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Money Guitar Lesson (Pink Floyd)

Do you have the courage to play the blues in a 7/4 time signature?

Well, that’s exactly what we are going to do in this “Money” guitar lesson. 

"Money" by Pink Floyd is an iconic masterpiece from the legendary album The Dark Side of the Moon, released in 1973. 

It's got a super catchy bassline and some unique time signature changes that really set it apart for a rock song. Plus the solo sections of the song follow standard blues progressions!

I’m going to break down for you the chords, soloing, time signatures, and even how to capture that iconic Pink Floyd guitar tone. 

So make sure you’re tuned up and let’s dive in!

Who wrote Money? 

The song "Money" by Pink Floyd was written by the band's bassist Roger Waters. It was included on their iconic album "The Dark Side of the Moon," released in 1973. "Money" became one of Pink Floyd's most popular and recognizable songs. Its catchy bass line and thought-provoking lyrics about greed and materialism have resonated with listeners all over the world.

Money Guitar Chords

To play “Money” by Pink Floyd all you need to know are 3 chords Bm, Em, and F#. Here is how I would play each of these shapes.

I would play Bm as a bar chord in the 2nd position like this:

Then you can take that same shape up to the 7th position and play Em like this:

 

Alternatively, you could use this Em open chord as well.

And finally, I would play F# in the 2nd position. This chord shape is almost the same as the Bm bar chord it’s just that everything is brought up (to the sky) one string.

What key is “Money” by Pink Floyd in?

“Money” is in the key of Bm. It uses the 3 primary chords in the key, the i, iv, and V chords. 

Bm = i chord

Em = iv chord

F# = V chord

What is the time signature in the Pink Floyd song 'Money'?

The primary time signature used in “Money” is a 7/4 time signature.

But it also uses measures of 6/4 and 4/4 time as well. This means that in the 7/4 bars (most of the song) we will be counting 7 beats per measure like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

And so on.

For the verses of the song, both the guitar and bass play a unison figure in 7/4 time.

How do you play Money by Pink Floyd on guitar?

“Money”, aside from the riffs at the top of the song, is essentially a variation on a 12-bar blues. 

What? Yes, it’s a blues.

The sax solo and guitar solos are simply stretched-out blues progressions. Let me explain. In the guitar solo, the bass player walks a descending bass line down from the note D to B. 

On guitar, this can be played walking down on the 5th fret of the 5th string every fret until fret 2. The rhythm is quarter notes (see the video above for a demonstration).

This implies the Bm chord (i chord). Then it does the same thing for the Em chord (iv chord) and then back to Bm (i chord). After all that, it ends with a turnaround that goes from F# (V chord) back to Bm (i chord). 

It follows the same progression as a blues. But there is one more little trick here to note. I said above it was a “stretched-out” blues progression. What they do is double the length of every chord. So for example, here would be a typical blues in the key of Bm.

Bm (4 bars)

Em (2 bars)

Bm (2 bars)

F# (2 bars)

Bm (2 bars)

But what Pink Floyd does is this:

Bm (8 bars)

Em (4 bars)

Bm (4 bars)

F# (4 bars)

Bm (4 bars)

Do you see it? You do! Awesome.

It’s the same thing as a 12-bar blues progression but the length of every chord is doubled.

Here we can really see how Pink Floyd is pushing the limits of the blues (especially with the 7/4 time signature as well).

Money Guitar Solo

It is important to note that the sax solo is in a 7/4 time signature. But the guitar solo goes back to 4/4 time. The primary scale that David Gilmour solos with is the Bm blues scale

Here is how I would play this pattern at the 7th position:

Here would be the frets to play on each string:

6th string frets = 7, 10

5th string frets = 7, 8, 9

4th string frets = 7, 9

3rd string frets = 7, 9, 10

2nd string frets = 7, 10

1st string frets = 7, 10

This sound is going to get you a bluesy, gritty sound. And it is a great place to start experimenting with your solos 

Let’s next look at a few David Gilmour style blues guitar licks.

Example 1 shows classic Gilmour bends like on the 9th fret of the 3rd string, and also the 10th fret on the second string.

Example 2 uses the 12th fret on the 2nd string and the 12th fret on the 1st string. That’s it! But the way Gilmour combines just those two fretted notes with a strong rhythm and a little string bending gets a magical result.

Example 3 shows a big descending line from the 1st string all the way down to the 6th string. Here we can really see the Bm blues scale in action.

How do you get a Pink Floyd tone on guitar?

Next, let’s talk about a few tips for getting a similar Pink Floyd-style guitar tone.

  • Amp: Pink Floyd often used vintage tube amplifiers, such as Hiwatt or Fender models. Aim for a clean or slightly overdriven sound as a foundation. 
  • Guitar: Gilmour is famously known for his use of Fender Stratocasters. He favored both vintage and custom-made models. One of his most iconic Stratocasters is a black 1969 model with a maple neck, known as "The Black Strat." This guitar became synonymous with Gilmour's playing and was extensively used on Pink Floyd's albums and live performances. It also has a super short whammy bar, which he uses for his very distinct vibrato.
  • Effects
    • Delay effects were a fundamental component of Pink Floyd's sound. They used tape echo machines, such as the Binson Echorec, to create spacious and atmospheric echoes that became synonymous with their music. Songs like "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Time" show this characteristic delay-drenched sound.
    • Chorus and Flanger: Pink Floyd used a lot of chorus and flanger effects to add depth and modulation to their guitar tones. These effects can be heard in songs like "Have a Cigar" and "Us and Them," creating a swirling and ethereal quality.
    • Phaser: Phaser effects were also used to produce sweeping and swirling textures. The intro to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" showcases a prominent phaser sound.
    • Leslie Speaker: Pink Floyd occasionally employed a rotating Leslie speaker, typically associated with organs, to create a unique swirling sound on guitars. It can be heard in songs like "Echoes" and "Time."
    • Fuzz and Distortion: Pink Floyd incorporated fuzz and distortion pedals to achieve heavier and more aggressive guitar tones. The Big Muff Pi fuzz pedal, in particular, was widely used, notably on the iconic guitar solos of "Comfortably Numb" and "Time."
    • Wah-Wah: The wah-wah pedal was another effect used by Pink Floyd, notably on tracks like "Money" and "The Nile Song." It adds a distinctive filtering and expressive sweep to the guitar sound.

Remember – tone is subjective. And Pink Floyd had a wide range of guitar sounds throughout their discography. It's essential to experiment, listen closely to their recordings, and adjust your gear and settings to match the specific songs and eras you are trying to emulate.

Conclusion:

"Money" by Pink Floyd is a timeless classic. Released in 1973 as part of their album "The Dark Side of the Moon," the song became one of Pink Floyd's most popular and recognizable tracks.  

Plus combining the blues and complex time signatures really set it apart musically. One of the great things about this song for guitar students is that they can learn the riff and often do not even know they are playing in a 7/4 time signature. This is because of how memorable the hook of “Money” is. 

Remember to practice each part of the song slowly, and then when you are ready give it a try with the recording. Happy playing! And for more blues guitar lessons check out this post on the 101 best blues songs to learn on guitar next!

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