David Gilmour Sound Part 3/4: DISTORTIONS & MODULATIONS | MusicOff

Uploaded by MusicOffCommunity on 23.02.2011

One of the most famous Gilmour's distortion unit, thanks to the album "On an island",
it's the G-2, made by Pete Cornish
Gilmour used the G-2 on the whole "Island" record, combined with a compressor
such as the Demeter Compulator.
Usually talking about David Gilmour, we need to talk about heavy distortions.
The Cornish G-2 it's a Muff inspired pedal
but it's a little less distorted than the Muff
and it's a mix of the Cornish SS2, Soft Sustain, and the Cornish P2
The P2 it's a slightly modified Muff remake.
The Cornish G-2 it's much closer to the sound of a Proco Rat than the Muff sound
The Proco Rat it's another distortion unit that Gilmour used especially during the late 80's
Gilmour's Big Muff, has always been the 1973 EHX Ram's Head version
but we can easily find many other good sounding muff versions.
like the Cornish P2, even if it's a very expensive unit,
or the Civil War Big Muff, made by Electro Harmonix during the Sovtek era.
The name "Civil War" comes from the box' colors that recalls the American Civil War
Grey for the Confederate States Army, and Blue for the United States Army.
I'd like to show you some of the Gilmour's heaviest tones
because, even at high gain levels, the sound maintains its expressivity,
and also its definition, two of the trademarks of Gilmour's sound.
Expressive and defined tones, had been the key for Gilmour's touch to be always recognizable.
That's the 1973 Ram's Head Big Muff.
Has you heard, you can get a very big sounding tone even with single coil pickups,
and this particular set it's a very light sounding one
This set it's not an high output one, and that's a trick to get a very good sounding Strat.
You don't need a big signal from the pickups, but you need it from the effects, and then to the amp.
And Gilmour knows that very well.
A basic trick of Gilmour's Big Muff sound
it's to boost the Muff with an Overdrive pedal.
Boosting the Muff, Gilmour carves the input frequencies
to get a light distortion from the Od and a higher one from the Big Muff.
The Overdrive pedal commands the Eq, the Od it's set with a high output level
and the Big Muff makes the distortion.
What you've heard before, was the Big Muff with the Od. Now let's try it without the Od.
Compared to the boosted Muff, it has a clear lack of bass frequencies
The Overdrive pedal gives definition and presence to the Muff sound.
Let's hear again the difference between the two sounds. First without the Od.
This kind od setup, allowed Gilmour to cut the mix of the band, without carving the mids.
Solo sounds always needs the right amount of middle frequencies to properly cut the mix.
The Big Muff and the Tube Driver are Gilmour's main units for distorted tones.
Unfortunately we don't have enough time to spend for each pedals.
But, after years of tryouts, I can give you some advices to reach Gilmour's sound more easily.
Combined with the muff, Gilmour used a lot of pedals, but the Ibanez Ts10 it's the most famous.
He also used a Cornish Ss3 or a Chandler Tube Driver.
The Tube Driver it's very noisy, and with the Big Muff can provide too much unwanted noise.
It's a common mistake on the web to say that Gilmour used the Tube Driver after the Muff
after a several tryouts, I can quite certainly say, that's not true.
But you can always try at your own ears' risk!
Modulation are another important part of Gilmour's rig.
Modulations always served the song, and Gilmour used them to recreate a mood...
Psychedelic moods in his first years of career, and more rock/pop in his more recent years.
I'm gonna show you two kinds of modulation Gilmour used to change the pitch of the note.
Here's the Uni-Vibe, used for many different parts of the album "The dark side of the moon".
You can hear the Uni-Vibe in many others famous song like "Us and them"
Now I'm gonna show you the Boss Ce-2, that Gilmour use since the early 80's.
The Boss Ce-2 produce a light effect on the sound
The Ce-2 warm sound comes from its middle frequencies
We must remember that Gilmour has always looked for the "magic" behind the sound.
Another famous modulation unit used by Gilmour, it's the Ehx Electric Mistress
In this moment I don't have a Mistress here, but I have a very similar pedal, it's a chorus/flanger...
That's a perfect example to understand what "effects serving the song" means...
We can understand the importance of the effects by removing them while we're playing...
The right mood it's what Gilmour wants from an effect
If we want to make a list of the modulations we need to re-create Gilmour's sound, we have:
A Uni-Vibe or a good sounding vibe unit...
a phaser, an MXR Phase 90 or an EHX Small Stone, they're both goodÉ
a chorus unit, the Boss Ce-2 it's always the best choice...
and a flanger pedal, better if it's a 70's EHX Electric Mistress
During the 70's effects pedals were made in a different way, not necessarily better, but different.