After David Gilmour successfully trialed a Steinberger GL 3T in October 1986, Steinberger custom-made this guitar to his specification, equipped with EMG SA pickups, in late 1986. The guitar was further modified with a custom front to accommodate a five-way pickup selector switch and a recessed toggle switch which activated an EMG SPC presence tone circuit.
Gilmour took receipt of the guitar during initial recording sessions for Pink Floyd’s 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason, which took place on Gilmour’s newly appointed Astoria houseboat studio between November 1986 and February 1987. Playing around with the Steinberger in the studio, Gilmour came up with the music for Sorrow, the final track on the album, telling Guitar World magazine in July 1988: I wrote the lyrics for that song first. I sat at home one night ... I was kind of hoping the music would come out of the air and the song would magically write itself. But it didn't. But I did write all the lyrics that night and the next day I went into the studio, plugged in the Steinberger and that was what came out. I had no particular plan. I had just gotten the Steinberger and hadn't really played it all that much at that point. But I rather liked the sound it makes naturally. And then the combination of bending up with the wang-bar on whole chords while simultaneously fading in with a stereo volume pedal ... that's the sound. Gilmour stayed aboard the Astoria for a whole weekend to record the entire track himself, including all guitar parts and an earth shattering solo lasting two and a half minutes.
Explaining the techniques he used to achieve the incredible sounds on the Steinberger, Gilmour continued: That very nasty distortion you hear at the beginning of the song is basically the result of the Steinberger going through two little amps in the studio—a Fender Super Champ and a Gallien-Krueger. I use a Boss Heavy Metal distortion pedal and a Boss digital delay pedal, which then goes into the Fender Super Champ. And that in combination with the internal distortion on the Gallien-Krueger was how I got that particular sound. The Gallien-Krueger amp is offered in lot 66. A promotional shot by photographer Richard Young shows Gilmour holding the guitar alongside bandmates Nick Mason and Richard Wright on board the Astoria. When recording moved to Los Angeles in February 1987, Gilmour’s intro guitar tracks for Sorrow were piped through a PA system into the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and re-recorded in surround sound for the final record. The GL 3T was much used throughout the recording of A Momentary Lapse of Reason, with the same pickup configuration and tremolo as Gilmour’s Candy Apple Red 57V Stratocaster (lot 56), however there are no records to identify the specific tracks it was used on.
The following month, Gilmour played the guitar alongside Kate Bush for a performance of her hit single Running Up That Hill at the Secret Policeman’s Third Ball in aid of Amnesty International at The London Palladium on 28th and 29th March 1987. Gilmour had been responsible for bringing a teenage Bush to the attention of EMI Records in 1975. Highlights from the four-night variety show, which also included performances by the likes of Duran Duran, Lou Reed and Peter Gabriel, were released on CD and VHS later the same year by Virgin Records.