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Surf Rock Sounds


BinzaBernard
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Yes,... Mosrite and then Strats would it. Surf rock sound (pre Beach Boys) had a lot of Low-E and A-string tremolo

to it (a la Rick Dale), and  boom-cha-cha, boom-chak, boom-cha-cha, boom-chak,... rhythm. And the ubiquitous Vox

Continental electric organ.

 

Used to chat with The Ventures drummer Mel Taylor about that over sushi, back in the late 1980's. His wife Fiona

was in our Japanese language class. He sometimes he'd join us for sushi after class. Great guy, miss him.

 

HD150,... has some good tremolo patches, also spring reverb effects were a big thing back then,

for the surf rock of the 1960's. It was very Malibu Beach-ish back then.

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  • 1 month later...

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.

Cheers..Binza AUSTRALIA.

 

PSARKISSIAN is right on.

For Helix settings - I have used and like the Fenders - Tweeds and US Deluxes and the Supro. The Jazz Rivet (Roland Jazz Chorus) is cool too. As always, tweek and retweek all settings on the amp and cab - volumes - mic distance is huge for surf tones. 

 

For guitars: As stated above - Mosrites and Strats are great. Gretsch 6120's, Fender Jaguars and Jazzmasters are killer. Dont forget to try a baritone guitar - awesome for certain applications. I have found the cleaner the better as far as amp tones and dont forget to vary your pickup, tone, and volume controls. Oh yes - danelectros can do it too. So many - so cool. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

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.

Cheers..Binza AUSTRALIA.

 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.

 https://surfguitar101.com/

 

Later,

Norm

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BinzaBernard,

 

I forgot to mention that Martin Cilia (of the Atlantics) is a member of SG101. He is a great guy.  On his website he has tabs and some lessons.  Martin does use his black Jaguar on some songs, but most of the time it is his fabulous 1961 white Strat. That guitar has a wonderful warm tone.   

 

There has been some pretty darn good surf come from down under.  In addition to the Atlantics, I enjoy listening to the Denvermen.  Slightly different sound from the southern California sound, but still darn enjoyable.

 

Later,

Norm

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And when you're hangin' at Malibu, Zuma or Sunset beach, it sounds even better.

I can only imagine what it would sound like hangin' at Bondi Beach. Getting hungry

for prawns and Foster after shooting some curls. Keep your eyes out for guppies.

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