NOTE: This website is frequently updated. Last update August 2022.

David's Early Pink Floyd Selmer Sound

SELMER AMP TONE - When David joined Pink Floyd in 1968 and took over vocals and guitar for Syd Barrett he was using the same gear that Syd had been using - a Telecaster, a Binson Echoec, and Selmer amplifiers and speaker cabinets. The Selmer had a unique, jangly, overdriven sound, similar to a Vox sound, but the Selmer had its own unique voice. You can hear this guitar sound on the Pink Floyd albums A Saucerful of Secrets, More, and Ummagumma.

Below is an extraction of Syd playing guitar through his Selmer and Roger Waters playing bass from the Piper at the Gates of Dawn sessions. The first 17 second of IO is just the Selmer.

mp3Interstellar Overdrive - Isolated Guitar and Bass

mp3 Astronomy Domine - Guitar Mixed up front

A lot of people confuse the Selmer sound with a fuzz pedal, but there was no fuzz used on Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Syd's first Pink Floyd album. He did own a fuzz pedal - a Colorsound Tonebender (not a Vox) - but he rarely used fuzz. His fuzz use was so rare that there is only one photo of him with one, from May 1967, and the Tonbender input is not even plugged in! If you want to hear what Syd's actual fuzz pedal sounded like, listen to the fuzz solo in the See Emily Play single. Otherwise, it's mostly the Selmer.

Syd Barrett and David Gilmour playing through Selmer amplifiers in 1967 and 1968

The core guitar tone on the Piper album was primarily the 50w Selmer Truvoice Treble 'N' Bass Mark II amp. It was a two channel (normal and bass) 50w amp, and the louder you turned it up, the more it distorted. Syd used the normal channel input. When performing live Syd used the Truevioce or a Selmer Stereomaster amplifier with a matching Selmer speaker cabinets. Those cabs were often sold with the Selmer T&B, and were fitted with Goodman Audiom 61 speakers. I think Vox was also using Goodman speakers at this time.

The Steremaster Syd used essentially sounded the same as his Truevoice T'N'B, but it had two 50w amplifiers built in (50w each for stereo, or 100w mono), each with a series of five pre-set EQ buttons that could be used in addition to the treble and bass knobs. David continued to use those Selmers when he joined the Floyd, as he was basically picking up where Syd left off, using the same gear. He inhertited Syd's gear, alomg with Syd's rarely used Tonebender. David did not like the Tonebender, so he switched to a Fuzz Face pedal. His guitar tone heard on songs like More Blues and Dramtic Theme from More is the pure Selmer tone drenched with Echorec. The Nile Song and Ibiza Bar are what a Fuzz Face sounds like through the Selmer.

The Selmer Truvoice Treble 'N' Bass Mark II amplifier (left), which had a normal and a bass channel, and Selmer Stereomaster (right)

David soon began to develop his own sound and find his place in the band. In mid to late 1969 he replaced the Selmer amps with Sound City and Hiwatt amps. As new material without Syd was written, Pink Floyd stopped playing a lot of those early Selmer era Floyd songs. Later in his career David began playing some of those songs again with the Floyd and in his solo concerts. Astronomy Domine was a staple for his concerts beginning in 1994, but he also played Arnold Layne in later shows, and a one-off performance of Remember A Day. To get those Selmer tones David used a Tube Driver into his Hiwatt amps, which got very close.

I found I can get even closer to the Selmer sound than David did by using slightly different settings on my 1980s era BK Butler/Chandler Tube Drivers. The 5-knob Real Tube version of the TD from Tube Works also works for this sound. You need a bright, jangly amp tone. A Bassman or Hiwatt are perfect for that. I dial the presence control all the way up on my Hiwatt and set my bright channel volume fairly high. I set the TD for a bright overdrive, dial the volume down sightly on my Telecaster, and play right over the bridge pickup to get the sound as bright as possible. My pedal settings are shown above. Note that not all 1980s Tube Drivers sound the same, so I show a range of LO and DRIVE settings that work on the TDs in my collection.

1980s BKB Tube Driver (left) and Tube Works Real Tube settings to mimic the Selmer sound

Below are a couple of sloppy clips of the Selmer tone with a TD.

mp3Interstellar Overdrive - Telecaster into a 1980s BKB/Chandler Tube Driver > Future Factory delay > Reeves Custom 50.

mp3Astronomy Domine - Telecaster into a 1980s BKB/Chandler Tube Driver > Future Factory delay > Reeves Custom 50.

