David Gilmour names his favourite guitarist of all time

Given the cerebral quality of his work, there’s no surprise that Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour has a taste for only the finer things in life. It is also true for the musicians he’s a fan of. Over the years, he’s listed greats such as Lead Belly, Jimi Hendrix and Roy Buchanan as his favourites. He also admitted to fans of their influence on his work: “I copied – don’t be afraid to copy – and eventually something that I suppose that I would call my own appeared.” However, outside of these figures, there is only one Gilmour deems his favourite; the late Jeff Beck.

Beck, who passed away in January 2023, is hailed as one of the most influential guitarists in rock. An instrumentalist, who refused to sing, even after encouraging advice from Eric Clapton, in the ‘Swinging Sixties’ London, together with Clapton, and Jimmy Page, he formed a triptych of the most sought-after axemen around.

This led to his genre-bending stint in The Yardbirds, the pioneering instrumental ‘Beck’s Bolero’ and the brilliance he achieved with the Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice and as a solo artist. Noted for his fingerpicking style and a kaleidoscopic blend of genres, Beck will be remembered as one of rock’s definitive game-changers.

As a contemporary of Beck’s and a fellow adherent of the Fender Stratocaster, there’s no real surprise that David Gilmour has effused about Beck across his career. Famously, Beck was also the guitarist that Pink Floyd wanted to hire before Gilmour entered the fold, but according to drummer Nick Mason, “none of us had the nerve to ask him”.

In an interview posted on his YouTube channel in 2022, the Pink Floyd leader was asked about his favourite guitarist of all time. Although he explained he has “lots”, it was Beck who took the crown, with Gilmour labelling him the “most consistent” of the bunch. He said: “I have lots of favourite guitar players. Probably the person who I have admired the longest and the most consistent is Jeff Beck, in the guitar playing stakes. A lovely guy”.

Notably, Gilmour even performed with Beck on stage as a guest at one of his shows in 2009 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Then, in the 2018 documentary Jeff Beck: Still On The Run, Gilmour praised Beck again, labelling him a “maverick”. He explained: “He is a maverick. A maverick guitar player who doesn’t like to repeat himself. Who takes big risks all the time and has done all the way throughout his career,” David Gilmour said.

Elsewhere, when speaking to Guitar Tricks Insider in 2017, alongside records by Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and The Shadows, Gilmour listed his favourite Jeff Beck album as 1975’s Blow By Blow.

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