Home

Dick Dale

Dick Dale performing in Berlin, Germany. March 2004. *** USA ONLY *** © David Biene / Vanit / Retna Ltd.

Biene/Vanit/Retna

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.

31

Dick Dale

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.

30

Buddy Guy

A key influence on Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray
Vaughan, Buddy Guy put the Louisiana hurricane in 1960s electric
Chicago blues as a member of Muddy Waters' band and as a house
guitarist at Chess Records. A native of the Baton Rouge area, he
combined a blazing modernism with a fierce grip on his roots,
playing frantic leads heavy with swampy funk on Howlin' Wolf's
"Killing Floor" and Koko Taylor's "Wang Dang Doodle" as well as on
his own Chess sides and the fine series of records he made with
harp man Junior Wells. One of the last active connections to the
golden age of Chess, Guy still plays with his original fire.

29

Ron Asheton

Nobody ever accused Ron Asheton of being a nice guy. "Any guitar
player worth his salt is basically a thug," his lead singer, Iggy
Pop, once said. "They test you with that thug mentality. They ride
you to the edge." Asheton was the Detroit punk who made the
Stooges' music reek like a puddle of week-old biker sweat. He
favored black leather and German iron crosses onstage, and he never
let not really knowing how to play get in the way of a big, ugly
feedback solo. This spring, Asheton joined Iggy and the other
Stooges for their first gigs in nearly thirty years. He still
sounds like a thug.

28

Stephen Stills

"He's a musical genius," Neil Young said of Stills in a 2000
interview. He should know. The two have been bandmates and
competing lead guitarists on and off since 1966: in Buffalo
Springfield, the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and the
short-lived Stills-Young Band. But those groups' ego-and-drug
dramas have obscured Stills' prowess as a musician — he
played nearly every instrument on Crosby, Stills and Nash's 1969
debut — and especially as a guitarist. In Springfield and
CSNY, Stills challenged and complemented Young's feral breaks with
a country-inflected chime. And a continuing highlight of CSNY shows
is Stills' acoustic picking in "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" — a
paragon of unplugged beauty.

27

Mark Knopfler

Dire Straits founder and solo artist Mark Knopfler emerged at a
time when guitar virtuosos were spurned by punks and New Wavers.
Yet from the first stinging notes of "Sultans of Swing," Knopfler's
roots-based approach and supple, burnished leads found almost
universal appeal. A fingerpicker who favors Fender Stratocasters
— a Knopfler-designed Strat was introduced in July as part of
Fender's "Artist Series" — he's known for his rich tone,
sinuous melodicism and rangy, fluid solos. "My sound is fingers on
a Strat," he once said.