost licked. I kept my guitar very close to that window, and when I picked it up one day, I noticed it was buzzing alot. I found the neck had gone totally flat, and set the guitar up, and gave the truss two quarter turns. It had a cheap ashtray style bridge and just wouldn’t stay in tune. Yesterday I took the guitar back to Tom to have a new bridge,( stock American w/ rectangular saddles, instead of the barrel saddles that would move around, and stay in a bad position, every time I did a big bend.), and asked him to put a bone nut on, as the cheap plastic one eas cut too deep on the 6th string. While I was standing there, I saw a neck I assumed was my new one, it was, and I laid it next to my Tele, abd I thought he’d made a mistake. By the time it reached the 17th fret, it was a full half fret off. I mentioned it, and he popped out a tape measure, and said, Hmm, Fender is making these with Gibson scale necks, and I bet it doesn’t sound exactly like a tele. I had noticed it reminded me of a Jr. With p-90s I used to play. Anyway, sorry to take so long to get to the point, which is, when purchasing Fender guitars, check the neck scale. Evidently its the longer scale that gives Teles, and Strats their unigue twang. I may have Tom build me a new neck once I get my hands on my new Strat, but the guitar has a very nice tone, and is quite capable of most Gilmourish tones. I must admit that it’s really hard to wait for a $3500 guitar that’s been paid for, for months, but that is the cost of the perfection of a one man operation!
    Peace, Love, and all things Gilmourish! KC

  44. Steve says:

    Thanks Bjorn – great observations. And I totally agree . . .the temptation with going this “techno” route is to keep adding technology to fix it e.g. multi-band eq’s or whatever . . . I made sure to stay way from those temptations and just tweak the settings on my existing pedals and not introduce any new toys.

    What really surprised me was just how radically I had to dial DOWN the treble (both the Muff tone control and on my amp) to get into the same sonic territory. Thinking more about it – I always thought of David’s tone as very treble-heavy, light, airy, (even a little ear-piercing) – so I was always trying to BOOST treble (or cut lows and mids) to get closer . . . which is exactly the opposite of what I should have done and I ended up with more harshness. After watching his whole performance on the meter, I FINALLY realized that his tone is only “bitey” when he wants it to be – e.g. at key points when he really wants to emphasize the emotion. So his basic tone is more mid-rangey, with added high-end spikes when needed, by pick attack. It’s those very emotional notes that I most strongly identified with his tone – but the problem is if you set it up so ALL notes sound that way . . . it’s awful! All ice-pick, all the time!

    Maybe everyone kind-of knows this already – but it was a big revelation for me. So much to learn . . .

    [I don’t think everyone knows this and it doesn’t only apply to Gilmour. As you point out, picking technique can do a lot for the tone. Harder picking create more transients, which appears to the ear as more treble. Angling the pick, creates a more mid rangy and compressed attack. Volume is also essential to achieve this. David plays quite loud and the amp has a fast and dynamic response. Teh heated tubes and the hard driven speakers creates more pronounced transients, which again appears as treble but, as you say, this is the dynamics in the playing. Not the overall setting of the amp. Well discovered! – Bjorn]

  45. Keith says:

    Is it just me, or my tuner, or is the Pompeii version of Echoes sped up, or transposed 1 step up from the Meddle version?
    How’s tricks? Hope all is well at home, and in your second life as lead guitarist extrodinaire with Airbag, and third life, Gilmourish Guru!
    Peace, Love, and happiness to you and yours, your faithful follower, Keith ” Uncle Ebb” Clarke

    [Cheers Keith! The Pompeii soundtrack is way out of pitch. Floyd never owned the rights to the film and didn’t even mix the soundtrack. Everything was done by the film team which didn’t have a clue and they managed to mess up everything, including most of the micing as well, which was the main reason they had to do the studio “night” footage. Most of what they shot in Pompeii needed extensive overdubs. – Bjorn]

