Early in his career with Pink Floyd, Gilmour played a multitude of Fender Stratocasters. He recorded one of his guitar solos, for “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2”, in one take using no editing or mixing using a 1955 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top guitar equipped with P-90 pick-ups.
In 1996, Gilmour was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Pink Floyd. Gilmour’s solo on “Comfortably Numb” was voted as one of the greatest guitar solos of all time in several polls by listeners and critics.
Although mainly known for his guitar work, Gilmour is also a proficient multi-instrumentalist. He also played bass on a portion of Pink Floyd tracks, keyboards, synthesiser, banjo, lap steel, mandolin, harmonica, and drums on the Syd Barrett solo track “Dominoes”. He also plays the saxophone.
Many critics have been very favourable towards Gilmour and his style, music critic Alan di Perna has praised Gilmour’s guitar work as being an integral element of Pink Floyd’s sound.
Rolling Stone ranked him number 14 in their “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list and di Perna described him as the most important guitarist of the 70’s, Perna also referred to Gilmour as “the missing link between Hendrix and Van Halen.
” In a 2006 interview with Gilmour, he commented on his playing technique: “[My] fingers make a distinctive sound … [they] aren’t very fast, but I think I am instantly recognisable … The way I play melodies is connected to things like Hank Marvin and the Shadows”.
In 2006, a writer for Guitar World, Jimmy Brown, described Gilmour’s playing style as “characterised by simple, huge-sounding riffs; gutsy, well-paced solos; and rich, ambient chordal textures.” According to Brown, Gilmour’s solos on “Money”, “Time” and “Comfortably Numb” “cut through the mix like a laser beam through fog.” Brown described the “Time” solo as “a masterpiece of phrasing and motivic development …
Gilmour paces himself throughout and builds upon his initial idea by leaping into the upper register with gut-wrenching one-and-one-half-step ‘over bends’, soulful triplet arpeggios and a typically impeccable bar vibrato.”
Brown described Gilmour’s sense of phrasing as intuitive, singling it out as perhaps his best asset as a lead guitarist. Gilmour explained how he achieved his signature tone: “I usually use a fuzz box, a delay and a bright EQ setting … [to get] singing sustain … you need to play loud—at or near the feedback threshold. It’s just so much more fun to play … when bent notes slice right through you like a razor blade.”
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