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#206767 - 06/18/13 01:50 PM [Off-Topic] The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound
Gary Curran Offline
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Registered: 01/07/02
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Okay, this one is for all your guitar players. I want to replicate to late 1950's and early 1960's guitar sound used on so many tracks by all sorts of artists, i.e., The Ventures, Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys, Dick Dale, etc.

What I'm looking for is the primary guitar used, any effects that are used, and settings and pickups. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to reproduce this on my Korg keyboard, but it's something I want to try. I know that the guys and gals here will be the ones to give me the information I need.

Thanks in advance,

Gary
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#206772 - 06/18/13 02:06 PM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: Gary Curran]
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
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Loc: Hamlin NY
Hi Gary,

You start with a single coil pickup guitar, usually a Fender (Stratocaster, Jaugar, or Jazz Master) or a Mosrite. You usually use the bridge (treble) pickup for more bite and run it through a Fender Amp with plenty of reverb and the tone controls set for lots of treble. I preferred the Fender Super Reverb Amp with four 10” speakers. Sometimes tremolo is used also. Note humbucker pickups (Gibson) and large speaker sizes usually so not work well for surf music.

Other amps may be used as well however most will be set up very similar to those I have stated above.


If you need help feel free to PM me.
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#206775 - 06/18/13 02:44 PM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: Gary Curran]
90 dB Offline
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#206786 - 06/18/13 06:12 PM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: Gary Curran]
ROG Offline
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Registered: 12/12/11
Posts: 2614
Loc: York, England
Pretty much what Mario said.

The Jazzmaster was very much in favor and the wide flat single coils had a sound which was very distinctive. A twin reverb, super reverb, or most other Fender amps will complete the set-up and with a bit of adjustment should provide the sound you're after.

ROG.

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#206787 - 06/18/13 06:14 PM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: Gary Curran]
Mac Offline
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Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
You don't HAVE to use a strat or other single coil guitar to emulate the surf sound, but it may help.

It can be done on just about any plank, even those with humbucker pickups, such as the Gibson SG, Les Paul Junior, etc.

I remember one cat who did a great job on his Gibson ES-335.

The "RECIPE" is as follows:

*Bridge Pickup

*The longer the string length, the better. This means that even if you can play certain note in higher positions, if you can play that note down closer to the nut, by all means play it there.

*Lose every bit of any studied articulation you may have worked on, such as the kind of picking used for Jazz runs, try to avoid Circle Picking, instead use a slightly more flexible pick and hit the strings darn near perpendicular for both up and down strokes.

Most Important Part:

*Pick some target players or songs, Dick Dale readily comes to mind, and internalize them. Learn to play them. That will give a beginning 'pallette' of phrases, devices and whatnot that can translate into the beginnings of emulating the style in other songs and places.


--Mac
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#206805 - 06/18/13 09:34 PM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: Mac]
bobcflatpicker Offline
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Registered: 10/27/07
Posts: 3357
Loc: WV, USA
What Mac said. That "sound" isn't too elusive.

It is pretty cool though.
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#206814 - 06/19/13 12:13 AM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: bobcflatpicker]
Ryszard Offline
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Registered: 09/28/07
Posts: 3900
Loc: Kennesaw (Atlanta) GA
If it isn't already obvious, be sure to use a spring reverb.

I must say, you're pretty ambitious here. I've used a synth in the past to simulate bass and distorted lead guitar sounds, but never a clean guitar. On the other hand, that was many years ago. Synths have come a long way from the monophonic analog units I was using. Please let us know what you come up with.
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#206836 - 06/19/13 07:55 AM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: Gary Curran]
Mac Offline
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Actually, the Surf Sound started *before* the famous Fender Reverb came out.

As referenced in the article that 90dB posted above, Dick Dale used no spring reverb on any of his early and genre-defining cuts.

However, today is another story, once the Spring Reverb was available on just about any amp to be purchased, the surf sound morphed into being drenched in that effect.

Pay attention to the TREMELO effect and how it differs in different amps. Not all are alike at all. Even the fender amps have featured different kinds of tremelos in certain models. And Ampegs have a Tremelo that is, well, "Ampeg".

Today we can use the various digital effects to great advantage as concerns the Reverbs and different types of Tremelos, highly recommended for the journeyman guitarist who may have to cover not only the Surf sound, but the entire gamut.

As with any effect, I find that it is important to resist overdoing it on the settings, though. If the reverb masks the definition of notes, the surf sound does not sound "right" to me.

Those aspiring to the sound should add The Ventures and The Shadows stuff to their arsenal as well as Dick Dale. Sprinkle on plenty of Skunk Baxter's expertise on that subject as well.


--Mac


Edited by Mac (06/19/13 07:59 AM)
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#206839 - 06/19/13 08:42 AM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: Mac]
MarioD Offline
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Adding to the tremolo confusion is the fact that some companies, including Fender, used the term interchangeably with Vibrato, see here: http://www.fender.com/news/tremolo-and-vibrato/
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My mind is like my Internet browser: 19 tabs open, 3 of them are frozen & I have no idea where the music is coming from.

64 bit Win 10 Pro - the latest BiaB and RB - Roland Octa-Capture audio interface - a ton of software and some hardware.

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#206844 - 06/19/13 09:44 AM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: Gary Curran]
90 dB Offline
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Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 4724
Loc: Florida
These guys are really into it:

http://surfguitar101.com/ygroup/thread/69/


Of course, you have to actually be a surfer.




Edited by 90 dB (06/19/13 09:48 AM)
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#206890 - 06/19/13 05:55 PM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: MarioD]
Mac Offline
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Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
Originally Posted By: MarioD
Adding to the tremolo confusion is the fact that some companies, including Fender, used the term interchangeably with Vibrato, see here: http://www.fender.com/news/tremolo-and-vibrato/


That's one of the factors I was alluding to above, matter of fact, Fender once released a different kind of Tremelo effect in one of their amps, that not only changed the Amplitude of the signal repetitively, which is the classical definition of Tremelo, but also varied the PITCH very slightly in accordance with the pulse of the oscillator at the same time.


--Mac
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#206914 - 06/19/13 11:32 PM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: Gary Curran]
Keith from Oz Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 2199
Loc: NSW Australia
Look for "The Atlantics" on Youtube. Now THAT'S a surf guitar sound!
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#206964 - 06/20/13 11:34 AM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: Keith from Oz]
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7548
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Originally Posted By: Keith from Oz
Look for "The Atlantics" on Youtube. Now THAT'S a surf guitar sound!


by request: atlantics on youtube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7piZDR2EP6E

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#206982 - 06/20/13 05:25 PM [Off-Topic] Re: The Quintessential Surf Guitar Sound [Re: Gary Curran]
Gary Curran Offline
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Registered: 01/07/02
Posts: 10059
Loc: Poulsbo, Wa 98370
Thanks everybody, I'll be working with my synth over the weekend to try to come up with a sound that is as authentic as I can get it. I'll let you know how it comes out.

Gary
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