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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Favorite surf guitar

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This became my favorite surf bass a long time ago. I've never named any of my guitars or basses except for this one. It's "The Mongrel".

It's a 1965 ash body Fender Precision with a Warmoth Jazz Bass neck. I prefer the Jazz necks because I don't have long skinny fingers. I updated the electronics with new everything and a Lollar pickup. The strings are TI flats.

I've had a bunch of Fender basses over the years including a few Custom Shop ones, and this one is the best-sounding surf bass I've ever owned or played.

Surf Bass Amp? A Fender Showman with an E-V 15" speaker.

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Jack
aka WoodyJ

The Mariners (1964-68, 1996-2005)
The Hula Hounds (1996-current)
The X-Rays (1997-2004)
The Surge! (2004, 2011-2012)
Various non-surf bands that actually made money
(1978-1990)

Potentially opening a can of worms here, but for jazzmaster nerds, out of the currently available jazzmasters on the market, which one is your favorite?

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Right now at this very moment, I'd think the AVII line is the best one. There are also some absolutely beautiful JM's coming out with blocks and binding in Japan. If I had to buy one today, it would be a Japanese one.

Daniel Deathtide

When I was playing 1st Wave Surf regularly, this Mosrite Bass was my favorite, of 5 Mosrite basses. Today, it would be to heavy for me to deal with...
The amp back then was a 1965 Fender Dual Showman, bone stock !
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give me 3-fingers of 1st Wave SURF

As long as we’re talking basses, I’ll mention my favorite Surf bass.

A bit of history. I love playing bass, and have owned a number of basses. An old injury to my left shoulder has placed some minor limitations on my left arm, and eventually, I started to experience tendinitis in my left arm when I played a bass with a 34” scale. After consulting an orthopedic surgeon, the best fix was suggested to be switching to a 30” bass. So I sold my P-Bass, my Jazz Bass and my fretless Warwick and set about finding 30” basses.

My first acquisition was a Japanese-made Fender Mustang, and I was quite pleasantly surprised by how good is sounded. I would describe the sound as P-Bass Lite, having a similar attack and decay as a P-Bass but with a slightly less authority.

To my ear, it’s a nice compromise, with a bass voice that is solid and substantial, but not too heavy, and I like how it sits in the mix for Surf. Beyond that, the Mustang is light, and easy to play. The quality of the CIJ Mustang is excellent, and it has weathered the last 15 years quite easily.

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While not really a Surf bass, I will use this opportunity to mention my Custom Shop Warwick fretless. When it was decided that no surgical option would guarantee that I could once again play 34” basses, I decided to get a short scale fretless. I had sold a Warwick Corvette fretless, and decided to order another Corvette to my specs, which turned out to be fairly simple, and inexpensive. I ordered a fretless, with conventional Jazz Bass passive pickups, a Wenge neck, and black hardware. What I ended up with was a junior version of a Warwick Thumb. It has incredible sustain, and power. The dense woods give it a long decay, and the sustain is so good that it’s almost like playing an organ or synth.

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Last, but certainly not least, is my MIJ Bass VI. Is it a bass? Is it a baritone guitar? Yes! Played as a bass, it’s a bit toppy, sort of like a Jazz Bass, in its most treble voice. However, by choosing pickups carefully, and a slight roll off on the tone control, a fairly robust, warm bass sound can be created. If I am using the VI as a bass, I use my fingertips, but if I’m using it as a melodic instrument, I use a flatpick.

Played as a lead instrument in the bass register, it can be very Surfy. It will drip like nobodies business and get some respectable twang, even with flat-wound strings. In view of the fact that a Bass VI is basically a Jaguar with a glandular condition, it’s not all that surprising that a VI sounds like a low-pitch Jaguar.

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The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

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Last edited: Feb 02, 2024 16:20:09

DeathTide wrote:

Right now at this very moment, I'd think the AVII line is the best one. There are also some absolutely beautiful JM's coming out with blocks and binding in Japan. If I had to buy one today, it would be a Japanese one.

How do you feel about the American Original?
I'm currently playing a Jaguar for surfy stuff, but have been thinking about getting a jazzmaster. Right now I'm in my research wormhole phase. I know it will largely depend on how they actually feel when played but I need to agonize over stuff before I actually try it out. It's my process (and fun to get thoughts ahead of time so I can hone in on various details I may have otherwise missed when going for a test drive). Puisheen's reviews on youtube seem to be very negative of the AVII, while his review of the American Original is fairly favorable.

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Tqi wrote:

My favourite surf bass of all time is one I have only ever seen in a single photo on TalkBass:

photo

A photo I will KEEP spamming across the internet until Squier gets with the bloody program and makes a partner for my Classic Vibe Jaguar.

photo

That is ultra cool.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

BB_Bunny wrote:

Puisheen's reviews on youtube seem to be very negative of the AVII, while his review of the American Original is fairly favorable.

