David Gilmour’s 1959 Fender Telecaster Custom
David used this guitar to record the solo on “Dogs” from the album Animals from 1977.
In some of the early photos of the guitar from around the mid-70s, the Telecaster can be seen with a Gibson PAF humbucker in the neck position. It is unknown whether this was something David installed, or whether he purchased the guitar like this.
In any case, that pickup was changed to a Stratocaster single-coil pickup, and it was with this pickup that David used it on “Dogs”.
I think it was done using the neck pickup, which I changed to a Strat pickup, because the Tele neck pickups never seem to be quite up to the job. I did use a Tele on the new album, as well. It was the main guitar on “Take a Breath”.David Gilmour Talks Guitars, Tone and Tunings | GP Flashback
From the late 70s on, it is unknown what exactly happened to this guitar, except that as David himself said, it was used on the song “Take a Breath” from his 2005 solo album On an Island. So apparently, the guitar was at that point still one that David picked up from time to time and used during the sessions.
Also, this Telecaster is not among the guitars that David sold through auction in 2019, so it is quite possible that he still has it, and that he still uses it.
David’s Telecaster is a 1959 Custom model with what looks like a brown burst finish, but probably started off as a 3-tone sunburst and the red tone faded away over the years. The guitar has an 8-hole pickguard, which is non-original to the guitar, and typical of the early 60s Telecasters. This makes sense because David obviously had to install a new pickguard after he removed the humbucker pickup.
The single-coil pickup that is installed in the guitar in the neck position is according to David, a Stratocaster pickup. However, based on the size of the neck pickup, it seems to be too small for a Strat pickup and looks more like a Telecaster pickup without the metal cover.
This is especially noticeable if you look at the image below and compare David’s Tele to Rory Gallagher’s Esquire – which had both the Telecaster pickup in the neck position and a Stratocaster pickup in the middle position. The pickup on David’s guitar looks a lot closer in size to the Tele pickup than to the Strat one.
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