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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Surf Musician »

Permalink More than 2 guitarists in surf instro ???

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In the 60s, having more than 2 guitarists was not uncommon. Did the surf instro groups from the 60s, do that too ? What were each of the guitar players doing ?

Geoff I think your question is a little confusing, can you rephrase it?

Danny Snyder
aka Mycroft Eloi of The TomorrowMen
aka Shecky Shekels of Meshugga Beach Party
aka Zync Oxyde of Frankie and the Poolboys

Some discussion of that in this thread:

http://surfguitar101.com/forums/topic/17211/

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To clarify - the surf instro groups from the 60s, who have more than 2 guitarists (of the six string variety), what are additional guitarists doing ? playing a bass line on the guitar ? playing a different rhythm ?

The Astronauts definitely utilized 3 guitarists

-Damon.

The best thing to do is to listen to the Astronauts' records and hear it. Or (some) Satan's Pilgrims. Not always easy if you're like me and tend to groove on the aggregate sound without listening to see what makes it up. I'm not sure how to describe it technically, but it's sort of a textural build up. In very simple terms, two rhythm parts or at least two non-lead parts. Or think of it as double tracking in one pass. Usually one part is sort of slow ringing chords (or faster doubled strokes) and another is a set of palm muted patterns with a sort of percussive effect. (See http://surfguitar101.com/forums/topic/12818/.) It may help to watch video of songs being played, where it's available, which is to say, probably more Satan's Pilgrims than Astronauts. But just realizing there are three guitars (and a bass) producing the sound will help resolve what you're hearing.

It's pretty easy to pick it out in Baja. Or try Hotdoggin' or Surf Softly and Carry a Big Board or the Hearse or Banzai Pipeline. In some cases you can pretty easily hear the various parts come in, one after another. Usually the hardest part to catch is the chording behind the lead and the palm muted patterns, or the bass can get a bit lost under the palm muted patterns. When bands adapt the songs to fewer guitars I think the chording and the bass are often the parts that get left out.

I hope this helps and is not too screwed up!

If your not looking to make money, fit on a stage or have each instrument be heard clearly then have at it. Apparently the Astronauts made it work, but why? Every time you add players you add headaches, scheduling conflicts and almost always muddy up the sound. Less is more.

Yeah, I don't know if it's very practical for a working band under modern conditions in the US to have five or six people. However, my (listening) experience is that as soon as you get two instruments above drums & bass, or even add voice, you have issues with muddiness or proper mixing. It doesn't take three guitars to screw it up. Some bands full of experienced musicians seem oblivious to the issue. Something's always drowned out or the whole thing is reduced to a garbled mess. Mostly because people play too freaking loud for the context or the balance.

In terms of avoiding muddiness, my impression is that in surf music with three guitar parts the individual parts tend to be rather spare. It all fits together more like a brass ensemble than the typical modern virtuoso with a couple backing parts approach.

Last edited: Apr 23, 2012 13:14:15

bamboozer wrote:

Less is more.

I think you mean less is easier.

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