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NOTE: This website is frequently updated. Last update December 2013.

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TONE BUILDING - What do each of the pedals David Gilmour used do and how do you set them to get similar Pink Floyd tones? Which pickups and amps work best for those tones? Here is a general guide to the gear and how to get the tones. There are audio clips demonstrating building basic Gilmour tones using some of the same gear David used. These clips are designed to show what each individual piece of gear contributes to the tone. This is not a comprehensive song by song list by any means, just a general guide based on my experience. I highly recommend you look at Gilmourish.com and The Tone from Heaven for much more detailed reference for all the gear David has used throughout the years. Those guys have really done their home work and have created very comprehensive websites on everything to do with David Gilmour's gear and tone, but for my website I wanted to focus on actual sound clips and settings for reference. Enjoy!

WHICH PEDALS TO USE - Covers Fuzz pedals (early tones) and Big Muffs (later tones), Compressors, Modulation, and Delays

WHAT TYPE OF AMPLIFIER TO USE - Amps that work best for Gilmour tones

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DAVIDS BIG MUFFS, TUBE DRIVERS, AND CORNISH PEDALS - Sound clips to illustrate the tone differences

TONE BUILDING - Animals - The effects used and sound clips (coming soon)

TONE BUILDING - The Wall - The effects used and sound clips (coming soon)

TONE BUILDING - Mid 1980's through early 1990's - The effects used and sound clips

TONE BUILDING - Delicate Sound of Thunder and Pulse - The effects used and sound clips

TONE BUILDING - On an Island - The effects used and sound clips

THE ELECTRIC MISTRESS and BIG MUFF - The perfect combo for The Wall and Final Cut tones

BOOSTING A BIG MUFF - How to use an overdrive pedal to drive your Muff

DELAY / ECHO - Using delay and delay time settings

EMG DG-20 SA or VINTAGE STYLE GUITAR PICKUPS - Sound clips to illustrate the tone differences

FINGERS - All the gear in the world won't give you a Gilmour sound unless you study and learn David's tremolo style, subtle harmonics, and perfect note bending

NOTE - I have listed the gear and settings I use in most cases, for reference, but note that the tones may not exactly match your rig, depending on which amplifier you use, your guitar, pickups, and fingers.

1984 - Early 1990's HM-2 lead tones for solos

David completely changed his sound for his 1984 solo album and throughout the late 1980's and early 1990's. This was period where David was working constantly, making guest guitarist appearances on dozens of other artist's recordings, including Pete Townshend, Bryan Ferry, Paul McCartney, Pete Cetera, Kate Bush, Supertamp, Warren Zevon, Arcadia, Rod Stewart, and Berlin. His sound remained somewhat consistent in this period, primarily created by the Boss HM-2 or Big Muff distortion blended with the slightly overdriven tone from certain amps. Here is a 14 minute medley of different solo tones from this period, many of which sound like extactly the same setup.

mp3Gilmour HM-2 / Big Muff Combo Solos from the mid 1980's - early 1990's.

David Gilmour's effects and amp rig from his 1984 tour, with Fender Twin Reverb II amplifiers, and Mesa/Boogie Mark I. Notice the Mark I in the April 1984 rehearsal photo on the left is labeled FUZZ. It was used as a fuzz pedal in the signal chain.

David Gilmour In Concert video from the Hammersmith Odeon in London, April 1984

The gear David used on his About Face album and tour in 1984 seems to be the same setup - Fender Twins, a Mesa Boogie 60w head, and Boss pedals. The Boss HM-2 and Mesa/Boogie are key to the tones of this era, although David was also still using a Rams Head Big Muff. He had been using the Mesa/Boogie as an overdrive since 1978. For this album he ran the HM-2 into a Mesa head, probably a Mark I or early Mark II, for a blend of the two tones. This combo was used for most of the heavy distortion lead sound for his solos. Gilmour described this exact setup in the November 1984 issue of Guitar World.

"At the moment the sound that I'm using a lot of the time is going through a Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal to a Boogie amplifier (set as an overdrive) to a DDL and then on into a regular Fender amplifier." "I have two new 100 watt Fender Twin Reverb Heads running to two 4x12 cabinets each - two WEM cabinets with fane Crescendo speakers and two Marshall cabinets with Celestions." "I use a DDL on it - a little bit - most of the time, because I find it stops the fuzz box from from sounding like a fuzz box. It smoothes off the unpleasant, raw frequencies that you get from the fuzz box. Then you get a nice sort of sound. That's what the Boogie does as well."

