Dark Side of the Moon 1972-75

Effects, guitars and amps Settings and setups

The Dark Side of the Moon period ranges from the premiere of the suite Eclipse in January 1972 to their UK homecoming gig at the Knebworth Festival in July 1975. David gets his first pedal board when the Dark Side tour launches in the States in March 1973 and throughout the period he experiments with different pedals and guitars.

David’s playing also evolves from screaming fuzz tones to warmer blues oriented tones as they start to rehearse new material in medio 1974 (Shine On, Have a Cigar, Raving and Drooling and You Gotta Be Crazy). See Obscured By Clouds for David’s 1972 Eclipse stage rig.

Effects recording sessions

Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face (BC108)
Colorsound Powerboost
Univox Uni-Vibe
Binson Echorec II
Kepex processor (tremolo, Money recording session)
EMS Synthi Hi-Fli guitar effect processor

Note: There’s no reports on which songs the HiFli was used on although some sources indicates that the auto filter was used to emulate Leslie tones on Any Colour You Like.

(left) David at the Eclipse/Dark Side of the Moon press-premiere, Raindbow Theatre, London, UK February 1972. The mic stand to the right was used during Any Colour You Like and hooked up to a Leslie cabinet when David sang/scatted along with his guitar. (middle) The Black Strat featured a Gibson PAF humbucker between January and June 1973. (right) David at the Earl’s Court Benefit concerts in May 1973 with the 3 Hiwatt heads rig and a Binson Echorec II and PE603 on top.

Pedalboard and additional effects 1973-75 live performances

Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face (BC108)
Vox wah wah (1973)
Cry Baby wah wah (1974-75)
Colorsound Power Boost
Univox Uni-Vibe
MXR Phase 90 (added in 1974)
DeArmond volume pedal

Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face (for lap steel guitar, 1974-75)
DeArmond volume pedal (for lap steel guitar, 1974-75)

Binson Echorec II
Binson Echorec PE 603
EMS Synthi Hi-Fli guitar effect processor
Conn Strobo Tuners (added in 1974)
EMS Synthi A (On the Run)

Note: David got his first pedal board in early 1973. It featured the pedals listed above and judging by the few pictures that are available of the board it seems to have operated similar to the later Pete Cornish boards.

The board featured a Vox wah wah and UniVibe in 1973 but the Vox was replaced by a Cry Baby and the Univibe was taken out/or broken and a new one was placed beside the board in 1974. A MXR Phase 90 was also connected with send/returns during summer 1974.

Pink Floyd played both Set the Controls and Echoes in 1973 so the Vox wah wah must have had some reverse switch (or the jacks were manually switched) as David used the wah wah effect on Controls and the reverse connection seagull effect on Echoes.

The Hi-Fli processor was featured in David’s rig during the brief US tour in March 1973 and most notably at the charity gigs in Earl’s Court, London, UK in May 1973. It is not documented how and for what he used it.

(left) Dvaid with the Black Strat in 1974 now featuring the familiar black pickguard. (middle) David sometime during the 1975 leg of the Dark Side tour. The 1959 Fender Telecaster Custom was used for 1974-75 performances of Dogs. (right) David playing the blond Jedson lap steel sometime in 1974. Notice the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face on the floor.

(left) David pictured in Paris, France June 22 1974. This is one of the very last performances with the white pickguard on the Black Strat. Behind David is the Fender 1000 twin neck steel guitar that was used for a handful of shows in early 1974 before David got the Jedsons. (right) David pictured with the Bill Lewis guitar in Abbey Road for the filming of the bonus features on Live at Pompeii. The guitar was famously used on Money.

Guitars and amps recording sessions

Fender Stratocaster “The Black Strat”
– 1969 black alder body with a white pickguard, ’63 rosewood neck, stock Fender pickups and an additional mini switch allowing multiple pickup combinations. A Gibson PAF humbucker was custom fitted between the middle and bridge pickup in January ’73. It’s uncertain whether this was used on the recording sessions or not.
Fender 1000 twin neck pedal steel
– Breathe and Great Gig in the Sky recording sessions with an open G chord tuning (D G D G B E).
Bill Lewis custom guitar
– 1970 mahogany body with custom humbuckers and a 24-frets ebony neck. David used the guitar on the Money recording sessions but he might also have used it on Us & Them, Brain Damage and Eclipse although this is not documented.

