Guitar In The 80's

David Gilmour of Pink Floyd
By Andy Aledort

As much as Roger Water's vocals and stinging lyrics, David Gilmour's guitar sound will always be the voice associated with Pink Floyd at its most classic. In the more than 17 years since Gilmour replaced Floyd's original leader and guitarist, Syd Barrett, who had suffered a nervous breakdown, he's ably filled the large hole Barrett left, especially as the range of the band's musical influences grew to include jazz, country/folk, acoustic and electric blues and forays into cacophonous synthesized electronic music, eastern raga-like drones, LSD-inspired soundscapes and the works of composer Bertold Brecht.

Although he contributed songwriting and shared lead vocals with Waters, it is for his guitar playing that Gilmour earned his reputation,havinf established an individual style inspired mainly by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix. He often blends straight blues lines with melodic concpts and themes, giving his piano playing a strenght and assertiveness. Let's begin with 1975's Wish You Were Here, and album thought of as a tribute to Syd Barrett and considered one of their greatest. "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" begins in free time with a Gm vamp. Gilmour adds slow, bluesly phrases which contain melodic motifs repeated in "Have A Cigar". See Staff . Notice that the chord changes are similar to a minor blues in Gm, a sound used frequently in Floyd. After the first verse, Gilmour addes a short instrumental break featuring overdubbed guitars with his classic Stratocaster sound. See Staff 2.