David Gilmour is best known for playing Fender Stratocaster guitars. He has used a number of different Stratocasters throughout his career, including a black Stratocaster (“The Black One”) that he purchased in the 1970s and has used extensively on many of Pink Floyd’s albums and live performances. Gilmour has also used other Fender guitars, including Telecasters and Jazzmasters, as well as a number of Gibson and Martin acoustic guitars.

As far as amps, David Gilmour used a variety of amplifiers throughout his career, including both tube and solid-state amps. One of the amplifiers that he has used extensively is the Hiwatt Custom 100, which is a British-made tube amplifier. He has also used Fender Twin Reverb and Bassman amplifiers, as well as Marshall amplifiers. In addition, Gilmour has used a number of effects pedals to shape his sound, including a Vox Wah-wah pedal and a Binson Echorec delay pedal.

David Gilmour’s 1969 Fender Stratocaster “The Black Strat”

David Gilmour bought this guitar in May 1970, at Manny’s Music shop in New York, after both of his Stratocasters were stolen a few weeks earlier. This is the guitar that can be considered the most important instrument in David’s collection, as he used it on many of his and Pink Floyds’s most famous hits including “Money”, “Comfortably Numb” and “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”.

Although most Pink Floyd fans know this guitar by its black-on-black look and understand that it’s now heavily customized, it started its life just as a standard 1969 Fender Stratocaster.

The Black Strat Originally

When David purchased the guitar it was a completely stock 1969 Stratocaster finished in black color, featuring a neck with a maple fretboard.

Today, a guitar like this one is usually considered to be less desirable compared to something like an early 60s Stratocaster. By 1969 CBS took over Fender, and the production quality suffered somewhat, and people nowadays usually prefer pre-CBS models.

It is interesting though that a guitar that is today considered to be less desirable ended up being one of David’s favorites, even though, of course, he later modified it to better fit his needs. Another example of this is Jimi Hendrix, whose favorite guitar was a 1968 Fender Stratocaster practically identical to David’s.

The only thing that intentionally was not stock on the guitar was the finish. The guitar was originally sunburst, but it was at some point repainted black. Some sources claim that this happened at Manny’s and that someone there repainted it, but others claim it happened before the guitar left the factory.


The guitar went through a number of mods over the years. All of these are explained in detail by David’s guitar tech Phil Taylor in the book “The Black Strat“, so out of respect for him, we’ll only summarize the mods.

The book can now be harder to find since every new edition gets sold out basically immediately, and people are re-selling the older editions at a crazy price. It is a great book though, written probably by the most knowledgeable person on the subject – so if you’re lucky to find a copy at a fair price, be sure to get one.

Pickups in David Gilmour’s Black Strat

This mod however didn’t prove to be of much use, and David quickly removed the XLR jack. Around two years later in 1973, he attacked the same noise problem by adding a humbucker pickup to the guitar. Interestingly, he did not remove any of the three single coils (usually people remove the bridge pickup when doing this), but he added the humbucker in between the middle and the bridge single coil. This also meant that he had to route out the body completely in order to fit the larger pickup in.

But, this mod too didn’t last for long, and by early 1974, the Black Strat was fitted with the pickguard and the pickups from one of David’s other guitars – a 1971 Stratocaster. From this point on, the original 1969 pickups were never fitted onto the guitar again. Also shortly after this, the original 1971 white pickguard was replaced with a single-ply black one, which remains on the guitar to this day.

This change in the pickups also means that the album Dark Side of the Moon was recorded on the original set of pickups, plus the humbucker, while Wish You Were Here was recorded on the pickups from the ’71 Strat.

Regarding later albums – before recording Animals in 1976, David switched the bridge pickup with a DiMarzio FS-1, which also remained in the guitar until after the sessions for The Wall were wrapped up. Around that time, Seymour Duncan sent out a prototype pickup for David to try out, which was apparently an early version of the SSL-5, which David ended up liking so much that he replaced the DiMarzio with it.

