The David Gilmour Signature Strat comes with a custom Fender guitar case, an Evidence high-end guitar cable, Gilmour’s three-disc Live in Gdansk CD/DVD set, and Phil Taylor’s 2007 book about the guitar’s history, The Black Strat.Elusive. That is one word to describe the legendary tone of David Gilmour. The right combination of gear, playing style, and era produced one of the most sought after guitar tones in rock history. So how do we Gilmour’s Rig 1994get the Gilmour tone for ourselves? Besides owning the exact gear and channeling the spirit of his amazing fingers (tough to do since he’s still alive) there are plenty of options out there but who’s got an extra house to mortgage these days.
Many companies capitalize on the Gilmour name with signature gear, claims of Gilmour-like sound and sustain and charge top-dollar for the products. What about the rest of us that don’t have the money for the Custom Shop David Gilmour Strat or the stadium in which to play the HiWatt 100 watt head and 4×12 cabinets David used. While a lot of us may have multiple axes, there are plenty of rockers out there who are one guitar/one amp people. How do they get the Gilmour tone? Well, we’re going to introduce some budget and size minded alternatives to David’s stage setup that will allow the working-class guitarist to put together a rig that will get close to that magic tone without having to take out a second mortgage.
We’ll start with the first link in the chain, the guitar. Gilmour is very well known for playing a Strat. There is the Fender Standard Stratocaster (Mexico) that is a perfect starting point. If you have a bit more and are looking for a more vintage feel, the Fender Classic Series Strats are more vintage-oriented with higher quality hardware. The Classic 50’s Stratocaster and Classic 60’s Stratocaster are both great starting EMG SA Stratocaster Setpoints. With either of these options, or if you already own a Strat or Strat-copy, the next step is pickups.
If you want quiet operation and a more modern Gilmour tone, the EMG DG-20 Pickguard is prewired and loaded with the SA single coils. It’s ready to drop in to any Strat. If you don’t want the entire pickguard, the EMG SA Stratocaster Set gives you just the pickups. These are the pickups David uses in his Red Strat. If you’re after the more classic Floyd sound, ala the Black Strat, try out some Seymour Duncan SSL-1 single coils or if those are too mellow, the SSL-5 is a bit hotter. If you have a bit more available cash, the Lindy Fralin Blues Special Strat Pickups are a great choice. A quick mod to do to any Strat is to have a push/pull pot or mini switch installed that turns on the neck pickup. This was a mod done to the Black Strat that allowed Gilmour to use the neck and bridge pickups together, similar to a Tele tone. This is a great Strat mod even if you aren’t a Gilmour fan.