What strings do you use, Dave Kilminster?

Roger Waters' axeman gets a grilling

Roger Waters and Dave Kilminster performing The Wall live at the Oracle Arena © Jerome Brunet/ZUMA Press/Corbis

From the Guitar Techniques archive, we ask a great guitarist all those little questions you really do want the answers to. Here's Roger Waters' trusted axeman Dave Kilminster...

GT: Do you have a type of pick that you can't live without?

DK: I love my black 2.0mm Dunlop Gator Grips. Dunlop made a load for me with my signature replacing the picture of the alligator, so that I could give them away at concerts. But I really like them, so tend to hang onto them!

I've always used heavy picks for that clarity and fat tone, and these are perfect for pretty much everything I do.

GT: If you had to give up all your pedals but three, what would they be?

DK: I've actually never been into pedals that much, but I'm in love with my Hermida Zendrive. I got it a while ago for the Roger Waters tour. It wasn't really right for that particular gig, but it's totally amazing for everything else I do and I can't stop using it.

I've also been having fun with my T-Rex Replica delay pedal of late - very simple, very cool - and the tap tempo function is fab. And finally I'm really fussy about tuning, so my third pedal would have to be my trusty Boss TU-2 tuner.

GT: Do you play another instrument well enough to be in a band?

DK: Actually I played bass on one of the songs on the Roger Waters tour. I also play keyboards, but that reminds me of the famous Groucho Marx quote (paraphrased): "I wouldn't want to play keyboards in any band that would have me as a member". I'd probably be okay in the Human League or Soft Cell, but then of course I'd have to shoot myself...

GT: If a music chart was put in front of you, could you read it?

DK: I could probably read the title! Well, chord charts or rhythm charts would be fine, and I can obviously read music (having written countless transcriptions), but not well enough to sight-read. I've not had to, so I've never had the practice (or the inclination).

GT: Do guitar cables really make a difference? What make are yours?

DK: Oh I'm sure they make a little difference, but I'm not going to get too wrapped up in that line of thinking. A lot of folks get far too caught up in the minutiae, that they lose sight of the big picture. The cables I use are Cordials though, distributed by DFD (Damn Fine Distribution), and very high quality stuff.

GT: Is there anyone's playing, past or present, that you're slightly jealous of?

DK: Well, he's going to hate me for saying it, but Guthrie Govan. He picked up my old pink paisley Fender Telecaster about 12 years ago, and made it sound absolutely incredible!

GT: Your house/studio is burning down: which guitar do you salvage?

DK: I must confess I don't really get too attached to my guitars. But I guess it would probably be the Suhr, the one with the beautiful flower design burnt into the body. It's an irreplaceable one-off.

GT: What's your favourite amp and how do you set it?

DK: My favourite amp at the moment is the 30W Cornford Roadhouse - the 2x12 combo. It rocks! It's amazing!

GT: What kind of action do you have on your guitars?

DK: It has to be low enough for legato playing but high enough for picking, so there's a little compromise there.

GT: What strings do you use?

DK: I use D'Addario strings on everything - electrics, acoustics, classical. They're the best! I did over a hundred shows with Roger Waters and never broke a string. On my electrics I mostly use 10-46 (EXL 110) although occasionally I'll go up to 11-49 if I'm playing a lot in Eb.


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