A boss chorus was also essential to these tones. David used variations on this setup for many of his guest appearances throughout the 1980's and early 1990's. Among those solos, David's guitar tones on Supertamp's 1985 song Brother Where You Bound and Pete Townshend's 1986 Deep End concert were amazing to me. It took a long time to figure out what David was using there, and the best combo I have come up with to exactly duplicate these tones (without the Mesa) is shown below - a blend of the HM-2 and a Big Muff Pi. Note that a Cornish Big Muff is shown (P-1), but any Ram's Head era Big Muff, or clone, should work. For amps, this setup works best with a Hiwatt DR103 or Reeves, but if you use a mid scooped Fender amp, like a Twin Reverb, it is best to use an EQ pedal to boost the mid range. A Strat equipped with EMG-SA pickups, with the SPC control set about mid way, is best for these tones, but it sounds good with standard Strat pickups as well.

This tone, especially the solos in Pete Townshend's Deep End concerts, is reminiscent of the tone from David's solo in the Pink Floyd song Biding My Time, recorded way back in 1969! The 1980's version of that sound varied throughout the '80's, only changing by the amount of delay and how much modulation was used. Sometimes the tone has more mid range, sometimes less. This is easily fine tuned with the Hi color knob of the HM-2. There are some solos from this period that sound like they are a different setup, such as the solo for Paul McCartney's No More Lonely Nights, I believe that is actually the same setup, only with an Electric Mistress instead of a chorus.

Most of the time David was using the bridge pickup with this setup, but occasionally he used the neck pickup on songs such as Deep in the Blues (with Les Paul), and the version of I Put A Spell On You he played with Mica Paris and Jools Holland in 1991. This setup sounds great with either pickup, but I suggest turning the guitar volume down slightly when using the neck pickup.

Here is one of my favorite HM-2 setups: Boss CS-2 compressor, Boss HM-2, P-1 with sustain dialed off, TC Nova delay at 540ms, ambient reverb delay from a Catalinbread Echorec, into a Fender Twin reverb in the left channel and Yamaha RA-200 rotary speaker cabinet in the right.

mp3Slow Blues - HM-2 / P-1 Combo into Fender Twin and Yamaha RA-200 rotary speaker cabinet

Delicate Sound of Thunder and Pulse live lead tone for solos

Below are sound clips and info on the primary pedals and gear needed to create the fuzz/distortion tones heard in solos from songs like On the Turning Away, Sorrow, and Comfortably Numb from the Pink Floyd live albums Delicate Sound of Thunder and Pulse. I have included a basic description of what each pedal does in the signal chain, and detailed information about David's huge rig used for Pink Floyd's Momentary Lapse of Reason tour. Some very detailed info about David's Pulse rig and gear can be found at The Tone from Heaven website.

THE MOMENTARY LAPSE OF REASON LEAD TONES - Determining what David actually used in these 1987 album tones can be a bit tricky, since David, his Backline tech Phil Taylor, engineer Andy Jackson, and author/researcher Richard Mahon all seem to contradict each other on the exact gear used. There is very little information about what David actually used in the studio for the MLOR sessions, but looking at the effects we know David used just prior to and just after MLOR, we can get an idea. He was still using the Boss HM-2 combined with a Mesa/Boogie amp head (used an overdrive) for his lead distortion sound, along with the Boss GE-7 equalizers, a Boss compressor, a chorus and delay. This gear was also used in 1984 for David's About Face album and tour. The guitars he was using, a Strat and Steinberger, were both equipped with EMG-SA pickups, so the SPC EQ control of the EMG pickups control is likely part of that tone. David and producer Bob Ezrin have stated he used a Fender Super Champ and a Gallien Kruger ML250 amp in the studio for most of the tracks. The one song we have definite (but contradictory) studio gear info about is Sorrow, so I use that as the basis of the album setups, and my ears.

Author Richard Mahon detailed the rig on his Spare Bricks website, with info from engineer Andy Jackson. He refers to the Sorrow intro here, but Jackson also said this was the main setup for the whole album:

"The guitar signal was split by a stereo volume pedal into two delay pedals. The volume pedal also ran between the pre-amp and power amp of the first feed--into a Gallien-Krueger 250ML amplifier. The second feed was sent to a Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal pedal into a Boss GE-7 graphic equalizer then into a Fender Super Champ amplifier. The main guitar track of "Sorrow" was recorded this way. This was the basic setup for most of the album. The (Sorrow) intro was a Steinberger plugged into a Big Muff then a Fender Concert amp. Gilmour took the tapes and ran the intro through a loudspeaker setup at the Los Angeles Sports Arena."

Phil Taylor, David's backline tech, remembers slightly differently in his Black Strat book:

"David recorded the guitar parts and solo from Sorrow from A Momentary lapse of Reason on it (Steinberger with EMG-SA's), playing through a Big Muff distortion pedal, MXR delay, Gallien Kruger ML250, and Fender Super Champ amplifiers."