Hiwatt DR103 All Purpose 100W heads
– with Mullard 4xEL34 power tubes and 4xECC83 pre-amp tubes.
Fender Twin Reverb silverface 100W
– 4x6L6, 2x12AT7 and 3x12AX7 tubes.
Maestro Rover rotating speaker
Leslie rotating speaker cabinet
WEM Super Starfinder 200 cabinets
– with 4×12″ Fane Crescendo speakers with metal dust caps.

Amp setup

Alan Parsons was the chief engineer on the sessions at Abbey Road studios and responsible for mic’ing David Gilmour’s guitar cabinet. In an interview with Premier Guitar (2012), Alan reveals that they used Neumann U87 (or U86) condenser mic’s on the guitar cabs. The mic were placed one foot or a foot and a half away from the cabinet.

(left) Radio City Music Hall, NY USA March 17 1973. David’s using two Hiwatt speaker cabinets. (right) David’s 1973-75 stage setup pictured at the Earl’s Court benefit concerts in May 1973: 1. Pedal board, 2. EMS Synti HiFli, 3. main Hiwatt heads, 4. Binson PE 603, 5. Binson Echorec II, 6. Alembic FB-2 preamp, 7. spare Hiwatt and front minor Hiwatt, 8. EMS Synti A.

Guitars and amps 1973-75 live performances

Fender Stratocaster “The Black Strat”
– 1969 black alder body with a white pickguard and a 1963 rosewood neck. Original 1969 Fender pickups until June 1973 when replaced with Fender 1971 pickups. Fitted with an additional Gibson PAF humbucker between January-June 1973 and a black pickguard in June 1974.
Fender Stratocaster
– 1971 model with black alder body, white pickguard, maple neck with a large bullet truss rod headstock (Earl’s Court May 1973).
Fender Telecaster Custom
– 1959 model with three colour sunburst alder body, rosewood neck and a Gibson PAF neck humbucker. Used for You’ve Gotta Be Crazy with regular tuning in 1974 and tuned down one step (D G C F A D) in 1975.
Fender 1000 twin neck pedal steel
– Main slide guitar in June 1974 with open G tuning (D G D G B E) for Great Gig in the Sky and Shine On You Crazy Diamond.
Jedson lap steel (blonde)
– Used winter 1974 and spring 1975, open G tuning (D G D G B E) for Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Standing behind Gilmour.
Jedson lap steel (red)
– Used winter 1974 and spring 1975, open G tuning (D G D G B E) for Great Gig in the Sky. Standing behind Wright’s rig so that Gilmour could play hammond during the heavier parts of the song.

4 Hiwatt DR103 All Purpose 100W heads
– with Mullard 4xEL34 power tubes and 4xECC83 pre-amp tubes. Two main heads and one spare. In 1973 there was also a fourth head that powered David’s front stage monitors.
Alembic F-2B tube preamp
– Added summer 1974, Leslie preamp.
Leslie 147 speaker cabinet
4 WEM Super Starfinder 200 cabinets
– with 4×12″ Fane Crescendo speakers with metal dust caps.
2 Hiwatt SE-4123 cabinets
– with 4×12″ Fane Crescendo speakers. Radio City Music Hall, NY USA, 17 March 1973.

Note: Phil Taylor bought new Hiwatt heads and WEM speaker cabs for David during the summer 1974 rehearsals. These were used on the remainder of the tour (winter 1974 and spring 1975). The WEM cabs now included new Fane Crescendo speakers without the metal dust caps.

Further reading

See these in-depth features for more on David’s gear: Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, Binson Echorec, EMS Synthi Hi-Fli, The Black Stratocaster, The Bill Lewis Guitar, Slide Guitars and Hiwatt amps & WEM cabinets.

Acknowledgements and credits
Dark Side of the Moon (album 1973), Rainbow Theatre London UK (live recording February 1972), Wembley Stadium (live recording November 1974), Echoes in the Gardens (live recording Boston USA June 1975), Guitarist Magazine (January 1995), Guitar World Magazine (1993), Premier Guitar (2012), In the Flesh by Povey/Russell, The Black Strat – A History of David Gilmour’s black Fender Stratocaster by Phil Taylor and thanks to Grace Hudecek for help with research. See feature for other references.