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I want to learn how do play surf/western style guitar, where do I start?

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  • I want to learn how do play surf/western style guitar, where do I start?

    Que?
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Good deals with: TheCardiacKid, Nightraven, AverPhil, AimmarCair (x2), midi_in, draines1220, digiTED (TGP), themroaring20's (TGP), cjkbug (TGP), whsdhs1 (TGP)</div>

  • #2
    First, get a Fender Jaguar
    Second, get a reverb
    Last, wait for someone who can be more helpful

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    • #3
      ^this, and listen to any of Ennio Moricone's spaghetti western scores (i.e. the good, the bad, and the ugly). Then for ****************s and giggles listen to the Birthday Party. Rowland S. Howard's guitar is like surf/western guitar on acid.
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      • #4
        Listen also to the Dead Kennedys. East Bay Ray is a surf guitar freak.
        Forget the Jaguar - get a strat for surf!
        <div class="signaturecontainer">... puppets jerking on their strings ...</div>

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        • #5
          Start learning some of your favourite surf songs by ear. They
          <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;Me and a book is a party. Me and a book and a cup of coffee is an orgy.&quot;<br />
          - Robert Fripp</div>

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          • #6
            Super wet reverb, palm mute, tremolo arm.

            Add some fuzz for the spaghetti western thing.

            It's not too tough to make something sound surfy, but it is difficult to do it really well.

            Personally, I recommend heavy flatwound strings for surf. You get that nice percussive attack that sounds killer with the reverb, and you don't want a ton of sustain or string noise.
            <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>If we heard mortar shells,<br>we'd cuss more in our songs,<br>and cut down on guitar solos. </i><br><br>Good transactions with: thewizardsofhop, moon shadow, blanknotice, stacco, grayeyes777, Frankenstrat86, Crxsh, Blurillaz, gtrwiz, H.P. Lovecraft, Sovtek50, gorebuc, Stevenglass, Spectermagic, fever606, anibawl, Gaetano Paul, iamthearm, Aaron SS, starmansam, J Werner</div>

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            • #7
              The OP is asking about learning how to play a particular style. Presumably to learn what scales are used, how a surf song is structured and what playing style is typically applied. Not just what token guitar or effects.

              I've never understood this logic. You even get it here on surfguitar101 forum :lol:


              EDIT:

              The only really useful reply from said forum post:

              "Straight ahead feel (e.g., no soul, hip-hop, or Steely Dan). Percussion usually emphasizes beats 2 & 2A & 4. A sense of action, at least in instros. No sense that a vocalist is about to enter or is needed--the guitar is the voice. Rhythm guitar if present is clean and plays either tic-tics or very rhythmic thin-toned chords. Bass sticks to chord notes or boogie-woogie pattern. Lead guitar usually has audible reverb or delay. There are always exceptions."
              <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1"><b><font color="Indigo"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?2014628-Official-Effects-Good-Deal-Bad-Deal-Sticky!/page23#post47364386" target="_blank">Good deals list</a> </font></b></font></div>

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              • #8
                The OP is asking about learning how to play a particular style. Presumably to learn what scales are used, how a surf song is structured and what playing style is typically applied. Not just what token guitar or effects.

                I've never understood this logic. You even get it here on surfguitar101 forum :lol:


                I see what you're saying, but with a single coil guitar and enough reverb and palm muting, pretty much everything sounds like surf.

                I suppose the assumption is that OP has heard enough surf guitar in his life that he can fake it once he has the tools to cop the tone.
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>If we heard mortar shells,<br>we'd cuss more in our songs,<br>and cut down on guitar solos. </i><br><br>Good transactions with: thewizardsofhop, moon shadow, blanknotice, stacco, grayeyes777, Frankenstrat86, Crxsh, Blurillaz, gtrwiz, H.P. Lovecraft, Sovtek50, gorebuc, Stevenglass, Spectermagic, fever606, anibawl, Gaetano Paul, iamthearm, Aaron SS, starmansam, J Werner</div>

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                • #9
                  I see what you're saying, but with a single coil guitar and enough reverb and palm muting, pretty much everything sounds like surf.

                  I suppose the assumption is that OP has heard enough surf guitar in his life that he can fake it once he has the tools to cop the tone.


                  True, but then you could say use a metal zone with a pointy guitar and you're playing nu metal or whatever. It's just the facade of playing a style rather than learning it, which (I assume) was what the OP was asking about rather than 'faking' it.

                  Not having a go at you inparticular, some of your suggestions are fairly key to the style.

                  My response comes from seeing this kind of thing on forums so much it gets sooo tiresome. Like when you ask for a pedal recommendation with specific parameters, and want to know the details of why people would recommend it. Why they chose X over Y, etc. But then you just get the inevitable one word pedal name response, which is more or less useless. :lol:
                  <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1"><b><font color="Indigo"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?2014628-Official-Effects-Good-Deal-Bad-Deal-Sticky!/page23#post47364386" target="_blank">Good deals list</a> </font></b></font></div>

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                  • #10
                    I see what you're saying, but with a single coil guitar and enough reverb and palm muting, pretty much everything sounds like surf.