  46. David McDade says:

    Hey Bjorn thank you so much for sharing your seemingly endless knowledge for all things guitar, amp, pedals, settings, tone, tips&tricks, and Gilmour. Your imput on my questions has been invaluable, and just watching you play on your videos has helped me immensely in figuring out how to play parts of songs that tabs on the web hasent. I have a couple more questions(i know your probally tired of my endless questions by now lol) right now im working on Coming Back To Life and my tone is close but I think im missing something, im using the compression effect on my vox but tweaking it its either too compressed or not enough so whats a good basis for comp settings for that song(RAH version). Second I have the intro solo down, and im close on the other solos but I can not find a good tab for the rhythm parts because they just say Csus2 ect.., but im self taught and I dont know how to play the suspended chords unless im looking at the tabliture for them, but I cant find any full.Coming Back to Life tabs with the rhythm parts tabbed out too, so could you or anyone else here help me out inlearning the rhythm part by either showing me the tabs for the chords or a link to a good tab for the song that shows how to play the rhythm parts? Sorry for the ungodly long post but im getting really frustrated by this(and my lack of knowledge on odd chords), but I would be extremely grateful for some help yet again. Thanks a ton for all that you do for us Gilmour/Floyd nuts Bjorn!
    Thank you very much my friend,
    P.S. Im working on and recording my own version of an Oakland ’77 inspired Shine On You Crazy Diamond, so ill post a link when im done with it, I hope it’ll make you proud that all your advice has helped me do it justice hopefully

    [Hi David! Sorry for my late reply. Thanks a lot for your kind words! Glad you enjoy the site! In regards to the tone I think you just need to keep it very simple. What kind of guitar and amp do you use? Set the amp up for a warm clean tone and use a mild, warm overdrive for the second and third solo. The rest is clean. Hard to suggest any settings for the compressors since this needs to be set according to the tone of your guitar and amp and how loud you play. David prefers a mild compression with just a hint of volume boost.
    The chord progression is very simple. David’s using a lot of barre grips with either the index finger as the barre or the thumb for the bass. Here’s the chord chart:

    Hope this helped. – Bjorn]

  47. Steve says:

    Great article as always Bjorn.

    I was wondering – in your eternal quest for tone and picking up the best of Gilmour to use in your own tone and style – have you ever resorted to a spectrum analyzer? I know – trust your ears, not a machine. And to someone with your well-trained ear, it may be like training wheels . . . and of course tone isn’t ALL about frequency-spectrum . . . but for those of us further behind on the path, I found it really useful to actually SEE what was going on and help train my ears.

    What I did was load up in my DAW a song where David’s guitar is very prominent – Castellorizon – then I added the SPAN spectrum analyzer (excellent and FREE!), then played my own guitar signal and superimposed the waves. What I saw (literally) was:

    1. My mid-range was pretty much spot-on – overlapped nicely and peaked in the right places.
    2. The harshness in my tone that I’d been trying to dial out for months was all in the high end 2kH and above . . .David’s peaks in those regions were noticeably to the left of mine. Going by my ears alone I just could never figure it out and I usually made things worse not better . . . but I was quickly able to find the offending frequencies and eliminate them . . . much better!
    3. That thing about tone being in your fingers . . . so true! Specifically, David can dial in as much high-end peak as he wants, apparently just by varying his attack. You are probably saying “well, duh” – but what I found was that by watching the waves (and looping) I could quickly test different attacks and see which were getting me closer or not – found that for me, adding some finger-flesh – more than what I use to get pinch-harmonics – got me pretty close to the neighborhood.
    4. It’s one thing to hear it . . . but really humbling to SEE David’s sustain, particularly again in the high end . . . watching my wave start to die off almost immediately (particularly on bends) while his just stays up there . . . I know a lot of that is just plain volume and controlled feedback, but it makes me work even harder on those sustain techniques you’ve written about . . .

