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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Surf Musician »

Permalink Rhythm and Reverb

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In my bands quest for a more authentic surf sound, both of us guitarists are now using Fender outboard tanks. I noticed my leads do get too muddy if I over do it on reverb. On tunes where I play rhythm, do I cut off the verb completely, keep it the same or back it off? How do you guys handle switching between lead-rhythm?

Back it off, a lot is dependent on the song, and the tone you and the other guitarist are using. Remember the reverb is pulling the instruments back in the mix, so they can become washed out. Let's see what the core of SG101 engineers come up with... Cool Cool Cool


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I use the on board reverb on my Twin for open rhythms and just turn down the tank or use the footswitch.

I use the tank for muted rhythms.

Our other guitarist doesn't mute ANYTHING!! and just uses the tank setting all night.

Hope that's useful.....

The TakeOffs
"Kauai's Only All-Instrumental Surf Band"

For rhythm, I turn the reverb way down and let the lead use full reverb. We both use Fender reverb units. My idea is to maintain some contrast between the two guitars, imagine that!

If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.

There's no "right" answer to that question. It's entirely dependent on the song and what it's trying to convey. Some tunes want the rhythm or "second" guitar to be as drippy, if not more so, than the lead. "Pipeline" and "Baja" for example, or any other song that calls for the backing guitar to do a lot of palm muting. On other songs, the rhythm works best either dry or with just enough 'verb to give it a little shimmer (e.g. "Surf Rider" and "Mr. Moto" and of course "Walk Don't Run") The rhythm guitars' mission is to support and compliment the lead, not to compete with it.

Also, consider the guitars being used. The lead and rhythm guitars need their separate voices so the listener can distinguish between them in the mix. Volume, tone and reverb settings are ways to accomplish this.

My approach to rhythm is to start as dry as possible and add from there. That's what rehearsals are for..."Hey, can you put a little more reverb on that rhythm part"?


You're not drunk if you can put your socks on while standing.

Excellent explanation Stokemon. Utmost in your mind should be how does your guitar tone fit with your other guitarists. Next is how much clarity does the song need, or is it more about texture. If you need clarity then drop the reverb down. Typically what I do is keep the tank near me and just adjust in the split second between songs. Sometimes I even make notes on my set list of my effects settings.

Danny Snyder

"With great reverb comes great responsibility" - Uncle Leo

Playing keys and guitar with Combo Tezeta

Formerly a guitarist in The TomorrowMen and Meshugga Beach Party

Latest surf project - Now That's What I Call SURF

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