David Gilmour’s Iconic ‘Comfortably Numb’ Solo Was First Take

Bob Ezrin says the closing guitar solo on Pink Floyd classic “Comfortably Numb” was David Gilmour’s first take – and it still stirs emotion for the producer.

He added that Gilmour tried again multiple times as the band worked on 1980’s The Wall, but none matched the original.

“It was so powerful when I heard it and saw him play it. It literally brought tears to my eyes – and it has many times since then,” Ezrin tells Total Guitar, adding that it “may be the best solo of all time. Even though this is a record that I participated in, and by all rights by now should be fairly dry for me, that moment is still, for me, one of the most emotional moments in all of music.”

Despite “scores of takes” that followed, the solo “never got better. It was always that first moment of inspiration that produced the magic.”

Ezrin went on to commend Gilmour’s approach to music: “He has an innate musicality that’s informed by the blues. So he’s incredibly lyrical and melodic, and all his melodic structures are built on a blues foundation – and that makes them really soulful.

“He has a majesty of tone, and that comes from the combination of his slow vibrato and his really precise picking and how strongly he holds the strings, so that the notes ring a long, long time,” Ezrin said. “Add to that an amazing instinct for what’s going to work where, and you end up with one of the greatest guitar players of all time.

“For me, the bottom line about David Gilmour is you could give him a ukulele and a Pignose amp and he’d still make it sound majestic, beautiful and stirring,” Ezrin concluded. “I’ve had the privilege of working with some truly great guitar players in my career, but I have to say that David Gilmour is my favorite of all of them, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.”

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