David himself actually stated the setup back in 1988, just a year after recording it, so it was still fresh in his memory. He is talking about the Sorrow intro here:

"That very nasty distortion you hear at the beginning of the song is basically the result of the Steinberger going through two little amps in the studio - a Fender Super Champ and a Gallien-Krueger. I use a Boss Heavy Metal distortion pedal (HM-2) and a Boss digital delay pedal (Boss DD-2), which then goes into the Fender Super Champ. And that in combination with the internal distortion on the Gallien-Krueger was how I got that particular sound."

So Richard and Phil both say the Sorrow intro was a Big Muff into a Fender amp, but David says it was the two amp setup of the HM-2 into the Champ, and Gallien Krueger distortion. All we can get from that is that both pedals and both amps were used in the album sessions, but I happen to think the HM-2 was used for most of the lead solos on that record, including the On the Turning Away solo, as that is what it sounds like to my ears, but that dirty Gallien Kruger amp distortion is also part of that tone. This is simply another one of David's blended, two-amp setups. If you listen to some of the solos on About Face, including Let's Get Metaphysical, and compare it to the OTTA solo, you will hear the same basic tone.

A detailed setup and sound clips for the On the Turning Away solo can be found on this page.

mp3On the Turning Away solo - Here is one of my early attempts at the studio version of this solo tone using only the HM-2 for distortion. It is a poor replication of that tone, not quite as smooth, and missing the GK amp distortion element that makes up half this sound. Strat with EMG-SA pickups (SPC control on 4-5), Boss CS-2 compressor, Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal, Big Muff, Boss GE-7 equalizer (set for mids boost), TC Nova delay, Boss CE-2 chorus, into a clean Fender Twin Reverb.

THE DELICATE SOUND OF THUNDER LEAD TONES - The one Gilmour lead solo sound I really desired to replicate is the one heard in the 1987-1988 tour and on Pink Floyd's Delicate Sound of Thunder release, recorded in August 1988 at the Nassau Coliseum in New York. Here is a 22 minute selection of solos from DSOT and other concerts from the 1987-88 tour featuring this lead tone.

mp3Gilmour Solos from the MLOR Pink Floyd tour 1987 - 1988

Here is a selection of solos from the November 1, 1987 show in Miami, Florida, where you can hear the lead solo distortion tone is essentailly the same setup for each song.

mp3Gilmour Solos from November 1st, 1987 Pink Floyd concert

I actually prefer all these live 1987-1988 lead solo tones much more than the MLOR studio recordings. The lead tones heard on Sorrow, On the Turning Away, and Comfortably Numb from DSOT all sound like the exact same setup to me, and slightly different than earlier in the tour. For the live sound, David basically used the same gear as on his About Face album and tour in 1984, and the Boss HM-2 is key to that tone. The 1987 Bob Bradshaw signal chain drawings for the MLOR tour rig indicate David ran the HM-2 into a Mesa Boogie Mark III amp head, which was used as an overdrive in David's signal chain. This was the same combo David had been using since 1984.

HM-2 > Mesa/Boogie overdrive > Delay -> Chroeus >Fender Twin. The chorus is an ESSENTIAL color to this tone. Here is all the gear used in the 1987 live rig:

1987 rig 1987 rig

David Gilmour's custom Bob Bradshaw rig from August 1987: Strats loaded with EMG-SA pickups. Pedal board (pictured above, top row) Boss CS-2 compressor > Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal > TC Electronic Booster+Distortion > Electro-Harmonix Big Muff > (bottom row) Boss GE-7 equalizers (one for each effect)

David Gilmour's Mesa/Boogie Mark III amp head (probably a black stripe version). The Boss HM-2 was blended with the distortion channel of the Mesa for David's lead sound

Rack Effects and Amps: Mesa/Boogie Mark III amp head (used as an overdrive, placed in the pedal chain after HM-2) > rack mounted chorus (Yamaha SPX-90 II) and delay effects (TC Electronics TC-2290 Dynamic Digital Delay). The signal was split and fed into the clean channel of two Fender Twin Reverb II amp heads (for stereo), each amp head powering a pair of Marshal 4x12 cabinets (loaded with Celestion speakers) and WEM 4x12 speaker cabinets (loaded with Fane Crescendo speakers).

Below are David's actual pedal and EQ settings based on the August 1987 pedal board photo shown above and close ups seen in the First in Space back stage crew film from 1987. How you set the GE-7 equalizers depends entirely on the amp and speaker cabinets used, so David's exact settings may not work on your setup. I use the Boss CE-2 or Boss CE-5 for the lush chorus effect, in place of the SPX-90 II that David used. David himself switched to the CE-2 later in the tour.