I believe his problems with that line were corrected, and in fact were factory mistakes. The headstock is now the correct size, and the vibe arm now fits. Many people were stymied as to why he was so negative, and the consensus is that he is pissed that these small QC errors made it to the shelves. People do love their American originals as well. The specs are not vintage so I never considered one. Also the correct blocks and binding of the AVII make it vastly superior to anything except an original! In my opinion. The moment they announce an AVII Jaguar I will be purchasing, even though I have five Jaguars.

Daniel Deathtide

Last edited: Jun 26, 2023 10:06:48

BB_Bunny wrote:

How do you feel about the American Original?

I use an American Original (Daphne Blue). As I haven't played a Jazzmaster, I cannot comment on that model, but I am really happy with the one I have. In due time I will buy other guitars and only then I can comment on those.

The pics below were made whilst I was restringing and cleaning her.
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Albums:
"Introducing..." (8 September 2021), "Impala '59" (17 July 2022), "De Favorieten Expres!" (22 November 2022 - charity album)
EP's:
Mr. Magnatech is not afraid of you! (2020), Surfin' the Tolka! (2021), An Evening With Magnatech (2023)
7":
Lana Del Rey/Do You Believe In Surf? (2020), Bundoran/Sweet Surfin' Sabine (2021), Cymopoleia/ Surfin' Demon Twist (2021), Dr Mabuse/Zombie Love Theme (2022)
Compilers:
Surfin' Kitty Xmas Vol. 2 (2021), Surfin' Kitty Xmas Vol. 3 (2022)
Sea Sea Rider (2022)
Surfin' Britannica vol 3 (2022)
Triple Agent IV compilation (2023)
Continental Magazine compiler (2023)
_An Evening With Magnatech (June 2023)
"Herr Magnatech Bittet Zum Tanz" (October2023)
7" "Do the Swine"/"Suvla Bay" (December 2023)
_Surfin' Kitty vol 4 (compiler)

https://magnatech.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/magnatechmusic
https://www.magnatech-music.com
https://sharawaji.bandcamp.com
https://sharawaji.com

Last edited: Jun 26, 2023 10:26:55

I owned a strat for a while, but I just can't get along with three pickup guitars. No idea why that is. The middle pickup always just seems to get in my way.

My only surf related guitars at the moment are as follows:

1) Fender Jaguar 60s lacquer in Fiesta Red

2) Squire 40th Anniversary Jazzmaster with Fender 65 vintage pickups and a few other upgrades. This one is seafoam green.

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Last edited: Feb 02, 2024 09:23:46

My JazzMaster is my favorite for surf, but my favorite Spaghetti Western Guitar is my PRS SE Baritone that I modded by adding a Bigsby. It stays in tune really well.
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Last edited: Nov 05, 2023 11:20:03

I dunno about my absolute favorite since I haven't spent a lot of time playing P-90's, but this is my surf machine...
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Last edited: Jan 31, 2024 16:42:54

AgentClaret wrote:

I dunno about my absolute favorite since I haven't spent a lot of time playing P-90's, but this is my surf machine...
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That’s a great looking Strat. I love the guard against the finish.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

IMO there are very few guitars that can't be classed up by a nice pearly pickguard! Smile

--
Hypersonic Secret's first single "FLIGHTLINE" is out now! (also avail on streaming services)

Thanks, guys!

Yeah, pearl looks good with literally any color!

AgentClaret wrote:

I dunno about my absolute favorite since I haven't spent a lot of time playing P-90's, but this is my surf machine...
image

I think I have your machine's sister!

This is Annette. Pickup selection #2 is switched from Neck/Middle to Neck/Bridge. I was hoping to mimic Dale's sound years and years ago. It's kind of my go to setting, so I've just left it. Swapped pickups to Antiquity II Surfers.

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Surfcat

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Surf, the most dangerous of all musical genres...

Last edited: Feb 01, 2024 09:01:12

ArtS wrote:

AgentClaret wrote:

I dunno about my absolute favorite since I haven't spent a lot of time playing P-90's, but this is my surf machine...
image

I think I have your machine's sister!

This is Annette. Pickup selection #2 is switched from Neck/Middle to Neck/Bridge. I was hoping to mimic Dale's sound years and years ago. It's kind of my go to setting, so I've just left it. Swapped pickups to Antiquity II Surfers.

image

Interesting wiring. I’ve always thought that something like that is needed. I love the color scheme, as well.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

Need a 6th switch for neck/middle... Cool

Surfcat

From Atlantis with Love - Released - July 2023
Agent Octopus-Spotify
Christmas on the Beach - NEW SINGLE Dec 2023!!
Agent Octopus-Apple Music
Reverb Galaxy - Angle of Attack CD - BANDCAMP

Surf, the most dangerous of all musical genres...

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