I love my David Gilmour Black Strat — I don’t like, however, the fact that if I want to get the best out of that guitar — I’m locked into buying a certain strings set from a single company.

David Gilmour uses and endorses a special set of strings made my GHS. 

Gilmour’s electric strings
are basically GHS Boomers — but packaged in a unique and hard-to-find set of string gauges.

Most guitar strings run in size like this: 10-13-17-26-36-46.

Gilmour’s strings are this:  10-12-16-28-38-48.

Some might say Gilmour runs a “light top, heavy bottom” string setup — and while that’s sort of true — other companies that sell that same sort of “light/heavy” strings setup provide these packaged gauges:  10-13-17-30-42-52.

So, if you want to use the strings set that the guitar was made to play and set up to use by Fender — you’re locked into buying the Gilmour branded GHS Boomers — and that sort of ticks me off, because if you prefer Gibson Vintage or DR Tites or Ernie Ball — you can put them on your Black Strat, but you’ll instantly lose that “Gilmour Sound” that made you buy the guitar in the first place.

Is that good marketing?  Or is that cutting off your strings to spite your star?


  1. We have a situation in the office right now where they ordered a server from Dell and ordered a couple of hard drives along with connector cables from somewhere that wasn’t Dell. Now they are finding that there is a special connector cable that is specifically needed for Dell computers and of course, it’s super expensive.
    Kind of reminded me of this. 🙂

  2. Exactly the same, insane, thing, Gordon! I have this magical guitar with a specially cut nut and setup — for David Gilmour GHS Strings only! Sure, I could put regular 10s on the guitar, but the experience and the intonation is not the same. To get any sort of correct sound — not just the “Gilmour Sound” — I’m tied into those strings on this guitar. Bummer!

  3. It sounds like monopoly…if you want a correct Gilmour sound…there is no room for experiment…you have to use those particular strings.
    Is it a good marketing? Not usre. Is it effective? At least for now…till someone come up with other/ better options.

  4. It is a monopoly, but you really don’t realize it until you’ve had the guitar awhile and you’re experimenting with new strings and you realize you can’t try any of the new strings on your favorite guitar because your guitar isn’t set up to take them.

  5. I don’t quite understand this one.

    Why would Fender produce a guitar that only supports one set of strings. What if you can’t get them – no point in buying the guitar.

    Why would GHS produce a set of strings for only one guitar. A microscopic market – especially when you look at the price of a Fender DG.

    There’s something not quite right with either the marketing strategy of both companies or the perception of what’s going on here.

    I simply can’t believe that you can’t use different strings on a Fender DG guitar – or that differences in gauge profile will ruin inntonation – why not just set the guitar up for the string gauge that your using.

  6. This is a joke, right? You go to the trouble of buying a Strat that is essentially a clone of one favoured by a particular player (in your case, Eric Clapton and David Gilmour) and then you complain that you can only get their sound if you use the gauge of strings they use … and then you claim it is a ‘monopoly’ because the guitar was set up to play best with the particular gauge of strings that particular player favors???

    1. Getting the strings isn’t difficult. Amazon sell them.
    2. All guitars change over time, so that all need to be adjusted periodically – so if the ‘string thing’ bugs you so much, get your guitar set up with your favorite gauge strings.
    3. As a ‘lefty’ I didn’t have the option of buying a DG Strat, so I got a stock lefty and switched parts of it to suit the particular DG era I was after – which, in my case, meant changing the stock pickups to EMGs with EMG active tone controls (which came right-handed and took some ingenuity to swap to lefty).

    The bottom line is that you buy a DG or EC Strat because you wish to take a short cut to sound like DG or EC. String gauge is part of that sound. They have not locked you in to buying one brand/gauge of string only – you make the choice.

    Of course, owning gear similar to those whose sound you wish to emulate is only part of the equation: you also need the skill to be able to sound like them. No monopolies there!

    1. Yes, you can spend the extra money to have your guitar set up as you wish — but if you want the “Gilmour Sound” as an “out-if-the-box” amateur, using the strings he uses, and having the guitar nut cut to accept those sort of oddly-made string gauges, pretty much locks you into one particular brand of string.

      I use DR Pure Blues 11-50s on my Clapton and Gilmour Strats and my two Les Pauls. Those strings come closest to the sound I’m chasing.

  7. Slight changes in string gauge won’t affect your guitar set-up. Use watever you want- Gilmour’s “sound” ain’t in the strings.