There is a hint of fuzz on top of the Selmer tone that is not quite the same with the TD, but in all other respects it sounds very close. You can also get a similar sound with a 1990s era 911 Tube Driver or the 911 TDs Butler has been making since 2006 by dialing the hi and lo knobs to zero. The tone is similar, but not quite as bright and accurate as the 1980s Tube Drivers or Real Tube pedals.


USING AN AMP EMULATOR PEDAL TO REPLICATE THE SELMER TONE - There are many amp emulator pedals designed to give your amp the tonal characteristics of older classic amps. One of the best I have heard to get the Selmer Truevoice amp tone throught a Hiwatt or Fender amp is the Thorpy FX Scarlet Tunic.

The pedal, released in2022, originated when guitarist Lee Harris needed a pedal to emulate Syd Barrett's early Pink Floyd Selmer amp sound through his Hi-Tone amp for Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets band. Thorpy took on the challenge, and in the development realized the pedal could not only cover the Selmer amsp tones, but the Hiwatt DR103 and Vox AC30 style tones as well. The name comes from a line in the Syd Barrett song The Gnome.

Through my Bassman or Hiwatt amps it successfully captures the slightly distorted tone of the Selmer, along with its bright chime and jangly crunch. It works great for David's early Tele/Selmer PF tones, like on Saucerful, More, and Ummagumma. It also works well to get David's Sound City and early Hiwatt tones through a modern Hiwatt, for clean tones heard on songs like Echoes from the Meddle album.

The Scarlet Tunic has very flexible tone controls and is very guitar volume sensitive. The Presence knob is like a presence control on an amp, enhancing the upper-mids tone frequencies. I keep it set high. The Sense switch is like a hi/lo amp input. The Bright switch is like an amp bright switch. The Deep switch is like a bass boost/cut, presumably to simulate the Selmer normal and bass channel inputs. I keep all three switches down.

Scarlet Tunic settings for a clean Selmer tone (left) and dirty Selmer tone (right)

Below is a sloppy attempt to replicate Syd's Lucifer Sam tones through my Reeves Custom 50 with Future Factory delay. There is one guitar track in the left channel and one in the right.

mp3Lucifer Sam

Here is just the guitars. The Scarlet Tunic sounds really good with Echorec style short delays.
mp3Lucifer Sam - guitars only

Here are a couple of sloppy clips demonstrating a tone similar to Syd's Selmer tone using the Scarlet Tunic and a Tele into a 59 Bassman.

mp3Interstellar Overdrive

mp3Astronome Domine

One of Gilmour's Fuzz Face pedals (left) and my Scarlet Tunic settings that work with a modern Dunlop Fuzz Face (right)

David Gilmour used Fuzz Faces for distortion throughout the 1970s, and they are featured prominently on several tracks from the 1969 Pink Floyd soundtrack album for the film More, the first Pink Floyd album without Syd Barrett. More featured two proto punk-heavy metal style songs, The Nile Song and Ibiza Bar. A Fuzz Face into the Scarlet Tunic replicates the Fuzz Face into a Selmer amp sound quite well. Below is an example of that setup with a Stratocaster and a 300ms delay from a Free the Tone Future Factory into a Reeves Custom 50.

mp3Dramatic Theme

mp3Dramatic Theme - guitars only

Below is a clip of another song from More, called More Blues. The first half is just the Scarlet Tunic, then I kick on a Silicon Fizz Face at the end. Stratocaster and a 300ms delay from a Free the Tone Future Factory into a Reeves Custom 50.

mp3More Blues


The Scarlet Tunic also works very well to get a variety of late 1960s amp tones I hear on songs from bands like the early Who, the Yardbirds, the Kinks, and Free. It almost works like a preamp to give any clean amp the chime of a Vox or Selmer-like amp. You can even run a treble booster in front of it and it sounds like it's going into an AC-30.

Here is an attempt to get The Who's I Can See for Miles sound. The different levels of distortion are all done using the guitar volume. It cleans up fantastically. I kick on a Supa Fuzz at the end (4:00 mark), but otherwise, it's all done with the Scarlet.

mp3I Can See For Miles instrumental

mp3I Can See For Miles - guitars only

The Scarlet also blends very well with traditional fuzzes such as the Fuzz Face, Tone Bender, and Supa Fuzz. The Scarlet's circuit makes them all sound better, adding a nice sizzle to the top end and enhancing the natural bloom of the fuzz. Below is a fuzzed out version of I Can See for Miles using a Castledine Supa Mk1. 59 Bassman in the left and Hiwatt DR103 in the right. Fuzz Face through the Bassman for the fills in the right channel.

mp3I Can See For Miles - fuzzed out



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