R.I.P. Dick Dale


R.I.P. Dick Dale – Father of the Surf Guitar. We all owe you. Rock on.

Dick Dale
Dick Dale – credit unknown

Look how his guitar is strung ! He’s left-handed, but plays essentially a right-handed guitar – except for the controls and ‘horns’. So his heavy bass-end strings are at the lower edge of the fretboard. This means his fingers could never fall in the same shapes as the rest of us. Maybe this led him to use those low notes more often and more forcefully than everyone around him. But his highly distinctive sound comes from his very fast up-and down action in the picking hand (sometimes confusingly referred to as ‘tremolo’, in reference to the similar-sounding traditional Flamenco Spanish guitar technique, which is actually done in a very different way, with multiple fingernails). And a lot of echo effect. And thick strings. And a lot of energy !!!

Check out his early hit ‘Miserlou’. Wild !!! I wish I’d met him. But truly we all benefit from his trailblazing.

Miserlou – Dick Dale


© brianmay.com