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> The One Guitarist You Must See, Most powerful guitar sound ever
Mudbone
post Jun 24 2011, 04:25 PM
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This past Monday I went to probably the best show I have ever been to. I have never been so blown away by someones guitar playing, definitely the most powerful guitar tone I've ever heard. Funny thing is, it wasn't even full on mega distortion, it was clean. Who is this guitarist I speak of? Why, its none other that Dick Dale.

As he took the stage, the crowd, comprised of every age, race and creed, erupted in applause. The band consisted of nothing more than guitar, bass, and drums. A simple and tight ensemble that created a powerful wall of sound. Dick Dale approached the mic and began giving instructions to the house sound technician for the proper way to set up the mic.

"Bass, treble and volume, thats all you need." Fifty years experience of playing gigs summed up in one sentence. As the technician fiddled with the controls, Dick said, "give me more edge, give me more edge." Sure enough the feedback disappeared and his voice was crystal clear.

Dick Dale is an instrumentalist, and hence most of the show was free of singing. The few songs where he did sing were covers, such as "Summertime Blues" and "Long Way to the Top". The melodic sound of the human voice was not required, as the guitar did most of the singing. The dynamics of songs and the effectiveness of the song sequence was astounding. There was never a dull moment. There was more energy in that room than at any metal show I have ever been to. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that the man is 74 years old. Musicians a third of his age couldn't produce that electric intensity that Dick was wringing out of his Stratocaster.

Yes, the Stratocaster. The instrument that Dick Dale himself helped popularize. In fact, its fair to say he was the original hero of the Strat. His electrifying performances in the early sixties inspired countless guitarists, including none other than Jimi Hendrix. Also up on stage with him were two Fender Showman amps, which were designed and built for him by Leo Fender himself. Feeding those two amps was his trademark spring reverb tanks, and the amps played through cabs with 15 inch speakers that were designed by JBL specifically for Dick Dale and Leo Fender.

Back in the early sixties, there weren't any amps that could handle Dick's playing, his heavy gauge strings and hard playing blew up amps night after night. He approached Leo Fender and requested an amp that could handle his loud style of playing. Leo came up with an 85 watt transformer that would peak at 100 watts. With this development, Dick Dale went from being a guitarist bound by the now relatively quiet 30 watt amps to being the loudest guitarist in the world. This is when the guitar as an instrument truly took center stage. Dick and Leo later developed a 100 watt amp that would peak at 180 watts, thus creating the world first 100 watt amplifier. This amp developed by Leo and Dick was later named the Showman, and the name was inspired by Dick's performances.

Dick Dale's electrifying guitar playing and the massively loud amps he was playing through totally blew away his audiences in the 1960's. Lets not forget the key component to these shows is the man himself. Many other guitarists have picked up his same exact rig but can't develop the sounds he creates. In the history of rock music the man is a legend and an institution.

He was using the harmonic minor scale long before the arrival of Malmsteen. He is of Lebanese descent, and grew up with family members that played the oud.This greatly influenced his style of playing.

So, how come his name isn't out there as much as other legendary guitarists? This can be attributed to the fact that he owns all his music and promotes himself, without the backing of a major label. Many years ago he told the music industry to bugger off, and hence they never promoted him. Who we view as legendary today is shaped to a large degree by marketing. Selling legends is big bucks, and its a business just like anything else.

The ticket to this show was only $15. I would have gladly paid twice that amount. The guitar playing was astounding, this proves that you don't have to play exotic arpeggios at breakneck speeds to be a fantastic guitar player. I highly recommend seeing one of his shows. The man is a 74 year old cancer survivor. I hope he lives for many more years to come, but he is human and can't do this forever. Go out and see a living legend biggrin.gif

- On a brief side note, one of the opening acts was Laramie Dean, whose a fantastic modern surf rock guitarist, definitely check him out if you're into that type of music.

I didn't take much footage of the show because I couldn't be bothered with the tedious task of holding up a phone for four minutes at a time. I was there to enjoy the show, not make a documentary. I also thought the sound quality provided by the iPhones mic would be shit. After listening to the brief clips I recorded afterwards, I was surprised by how good it was, maybe its because my expectations were really low tongue.gif If I knew this I might have recorded more footage biggrin.gif Watch in 720HD for best quality



This post has been edited by Mudbone: Jun 24 2011, 04:28 PM


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Ben Higgins
post Jun 24 2011, 04:30 PM
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That was a really cool and interesting post. I had no idea Dick was so influential in terms of loudness ! Of course the first time I heard of him, like most of us here probably, was that he played 'that' Pulp Fiction song ! cool.gif

Old dudes rock !


