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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Surf Musician »

Permalink How do you write a surf song?

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Surfing_Sam_61 wrote:

Sorry about your cat Synchro

Awl Ziggy is sick....looks just like stray cat here in Ocean City MD ...people come in a feed him - he hangs out at the south end near the inlet ...he's a local celebrity here in O.C. .....

Yeah cats on surf boards work....Ziggy in Tube City Laughing

Kids and women love cats songs.... so there is like 60 percent of the audience out there. Smile

Been too busy to work on making up and songs yet - trying to get my live equipment together (literally) ....I'm building two big PA cabinets 8 foot high with all my speakers for Guitar - Bass - Drums - Vocals etc inside it _ might loop the bass or whatever - So it will be stereo and all the equipment inside so I just two big boxes to move and plug in some cables - making it out of super light material as well. I want something that can be up and running in 15 minutes. there is a lot of work here for solo guy's / Most small places need low end entertainment like this - There is a camp ground here on the beach I'm hoping to hit as well this summer....lots to do

I was going to animated charaters for drums so still working on that so it will feel like a band instead of solo and my drum pedal will drive all that (will have to have a cat in here somewhere now.) - I have a midi foot controller for the drums as well - So I can add crashes etc (this will take a long time)/

So more than likely will start making up songs after a while just playing live a lot (Most songs were made that way anyway just jamming or improvised etc.

I'm basically takeing every thing I got to build a decent stage set up.

Thanks, Sam. It was a real loss, but we had ten years of mutual trust and understanding which can never be taken away. My new cat, see my avatar, is developing into a fine companion.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.
My Guitar WebSite
Dead Thread

My writing process is fairly simple but i tend to over think things so i end up getting writers block.

Process is
I first listen to a bunch of (melodic) unknown surf tunes to get an idea of the tonality i want.
Then i usually come up with a main riff if some sort. Once i got that figured out ill have whats basically a verse of some sort. Then ill come up with a chorus section with big melodic chord progression. Then back to the main verse and might add a second chord or key change or solo section then wrap it up in a nice package

Yeah that's pretty much what all the song writing books suggest Shadownight5150 ...good technique to start with. Just look at early demo's as a rough draft and give it time to develop.

There has been songs like Wipeout worked up in like three minutes or made up from different songs etc, but usually they are simple songs like that. Most others take a while to get something that works as a new song.

I write a couple different ways:

1) What I've been doing recently is pulling out old pop songs I wrote in my teens and twenties and updating them for surf. The melody lines are already there, so sometimes they fit for surf and sometimes I have to mod them.

2) A lot of times I will be driving, or sitting around or hanging out looking at water and a song just comes to me, melody line, backing instruments, etc... It's almost like the whole song is written and I just need to remember it and put in a suitable arrangement. Those are the ones I pull out my cell phone, open my voice recorder program and start singing the melody line and try to explain the rest of the instrumentation. Personally, I believe these songs are divinely inspired as I can't remember ever even thinking of them and they are there. I've heard of other writers having these experiences so could be inspirational or could be an unused (or better unrecognized) part of my brain that is assembling it.

3) This is my newest method to help me break writer's block. I take downloaded drum tracks and either piece them together, or find one that is 2-3 minutes long. I try to find something outside my comfort zone beat wise on style wise and adapt it to surf. Sometimes, usually later I let my drummer surf up the beat to make it work better.

Occasionally, I'll finish a song and think "wow that's great". Then I start spinning cds, or listening to Clint Beachwood and realize I ripped someone off pretty bad without knowing it. So I put those back in the can.

Agent Surfcat Cool

Agent Octopus
Reverb Galaxy
Reverb Galaxy at CD Baby

Yeah many song writing books mention all that too ArtS

The Cell Phone message and recorders are used a lot to remember ideas. Great technique too.

It's hard not to rip off music being all the possible combinations have probably been tried by now in the scales most writers normally use. You can make up your own scales and break new ground that way, but no one seems to do that (Or want to I guess.)

My interest in writing dropped off big time after being exposed to over 5000 Cd's worth of new Surf Music recorded in the last decade or more. It couldn't out do all that if I tried. A vast majority of it I never knew existed till this year. I knew about the classics from the early 60's but was shocked to find so many bands world wide in instrumental surf today. I had no idea it there was that many bands out there.