    [Actually, I’ve never though about using a frequency spectrum. I must admit I’m a bit skeptical towards analyzing the tone too much because in the end, as you say, you should always trust your ears and don’t get too focused on doing it by the book. Of course, this require a great deal of experience. One thing is to analyze and see what’s going on but you need to translate that in an effective way as well, without making things worse. Many would solve frequency issues by adding EQs and compressors, which, in my opinion, is the wrong approach. There’s so many things that makes up a tone and that ruin your tone. As an example, too low or too high string action can have a dramatic impact on the tone. Likewise, a dying tube or the “wrong” picking technique can prevent you from getting the tones you want. What you saw on the frequency spectrum was the tone coming from David’s Hiwatts set for a very mild tube break up (they’re clean but very hot). The lower treble and increased presence adds a nice mid range attack and smooth tops. The Tube Driver is set for full blown distortion but the treble is low and the combination of the hot amp and the distortion makes the tunes produce even more mid range. By carefully altering the picking technicque, strength, angle of the pick etc, he can shape his tone even further. Castellorizon is a great example because it’s very hard to get that tone, yet it’s one of his simplest setups. Thanks for the input! – Bjorn]

    • Lapins says:

      Hi Steve, I only came across your post just now and just want to let you know that I found your frequency spectrum experiment really interesting, and it that would be something that I’d like to try out myself.

      I always wondered about what you mentioned regarding picking the strings by adding finger-flesh, however not quite like getting the pinch-harmonics. Would you have a video clip of you showing how you do it please?

      Another thing I’d like to find out is how does David Gilmour gets that nice crisp sound when he picks the string, this is very noticeable on the first few notes of the second solo of ‘Remember that night’.
      Bjorn also produces this similar nice crisp pick sound, you can hear him on the video he made when showing the Big Muff being boosted by the Coloursound Power Boost here: (www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtsLWEDlV4c&feature=emb_imp_woyt), the first example of what I mean is at 0:25 time on the video clip.

      You can also note from the video that Bjorn produces that particular nice crisp sound when he picks the string even without the that booster.

      Thanks in advance.

  48. Keith says:

    I’ve been going through the archives quite a bit lately, and notice that you allway say to put the Fuzzface before the wah, which goes with what Geoffery Tesse told me.” Keith, a Fuzzed wah is completely different than a wahed Fuzz.”. But Did you not say that the Wah has to be before the Fuzzface for the “Seagull effect”? If so, how does this sound, RMCIII, which is true bypass before the fuzzface, hooked up in reverse, to be used for the “Seagull effect”, and a second buffered Vox 847, or Crybaby after the JH-F1, for my normal wah use, which I can’t really think of many cases where I’d use a wah, but one of these days I may use it foa 1 or 2 songs. I just want clarity on this issue, as we will be working on Echoes for the next ten million years, until it’s perfected, and I’m sure you said the wah needed to be first in line.
    So many questions, so little desire to bug the living crap out of you!
    Thank you in advance my Jedi Master, your humble padawan, Keith, “Uncle Ebb” Clarke
    P.S. Have you even looked at the Fralin website? He makes a set of P-90’s that cannot be beaten by any other manufactuer, and they eliminate hum, without doing ANYTHING to your signal like other “Noiseless” or “active” pups do! You need to read everything you can find about his stuff, and he will be in touch, if I have to put his fingers on the keys!

    [There are no rules. Place the wah where you think it fits. Vintage style fuzz pedals doesn’t like buffered ways, so therefore you need to place the fuzz first. However, many players have the wah first, including Hendrix. – Bjorn]

  49. Keith says:

    THERE! Stupid auto spell!

  50. Keith says:

    There’ll once was a man named Bjorn, whose frets were quite faded and worn. He was a straight shooter, on guitar or computer, which left his fingers all bloodied and torn!