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Sinisa Cekic
post Jun 24 2011, 07:19 PM
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Really professional report from the concert, thanks ! Yes, Dick Dale is an old school, and sometimes I like to listen to his songs smile.gif


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Mudbone
post Jun 26 2011, 04:14 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jun 24 2011, 11:30 AM) *
That was a really cool and interesting post. I had no idea Dick was so influential in terms of loudness ! Of course the first time I heard of him, like most of us here probably, was that he played 'that' Pulp Fiction song ! cool.gif

Old dudes rock !


He is definitely the loudest guitarist I have ever seen in a live situation. Not necessarily in terms of sheer volume, but power and force. His sound live is very different than what you hear on his albums. The sound on the albums is very compressed. Since Dick Dale plays mostly clean, his playing is very dynamic. I know I seem like a gushing little school girl but I was completely blown away, every time I hear the word "guitar," his tone and playing is the first thing that now comes to mind biggrin.gif

QUOTE (Sinisa Cekic @ Jun 24 2011, 02:19 PM) *
Really professional report from the concert, thanks ! Yes, Dick Dale is an old school, and sometimes I like to listen to his songs smile.gif


Thanks Sinisa biggrin.gif


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He who laughs last thinks slowest.

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens


Gear:

Guitars: Uncle Rufus' Twanger Classic
Amps: Mississippi Boom Box
Mojo: Hammer of Odin and a pair of Ox gonads
Inspiration: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Zero to Hero: 1,387/10,000

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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jun 26 2011, 09:57 PM
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That's awesome, I wish I could hear him play! Old school knew how it's done smile.gif


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Blister
post Jun 26 2011, 11:33 PM
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Great post & you are a gifted writer, as well. I will certainly be on the lookout if he comes to my area.

Gary

(Just saw that I missed him. sad.gif He was 2 hours away from me 11 days ago!)

This post has been edited by Blister: Jun 26 2011, 11:39 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jun 27 2011, 08:43 AM
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Wow biggrin.gif I remember being very fascinated back in 2000 when I discovered this guy, but chances are he may never come to Romania ever..


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moleman
post Jun 27 2011, 10:04 AM
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That was a really good post man, nice one smile.gif

I'm kind of jealous of you new after hearing about that show.
Dick Dale was the first guy I ever heard really play fast. I know he is most famous for Miserlou (Pulp Fiction), but his other surf guitar stuff is really worth a listen.
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Mudbone
post Jun 27 2011, 09:59 PM
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QUOTE (Blister @ Jun 26 2011, 06:33 PM) *
Great post & you are a gifted writer, as well. I will certainly be on the lookout if he comes to my area.

Gary

(Just saw that I missed him. sad.gif He was 2 hours away from me 11 days ago!)


Thanks Gary biggrin.gif Since you live in Florida theres a good chance he'll come around your way again, so be on the look out!

QUOTE (moleman @ Jun 27 2011, 05:04 AM) *
That was a really good post man, nice one smile.gif

I'm kind of jealous of you new after hearing about that show.
Dick Dale was the first guy I ever heard really play fast. I know he is most famous for Miserlou (Pulp Fiction), but his other surf guitar stuff is really worth a listen.


Thanks moleman, definitely check out all his albums since "Tribal Thunder", which was released in '93 I believe. He didn't have a studio album since the 60's because he believed producers could never capture his live sound, which is an argument that has merit. The new albums are definitely good, but they're not as intense as seeing it live.


--------------------


He who laughs last thinks slowest.

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens


Gear:

Guitars: Uncle Rufus' Twanger Classic
Amps: Mississippi Boom Box
Mojo: Hammer of Odin and a pair of Ox gonads
Inspiration: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Zero to Hero: 1,387/10,000

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Stephane Lucarel...
post Jun 28 2011, 03:24 PM
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Great review Mudbone, I will check out some recordings!
Wow, 74 years old and still rocking!


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Gitarrero
post Jun 28 2011, 05:32 PM
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Dick Dale is just great! I never got to see him live, my ex did though and also said he was pretty great live. Hope to get the chance to see him live one day...


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