Just about anyone can record music now in their bedroom, where only a select few could make records 60 years ago, so its over-saturation to me as far as being a song writer. Still has home market value where the dog might lift a ear with the stereo on I guess. Laughing

My thoughts regarding mass production is some people write because they want to, others write because they can. So although there might be 5,000 cds out there, a lot of it would be rehashing the same stuff, uncreative, repeating and to me, musically uninteresting (note: to me, not everyone). CONVERSELY, I wish I had time to listen to that much music, because finding those 2 or 3 gems that you really love is always fantastic. A great example is the song "Waves in the Mist" by Shoot the Pier. Don't know where I first heard it, but man it has a great vibe.

I don't know how many albums and cds I bought back in the day to just get one track I liked. Will use this emoji Cool Cuz I can't find an old man one....

Agent Surfcat Cool

Agent Octopus
Reverb Galaxy
Reverb Galaxy at CD Baby

That is kind of like music in general ArtS, only one percent of all music and groups for that matter will be a hit of all the albums produced, Its always been like that in the arts.

What is hard is writing material as good as Pipeline and Walk Don't Run or many other instrumental classics . Why are those songs so good, and what magic happens making a song like that happen? Hard to figure that out.

I think you have to write like a song writer, then think like a studio musicican while recording - then think like a listener or producer on playback if its really any good.

Surfing_Sam_61 wrote:

What is hard is writing material as good as Pipeline and Walk Don't Run or many other instrumental classics . Why are those songs so good, and what magic happens making a song like that happen? Hard to figure that out.

Know what you mean. Pipeline just has a vibe to it that transcends time.

Agent Surfcat Cool

Agent Octopus
Reverb Galaxy
Reverb Galaxy at CD Baby

ArtS wrote:

... CONVERSELY, I wish I had time to listen to that much music, because finding those 2 or 3 gems that you really love is always fantastic. A great example is the song "Waves in the Mist" by Shoot the Pier. Don't know where I first heard it, but man it has a great vibe.

ArtS, Just saw this. Thanks much, it means allot. Showed it to Ellie and she said, "Nice... Yeah, I like that one too." haha. PM your address and I'll send out a free copy of our new EP Longboard Mornings. Thanks again, Bill

Shoot the Pier
Shoot The Pier on Facebook
We are on Instagram under "@shootthepiersurfband"
My Art

ArtS wrote:

My thoughts regarding mass production is some people write because they want to, others write because they can. So although there might be 5,000 cds out there, a lot of it would be rehashing the same stuff, uncreative, repeating and to me, musically uninteresting (note: to me, not everyone). CONVERSELY, I wish I had time to listen to that much music, because finding those 2 or 3 gems that you really love is always fantastic. A great example is the song "Waves in the Mist" by Shoot the Pier. Don't know where I first heard it, but man it has a great vibe.

I don't know how many albums and cds I bought back in the day to just get one track I liked. Will use this emoji Cool Cuz I can't find an old man one....

Yeah I'm in the old man club as well, most music I like is on the oldies channel (And I remember when they came out) Laughing

But back to the thousands of new Surf music productions, I would say about 75 percent is really good professional sounding stuff. Ok some songs sound like Pipeline but the E Dorian & A Dorian thing works well with Surf so understand why those scales are used a lot in Surf.

I think the tank reverb sound gets overused or starts to sound a little redundant after 3 hours of play time (Don't get me wrong I love playing through it, but it does get monotonous after a while as a listener, I can see why some players on here are trying to drop drip or find a more unique sound or whatever.

With Reverb Galaxy, and now with Agent Octopus we are trying to come up with slightly less traditional sounding surf songs. Unfortunately, once we start writing leads we seem to love the "drip" and leave it in most of them.

Agent Surfcat Cool

Agent Octopus
Reverb Galaxy
Reverb Galaxy at CD Baby

Don't forget how powerful not playing is. The power of a rest.

If I feel a song is getting a bit overwhelming it's worth remembering Breaking Surfboards, or Rumble, and how little guitar there is.

www.thewaterboarders.net
http://thewaterboarders.bandcamp.com/

Surfing_Sam_61 wrote:

I think the tank reverb sound gets overused or starts to sound a little redundant after 3 hours of play time (Don't get me wrong I love playing through it, but it does get monotonous after a while as a listener, I can see why some players on here are trying to drop drip or find a more unique sound or whatever.

