‘I told Phil that I wasn’t interested. It seems a daft idea to me, writing a book about an ordinary guitar that I bought at Manny’s.’ Thus spoke David Gilmour over ten years ago about this excellent book, now in its fourth edition, lovingly put together by Phil Taylor, his personal guitar technician and studio manager. It’s a weighty, A4 sized tome, printed on thick, top quality paper, with a fantastic array of superbly detailed photographs of the instrument, and a clear narrative following the journey of the guitar through the years. The book briefly touches on some of Gilmour’s many other guitars, but the main focus is of course on the iconic black Fender Stratocaster, which over the years became virtually synonymous with the music and sound of both Pink Floyd and his solo work. Staring life as a humble 1968-69 Strat with black painted over the original sunburst finish, it has been subject to many modifications over the years, and the level of detail provided on these changes is in depth to say the least, covering all the numerous mods made (and sometimes reversed), each individual one being lovingly documented and clearly illustrated and explained. There are wiring diagrams, information on the type of strings used and the different necks and pick-ups that were fitted as requirements and personal preferences changed over its four decades of use. There’s even a spec sheet showing the precise detail of the instrument’s set up in case you want to try and replicate that unique and iconic sound yourself. There’s also lots of other fascinating background information, for example I hadn’t realised that for ten years, having fallen out of favour, the guitar was simply an exhibit in various Hard Rock Cafés in the US, before its time inevitably came round once again. The book gives a fascinating insight into the history of not just the guitar, but of one of the most successful rock bands of all time. The writing, the graphics and the archive photos are a credit to the author, for whom this has obviously been a long term labour of love, and it’s certainly no dry technical manual written solely for guitar nerds either – even if you can’t play a single note, you will find this a fascinating read. Put this one on your Christmas list – you won’t regret it!
Length of Read:Medium
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Pink Floyd, guitars.
One thing you’ve learned
In June 2019, the instrument was sold at Christies, raising almost $4 million for charity, but wouldn’t it be a shame if it was never played again and just became an artefact to admire on a wall somewhere.