    [Ha ha! Cheers, Keith! – Bjorn]

  51. Jerome Whitson says:

    Bjorn – great article – i loved the comment on gain and treble during live gigs. I actually gigged on friday night in the equivalent of a brick oven (underground bar in princeton) – all brick, non carpeted floors. talk about a thorough sound check… but i did learn a lesson… using the tube drivers, at the same time … i realized i should never really take the tube drive (combined, both pedals) above 100-110%. Often mislead by Gilmour’s huge sound performances (Gdansk) vs…. perhaps the AOL sessions…. You will notice he drops the gain a bit in the AOL sessions… take a listen on youtube. Take a breath… or on an island. I feel like every gig I learn another trick. It was funny because an australian guy was there, and he said, “isnt gilmour known for achieving a great clean tone but dirty at the same time?” and in my mind, i knew I was pushing too much gain on stage for the big solos.. you live, you learn, you get better! –

    [Wise words :) Volume is really the key ingredient in David’s tones. Arena venues demands, and can handle, higher volume, whereas smaller venues needs a milder setup. What David does is that he sets the amps clean but by having the master lower than the pre-amp you’ll get a very fat, punchy tube tone. It’s clean but the tube are near full burst. He’s also set the presence quite high for a bit more mid range bite, which adds to the heated tubes. He’s using more or less the same settings for Gdansk and AOL but the pedals are set way milder for AOL. Still, with the powerful amp setting, he can roll down the gain on the TDs and Muffs and still get a pretty saturated tone with lots of sustain. – Bjorn]

  52. Mat says:

    Hi Bjorn, have you heard or even tried the WEM Pepbox Fuzz reissue ? Greetings

    [Nope… – Bjorn]

  53. ViniciusBraga says:

    “A common mistake is to increase treble and gain as your hearing is lessened throughout a gig or rehearsal. Rule number one: try not to adjust the amp during a gig but make sure it’s set up as good as possible during soundcheck. ”

    Thats the golden piece of advice in this article Bjorn, so true! Great article, keep up the good work!

    [Cheers! – Bjorn]

  54. T.Quay Williams says:


    The following link is for an attenuator made by a high end amp builder. Does it do what it promises? If so could my Reeves 50 be a bedroom amp and sound good too? Otherwise the thing blows my head off when it is sounding its best. Thanks, TQuay


    [I haven’t tried it but I’m sure Alessandro knows what they’re talking about. Unless you want tube break up, you don’t need attenuators for bedroom levels. Set the amp up for a nice clean tone, roll down the treble and increase the presence for a nice mid boost bite, and use a booster, like the ThroBak Overdriveboost or TC Spark Booster for a bit more punch and bite. Add the rest of the pedals on top of that. Should be enough even on the lowest levels. – Bjorn]

  55. Keith says:

    Opps, that was supposed to end with,” Thanks for holding my hand through this learning experience in the world of Gilmourish.
    Peace, Love, and wish me luck! KC

    [LOL! Cheers! – Bjorn]

  56. Keith says:

    Morning Bjorn, a quick question. I am jamming with the same drummer, and my original first choice of keyboardist, and bassist, and don’t have much time to experiment. I mentioned I’d ditched the Fuzzface in lieu of the Musket, but I wanted to know if going back to the FF, and backing it up with the spark would tame the FF a little, like it does other fuzz, and distortions. Or, for the sake of not wasting the others time, do you think I’ll be okay using just the Musket to cover the two songs I’ve asked them to learn, Echoes, and Us and Them. Last jam was a nightmare, and it didn’t really convey my abilities, because I was
    nervous, and frustrated because I had not anticipated how different my pedals would sound at volume, and almost lost a great drummer. I definitely don’t want that to happen again, and plan on showing up a half hour early, to make sure I have everything in order. If this goes well, the new bands lineup could be set, and I wouldn’t be stressing over it. I am said to be a very good player, but when like me, you only know a few covers, it’s hard to find common ground. But by giving them the two songs to learn, it will at least give us a starting point. Sorry I went in longer than planned, but it’s very important to me, as finding talented players, who love the same music is becoming difficult since I stopped going to clubs every night. A simple abswer about the Fuzz face, and a nice” don’t sweat it, just be yourself” will suffice. LOL.
    LOVE you brother, thanks for holsing my

