Guitar Lesson 32: What can we learn from the style of David Gilmour?

 

In guitar lesson 32, Dan and I take a look at some general ideas which you can take from David Gilmour’s playing.  He plays with such meaning and purpose and the most incredible tone and yet what he plays is not usually technically too difficult.  Using a style backing track, Dan and I look at how Gilmour uses dynamics, phrasing, bending, vibrato and intelligent note choices deeply connected to the chords which he plays over.  We hope that this type of exploration, rather than note for note copying, will help you to actually be able to incorporate some of this in your own playing.

Unedited first improvisation:

Main timings

02:29 Initial thoughts about Gilmour’s playing style
10:16 Backing track jam 1 with lick trading and improvising from both Dan and I – This is the shortened version (go to our website to hear the whole thing
11:56 What can we notice from trying to play with Gilmour in mind?
17:09 Think in terms of notes rather than scales
27:25 Incorporating bass notes
28:48 2nd Backing track improvisation
33:00 Gilmour: Flangers, choruses, MXR Dynocomp, delays and reverbs for atmosphere, MGP SPC, powered pickups
43:53 Bending exercises
49:13 Theory on vibrato

Detailed timings:

00:33 INTRO
01:26 START
02:29 First thoughts from both of us considering what it is about Gilmour’s style that is so enthralling and popular
02:51  EXCERPT Shine on you Crazy Diamond
09:33 so what we’re gonna do is take a style backing track and improvise over it to see what Gilmourisms come out
10:16 Backing track jam 1 with lick trading and improvising from both Dan and I
11:56 What can we notice from trying to play with Gilmour in mind? Dynamics, space, bends, pentatonic patterns, swapping notes, positional playing, economical playing
13:56  EXCERPT Comfortably Numb
17:09 Players looking for things in the wrong places – think in terms of notes rather than scales
19:26 For example, play minor pentatonic over Blues but just include the major 6th
22:19 Connecting to chords by thinking about the notes, targetting and listening carefully to the chords you play over
22:28  EXCERPT Echoes
27:25 The rich, gutteral, growly, gritty bass notes and using them when others don’t so much
28:48 backing track again just after sorrow
30:52 Using the volume and tone pots to peel it back or let rip
31:19 RECAP: bass notes, volume and tone, listening, effects
33:00 Gilmour: Flangers, choruses, MXR Dynocomp, delays and reverbs for atmosphere, MGP SPC, powered pickups
34:11  EXCERPT Sorrow
37:23 He manipulates his sound with effects to take his bluesy style and make it more psychadelic, atmospheric and spacey
39:09 EXCERPT – Time
40:34 Any questions: I ask Dan about big slides and interpositional pentatonic playing, bending and vibrato
43:53 Bending exercise 1: Go up the major scale in bends using each string
45:56 Bending exercise 2: bend a whole tone then a semi-tone and back down the notes
47:03 Bending exercise 3: Pentatonic blues lick
49:13 Theory on vibrato a) after a bend vs b) from a static note – the string must return to the ‘zero’ point
51:37 Same problem as vibrato with tremolo bar systems – i.e. don’t hold onto the bar

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