Guitarist Reveals How 1 Of Pink Floyd's Most Haunting Sounds Was A Mistake

Guitarist Lee Harris is showing off how one of the haunting sounds in Pink Floyd’s early masterpiece “Echoes,” was created.

Harris currently plays on the song as part of Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, a band led by the Floyd drummer that recreates the group’s pre-“Dark Side of the Moon” material.

The sound in question is commonly called the seagull, because that’s what it sounds like. But Harris said it’s actually a guitar sound ― and originally the result of a mistake when Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour’s wah-wah pedal was wired wrong. Instead of the expected wah-wah sound, the guitar produced that haunting gull-like sound, which Gilmour used on “Echoes” and later reused on “Is There Anybody Out There?” on “The Wall.”

“It turns the guitar into a sort of primitive synthesizer,” Harris explained in a video posted on his Facebook and Instagram pages:

He said in the video that when he plays “Echoes” live with Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, he holds the guitar aloft — not because it’s necessary, but to let the audience know that the seagull isn’t a recording, but coming from his guitar.

Along with Mason and Harris, Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets also features Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp on guitar and vocals; Guy Pratt, who toured and recorded with Pink Floyd, on bass and vocals; and Dom Beken on keyboards.

Check them out performing “Echoes” live last year. And watch for Harris breaking out that seagull effect at about 9:25: