Atom Heart Mother 1970

Effects, guitars and amps Settings and setups

Atom Heart Mother marks the end of the Barrett era. From having more or less copied Syd’s tones and technique David explores his blues roots and contributes in shaping Pink Floyd’s signature blues oriented classic progressive rock sound. It’s also around this time that David starts to collect guitars but perhaps more importantly – during the band’s visit to the States in May, he buys the now legendary Black Strat. Pink Floyd tours extensively throughout the year and into early 1971 releasing Atom Heart Mother in October and performs at many festivals including the Bath festival in June where David also uses the Black Strat for the first time.

Effects recording sessions and live performances

Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face (NKT275)
Vox wah wah
Binson Echorec II

Note: Throught the tours of 1970, David is seen experimenting with different fuzz pedals – blue and red NKT275 germanium Fuzz Faces and what looks like a Marshall/Solasound SupaFuzz.

Pink Floyd recorded a studio performance in San Fransisco, USA on April 28 1970 for KQED TV. The appearance is a great showcase of their equipment at the time. (left) David's playing his first black Stratocaster, a 1969 model with a rosewood neck. This was bought at Manny's NY only days prior to the show but was lost during the robbery of the band's equipment in May. Behind David is the Hiwatt with a Binson II on top and to his right the WEM Starfinder speaker cabinet. (right) David playing a Gibson J-45 acoustic steel string. This was also used on live shows throughout the spring.

Guitars and amps recording sessions

Fender Stratocaster
- 1966-67 all stock with a white ash body, white pickguard and a rosewood 4-bolt neck with a large headstock.
Fender Stratocaster
- 1959 sunburst body with stock Fender pickups and white pickguard and a 1963 rosewood neck.
Fender Stratocaster “The Black Strat”
- 1969 all stock with a black alder body, white pickguard and a maple neck with a large headstock.
Gibson J-45 acoustic steel string guitar

Hiwatt DR103 All Purpose 100W heads
- with Mullard 4xEL34’s power tubes and 4xECC83’s pre-amp tubes.
WEM Super Starfinder 200 cabinets
- with 4×12” Fane Crescendo speakers with metal dust caps.
Leslie 147 speaker cabinet
- Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast recording session.

Note: Atom Heart Mother was recorded between March and August 1970. On the early sessions David used the white Strat but it got stolen in May during the band’s US tour. For the remaining recording sessions David used the 1959 sunburst Strat and the Black Strat he’d had bough at Manny’s in late May on their way home from the States. It’s also likely that David used in-house amps that were available at Abbey Road.

(left) David pictured at the Bath Festival June 28 1970. This was the first time that he used the Black Strat. (middle) David playing a sunburst Stratocaster ('59 body/'63 neck) at the Free Concert in Hyde Park, UK July 18. 1970. The neck later became the main neck for the Black Strat between 1972-79. (right) David pictured at the Saint Tropez Music Festival, France August 8 1970 playing a 1960's blonde Fender Stratocaster with the pickup covers taken off.

(left) David pictured with his main white late 1960s Stratocaster in Paris, France January 23 1970. The guitar got stolen during the robbery of Pink Floyd's equipment in the States in May. (middle) David started collecting guitars in 1970 and he bought this double cutaway blonde Les Paul TV in Seattle on the band's second visit to the States in 1970 in October. The guitar was used on a couple of shows on the US tour in late 1970. (right) David playing the Bill Lewis Custom guitar that he bought in Vancouver, Canda in October 1970. The guitar was used on several shows in Europe late autumn 1970 and later on Meddle and Dark Side of the Moon.

Guitars and amps live performances

Fender Stratocaster
- 1966-67 all stock with a white ash body, white pickguard and a rosewood 4-bolt neck with a large headstock. The guitar was stolen in May 1970.
Fender Stratocaster
- 1969 all stock with a black alder body, white pickguard and a rosewood 4-bolt neck with a large headstock (KQED TV-show, San Fransisco USA, April 28. 1970). The guitar was bought at Manny’s in New York in early April and stolen in May along with most of Pink Floyd’s equipment including the white Stratocaster.
Fender Stratocaster “The Black Strat”
- 1969 all stock with a black alder body, white pickguard and a maple neck with a large headstock.
Fender Stratocaster
- 1959 sunburst body with stock Fender pickups and white pickguard and a 1963 rosewood neck (Hyde Park, London, July 18. 1970).
Fender Stratocaster
- 1960’s model with a white body, white pickguard and a rosewood neck. David had removed the pickup covers (Saint Tropez Music festival August 8. 1970).
Bill Lewis custom guitar
- 1970 custom mahogany body and 24-frets neck.
Fender Telecaster
- Natural brown body with maple neck and white pickguard.
Gibson Les Paul TV
- P90 pickups. Used on a couple of shows in the US in October 1970.
Gibson J-45 acoustic steel string guitar
- Paris, France January 23. 1970 and KQED TV-show, San Fransisco USA, April 28. 1970.

3 Hiwatt DR103 All Purpose 100W heads
- with Mullard 4xEL34’s power tubes and 4xECC83’s pre-amp tubes (one head was a spare).
4 WEM Super Starfinder 200 cabinets
- with 4×12” Fane Crescendo speakers with metal dust caps.

Note: David used only two Hiwatt heads and WEM cabinets during the early months of 1970. The classic 3 heads/4 cabs setup appeared sometime during summer 1970. David is also seen using a smaller setup on TV-shows throughout 1970 with only one Hiwatt head and a WEM cabinet (notably KQED show in April).

Further reading

See these in-depth features for more on David’s gear: The Early Years 1970-72, Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, Binson Echorec, The Black Stratocaster, The White Stratocaster, Telecasters, Gibson Les Pauls and Hiwatt amps & WEM cabinets.

Acknowledgements and credits
Atom Heart Mother (album 1970), Atom Heart Mother Goes on the Road (BBC live recording UK, 1970-’71), From Oblivion (live recording San Diego USA 1971), KQED TV performance (San Fransisco, USA, 29.04.1970), “Pink Floyd in ST Tropez” (bootleg DVD from the ST Tropez music festival, France, 08.08.1970), “In the Flesh” by Povey/Russell. See feature for other references.