Hello. is there a Big Muff in there?
Player David Gilmour Album The Wall (1979)
It’s natural to blur the lines between a great performance and a great tone – they are interconnected, after all. But there’s no doubt that David Gilmour was great at dialling his Pink Floyd tones in. And for his greatest moment, in fact, probably the greatest guitar moment when it comes to sheer majesty, he totally aced it.
“I just went out into the studio and banged out five or six solos,” Gilmour told Guitarworld in 1993 in his typical, matter-of-fact manner. “From there I just followed my usual procedure, which is to listen back to each solo and mark out bar lines, saying which bits are good. Then I just follow the chart, whipping one fader up, then another fader, jumping from phrase to phrase and trying to make a really nice solo all the way through.”
Mission successful. It’s important to note that the track was doubled with slight delay for a bigger layered sound with some compression for attack. The Comfortably numb solos were played using a heavy pick, his iconic black Fender Strat with maple neck through an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff and delay via a Hiwatt DR103 amp and a subtly mixed Yamaha RA-200 rotating speaker cabinet. Of course, there’s also the small matter of touch… “It really is just his fingers, his vibrato, his choice of notes and how he sets his effects,” says longtime tech Phil Taylor. “I find it extraordinary when people think they can copy his sound by duplicating his gear.” But it’s a start, right? The rest is up to you!
numbs up Comfortably numb is one of the greatest marriages of player and tone ever