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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Surf Videos »

Permalink Ivan Pongracic Sr. and Jr. playing some Shadows chestnuts for Christmas

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Once again, Ivan, great work! If there is ever a mass revival of Shadows music, you will be on the avant-garde. Smile

One of the best things I ever learned about setting up a Fender amp is to reduce the Bass tone control to prevent the bass from overwhelming the sound. The result is actually a stronger bass, because it’s not overwhelming the senses of the listeners.

Some years ago, I was playing a Gretsch event and had my TRRI in a piggyback cabinet with a 15” Eminence Commonwealth speaker. That is a great Surf amp, sort of a poor man’s answer to a vintage Showman, and it’s an amp I love to this day. But that day, Winfield Thomas brought a Cyclone, which is based upon an early AC-15 design, with an EF-86 up front. The speaker cabinet held a 12” Weber Blue Dog. I was astounded by how good it sounded for Surf and other Instrumental Rock. BTW, that very amp is about 6’ away from where I am sitting right now, so my initial reactions were durable; I still love that sound.

One of the first things I learned on this forum was that the Blackface Twin was quite different from the Brownface Showman. Either can be great Surf amps, but they are not the same. The classic sounds of Instrumental Rock came from a lot of sources. (I realize that some don’t like that term, but I feel it is a good blanket term to describe instrumentals from the ‘50s until now. It is meant with all due respect.) The early examples were played on Tweed amps and all sorts of early designs.

The Vox family developed in Great Britain, and a sound developed based upon that family of amps. Interestingly, Hank Marvin expanded his sound via the skillful use of delays and, to the best of my knowledge didn’t use reverb all that much, if at all. It was a completely different approach, from the American side of the pond. It led to the sound heard on the stage of the Ed Sullivan Show, Feb 9th, 1964.

For a kid growing up in the US during that time period, it was an abrupt change. I had heard Chet Atkins, Duane Eddy, the Ventures and The Beach Boys, but I would venture that the Beatles were the first time I head a Vox amp.

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