David Gilmour is known for his melodic guitar solos and epic bends. Having described his intention when playing the guitar as wanting to make the guitar “sing”, he’s taken his bending technique to another level. Incorporating everything from 1/2-step to 2-step bends, he truly is a master of the art. So, why not learn from the master himself? Here are 5 David Gilmour licks to improve your bending technique.
Lick 1: Another Brick in the Wall, pt 2
At first glance, this lick may not seem all that interesting. But it’s the subtlety of the bend with the index finger (3rd string, 5th fret) and slow bend on the 6th fret of the 2nd string that give this lick its flair.
Listen to the link: Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 lick
Lick 2: Coming Back to Life
From my favorite song on The Division Bell, the opening lick to Coming Back to Life is quintessential Gilmour. He takes a full step bend, raises it a half step, releases it, and bends back to a full step, hitting four notes with a single bend. This bend requires a good deal of precision or you’ll easily push this one sharp or leave it flat.
Listen to the lick: Coming Back to Life lick
Lick 3: Comfortably Numb
You can’t possibly have a David Gilmour list that doesn’t include Comfortably Numb. The issue here is which lick to choose. With many to pick from, I went with a lick in the second solo that probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
The first part is a classic lick in the minor pentatonic, but it’s the way the second bend is incorporated that makes this a really cool lick. It also feels awesome to play.
Listen to the lick: Comfortably Number lick
Lick 4: Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Pts 1-5
Shine On Your Crazy Diamond is essentially a clinic on bending. You can pick any part of the solos and find a bend that will help with your technique. I chose this particular because of the roll into the bend on the 18th fret of the second string and the combo 1 step – 2 step bend that is classic Gilmour on the 15th fret of the third string. The latter is also a good exercise in ear training.
Listen to the lick: Shine On You Crazy Diamond lick
Lick 5: 5am
The last lick comes from the Live at Pompeii version of 5am from his solo album, Rattle That Lock. It’s not the epic bend at the climax of a guitar solo, but it’s a great example of how the subtleties of a bend and release can have a beautiful effect on the notes. Pay close attention to the 1/2 step bend on the 14th fret of the 1st string and how he adds a little 1/4 step bend at the end before pulling of to the 12th fret. It’s those little touches that make you appreciate his playing that much more.
Listen to the lick: 5am lick
Bending is a technique that is really expressive and can add so much flavor to your guitar licks. These David Gilmour licks will not only improve your bending technique, but also provide some insight into how bends can be added to a lick to add a little movement and flair to ordinary notes. There’s not a better example of great bending technique than David Gilmour, so there’s a lot we can learn from studying and practicing his style.
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