THE DELICATE SOUND OF THUNDER RIG - By the time of the August 1988 shows when the Delicate Sound of Thunder concert film and live album was recorded at the Nassau Coliseum in New York, David had added more pedals and swapped the Fender Twins for Hiwatts with the preamps bypassed. A Fender Twin style preamp (the Alembic F2-B) was used instead to keep that warm Fender tone in the rig. The amps still sounded similar to the '87 leg of the tour, but were now essentially a combination of the Fender Twin preamp sound and the Hiwatt power amp sound, for the best of both worlds. The Mesa/Boogie mark III was removed and replaced with a rack mounted Mesa/Boogie Studio Preamp. The pedal board had also changed, as shown below. Still present were the HM-2, TC booster, Big Muff, and Boss EQ's. David also added the Cornish P-2, a Boss CE-2 chorus pedal, an extra CS-2 compressor (Thanks to John Roscoe and Bob Bradshaw for confirmation of signal chain).

Pink Floyd filmed and recorded concerts across five nights in August 1988 at Nassau Coliseum in New York. The Delicate Sound of Thunder album was assembled from those recordings and released in November 1988. Below is a selection of solos from Pink Floyd's August 20th date. This is a very good soundboard recording, so you are hearing the tone of David's guitar basically as it sounded coming out of his speaker cabinets, without additional mixing and processing as you hear on the DSOT album. This is more raw than DSOT, but more like what it actually sounded like. Other than diferent delays and modulation effects used for certain songs, the tone basically sounds like the same setup on every song.

mp3Gilmour Solos from August 20th, 1988 Pink Floyd concert - soundboard recording

mp3On the Turning Away - comparison of August 20th, 1988 Nassau soundboard recording (first) to Delicate Sound of Thunder album mix (second) from the same night

mp3Comfortably Numb - comparison of August 20th, 1988 Nassau soundboard recording (first) to Delicate Sound of Thunder album mix (second) from August 23rd

David Gilmour's modified August 1988 Bob Bradshaw/CAE rig
(left side top row) two Boss CS-2 compressors, Boss HM-2
(left side bottom row) three boss GE-7 equalizers.
(right side top row) TC Electronic Booster +Distortion, Electro harmonix Big Muff, Pete Cornish P-2 (modified Big Muff), Boss CE-2 chorus
(right side bottom row) three Boss GE-7 equalizers (one for each effect)

David Gilmour's rack mounted Mesa/Boogie 2 channel Studio Preamp. The design and layout is similar to the Mesa Mark III, with the same versatility and 5 band graphic EQ, with circuitry similar to the Mesa Mark IIC+. The clean channnel is basically a Fender Blackface Twin Reverb circuit. Since David was already using a Fender Twin style preamp (the Alembic F2-B), it is presumed he was not using the clean channel, but was using the distortion channel as an overdrive to blend with his distortion pedals, as he had done previosly with the Mark I and III.


MY DELICATE SOUND OF THUNDER SETUP - As noted above, David changed from using Fender Twins to using Hiwatts later in the MLOR tour when DSOT was recorded, but he had the Hiwatt preamp stages bypassed and used a Fender twin style premap instead (the Alembic F2-B) so it still had the warm, mid scooped Fender sound. The Mesa/Boogie Mark III amp or a Mesa/Boogie Studio Preamp (it is not clear when it was changed) was still used as an overdrive to blend with David's distortion pedals when Delicate Sound of Thunder was recorded, across several nights in August 1988. I get very close to the DSOT live lead solo tones just using the Boss HM-2 as the main distortion driver into a Ram's Head Big Muff with the sustain dialed almost off, through a Fender Twin Reverb or Hiwatt. The HM-2 distortion is an excellent driver into a Big Muff for DSOT tones, and this combo is a true blend of the characteristics of both pedals - the bright mid range squawk of the HM-2 distortion and the thunderous low end tone of the Big Muff. The H color knob on the HM-2, which one would assume raises or lowers the treble, is actually tied to the mid range EQ, so the unique mid range is always there. That is part of this pedals siganture tone, and what makes the DSOT lead tones instantly recognizable.

TWIN REVERB SETUP - shown in the illustration below. The HM-2 is the driver and the muff is the bottom end EQ in this combo, so the muff sustain needs to be set very low, around 8:00 - 9:00, so as not to make lows break up and fart out. I suggest starting at zero and dial up until the low E string notes start to break up, then back off slightly. The muff tone circuit is interactive with the sustain, so as you turn the sustain down, turn the tone up the same amount (treble side). I keep mine about 12:00, but adjust until it sounds right on your amp. The H knob on the HM-2, which controls the mid range characteristic, also needs to be adjusted to suit the amp. You may want to start with the Hi at 100%, then dial back until you get the proper mid range between 50% and 100%. I tend to leave it at 100%.

