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What is David Gilmour’s opinion on Roger Waters as a bassist

David Gilmour
Photos by Polly Samson and Kate Izor


What is David Gilmour’s opinion on Roger Waters as a bassist

Pink Floyd was formed by Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Nick Mason back in 1965 and two years later the singer and guitarist David Gilmour joined them. But due to Syd’s deteriorating mental state, the band fired the musician in 1968, since he no longer could write and perform.


In the following years, especially in the 70s, with the release of classic albums like “Dark Side of The Moon” (1973), “Wish You Were Here” (1975) and “The Wall” (1979), they became one of the biggest bands in the world. Since the group simply sold an estimated amount of more than 250 million records worldwide.

But obviously, as fans know, the tension between Roger and David got higher. So Waters finally decided to leave the band in 1984. We all know they have really different opinions on many subjects, but also that they respect each other too. Waters always praised Gilmour solos, for example, and David always recognized Waters’ songwriting abilities.

But what David Gilmour’s opinion, who is a really accomplished artist when it comes to writing music, on Roger Waters as a bass player?

David Gilmour’s opinion on Roger Waters as a bassist

Pink Floyd’s final album with Roger Waters was “The Final Cut” (1983) and many people say that it was actually Waters’ first solo album, because he really controlled everything. So Gilmour and Mason were not given much space to contribute. The split wasn’t amicable and Waters believed that since he was the main lyricist of the past decade, the band would be over once he left. So he wasn’t happy at all after Gilmour and Mason decided to carry on as Pink Floyd. So Waters sued his ex-band members but they obviously won the case and continued, releasing more albums in the following years.

By 1992, when Floyd had already released “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” (1987) for a few years, David Gilmour talked in an interview with Musician magazine about Waters. He was asked if he believed Roger was effective as bass player. He curiously then said that it was actually him who recorded most of Pink Floyd’s bass guitar in the studio. Including in the famous track “Hey You”.

They were talking about tracks from the 60s like “A Saucerful of Secrets” and he said: “He had developed his own limited, or very simple style. He was never very keen on improving himself as a bass player. Half the time I would play the bass on the records. Because I would tend to do it quicker, right back to those early records. I mean, at least half the bass on all the recorded output is me anyway.”

He continued:

“Well, I think it’s been said (That I recorded the bass guitar many times). But it’s certainly not something we go around advertising. Rog used to come in and say ‘Thank you very much’ to me once in a while for winning him bass-playing polls.”

He then was asked if he was the one who played the fretless bass on The Wall’s famous track “Hey You”. The musician replied, saying: “Yeah. Hmm. Roger playing fretless bass? Please! (laughs)”.

Waters himself said at the time he “was never a bass player”

Just like Paul McCartney, Waters is certainly more recalled as a in incredible songwriter than as a bassist. Especially because of the importance of his work not only for Pink Floyd but for the impact it had in music. Also talking with Musician magazine in 1992, Waters shared his thoughts about himself as a bass guitarist.

“I was never a bass player. I’ve never played anything. I play guitar a bit on the records and would play bass. Because I sometimes want to hear the ‘sound’ I make when I hit a string on a bass with a pick or my finger. It makes a different sound than anybody else makes, to me. But I’ve never been interested in playing the bass. I’m not interested in playing instruments and I never have been,” Roger Waters said.

Gilmour and Waters played the bass in “One of These Days”

Gilmour also said he played the bass in “One of These Days”, song featured on Pink Floyd’s 1971  album “Meddle”. As he said in an interview with Guitar World in 1993, he and Waters shared the bass duties in that track. It was Roger who came up with the basic riff and they both worked on the song.

“You could get some wonderful delay effects that aren’t attainable on anything that’s been made since ‘One of these Days’ evolved from some of my experiments with the Binson, as did ‘Echoes’. One day, Roger decided to take some of the techniques that I was developing and try them out himself on bass. And he came up with that basic riff that we all worked on and turned into ‘One of these Days’.

He continued:

“(…) Yes (I played the bass too in that track). The opening section is me and Roger. On ‘One of these Days’, for some reason, we decided to do a double track of the bass. You can actually hear it if you listen in stereo. The first bass is me. A bar later, Roger joins in on the other side of the stereo picture.”

“We didn’t have a spare set of strings for the spare bass guitar. So the second bass is very dull sounding. (laughs) We sent a roadie out to buy some strings. But he wandered off to see his girlfriend instead,” David Gilmour said.

In 2020, Rolling Stone interviewed the famous session bassist Guy Pratt, who toured and recorded with Pink Floyd many times since Waters left. He said that people come up and say: “You’re as good a bass player as Roger Waters”. The musician said he always would find that funny, because it was actually Gilmour who recorded most of the tracks.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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