"Dark Side Of The Moon" by Pink Floyd: An analysis for guitarists

Guitar lessons by Jamie Humphries

"Dark Side of the Moon" is a classic and timeless album released by Pink Floyd in 1973. It is an extraordinary work that has stood the test of time and is still widely appreciated by music lovers and guitarists alike. This article will provide an in-depth analysis of the album, with a focus on the guitar work, scales, solos, and the contributions of lead guitarist David Gilmour.

In this course, LickLibrary veteran, Jamie Humphries walks you through the many highlights of each song from the progressive rock icons one phrase at a time, including all of David Gilmour’s classic guitar riffs, searing guitar solos, masterful string bends and ambient guitar sounds plus a host of other essential David Gilmour lead guitar techniques. Learn the legendary guitar parts from the tracks; “Time,” “Money,” and the haunting, “Brain Damage.”

Track-by-Track Analysis

1. Speak to Me / Breathe

This track starts with an ambient intro, "Speak to Me," which seamlessly transitions into "Breathe." The guitar work in "Breathe" is primarily based on an Em pentatonic scale, with the chords being Em9, A7sus4, and Asus2. The lead guitar melody, played by Gilmour, utilises slides and bends, creating a smooth and soothing sound.

2. On the Run

"On the Run" is an instrumental track that mainly features synthesizers, with minimal guitar work. There is, however, a subtle guitar presence in the background, which adds to the track's atmospheric quality.

3. Time

"Time" is a powerful and introspective song with intricate guitar work. The verses use a progression of F#m, A, E, and B, while the chorus features a Dmaj7 and Asus4 chord. Gilmour's guitar solo is based on the D Mixolydian scale, with some added chromaticism. The solo showcases his excellent string bending, vibrato, and sustain techniques.

4. The Great Gig in the Sky

This predominantly instrumental piece features a piano and vocal improvisation. The guitar work is minimal, providing subtle support to the overall composition.

5. Money

"Money" is a unique song with a 7/4 time signature and a memorable bass riff. The guitar work consists of funky rhythm playing, with the chords being Bm7, G, Em, and F#. Gilmour's solo is based on the B blues scale, showcasing his impeccable alternate picking, string bending, and vibrato techniques.

6. Us and Them

"Us and Them" is a slow, atmospheric song with rich chord progressions. The verses are based on a progression of Dsus2, Bm, Gmaj7, and G, while the chorus features a Cmaj7 and Em7 chord. Gilmour's lead guitar work is smooth and melodic, utilizing the D major scale and demonstrating his mastery of slides and bends.

7. Any Colour You Like

"Any Colour You Like" is an instrumental track that features Gilmour's guitar work prominently. The song is based on a B minor pentatonic scale, with Gilmour employing various techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides to create a fluid and expressive solo.

8. Brain Damage

"Brain Damage" is a haunting song with a progression of D, G7/D, D7, and G in the verses and D, A, and G in the chorus. Gilmour's lead guitar work adds to the eerie atmosphere of the song, using the D major scale and incorporating slides and bends to create a melodic and emotive solo.

9. Eclipse

The final track, "Eclipse," features powerful and climactic guitar work. The song is based on a progression of Bm, F#, and G, with Gilmour's solo utilising the B minor pentatonic scale. His playing showcases his string bending, vibrato, and sustain techniques, bringing the album to a close with a profound sense of resolution and finality.

David Gilmour's Contribution to the Album

David Gilmour's contribution to Pink Floyd's iconic album "Dark Side of the Moon" cannot be overstated. As the lead guitarist, Gilmour's musical prowess and creative vision played a pivotal role in crafting the album's timeless sound. His skillful and emotive playing elevated the band's music to new heights, leaving an indelible mark on the world of progressive rock.

Gilmour's approach to guitar work on "Dark Side of the Moon" is characterized by his mastery of various techniques, as well as his ability to convey complex emotions through his playing. His solos and melodic lines, often using techniques like string bending, vibrato, and sustain, seamlessly blend with the album's overarching themes of life, death, and human experience. Gilmour's guitar work is not only technically impressive but also deeply evocative, adding layers of depth and texture to the music.

One of Gilmour's most significant contributions to the album is his innovative use of effects and soundscapes. His experimentation with delay, reverb, and other effects played a crucial role in defining the album's atmospheric quality. By expertly manipulating these effects, Gilmour helped to create the immersive and haunting soundscapes that Pink Floyd is now famous for.

In summary, David Gilmour's contributions to "Dark Side of the Moon" were instrumental in shaping the album's unique sound and enduring legacy. His exceptional guitar work, creative vision, and innovative use of effects make the album a true masterpiece that continues to inspire generations of musicians and music lovers alike.

In conclusion, "Dark Side of the Moon" is a seminal album that has captivated generations of music lovers and guitarists alike. Its intricate guitar work, memorable solos, and the contributions of lead guitarist David Gilmour make it a must-listen for any aspiring guitarist. The techniques employed throughout the album showcase Gilmour's mastery of the instrument and serve as an inspiration for guitarists to develop their skills and find their unique voice on the guitar.

Guitar Techniques used in "Dark Side of the Moon"

The guitar techniques employed in "Dark Side of the Moon" showcase David Gilmour's diverse skillset and deep understanding of the instrument. His use of string bending, vibrato, and sustain imbues the music with a sense of fluidity and emotion. Gilmour's mastery of slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs adds to the smooth and expressive nature of his playing. Additionally, his alternate picking technique brings precision and speed to his solos. The innovative use of guitar effects, such as delay and reverb, further enhances the album's atmospheric quality. These techniques combine to create a unique sonic landscape that is both timeless and captivating.

Some of the techniques used include:

About The Tutor

Tutor Profile

Jamie Humphries

Jamie is one of the mainstays of LickLibrary, having a stream of hugely successful best selling DVDs, Jamie is best known as Brian May's sideman who he's played shows with all over the world. Aside from this Jamie is a hugely popular clinician working all over the world with Ernie...

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