Having a compressor like a Dynacomp or an old Boss CS-2 on the front end helps with the clarity and harmonics. David always used a GE-7 in a loop with each effect pedal, to fine tune each effect for his amp/speaker setup. You do not really need the EQ pedal unless you think you need a slight mids boost. David's EQ settings are shown above. I rarely use an EQ pedal for this setup, but typically I use a gentle curve of the sliders on the GE-7, starting at zero on the ends, and curving up to just past the first notch in the middle, creating a slight mid range boost. That and the SPC mid range boost control of the EMG SA pickups give it that bright EQ. David used an SPX-90 II rack effect for his lush chorus sound early in the tour, but by 1988 he had switched to using two Boss CE-2 chorus pedals (for stereo). I use a Boss CE-2 or Boss CE-5 chorus.

HIWATT SETUP - This HM-2/Big Muff combo works perfect when running it into a clean, mid scooped Fender amp, like the Fender Twin Reverb, but using amps with more mid range, like the Hiwatt DR103 or Reeves, requires some slightly different settings, as shown below. I had some trouble getting a good sound using my Reeves Custom 50 for this tone, but adjusting the L color knob on the HM-2 and dialing the Big Muff tone knob slightly more into the bass side helps.

Below are soundclips using the Hiwatt setup shown above. These were played using an EMG-SA pickup equipped Stratocaster into Reeves Custom 50 (Hiwatt clone) with a 540ms delay from the TC Nova, and a lower volume ambient reverb type delay from the Catalinbread Echorec. A Ram's Head Big Muff is shown in the photo above, but I used a Pete Cornish P-1 (a modified Big Muff circuit with a buffer) in these recordings. The SPC control of the EMG Strat was set around 5. Note a standard Strat with standard pickups also sound perfectly fine with this setup.

mp3HM-2 / P-1 combo, compared to DSOT sound

mp3HM-2 / P-1 Combo into Reeves Custom 50, with and without backing track. Non BT sections are just the SM57 mics (one on each speaker)

mp3On The Turning Away Solo - HM-2 / P-1 Combo into Reeves Custom 50. Hall reverb added in garage Band to simulate the concert hall reverb of the DSOT live album version.


David's whole rig evolved quite a bit through the 1988 and 1989 tour. Bob Bradshaw/CAE assembled the original pedal board, rack effects, and switching system, but Pete Cornish was brought in to fix some problems and rebuild the switching system. The pedal board continued to change, but it still had the Boss distortion (an HM-2 later changed to a MZ-2), Big Muff (an EHX Ram's Head, then later a Pete Cornish P-2), TC booster, and Boss EQ's on board. David also added a second Boss CE-2 chorus pedal, another CS-2 compressor, a Tube Screamer, and a Rat with a GE-7 equalizer. The Mesa/Boogie Mark III had been replaced with a Mesa/Boogie Studio Preamp, probably in late 1988 or early 1989.

venice rig

David Gilmour's July 1989 rig from Pink Floyd's show in Venice
(left side top row) two Boss CS-2 compressors, Ibanez TS10 Tube Screamer
(left side bottom row) three boss GE-7 equalizers. These are likely set for these specific EQ settings - treble & bass, mids boost, and bass boost
(right side top row) TC Electronic Booster + Distortion, Pete Cornish P-2 (Big Muff), Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal (or possibly MZ-2), Boss CE-2 chorus
(right side bottom row) three Boss GE-7 equalizers (one for each effect), Boss CE-2 chorus

1989 rig

Closeup of another version of David's pedal board and rack setup, from late 1989, or 1990. Identical to the Venice board above, but a Rat and extra Boss GE-7 have been added. The HM-2 was replaced by the new MZ-2 Boss Digital Metalizer (according to Pete Cornish), and the Mesa Mark III amp was replaced with a rack mounted Mesa Studio Preamp
(left side top row) two Boss CS-2 compressors, Ibanez TS10 Tube Screamer, ProCo Rat
(left side bottom row) four boss GE-7 equalizers. The fourth is for the rat. The other three are likely set for these specific EQ settings - treble & bass, mids boost, and bass boost
(right side top row) TC Electronic Booster + Distortion, Boss MZ-2 Digital Metalizer, Pete Cornish P-2 (Big Muff), Boss CE-2 chorus
(right side bottom row) three Boss GE-7 equalizers (one for each effect), Boss CE-2 chorus


THE PULSE LEAD TONES - David's live tones for the Pink Floyd 1994 Division Bell tour were very similar to his MLOR/DSOT tones, although not as good in my opinion. Some very detailed info about David's massive Pulse rig and gear can be found at The Tone from Heaven website. Photos of the rack and pedals are shown below, with David's actual settings (notice the tick marks). The TC Booster and Mesa/Boogie were taken out of the setup and most of the lead solo tones were from the Tube Driver / Russian (Civil War) Big Muff combo.

mp3Comfortably Numb - comparison of the September 13, 1994 Torino, Italy television broadcast live mix sound to the Pulse album mix, recorded October 20th 1994.