Based on the info from Phil Taylor’s book, it sounds like the guitar remains in this state to this day, at least when it comes to pickups. However, according to David, the story is somewhat different. Based on his words, it sounds like all three pickups were replaced at some point with a custom-wound set from Seymour Duncan.

The Different Necks

Apart from the pickups, David also experimented with various different necks on his Black Strat. The first major change happened in the early 70s when he fitted the Black Strat with an early 60s neck with a rosewood fretboard from one of his other Stratocasters. This neck remained on the guitar all the way until 1978, which means that it was on the guitar when David recorded The Dark Side of the MoonAnimals, and Wish You Were Here.

In 1978, he fitted the guitar with a maple neck made for him by Grover Jackson of Charvel, and by 1982 he replaced that neck with another one made by Grover, but with 22 frets. Around a year later, this second neck was later fitted with a locking nut to go together with a Kahler tremolo bridge that was fit on the guitar.

it was in this state that David loaned the guitar to the Hard Rock Cafe in 1986, where it remained until 1997. Upon taking the guitar back, David removed the tremolo and the neck, and made an effort to return the guitar back to its “original condition”. From that point on he use a couple of different necks but eventually settled on a 1983 maple neck taken from one of his guitars.


The first time David played this guitar was at the 1970 Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England. From then on, for a few months, he rotated between a few different guitars and finally settled on the Black Strat by early 1971 as his main guitar.

This is also when he started using the guitar for the first time in the studio. According to David, he first used it on the Meddle studio sessions, and that was basically the beginning of him using the Black Strat as his main recording guitar. From that point on, he used it on all of Pink Floyd’s major releases, including Dark Side of the MoonWish You Were Here, and The Wall.

He continued using the Black Strat as his main guitar until the late 80s when he also started using a few different Strats regularly. The Black Strat was finally semi-retired in 1986 when David leaned it to the Hard Rock Cafe to be shown on display for the fans to see, where it remained for more than 10 years.

After getting it back and having it restored and fitted with a new neck, David continued to use it until the day he decided to sell it in order to generate money for a climate change charity.

David Gilmour’s 1954 Fender Stratocaster #0001

David acquired this guitar in 1978 from his guitar tech Phil Taylor. The guitar is quite a unique one because it has serial number #0001, which would indicate that it was the first production Stratocaster ever made. However, according to David, and based on the research done by the auction house through which the guitar was recently sold, it is an early model, but not the first one.

The Origin Story

According to the info posted on the auction page of this guitar, this guitar was given by Leo Fender to Rex Robert Gallion around 1955. Rex was a country-western guitarist who was involved in designing the Stratocaster, so the guitar was probably custom-made by the company, and given to him as a present.

Rex apparently traded the guitar in the late 60s, leaving it at a Santa Maria music store called Sousa Music, where it was then bought by Richard Hoxie Green. Richard then wanted to repaint the guitar, and he took the guitar to Seymour Duncan’s shop, who luckily recognized the significance of leaving a guitar like this original, and instead offered another guitar to Richard as a trade.

In 1977 Duncan sold the guitar to Phil Taylor, David Gilmour’s guitar tech. David tried the guitar and he wanted to buy it from Phil initially, but Phil was reluctant at first. Eventually, Taylor wanted to borrow some money, and David jokingly agreed, but only on the condition that he sell him the guitar first.


This is one of the guitars that David rarely used live, because after all, it is a unique and historically significant guitar. He used it in the studio, most notably on his solo album released in 1978, on the track “Mihalis”, on “Glad to See You Here” for Paul McCartney’s Wings, and to record “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 1)” and the rhythm on “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” from the album The Wall.

The guitar was auctioned through Christie’s in 2019. It sold for $1,815,000, surpassed only by David’s Black Strat, which sold for $3,975,000. In the interviews he did promoting the auction, David reiterated that this was, as far as he is concerned, the perfect Stratocaster.