Surf Rock

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hi GMC!

    Welcome this new lesson inspired by Surf Rock bands.

    “Surf music is a genre of popular music associated with surf culture, particularly as found in Orange County and other areas of Southern California. It was particularly popular between 1961 and 1966, has subsequently been revived and was highly influential on subsequent rock music. It has two major forms: largely instrumental surf rock, with an electric guitar or saxophone playing the main melody, largely pioneered by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, and vocal surf pop, including both surf ballads and dance music, often with strong harmonies that are most associated with The Beach Boys. Many notable surf bands have been equally noted for both surf instrumental and surf pop music, so surf music is generally considered as a single genre despite the variety of these styles. During the later stages of the surf music craze, many groups started to leave surfing behind and write songs about cars and girls; this was later known as hot rod rock. Surf music is often referred to as simply surf rock, even though the genre has many forms.” - Wikipedia

    I composed this track after hearing an Argentinean band called “The Tormentos”, which is a popular surf garage band here.
    Their music combines that surf music vibe with the garage sound.

    Music Style:
    As I said it before, this tune has a big influence by Surf and Garage bands. I was inspired mostly by the instrumental songs by the band "The Tormentos" but I’m sure that there are many bands aroung the world that create music that combine this type of rhythms, harmonies and melodies. One important characteristic of this style is the use of lots of Spring Reverb in the guitars and the overal mix. I tried to recreate that sound.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:
    This track is in the key of A minor, so I used A minor aeolian and A pentatonic minor scales to create the melodic lines.
    However there are some sections where I had to switch to A harmonic minor.

    This is the chord progression:

    Am - G - Am - G - Am - G - F - E

    F - Fm - C - G/B - Am 
    F - Fm - C - G/B - Am - G E

    Every time that E major or F minor appears we have to use A harmonic minor scale (or avoid the note G from the A minor scale) because these chords include the note G# which is the major 7th of A. 

    This is a melodic lesson so the technique used here is basically alternate picking. It’s a good exercises for beginners that need to train their timing.

    I used a Pod preset called “Casbah” to record this song. It combines the Brit P-75 BRT head with the 412 Blackjack 30 cabinet. Then, I added Chorus and Spring Reverb to my guitar in the mix using the Waves Gtr Stomps.

    I used standard 440. 

    190 bpm. 

    Well guys! I hope that you will enjoy this lesson! Feel free to contact me if you need some help or if you have any question.

    Let’s start surfing!

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