1994 pedals

(left to right) David Gilmour's 1994 Division Bell tour rig - Originating as the custom Bob Bradshaw/CAE effects rig built for Pink Floyd's MLOR tour, the Division Bell rig includes a Phil Taylor pedals-to-rack rack setup, a pedalboard of David's selected effects, with Pete Cornish power supply and buffer modifications, all controlled by a Bob Bradshaw midi floor pedalboard with a Pete Cornish switching system. Note the blue tick marks by the knobs in these enhanced photos, indicating Gilmour's actual settings. The tick marks are to ensure the pedal settings are the same from show to show. Gilmour has similar marks on his 2006 all-tube Pete Cornish board.

1994 rig 1994 rig

 

TONE BUILDING WITH EMG SA ACTIVE PICKUPS - Here are some basic late 1980s through mid 1990s Gilmour tones using some of the same pedals and pickups David used. Fender Deluxe Stratocaster with EMG DG-20 SA active pickups, exactly the same pickups used in David's red strats from the mid 1980s through the 1990s. Used on the Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell tours, as captured on the Delicate Sound of Thunder and Pulse CDs. All clips are played with a Fender Stratocaster through a clean, loud Fender Twin Reverb. There is an article and sound clips illustrating the difference between EMG SA pickup and vintage style Strat pickups HERE.

Pedals used, listed in chain order - Guitar > Boss CS-2 compressor > B.K. Butler Tube Driver > Red Army Overdrive (early Sovtek Big Muff, same as Civil War Muff) or V2 Ram's Head Big Muff > Boss GE-7 equalizer > Boss CE-2 or CE-5 chorus > TC Electronic Nova delay > Amp

mp3Tone Build Example #1 - EMG DG-20 bridge pickup with pedal settings shown above. Playing Pink Floyd's Time solo, similar to The Delicate Sound of Thunder tone with a Ram's Head Big Muff and mids boost from a Boss GE-7. I turn each pedal on in sequence to hear what each contributes to the tone. Note that each pedal adds minimally to the tone, but when combined they complete the sound. Also note that the tone still works just as well without the Tube Driver and compressor, but with less drive to the Muff sustain should be increased. The primary pedals are the Muff, EQ, chorus, and delay.

mp3Tone Build Example #2 - EMG DG-20 bridge pickup with pedal settings shown above. Playing Pink Floyd's Time solo, similar to Pulse tone with a Civil War Big Muff and mids boost from a GE-7. I turn each pedal on in sequence to hear what each contributes to the tone. Either the Tube Driver or compressor could be removed from this chain without drastically affecting the tone, though there would be less drive.

mp3Tone Build Example #3 - Same as above, but playing Pink Floyd's On the Turning Away solo.

mp3Tone build example #4 - On the Turning Away - FULL SOLO. Here is the whole solo with the setup above, EMG DG-20 Strat, a cranked Fender Twin Reverb, and a backing track.

settings

mp3Tone Build Example #4 - EMG DG-20 bridge pickup solos tones with pedal settings shown above. GE-7 set for treble and bass boost. I turn each pedal on in sequence to hear what each contributes to the tone.

settings

mp3Tone Build Example #5 - EMG DG-20 bridge pickup with pedal settings shown above. Playing Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb solo. GE-7 set for treble and bass boost. I turn each pedal on in sequence to hear what each contributes to the tone.


...... ....... Mistress Mystery Page


SORROW INTRO TONE - The intro to Sorrow is one of my favorite tones. I Prefer the live versions of Sorrow from Delicate sound of Thunder and Pulse to the studio version. The intro tone is monstrous and alive with feedback. An integral component to the unique feedback sound is the EMG DG-20 bridge pickup with the SPC control on 10, but single coil pickups can also be used. The tone is definitely generated by a Big Muff with the sustain full on. David had a Ram's Head Big Muff, a Civil War Russian Big Muff, and a Pete Cornish P-2 Muff on his boards for these tours. The Delicate sound of Thunder version is the Ram's Head Big Muff and I believe the Pulse version is the P-2 because it has more gain than a Civil War Muff, though the Civil War Big Muff patch on David's pedalboard can be seen on is some of the filmed performances of this song. There is also a Boss CE-2 chorus being used, a long delay, a Tube Driver set to boost the Muff, and a compressor being used to increase the gain and sustain. The sustained feedback is enhanced and fed by David's very loud tube amplifier. It is tricky to get just the right feedback to make this sound work, but the key is to load the gain and sustain with a compressor or Tube Driver to drive the Muff and, most importantly, amp VOLUME. Too much feedback and you have an overloaded mess, and too little you have to wait for the feedback. I have found the guitar needs to be a certain distance from my amp to get the feedback to come when I need it, and standing with the guitar in relation to the amp in different ways produces different types of feedback. You will find the Muff with sustain maxed will be very noisy with both a Tube Driver and a compressor running, but you won't hear the noise it when playing, and the notes are almost constant with few quiet parts.