So true, but beyond that this applies to any particular tone, effect or style. The Zoom G1Xon lets me craft a wide variety of different surfy tones--and even different spring reverb tones. All it takes to change tone is step on the pedal's patch selector. I even use a humbucker in combination with a single coil on a few songs.

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

Last edited: Aug 12, 2019 13:37:07

Hey Squid Smile

Yeah the technology is amazing now-a-days. I guess it won't belong before the terminators take over the music scene as well. Laughing

How about all the artist being sued for songs that sound like other songs. Sounds like to me you can't even have a song that's just similar. In two cases I just saw neither song were exact note for note melody wise or even lyrics being same or copied. (That use to be the only way to be sued.) Now courts come after songs that are just similar phrases or rhythmic elements.

I guess ghosting a demo is out now Whatever Can't do that now No

Here’s the secret to writing great surf songs:

Death (of someone close to you).

I’ve lost two cat pals this year (one I just buried less than two weeks ago) and I have composed two incredible surf songs. Once Blood Reef has a decent version you will all be invited to criticize / enjoy.

Dan Izen

https://www.facebook.com/bloodreefsurf/
https://bloodreefsurf.bandcamp.com/releases (nothing official yet, just some badly mixed snippets from practice)

Surfing_Sam_61 wrote:

Hey Squid Smile

Yeah the technology is amazing now-a-days. I guess it won't belong before the terminators take over the music scene as well. Laughing

How about all the artist being sued for songs that sound like other songs. Sounds like to me you can't even have a song that's just similar. In two cases I just saw neither song were exact note for note melody wise or even lyrics being same or copied. (That use to be the only way to be sued.) Now courts come after songs that are just similar phrases or rhythmic elements.

I guess ghosting a demo is out now Whatever Can't do that now No

Personally, I don't think anyone in a surf band has anything to worry about being sued for copyright infringement. If your record suddenly hits the big time and gets daily radio play, then I think you may find a lawyer sniffing around, but otherwise I doubt they'd be interested if you sell like a 100 CDs and there's no money. They tend to follow money.

www.thewaterboarders.net
http://thewaterboarders.bandcamp.com/

Yeah. but some younger song writers on here might progress to main stream some how down the road and encounter law suits like this on later content.n Basically anyone can be sued now being they consider other musical elements besides melody and lyrics now.

Some cases even brought in chord progressions dating back to classical music times and trying to use that in court etc.

Hmmmm. I wish I'd written that first 12 bar blues chord progression.

www.thewaterboarders.net
http://thewaterboarders.bandcamp.com/

DeathTide wrote:

I’ve lost two cat pals this year (one I just buried less than two weeks ago) and I have composed two incredible surf songs.

Hi Dan, I just want to drop you a sincere note of sympathy for the loss of your cats. As an owner of four cats myself, I understand how deeply felt such a loss can be. I assume that Ziggy was one of them, but I hope I'm wrong about that. I loved that picture you posted of him and I hoped that he would make a strong comeback. You asked about title suggestions for a song you wrote about him and over the summer Turner Classic Movies ran the old Flash Gordon serial on Saturday mornings. Every time I watched one I thought "Ziggy Conquers the Universe", I should send that to DeathTide. It may be small comfort, but if it stimulates the creation of a couple of new songs at least you have channeled your emotions into something positive. I look forward to hearing them.

-Tim
MyYouTubeChannel
SSS Agent #777

DeathTide wrote:

Here’s the secret to writing great surf songs:

Death (of someone close to you).

I’ve lost two cat pals this year (one I just buried less than two weeks ago) and I have composed two incredible surf songs. Once Blood Reef has a decent version you will all be invited to criticize / enjoy.

Dan Izen

I lost a wonderful cat to cancer in early 2018. The veterinarian told me the biopsy results and that night I had a dream where I heard a song. I woke up and recorded the melody. The next day I completed the arrangement and believe it's the best song I've ever written. It's not Surf; it's Light Classica, along the lines of Leroy Anderson.

It was over a year before I could even speak about losing that cat without feeling tears well up in my eyes. The event unleashed emotions of great depth. You have my full sympathies, DeathTide. Time heals.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.
My Guitar WebSite
Dead Thread

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