    [I don’t think I’d use the Musket for Us & Them. Either a clean tone or a very mild overdrive would do. I think I’d use the Spark for boost and overdrives and the Musket for leads. Adding the Spark with the Musket won’t tame the Musket, it will make it more aggressive, but you will get to tame some of the sometimes harsh top frequencies common for Muffs. The Musket is very versatile though with the controls you need for shaping the tone and with enough gain to stand alone, so you’re perhaps better off with teh Spark for clean boost and OD, the Musket for leads and heavier stuff. Anyway, always hard to go in detail when I’m not standing in front of your rig. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  57. Stephen Ford says:


    Good points Bjorn, one thing that I have been doing beyond the buffer is to us a converter (in my case the Ebtech Hum E-II) to go from unbalanced to Balanced signal and then run TRS cables for the length, this also helps to keep exterior interference out of your signal. Depending on your needs this may be over kill but for running long stretches of signal cable I recommend it.

  58. Marc-André says:

    Thanks for the reply Bjorn, greatly appreciated!

    Did you have any success with wireless systems?

    [Nope… – Bjorn]

  59. Gabriele says:

    Thank you Bjorn! As a newbie of guitar i found lots of fundamental infos on how to make your wooden piece sound closer to a real guitar than to a chainsaw. I find your “Ultimate guide to Tone” a real masterpiece, not only for who wants to emulate David, but also for who wants just some tips to sound better.
    A very good job.
    Thank you again!

    [Thanks a lot for your kind words Gabriele! – Bjorn]

  60. Marc-André says:

    Once again, great article Bjorn!

    I was wondering something, cables between pedals should be as short as possible to avoid signal loss, that’s a fact all guitarists agree on. However, I have a newbie question. What about the cable between the last pedal and the amp? I mean, my amp is usually far from me and my pedalboard close to me so you can imagine I’m using a long cable therefore I’m loosing a lot of my signal.. do you have a trick for that?

    Thanks again!

    [Thanks Marc-Andr̩! The patch cables should be as short as possible and the instrument cables as well. Most of us do need up to 10 meters of cable from the pedal board to the amp and a way to compensate for the signal loss, is to place a buffer at the end of the chain which will drive the signal from the guitar and pedal better. A Boss delay will be sufficient. If you use true bypass delays, then a dedicated buffer, like the CostaLab Buffer, is an option. РBjorn]

  61. Roko says:

    Very, very helpful article. Thank you!

    [Thanks! – Bjorn]

  62. alamikam says:

    Magnific article ! Like a good wine, Gilmourish is tasting better more and more.

    [I’ll have a steak with that! Cheers! – Bjorn]

  63. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, seems like my very early morning Zen sessions allow me to be among the first to see your great articles lately! Once again, you nailed it. I cannot find a single word to disagree with in this last section of the tone series. The practice of finding the best tone with just your guitar, and amp first, is how I solved the problem I had at that first jam. Another thing that helped me through getting over that embarassing, and disappointing session, was to eliminate some pedals, and change where, and how I was using them. I often am at a loss to describe the ringing, chimey tones that seem to be exclusive to DG, but chimey, and ringing sustain is perhaps the best descrition. I did exactly as you suggested, adding a pedal at a time, and that led me, at least for now to ditch the Fuzzface, and using the Musket/TC Spark for ODs, Fuzz, and boost. I finally achieved that Chimey, Ringing, bell like sustain, as well as the mildly ovetdriven, and very warm tones I thought unattainable on my budget. Admittedly though, I find that practice, and familiarity with my equipment is more important than if I had DG’s rig to play through. I have been listening to PF sinceI first heard meddle, and though always a rabid fan, I never really played others music. Every band I’ve played in has played original music, and my playing was always decribed as a cross between Townsend, and Neil Young? But definitely my own. Now, actually attempting to emulate David’s tones has not turned me into David Gilmour, but nerely added another dimension to the style I created through the influences on my playing, yet retaining the basic sound in my head. I don’t want to be a clone, but being told I sound like a cross between Townsend, and Gilmour
    !wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit! LOL
    THANKS for another great piece of wisdom, and for your devotion to the
    best site on the web. And like my playing, that comes straight from my heart!
    Peace,Love, and all things Gilmourish,KC

    [I agree with that approach :) Thanks a lot for your kind words! – Bjorn]

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