mp3Sorrow Tone Build - EMG DG20 bridge pickup with pedal settings shown above. GE-7 set for treble and bass boost. I turn each pedal on in sequence to hear what each contributes to the tone. This one needs to be loud to get the feedback, and I turn the SPC control on my EMG strat wide open

mp3Sorrow Intro with Ram's Head Big Muff - Big Muff, Boss CS-2 compressor, Tube Driver set for light boost, Boss CE-5 chorus, and TC Nova delay set at 540 ms. EMG DG-20 Strat into a very loud Fender Twin Reverb.

mp3Sorrow Intro with Cornish P-2 - P-2, Boss CS-2 compressor, Tube Driver set for light boost, Boss CE-5 chorus, and TC Nova delay set at 540 ms. EMG DG-20 Strat into a very loud Fender Twin Reverb.

DAVID'S SPC and EXG SETTINGS - See this page for for photos and settings from various songs for David's EMG controls, specifically the SPC control on his EMG fitted Strats.

PULSE TONE DEMOS BY FRÉDÉRIC PEYNET - Here are some excellent Pulse tone examples using an EMG Strat and a Koch Studiotone amplifier by Frédérick Peynet (Deck from the Gilmour Gear Forum). Frédérick is among the best at capturing these tones with his gear and playing.

mp3Pulse Tone Demo Clips - clips play in this order -What Do You Want From Me, On the Turning Away, Poles Apart, Sorrow

Gear used and EMG settings
What Do You Want from Me : EMG Stratocaster > Demeter Compulator > Cornish G-2 > Boss CE-2 > T-Rex Replica > Koch Studiotone amp. EXG-2 SPC-6 Neck pickup
On the Turning Away: EMG Stratocaster > Demeter Compulator > Cornish P-2 > Tube Driver > CE-2 > Replica > Koch Studiotone amp. EXG-2 SPC-6-7 Bridge pickup
Poles Apart: EMG Stratocaster > Demeter Compulator > Cornish SS-2 > CE-2 - Replica > Koch Studiotone amp. EXG-5 SPC-10 Neck pickup
Sorrow: EMG Stratocaster > Cornish P-2 > Cornish SS-2 > CE-2 > Replica > Koch Studiotone amp. EXG-2-3 SPC-10 Bridge pickup

PULSE BIG MUFF COMPARISONS - David used three Big Muffs in his Division Bell rig - the "Ram's Head" Big Muff, Pete Cornish P-2 Muff, and "Civil War" Sovtek Big Muff. The Ram's Head has a deep, dark tone with the mids "scooped" out. It has a wilder, more out of control feel, and a huge thundery sound. The P-2 is a more refined Big Muff with added mids (less scooped), and more controlled, uniform, and smooth tone, yet still retains the high gain of the Ram's Head. The Civil War Big Muff has a very smooth tone with slightly less gain than the other two, and more bottom end. Below are comparison clips using a Strat fitted with EMG DG-20 pickups (EXG off, and SPC on 5) and a Fender Twin Reverb.

mp3Muff Comparison Clip - In this order: Ram's Head Big Muff, P-2, Civil War Muff

mp3Comparison Clip - Leads. In this order: Ram's Head Big Muff and P-2 playing leads.

mp3Comparison Clip - Chords/Rhythm. In this order: Ram's Head Big Muff and P-2 playing rhythm/chords.

TONE BUILDING WITH VINTAGE STYLE SINGLE COIL PICKUPS - When I use vintage style pickups I can get a very similar sound to the SPC control in the EMG SA active pickups in David's red strats used on the Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell tours by adding a Boss GE-7 equalizer set for a slight mids boost. Depending on how the mids are voiced in your amp and the mids in the pedals used, you may want to add a mid boost to create this tone, or in some cases it is better to remove some of the mids from the tone and bring up the bottom end with an EQ.

MIDS BOOST - Below is a typical mid boost setting on the BOSS GE-7 to mimic the mid boost sound David used in the mid to late 1980's and early 1990's, when he used EMG SA pickups with the SPC control set at about 50%.

