Picks His 12 Favorite Guitarists, But Only One Ranks At The Top

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With his evocative solos and playing prowess, David Gilmour is regarded as a leading figure among guitar virtuosos. The artist shows his dedication to the instrument via his work with Pink Floyd and his solo projects, but there are other musicians he admires and even tried to imitate at the start of his career.

For example, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Chuck Berry, George Harrison, Joni Mitchell, Hank Marvin, Pete Seeger, John Fahey, Roy Buchanan, Lead Belly, and Syd Barrett were all listed by Gilmour as some of his favorite musicians in various interviews over the years. Gilmour’s decision was easy, nevertheless, when asked to pick one guitarist over all others: Jeff Beck.

The founding member of Pink Floyd said in a video interview that he has constantly liked Beck for a very long time. When questioned about his preferred guitarist, Gilmour first replied:

“I have lots of favorite guitar players.”

He responded when further prodded to choose only one:

“Probably, the person who I have admired the longest and the most consistently is Jeff Beck in the guitar playing stakes, and a lovely guy.”

Gilmour did not stop there while discussing Beck. The late artist was hailed by Gilmour as the finest British guitarist of all time in a 2017 interview with Guitar Tricks Insider. He praised Beck’s lengthy career and creative approach, saying:

“For many people, musicians and fans alike, Jeff Beck is the greatest ever British guitarist. For more than 50 years, he has blazed an uncompromising trail across the musical landscape. Always an innovator, never a follower, Jeff has steadfastly refused to pander to the demands of the record industry.

This maverick attitude required some difficult career decisions; he left the Yardbirds at the height of their popularity, deserted his own group days before their billed appearance at Woodstock, and often shifted his attention to his other great passion of building hot rods rather than continuing a tour or returning to the studio.”

David Gilmour acknowledged to being unsatisfied with his playing in his early years and wanting to sound like his guitar idols, such as Hendrix, Clapton, or Beck, in a 2015 interview with Ultimate Guitar. But as time passed, his viewpoint changed, and he came to appreciate his own approach. The musician outlined:

“My sound is what it is because of the way my hands and fingers are made, and due to my musical taste as well. I can’t sound like anything else. I’ve never tried to make it like that, it’s just the way I am. The fact that it is distinctive to other people is something that at first – in the early years – I was kind of unhappy about.

I wanted to sound like other people. I had my moments of wanting to sound like Hendrix, or Eric Clapton, or Jeff Beck. Eventually, I got to like the way I sounded, and I think things got better from that moment – not just accepting it, but really liking what I sounded like because there was a time when I just didn’t like what I sounded like.”

In 2009, Gilmour appeared alongside Jeff Beck as a guest during a performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The duo opened the event with an extended rendition of “Jerusalem” and finished it with “Hi Ho Silver Lining.”

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