Learn to play guitar like David Gilmour in five minutes

Get to grips with Pink Floyd guitarist’s technique fundamentals in this five-minute lesson.

David Gilmour

Image: Larry Hulst / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

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David Gilmour is one of the most revered and imitated guitar players of all time for a reason. He’s a master of phrasing, with a knack for emotive bends that puts almost anyone else to shame.

He’s much more than that, of course, so in this quick lesson we’re going to dig into some funky rhythms, melodic phrasing and of course, those huge, eye-watering string bends. Grab your black Strat and let’s dive in!

David Gilmour style rhythm

5 minutes to playing like David Gilmour 1a

This is actually a two-part rhythm. The first part is an accented chord line with some muted notes that forms the main hook of the rhythm part. This is based around a Dmin chord with a B♭ and C at the end.

5 minutes to playing like David Gilmour 1b

The second part of the rhythm is a subtle, constant 8th note that underpins the chord progression. This whole line is palm muted and just keeps a nice pulse under the main riff.

Slinky Guitar Phrasing

5 minutes to playing like David Gilmour 2

David Gilmour is known for his effortless phrasing and ability to melodically move around the guitar neck. This Dmin pentatonic lick shows that thought process. Keep it loose and try to maintain an even pick attack throughout to keep it sounding like each note transitions into the next.

Rakes and huge string bends

5 minutes to playing like David Gilmour 3

This lick starts with a trademark Gilmour string rake into the first bend. To do this, rest your spare fretting hand fingers across the strings, drag the pick down the muted strings and release the mute before you hit the bend. The third bend is the one to watch out for, this is the iconic two-tone Gilmour bend. You’re bending that 13th fret note up two whole steps to the 17th fret.

Funky lead lines

5 minutes to playing like David Gilmour 4

This funky lead line is a straight 16th lick that switches between muted notes and fretted notes. This is a great way to break up those slinky blues lines with something a little more rhythmic.

About the Author

Leigh Fuge is a guitar teacher and professional musician from Swansea in the UK. He has taught hundreds of students face to face and via the musicteacher.com platform. He has over 10 years’ experience working in the industry as a touring musician, session guitarist and teacher. Musicteacher.com has a network of teachers based all around the UK. Check out the website today and find your local tutor.

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