DAVID GILMOUR’S MAIN ACOUSTIC GUITAR FOR THE ON AN ISLAND TOUR (2006) AND RATTLE THAT LOCK TOUR (2015-2016)
Gibson’s Country Western Jumbo was released in late 1955 and was a variant of Gibson’s established Southerner Jumbo or SJ. Like the SJ, this flat-top acoustic was a 16 ½ inch dreadnought with rounded shoulders on the upper bouts, a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. Its difference lay in the clear natural finish rather than the SJ’s sunburst.
David Gilmour purchased this 1958 Country Western from Charlie Chandler's Guitar Experience in Hampton Wick, Middlesex, in February 2006 in advance of his 2006 On An Island Tour, in support of his third solo album On An Island. Serving as Gilmour’s primary acoustic on the tour, the 1958 Country Western was used for performances of the songs Smile, from On An Island, Fat Old Sun, from Pink Floyd’s 1970 album Atom Heart Mother, Wot’s …Uh the Deal? from their 1972 album Obscured by Clouds, and Wish You Were Here, the title track of the band’s 1975 album of the same name. Often considered a tribute to founder member Syd Barrett, Gilmour admitted in the 2012 documentary The Story of Wish You Were Here that he never plays the song without remembering Barrett. Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason joined Gilmour and his band, which included original Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright, on stage to play Wish You Were Here at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 31st May 2006. Numerous photographs exist of Gilmour playing this guitar on tour, including a shot by Brian Rasic with David Crosby and Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills & Nash, who joined Gilmour on stage after Wish You Were Here for a harmonized vocal performance of Stephen Stills' Find The Cost of Freedom at the Royal Albert Hall on 29, 30 and 31st May 2006. Remember That Night, a live concert recording of the three shows at the Royal Albert Hall, was released on DVD in September 2007. Gilmour can also be seen playing the guitar in Live in Gdansk, a live recording of the final show of the tour at the Gdansk Shipyard, Poland in August 2006, released on DVD in September 2008.
Closing the tour, Gilmour made a final performance with his touring band for a small live audience at London's Abbey Road Studios on 29th August 2006 to record several songs for the first season of the 12-part music series Live from Abbey Road. Gilmour played the 1958 Country Western for an acoustic version of the 1970 Pink Floyd psychedelic symphony Echoes, trading licks with co-writer Richard Wright. The centerpiece of the 1971 Pink Floyd album Meddle, the extended composition Echoes had been revived for the tour, demonstrating a harmonious interplay between the two that, according to Gilmour, became the highlight of each show. Following Wright’s death in 2008, Gilmour stated that he would not perform the song again, declaring Echoes is a musical conversation between two people, Rick and me …and that's a conversation I can no longer have. Footage from the acoustic version of Echoes was included as a hidden bonus track on Remember That Night and on the four-disc edition of Live in Gdansk.
Gilmour reunited with Roger Waters for a benefit performance at Kiddington Hall in Oxfordshire on 10th July 2010 in aid of The Hoping Foundation, a charity supporting Palestinian refugee children. The duo performed a 28-minute set including Comfortably Numb and Wish You Were Here, the latter performed by Gilmour on his trusty 1958 Country Western, and a surprise rendition of The Teddy Bears’ 1958 classic To Know Him Is to Love Him.
Gilmour enlisted the 1958 Country Western again for acoustic performances of Fat Old Sun and Wish You Were Here on the first four legs of his Rattle That Lock Tour from 12th September 2015 to 28th July 2016, in support of his fourth solo album Rattle That Lock. In a rare television appearance, Gilmour performed Wish You Were Here on this guitar for an outside concert broadcast on ABC late night television show Jimmy Kimmel Live during the North American Leg of the tour on 28th March 2016. The highlight of the European leg was Gilmour’s return to Pompeii 45 years after Pink Floyd played to the deserted amphitheatre for the 1972 concert documentary Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii. The two shows on 7th and 8th July 2016 were the first public performances at the Amphitheatre of Pompeii since the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79 and were recorded for the live album and film Live At Pompeii, released on 29th September 2017. For the fifth and final leg of the tour, comprising five dates at The Royal Albert Hall in London from 23rd-30th September 2016, Gilmour switched to a 1959 Country Western for his performances of Wish You Were Here and Fat Old Sun (lot 97).
Gilmour told us: The Country Western is a lovely guitar. My natural tendency is to want to use an older guitar. I like the older guitars… it feels like older guitars that have been played a lot over the years by different people have sort of settled into something - the vibrations of the different pieces of wood that make up the front and back - it seems to take years for that to sort of meld itself into one overall sound that is beautiful. Some of the pickups that are built into guitars have a strange sound to them which is recognizably not as precise as an acoustic should sound. So there is a pickup that you can actually put onto these guitars which is more like an electric guitar pickup and it has a very, very nice sound to it. It meant that on the more recent tours for On An Island and Rattle That Lock, I was able to use the Country Westerns, ie. Use an old guitar but with a modern pickup on it. It meant that you could revert to using a beautiful old guitar on stage because of that particular L. R. Baggs pickup.