MIDS CUT - In this example I am actually cutting the mids back to get a darker tone. Clips with Fender American Std Stratocaster with Seymour Duncan SSL-5 bridge pickup, which is a replica of the custom wound SSL-1 pickup in David's Black Strat. All clips are played with a Fender Stratocaster through a clean, loud Fender Twin Reverb.

settings

Pedals used, listed in chain order - Guitar > Boss CS-2 compressor > Red Army Overdrive (early Sovtek Big Muff, same as Civil War Muff) > B.K. Butler Tube Driver > Boss GE-7 equalizer (pictured with mids scooped rather than boosted) > Boss CE-2 chorus > TC Electronic Nova delay > Amp

mp3Tone Build Example #4 - Solo tone example with vintage style bridge pickup. Mids reduced (scooped) and bottom end raised with a soft V shaped on the GE-7. I turn each pedal on in sequence to hear what each contributes to the tone.

mp3Tone Build Example #5 - Chords example with vintage style bridge pickup. I turn each pedal on in sequence to hear what each contributes to the tone.

On an Island live lead tones for solos

In 2006 David Gilmour's third solo album, On an Island, gave us some new guitar tones and some incredible guitar solos. David's live performances during the OAI tour, featured in the Remember That Night DVD and the Live In Gdansk CD and DVD, were stellar and showcase his playing in top form. I like the tones from the tour better than what I hear on the studio recording for On and Island, though the studio recording features some very interesting work. Overall, David's solos were very unmodulated this time around. This was a stark contrast to much of his previous work which featured chorus, flanger, vibe, and other modulations. David's trademark wet delayed sound was still present. The album had a more of an acoustic feel than previous work, but there were still plenty of overdrive and distortion guitar solo tones, especially on the subsequent tour. The Pete Cornish G-2 seems to have been the feature pedal for most of David's guitar solos, and David's trusty B.K. Butler Tube Driver was the primary overdrive pedal. The Cornish P-1, which is a high quality Ram's Head Big Muff circuit, was also used for some solos.

See my page of sound clips and gear I use for getting the On and Island studio and live lead tones HERE.

Big Muffs, Tube Drivers, and Cornish Pedals - What are the differences in tone?

Below are sound clips of some of the pedals David Gilmour gear has used for his lead fuzz/distortion solo tones from the Animals era to today: Ram's Head and Civil War Big Muffs, the BK Butler Tube Driver, and the Pete Cornish G-2 and P-2. This section is designed to illustrate what the differences are so it can be determined which effect was used on which song. Descriptions of each pedal are in this section.

BK BUTLER TUBE DRIVER, RAM'S HEAD BIG MUFF, CORNISH G-2 - Clips play in that order. The Tube Driver drive is set to max to get it into distorted overdrive territory. The Ram's Head is pure vintage Big Muff tone, and the G-2 brings a tone that is sort of in between the two. Strat with SSL-5 bridge pickup and CS'69 neck pickup into a Fender Twin Reverb.

mp3Lead tones

mp3Chords and rhythm

RAM'S HEAD BIG MUFF and CORNISH P-2 - The Ram's Head is a darker and grittier tone with the mids scooped out of the tone by the circuit, perfect for David's late 1970's tone through the 1980s. The P-2 is a much smoother and brighter tone with more mids, good for David's late 1980's though 1990s tones. Strat with EMG-DG20 pickups into a Fender Twin Reverb.

mp3Leads. Clips in this order: Ram's Head Big Muff then P-2

mp3Chords/Rhythm. Clips in this order: Ram's Head Big Muff then P-2

RAM'S HEAD BIG MUFF, CORNISH P-2, and CIVIL WAR SOVTEK BIG MUFF - Same pedals as above but adding the "Civil War" Sovtek pedal. It is darker sounding like the Ram's Head, but with more bottom end, and more mids, but not as much as the P-2. Strat with EMG-DG20 pickups into a Fender Twin Reverb.

mp3Comparison Clip - Clips in this order: Ram's Head Big Muff, P-2, then Civil War Muff

Cornish Gilmour Pedlas

PETE CORNISH PEDAL COMPARISONS - Here are clips comparing the P-1, P-2, and G-2, using the settings shown above. Strat with SSL-5 bridge pickup and CS'69 neck pickup into a Fender Twin Reverb. The P-1 has been used on The original Wall tour and the On an Island tour. The G-2 was used for the On an Island studio recording and tour. The P-2 was in David's touring board for the second half of the Momentary Lapse of reason tour, likely as a backup for David's "Civil War" Big Muff, which was his primary distortion pedal. Read my reviews of these three pedals here.

mp3Gilmour Licks - P1, P2, G2. Bridge pickup, then neck pickup at end

mp3More Gilmour Licks - P1, P2, G2. Bridge pickup.

mp3Chords - P1, P2, G2. Bridge pickup.

mp3Tone Pot Sweep - P1, P2, G2. Bridge pickup.

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