Recreating David Gilmour’s Sound on Sound Effects In Ableton Live

Reader Tracy Evans has put together a tutorial that looks at how to recreate David Gilmour‘s “Sound on Sound” effect, within Ableton Live.

David uses a dual amp setup to perform Shine On you Crazy Diamond and achieve an infinite sustain over which he can play solos.

Here’s an example of how he does this in a live performance:

And here’s Evans’ approach to achieving similar effects with Ableton Live:

You can download the Ableton Live set to create this effect here (.zip), MIDI map an expression pedal to the same controls as shown in the tutorial video, plug in a guitar and “shine on you crazy diamond”.

Nothing says that this technique is for guitars only, either.

See Evans’ site for details on how Gilmour uses this technique live and for details on an Ableton Live-centric guitar rig.

6 thoughts on “Recreating David Gilmour’s Sound on Sound Effects In Ableton Live

  1. That was great. Thanks for the David Gilmour clip, and the Live recreation of the effect. I love the effects a great guitar player can get by setting up a harmonic context and playing along within it. It’s kind of like a keyboard player chording with one hand and soloing with another, but (to my ears) a guitar with the finger-on-strings and pick-on-strings seems just a little more expressive.

    And it’s interesting that Gilmour used an acoustic (acoustic/electric) for his performance. Remember Pete Townshend’s ‘Pinball Wizard’ version from ‘The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball’–I always think of an acoustic as a folk instrument, but a great guitarist can do anything with it.

  2. I’m really into solo performers using style and technology to sound bigger than a single player, and this is a great example of the concept. It is much less steril than traditional looping. Don’t get me wrong. I love good looping performances, but this approach feels looser and spacier. Try out the Ableton file if you have Live. It is a blast to experiment with.

  3. Dear Mr Synthhead

    Would it be possible to identify and shame the complete *rsehole who records a ‘thumbs down’ vote for every single comment, no matter how inoffensive and uncontroversial it is? For he is truly an utter t*t.

  4. Nicely done tutorial. I’ve been using Time Freezer with a variety of effects chains to achieve something similar for a couple years. Same deal — mute a send into a channel with Time Freezer and any effects I want after it (filters and time based effects are the most obvious) and then open up the send when I want to capture a chord. This also works great for routing granular textures — or really anything else.

    In the hardware world, there’s the EHX freeze pedal but if you’re already using software, Time Freezer has some nice control features lacking on the pedal.

  5. Thanks Jess. I’ve never heard of the Time Freezer. I’ll look into that. I also have a couple of other hardware alternatives on my website.

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