  8. So, you drop in the vicinity of $4K on a guitar that’s a clone of Gilmour’s, and then complain that you also have to use his string set to get his sound? That’s not some marketing gimmick – it’s just the cold hard facts. Dust a thousandth out of the B and G slots so you can use 10-46’s (which any competent luthier can do in seconds). The wound strings should work fine as they are. Or get individual string gauges from Ernie Ball or D’Addario or whoever and put your own 10-48 set together. Or just spend 10% of what you spent on the guitar for a hundred sets from an online discounter. Or shaddupandplayyerguitar, for that matter.

  9. I would love that black strat one day i will own one :(:)… Anyway i played a levinson blade R4 the original not the one levinson got sued by fender over b’cause they kinda without realizing() put a stratocaster headstock on although some say fender got scared with the dynamics and engineering that was put into the blade and big name guitarists were soon rocking out with especially in there respective studios recording. Well blade r4 rh4 both got made in the workshop at the same time. The r4 had the headstock in question but to be honest all that levinson done after they were ordered to stop taking orders and making the r4 was to genuislly put a roller string tee and make the bore hole it fits in all through the head so then the string tree they put in was i believe and maybe still is 1 and only spec desingned by gary levinson. Gtn to the moral of the story though i put gilmour signature strings on the blade(black st ones) and it was like a godsend once they settled in and kept in tune and intonation 99% of playing them including the wall pt2 comfartably numb and mother solos.. To add incase anyone aint familar with the blade gtr it has sperzel locking tuners and a floyd rose (98/99%) sure it is for the tremolo system which go 2g’ther like pink and floyd(lol) but i wouldnt use another string type from the first i put the messiahs signature ones on although i only ever played the blade with them i actually think they were made in the gauges he asked for back then blade were still sitting in school preping 4 exams lol but i think if D-G played a blade rh4 with them he would have prob kept it for live gigs and the studio esp concerts(gigs…criminal word to use for floyds concerts and shows i think lol)…but anyone got a blade rh4 misty violet put them on it and you wont be dissappointed by no means…. Next ask a pro electric repair and modifier but mk sure there the pinnacle and get your blade cut back to make 21frets if you dare.. Let me know pleasex10000000 if you do and how it rocks and rolls post mod( my own thoughts say it would be the pick the change out of this fuckers lol… And also get the same pick ups as d g’s … The same frets same pick ups sperzel gold plated tuners@locking nuts system with the floyd rose trem system(smaller arm of course)would be the combination of the elec guitars that could never be matched in all poss categories anyone questioned( mind my own personal guitar daydream lol hope i beat you to it… GO GO GO!!!!! lol. Cheers if you took the time to read this and still dnt need a shave guys hehe… Ciao 

  10. excuse me but I have to say : THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ” eric clapton ” & ” david gilmour ” !!!!!
    here we go :
    as EC ( overall sound ) : 90% Clapton + 10% hardware ( guitar + amp )
    as DG ( overall sound ) : 30% Gimour + 70% hardware ( guitar + pus + strings + cable + effects + amp + light + … + … )

    why Gilmour uses ‘ specified ‘ hardware ? black strat with ‘ Fender 69 neck pu ‘ and ‘ Fender 54 mid pu ‘ and ‘ SD SSL1 or SSL5 bridge pu ‘ ? GHS blue pack strings ? Evidence cable ? Hiwatt amp ? EHX pi and memory man ? dozens effects ? blah … blah …
    simply BECAUSE he couldn’t play every guitar as well as Eric !!! the others can’t , too ! it’s just Eric .
    someone said ” every note gilmour plays is rehearsed a gazillion times. where as clapton never plays the same solo twice, and he doesnt change bits only like the others do , he actually plays something entirely different, tone, speed, everything ” * , and it’s true ! David can’t play as beautiful as Eric , but he could choose the right details to improve his ” gazillion times-rehearsed ” tones !!! so he has to use ‘ solid ‘ and ‘ fixed ‘ stuff with ‘ limited ‘ options , ’cause they’re all important !!!

  11. This post makes no sense at all. All guitars will require setup and possibly nut work if you change string gauges. This is not a monopoly or some scheme by Fender. Fender gets no kickbacks from GHS. It boggles my mind that you paid thousands of dollars for a signature guitar and yet do not know basic guitar setup stuff like this. Go to the library and look at some of Dan Erlewine’s books.

    If you want to use different strings, take the guitar to a competent tech and have them do the work. It’ll cost 1-2% of what you paid for the guitar. Then you can use your set of 11s until you die of old age, with only normal, occasional intonation and action adjustment from time to time.

  12. Also, Gilmour has uses various string gauges over the years. The GHS sets are simply what he uses now. Some of these gauges didn’t even exist when he was recording many of Pink Floyd’s classic albums.

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