David Gilmour is undoubtedly one of the most influential guitarists of all time. Technically gifted and intensely cerebral, his type of shredding diverged from the ‘classic rock’ norm that was primarily concerned with how many notes you could physically fit into a bar.
More restrained than many of his contemporaries, Gilmour can best be described as the guitarist of the 1970s. Whilst he released music with Pink Floyd in the late ’60s, it was in the following decade where he truly began to shine. Not only did he take it up a few levels with his guitar work, but it seemed as if his artistry, in general, was taken up to a stratospheric notch during the ’70s. A vital cog in Pink Floyd’s wheel, without him, they would not have been the same band during this most celebrated period.
Whilst a lot can be said for Gilmour and the band’s work after the ’70s and a lot of it not so positive, the moments he gave us during this decade will likely live on forever. If we note just a few examples, this point becomes obvious. Whether it be on ‘Echoes’, ‘Money’, ‘Wish You Were Here’ or even ‘Dogs’, as Pink Floyd’s axeman, Gilmour created a prog-rock world all of his own. In the years following, many have attempted to copy his style, and these same people have failed miserably.
Coming from the same camp of guitarists such as Peter Green and B.B. King, those who placed emotion at the forefront rather than technical peacocking, Gilmour perfectly augmented the profoundly introspective and self-aware style of Pink Floyd in their heyday. It would seem almost crass for the band to have had a guitarist that played any other way.
In addition to the moments we discussed above, it was on the band’s 1979 rock opera The Wall in which you could argue that Gilmour truly peaked. Regardless of the interpersonal strife that the band was suffering at the time, and the departure of keyboardist Richard Wright after fraught recording sessions, the album saw a now matured Pink Floyd really hit their thematic and musical zenith.
Although it is now a tad dated, there are many brilliant flashes on the album that will endure ad infinitum. In terms of Gilmour’s guitar work, ‘Comfortably Numb’ is without a doubt the highlight, but then you’ve also got tracks such as ‘Run Like Hell’ and ‘Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2’.
The latter is undoubtedly the band’s most iconic piece of work, owing to its semi-anthemic earworm of a chorus. The song is loved by many, even those who usually would not be fans of the band’s dense prog soundscapes. Furthermore, Gilmour’s work on the track is incredible.
Tactful and versatile, it has long been a mainstay of budding guitarists wanting to emulate their heroes. Now, an isolated guitar track of Gilmour’s solo has come to light, giving his fans an even better chance of understanding how David Gilmour, the guitarist, operates.
Featuring his emotive string bends, blues scales, funky rhythms and ample amounts of palm muting, this isolated track paints a vivid sonic picture of Gilmour’s character. Within it, there are flecks of Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Hazel and B.B. King. A candid insight into Gilmour’s playing, it’s always worth a listen.
Listen to David Gilmour’s isolated guitar for ‘Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2’ below.