Born in Cambridge, England back in 1946, the guitarist and singer David Gilmour first achieved fame as a member of Pink Floyd. He helped the band to become one of the best-selling groups in the history of music, especially because of the albums “Dark Side Of The Moon” (1973) and “The Wall” (1979).
Over the decades Gilmour gave his opinion on many famous guitarists and one of them was Eric Clapton. Rock and Roll Garage selected what the musician said about Clapton’s guitar playing, technique and bands he played with.
David Gilmour’s opinion on Eric Clapton as a guitarist
David Gilmour is known the feeling he puts in every note he plays on the guitar and he got the inspiration for playing like that from many Blues players, including Eric Clapton. Talking with Guitar Tricks Insider magazine in 2017, the Pink Floyd guitarist chose the 5 albums that are some of his favorites of all time. One of them was the album that John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers made with Eric Clapton 1966 after the musician left The Yardbirds and joined them.
In an interview with Relix in 2015, David Gilmour praised the Blues band, saying: “All of those guys were incredible. I spent time trying to learn how to play their licks perfectly. I would suggest any young player should try to sit down and do that. You will wind up knowing how to play their stuff quite well. But eventually you will find your own style form that. It forces its way out of the copying,” David Gilmour said.
Curiously, the bassist and singer Jack Bruce, who would become Clapton’s bandmate in Cream played in some tracks of that record. It also featured the bassist John McVie that would co-found Fleetwood Mac a few years later.
Besides the leader John Mayall, the group had over the years more guitarists that would play in other important bands later on in their careers like. Besides Eric Clapton, the band had Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac) and Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones).
The Pink Floyd musician told Guitar World magazine in 1988 that when he was young he used to sit down and learn many classic Blues solos composed by Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix. He also said that he studied old Howlin’ Wolf records.
According to David Gilmour, every guitarist should start copying a style when they are young. Clapton was one of the players he copied:
David Gilmour said many times that when someone is starting to play the guitar when they are young, they souldn’t be worried about creating a style. Because they should first copy something that already exists. As he told UNCUT back in 2017, Clapton was one of the guitar players he copied.
“When you start out, you copy. Trying to be too original when you’re too young is possibly not the best thing. But I learned copying Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix. All sorts of people.”
He also said the same thing to Guitar Classics magazine back in 1985. In that conversation he also said that he was influenced by younger musicians like Mark Knopfler and Eddie Van Halen. “Of course, there were many. I was trying to learn 12-string acoustic guitar like Leadbelly. At the same time I was trying to learn lead guitar like Hank Marvin and later Clapton.”
“All of those different things had their moments and filtered through my learning process. These days I don’t listen to other people with the objective of trying to steal their licks. Although I’ve got no objections to stealing them if that seems like a good idea. I’m sure that I’m still influenced by Mark Knopfler and Eddie Van Halen as well,” David Gilmour said.