Originally part of the collection of Dire Straits bassist and founding member John Illsley, David Gilmour first picked up and played this guitar while guest recording in a neighboring studio to Dire Straits at London’s AIR Studios in September 1986, probably for Bryan Ferry’s seventh solo album Bête Noire. Gilmour afterwards contacted Gibson and acquired his first J-200 Celebrity in November 1987 (lot 67). In an interview with Guitar World magazine in May 2006, Gilmour recalled: I was in AIR Studios and that guitar was lying around. I tried it and liked it. I contacted Gibson and asked if they had any left, …they were looking in their storeroom and they found one that had somehow never reached its destination. And they let me have it.
Along with his trusty Martins, Gilmour’s first J-200, number 9 of 90, was used extensively during recording sessions for Pink Floyd’s 1994 album The Division Bell. When a second model was required for The 1994 Division Bell Tour, John Illsley kindly offered to sell his guitar, number 42 of 90, to Gilmour. Illsley had used the J-200 on stage for performances of So Far Away on Dire Straits’ On Every Street Tour from August 1991 to October 1992 in support of their sixth and final album On Every Street. Tuned to DADGAD, Gilmour played this guitar throughout The Division Bell Tour for performances of Poles Apart, the third track on The Division Bell. Co-written by Gilmour, Polly Samson and Nick Laird-Clowes, Poles Apart was revealed by Samson to be about founding members Syd [Barrett] in the first verse and Roger [Waters] in the second. Gilmour explained the unusual tuning in an interview with Guitar World magazine in September 1994: …I thought it was something new that I had invented. One day, I was on holiday in Greece and I had an acoustic guitar with me. I just decided to tune the bottom string down to D and continued to experiment until I arrived at that tuning. Then I mucked around a bit and "Poles Apart" fell out of it a few minutes later. Footage of Gilmour playing this guitar during the show at Earls Court, London on 20th October 1994 can be seen in the live concert video Pulse, released on VHS in 1995 and on DVD in 2006.