David’s always been associated with the Stratocaster but over the years many of his guitar parts are recorded with different guitars like Telecasters, slides and Les Pauls. In this article we’ll look at David’s Gibson Les Paul guitars.
In an interview with Guitarist Magazine (June 1986) David reveals that “I still can’t get used to a Gibson [Les Paul]. A Strat was always what I wanted, and I’ve used the tremolo arm since I saw Hank Marvin using it”. Still, David has done some classic solos on Les Pauls among them Another Brick in the Wall (part 2). A Les Paul was also featured on This Heaven from David’s 2006 solo album On An Island.
Gibson Les Paul TV Special
David began collection guitars around 1970 when he bought two guitars at a pawn shop in Seattle, USA in early October that year. One of them was the Fender 1000 twin neck pedal steel used on Meddle and Dark Side of the Moon. The other was a Gibson Les Paul TV. David used it on some of the remaining shows on the US tour but never since.
Based on the few pictures available of David and the TV it seems like an late 50s/early 60s double cutaway version with a beige/blonde finish. The body and neck is a solid piece of mahogany and the neck has a rosewood fretboard. The guitar feature two Gibson P-90 pickups with black cover and a “wrap around” tailpiece.
Gibson Les Paul Custom
Over the years David’s been seen with a Les Paul Custom or “Black Beauty” on a couple of occasions. 1986 David told Guitarist Magazine how he started collecting guitars “I’ve always had one or two pieces, but I started with a Gibson TV model [described above – Bjorn] and then a 3 pickup Black Beauty Les Paul (…)”. The Black Beauty is first seen on a picture of David in his studio around 1972. It’s once again spotted hanging on a wall in his home around 1986 (Guitarist Magazine photo shoot).
David is also seen playing a similar looking Les Paul during Pink Floyd’s impromptu jam session at the Annabel’s Night Club in Copenhagen, Denmark, 31 July 1988 but it’s unlikely that this is the same guitar as David probably borrowed a guitar from the house band.
The Black Beauty is the nick name of an all black Custom model with a mahogany body (with binding) and neck and ebony fretboard. David’s model featured three humbucker pickups and a “tune-o-matic” bridge. It’s not known when the guitar was made but since all Les Paul were discontinued between 1963-68 it’s probably a late 50s model (also given that it has 3 pickups, which were first introduced in the late 50s).
Gibson 1955 Les Paul Goldtop
David’s perhaps most famous Les Paul is his 1955 Goldtop. This was used to record several guitar parts on The Wall and most notably the solo on Another Brick in the Wall (part 2). David would also use the guitar on the The Wall tour in 1980-81 while performing Happiest Days of Our Lives, occasionally the Another Brick 2 solo switching from the Black Strat used on the rhythm parts, One of My Turns and Last Few Bricks.
The ’55 Goldtop was also used throughout the 80s and 90s – on a couple of tracks on Momentary Lapse of Reason, among these Round and Around and Poles Apart and A Great Day For Freedom from Division Bell.
The guitar was displayed at the 2003-04 Interstellar Exhibition in it’s original case among David’s Wall pedal boards and other guitars. It was last seen used on the Island Blues jam that were filmed in David’s barn and released as a teaser for On An Island December 23 2005.
The Les Paul Goldtop has a bronze metallic finish mahogany body with a maple top and binding. The neck is mahogany with an ebony fretboard and binding. David’s 1955 model feature a “wrap around” tailpiece and two P-90 pickups with white covers.
Gibson 1956 Les Paul Goldtop
David’s second Les Paul Goldtop is more or less identical to the 1955 model with the exception of a Bigsby bridge with tremolo. Originally the guitar came with a “tune-o-matic” bridge, which Gibson introduced with the 1956 models. It’s not known when Gilmour got this guitar and whether the Bigsby was custom fitted before or after he got it.
The ’56 was used on several songs on On An Island – notably the first part of the first solo on the title track and This Heaven. David also used the guitar on the 2006 tour while performing This Heaven. It was again used at the special performance of Island Jam at the Odeon cinema theatre in London, UK, in September 2007 for the premiere of the Remember That Night DVD release.
The guitar was last used on the recording (and performance) of the track Chicago in support of Gary McKinnon together with Chrissie Hynde and Bob Geldorf in 2009 and on the track Song to the Siren off Bryan Ferry’s album Olympia (2010).