First timer here. Can anybody help me with some settings for Surf Rock sounds like the Ventures or Shadows with my Spider IV HD150. I play a Fender American Strat and a LP Studio model. I'm guessing the Strat will work best.
Hello. I have been playing surf since its birth. Yep, I am that old.
Yes, the Stratocaster would be preferable over the Les Paul. For surf you want the clean crisp single coil sound. Jazzmaster and Jaguars are number 1. Stratocaster is fine. Most play on the bridge pickup. I do not a guy who likes the middle pickup. However, in general, go with the bridge pickup.
You want a clean tone. No distortion. The amp model that comes closest would be the red twang. That model is based on a later blackface Twin Reverb. Not perfect, but darn close. Close enough to my older Showman. You will need to tweak the EQ settings to suit your taste and to fit the song you play. Start with bass at 5, mids at 7 and treble at 6. You want to simulate the sound of the old Fender Reverb Unit (I do play an old 61 tank). So set the control to spring reverb put it just above middle (say 6/10). Outsiders (not really surf players) think you max the reverb. You do not. That would muddy the sound. You want it wet, but not drowned. You really don't need any other effects. You can try them to see if you like adding them. But clean with some reverb is the fundamental surf sound.
Now for the Shadows, turn down the reverb. Maybe around 2/10. For Hank's sound you need echo. Not sure which one of your choice will get you there. Could be tape echo or maybe delay. My gut says try the tape echo first. Most important for this sound is to master the tremolo arm. Hank is the wizard of the tremolo. He gives it a warble that is darn hard to duplicate.
If you want to learn more about playing surf guitar, please check out the Surf Guitar 101 forum. We have a great bunch of guys and gals there, everyone from absolute beginners to old hacks (like myself) to some of the best surf guitarists on the planet. The gang is pretty good about helping beginners. We want to keep surf alive so we welcome new folks. SG101 is really a good place to browse around. Everything about surf guitar you could want.