How is the “surf guitar” sound created? I’ve just been listening to a lot of it on Cult Radio A-Go-Go.
From this thread:
Also, Dick Dale’s signature sound was the result of playing the guitar as though it were a mandolin. He was also left handed but didn’t restring his guitar–the weird sound became a signature of surf music and pretty much everyone who came after emulated it.
For us non-mandolin players, what does that mean?
That linked thread answers your question. In short: lots of spring reverb, liberal string-bending and usage of the whammy bar, single coil pickups rather than humbuckers, minor and seventh chords, staccato picking and palm-muting instead of open strumming.
playing notes by rapidly picking the strings instead of picking the note once and letting it draw out and sustain. Think the mandolin sound of an Italian movie soundtrack. Now apply that sound to the surf song Miserlou, by Dick Dale used in Pulp Fiction…
Fender guitar - preferably a Strat or a Jazzmaster
Tons of Reverb
Tremolo/Vibrato (you know that sound that Green Day gets for Boulevard of Broken Dreams or The Smiths get for How Soon is Now? That sound…)
Thanks everybody for your answers. I’ll be busy looking up what “whammy bar,” “single coil pickups” and “humbuckers” mean.
There’s a essay on Dick Dale’s hardware over on his website: Dick Dale History
Mild hijack… I’ve been listening to Takeshi Terauchi and the Bunnys Let’s Go Classics lately. Excellent and surreal.
“…an excellent collection of Western Classical songs. Highlights include excellent fuzz versions of Beethoven’s For Elise and 5th Symphony. Other instantly recognizable tunes, Flight of the Bumblebee, Swan Lake, and *Carmen *are done eleki style. This record is all balls sans wimpy string arrangements.”
These would be fun to have in Guitar Hero…
If you are serious, please say so - happy to provide definitions.
Here’s a quote about the Dick Dale sound that a poster over at Harmony Central posted today:
I remember John Peel playing a Dick Dale track and saying “I don’t know how he did that, but there was one bit that sounded exactly like someone dynamiting cars in the next county”