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100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke's Picks

31

Dick Dale


Dick Dale
Biene/Vanit/Retna
31/100

Dick Dale reigns across the decades as the undisputed king of the surf guitar. In Dale's own words, "Real surfing music is instrumental, characterized by heavy staccato picking on a Fender Stratocaster guitar." Moreover, it's best played through a Fender Showman Amp — a model built to spec for Dale by Leo Fender himself. Igniting California's surfing cult with such regional hits as "Let's Go Trip-pin'," "Surf Beat" and "Miserlou," Dale made waves with his fat, edgy sound and aggressive, proto-metal attack. "Miserlou," released in 1962, marked the first use of a Fender reverb unit — creating an underwater sound with lots of echo — on a popular record. Fittingly, it sparked a surf-music revival when director Quentin Tarantino used it in the opening scene of Pulp Fiction.

 
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