David Gilmour is often, and rightly, regarded as one of the finest guitarists Britain has ever produced, and considering the company he rose up in, this is a serious title to take. The mercurial musician made his name on the extra-terrestrial skills he imbued Pink Floyd with and has never been shy about how much those skills were influenced by others, once claiming he learned simply by copying his icons. Now, however, guitarists the world over are copying his impressive licks.
The band’s cosmic swirl and solo-heavy core are often forgotten when demonstrating their talent. But, simply put, the Floyd would never have reached the heights they did without Gilmour. The guitarist may have been a late joiner of the band, but there’s no denying his impact when joining the group in 1968 and how he, along with Roger Waters, Rick Wright and Nick Mason, would change the face of music as we know it today.
Gilmour arrived as a guitarist and vocalist for the group shortly before Syd Barrett departed the band and has had a hand in shaping not only Pink Floyd but, in turn, the entire concept of rock and roll as we know it today. His performance, precision studio engineering, and unwavering and unstoppable pursuit of perfection have often seen him qualified as one of the hardest-working players around. Much of the work to cultivate a unique sound was done with his guitar, and below, he’s picked out his favourite guitar solos for the band.
Though Roger Waters and Gilmour’s songwriting should be admired, often, the songs’ performances really broke through the collective consciousness. To ask a songwriter to pick their favourite songs is akin to asking a parent which is their favourite child. However, that hasn’t stopped people endlessly pondering the question.
While we are sure of Gilmour’s favourite Pink Floyd songs, having provided the list in 2006, we haven’t always been sure of the guitar solos he has held close to his heart. But now, we’ve dug up an old interview with Guitar World that may have answered our question.
When confronted with the chance to pick out his favourite Pink Floyd guitar solos, he offered a few options: “Both solos on ‘Comfortably Numb’ are pretty good. Also, the solos on ‘Dogs’ from the Animals album I kept on because they’re different and slightly outside my usual scope.” He also noted: “I like what I did on the instrumental ‘Raise My Rent’ from the first solo album. That was sort of an excuse to go on a 12-bar blues.”
Picking out some of his favourite solos is one thing, but he also once shared his most spectacular moment with Pink Floyd, noting ‘Comfortably Numb’ as the pinnacle of his and the band’s live shows: “It was a fantastic moment, I can tell, to be standing up on there, and Roger’s just finished singing his thing, and I’m standing there, waiting,” remembers Gilmour.
“I’m in pitch darkness, and no one knows I’m there yet. And Roger’s down, and he finishes his line, I start mine, and the big back spots and everything go on, and the audience, they’re all looking straight ahead and down, and suddenly there’s all this light up there, and they all sort of—their heads all lift up, and there’s this thing up there, and the sound’s coming out and everything.
“Every night there’s this sort of ‘[gasp!]’ from about 15,000 people. And that’s quite something, let me tell you”.
So there you have it, David Gilmour’s favourite guitar solos for Pink Floyd are some of the finest moments on guitar ever heard or seen. Below, you can hear them all.
David Gilmour favourite Pink Floyd guitar solos:
- ‘Comfortably Numb’