title says it all really, what techniques are used in surf guitar? Ive recently got into it, and id like to incorperate it into my playing. thanks for your help.
tremolo picking and alot of subtle trem bar use

listen to Dick Dale
Last edited by Capt_Clarkson at Jul 18, 2011,
ok thanks, any tips for improving tremolo picking? mines quite uneven. Also, my guitar is a telecaster, so are there alternatives to the tremolo bar? and am i right in thinking that it should all be drenched in reverb?
Not to call effects into a technique thread, but heavy reverb or short delay will help you get the sound.

For techniques, what the Cap'n said. You can slide down the neck tremolo picking as a sort of glissando effect. The wavering whammy bar chords work well, too. Surf music seems somewhat bluesy and often repetitve, but that may just be a symptom of when it was popular rather than saying much about the genre.

EDIT: For tremolo picking, slooooooow dooooown to a point where you can pick evenly and work up from there. Try playing something like the main riff from "Misirlou" at a slow tempo or using half the pick strokes and move up the chain.

Check out Authority Zero: they're a punk band that does some surf-style stuff. They're not really great, but it's some modern stuff to consider. Also, the Dead Kennedys' guitarist uses a lot of surf-type sounds in his playing...but it's more...creepy?
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
Last edited by soviet_ska at Jul 18, 2011,
I guarantee the hardest thing is picking as fast as you can over and over and then wondering why it all sounds broken. Just go online and find some metronome (look up "monkeymachine" on Google, it's one of the best flash/java drum loop makers) and work up with a higher tempo. Really work on getting every note played on the 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &, that's where your alternate picking will get better. Go freakin' SLOW at first, really get to where you're bored of playing and getting it perfectly slow, that will build up your technique first, which is what really counts. Hope this helps!

Don't forget palm muting, and whatever those slide down 'chugga-chugga' things are called. (Think Walk Don't Run - '64)
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hey , this month's Guitar Player mag has an article called 10 ways to play like Dick Dale .
talks about amps and settings too .