                    I suppose the assumption is that OP has heard enough surf guitar in his life that he can fake it once he has the tools to cop the tone.

                    This is where you'd be wrong :lol:. I know what it sounds like, but I don't know many particular artists outside stuff like The Mermen

                    But anyway, I can get the tone fine, but it's the feel of the notes that I can't really cop. Something about it I guess.
                    <div class="signaturecontainer">Good deals with: TheCardiacKid, Nightraven, AverPhil, AimmarCair (x2), midi_in, draines1220, digiTED (TGP), themroaring20's (TGP), cjkbug (TGP), whsdhs1 (TGP)</div>

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                    • #11
                      True, but then you could say use a metal zone with a pointy guitar and you're playing nu metal or whatever. It's just the facade of playing a style rather than learning it, which (I assume) was what the OP was asking about rather than 'faking' it.

                      Not having a go at you inparticular, some of your suggestions are fairly key to the style.

                      My response comes from seeing this kind of thing on forums so much it gets sooo tiresome. Like when you ask for a pedal recommendation with specific parameters, and want to know the details of why people would recommend it. Why they chose X over Y, etc. But then you just get the inevitable one word pedal name response, which is more or less useless. :lol:


                      I think your analogy falls apart a little because as a genre surf isn't like blues or rock - there isn't a carved-in-stone song structure that beginners can try to emulate like 12-bar blues or I-IV-V rock patterns.

                      There isn't a "surf scale" in the same way that there is a blues scale. You could try using some middle-eastern sounding scales like Dick Dale (Misirlou is dominant Phrygian mode or something - I don't know I'm terrible at modes and scales), but that won't get you the whole picture either.

                      What we think of as surf guitar is best described in terms of how to get that tone rather than a set of scales or song patterns to learn.

                      I agree with you in general - gear recommendations are a long way away from style lessons - but surf guitar is a tough one since what ties the surf genre together is the sound more than the notes being played.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>If we heard mortar shells,<br>we'd cuss more in our songs,<br>and cut down on guitar solos. </i><br><br>Good transactions with: thewizardsofhop, moon shadow, blanknotice, stacco, grayeyes777, Frankenstrat86, Crxsh, Blurillaz, gtrwiz, H.P. Lovecraft, Sovtek50, gorebuc, Stevenglass, Spectermagic, fever606, anibawl, Gaetano Paul, iamthearm, Aaron SS, starmansam, J Werner</div>

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                      • #12
                        Also:







                        Some of what makes surf distinctive also comes from the drums. If you have a drum machine that you can program beats into, try practicing along with a surf style drum beat to get the feel down.
                        <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>If we heard mortar shells,<br>we'd cuss more in our songs,<br>and cut down on guitar solos. </i><br><br>Good transactions with: thewizardsofhop, moon shadow, blanknotice, stacco, grayeyes777, Frankenstrat86, Crxsh, Blurillaz, gtrwiz, H.P. Lovecraft, Sovtek50, gorebuc, Stevenglass, Spectermagic, fever606, anibawl, Gaetano Paul, iamthearm, Aaron SS, starmansam, J Werner</div>

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                        • #13
                          This is where you'd be wrong :lol:. I know what it sounds like, but I don't know many particular artists outside stuff like The Mermen

                          But anyway, I can get the tone fine, but it's the feel of the notes that I can't really cop. Something about it I guess.


                          I've been working my way through Hal Leonard Guitar Play Along - Surf. It's got accurate tabs and a CD with both guitar-included and backing music tracks for each song.

                          I've been getting a lot out of it. Pipeline and Penetration are there, as well as Walk, Don't Run :love:. I finally started trying to learn The Wedge and it's been a little too challenging so far. Apparently there's software they give you on the disc to slow it down and keep the same pitch. I may have to do that soon.
                          Guitars:
                          -Fender Wayne's World 2 Stratocaster w/Fat '50s pickups
                          -Fender Blacktop Jaguar HH
                          Amps:
                          -Fender Champion 110 w/Lil' Buddy
                          -Fender Princeton 112 Plus w/Red White and Blues
                          -Crate Palomino V8
                          Effects:
                          -Way Huge Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz
                          -Pro Co You Dirty Rat Distortion
                          -MXR Carbon Copy Delay

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                          • #14
                            Check out "Lonely Apache" on Los Straitjackets' album, "!Viva! Los Straitjackets".

                            It sounds like it could be the theme for a late '50's-early '60's Western movie.

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                            • #15
                              I'm in the process currently. I missed that era. I started playing in the mid 70s and cut my teeth on Zep, Allmans, Skynard etc. Then I went hard core acoustic/bluegrass for many yrs. Only got back into elec guitar a few yrs ago.

                              I say spend some time on you tube listening to the classics. Most are pretty simple and I can get most of it by ear. I go to the net for tabs to check myself or if I get stumped. Heres what Ive been working on so far, 30 min or an hr at the time over the last 2-3 wks, and I've gotten these down well enough to remember the melodies and start to develop a surfy expression to my playing:
                              Sleepwalk
                              Walk Don

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