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What's the best way to get that Dick Dale Tone

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Shuster, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Shuster

    Shuster Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    651
    Oct 31, 2018
    South Texas
    My nephew was buying a bunch different albums at a garage sale a few weeks back, and one of them was a Dick Dale album.
    He said he never heard anybody play guitar that way, and what's he using to get that tone? Not being a big DD fan, I have no idea, so I figure the great amount of musicians here have more knowledge on the ways and how's!,,, Thanks in advance!
     
  2. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    64
    Mar 23, 2003
    Netherlands
    a Stratocaster through a Showman amp, turned up very loud. He was an early user of Fender equipment, and Leo Fender worked with him to develop these instruments.
     
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  3. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    DD fan here, but not a DD gearhead by any means. Strat through a Fender 6G15 outboard reverb tank, then Dual Showman w/ 15" speakers is what he's known for. The outboard reverb tank is muy importante.

    I use a outboard spring tank, but I also get a killer surf sound with a Timmy>Topanga>DRRI w/ a little tube spring reverb dialed in on the amp.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  4. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Strat. Big Fender BF amp turned way up. Huge strings (16 gauge high E, if memory serves?).
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
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  5. OttoCorrect

    OttoCorrect Tele-Meister

    Age:
    31
    170
    Feb 24, 2018
    USA
    Dick Dale plays a strat through a Fender Showman with nothing inbetween but an outboard reverb tank. Played loud. Very very loud. He also uses very thick strings. And (perhaps most importantly) he’s a lefty that plays guitar with the strings on backwards (I.e the high e is is strung where the low e should be, etc.) so that adds some uniqueness to what he does. And while it’s usually helpful to play surf music with a vibrato equipped guitar, Dick Dale has his strat trem blocked. That’s right, the King of Surf Guitar does not use a whammy bar at all!

    Being a surf fan I’ve chased those tones myself. For reverb I’ve settled on the Source Audio True Spring. Purists will tell you only a proper tube driven outboard reverb tank will do but I’m not a purist. I have a Tele with 11’s and if I dial a fat clean tone and use the reverb pedal I get good surfy Dick Dale-ish (emphasis on the “-ish”) tones.
     
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  6. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Heretic!!
    Especially since it's all digital, folks will be flipping out. Not me though, mine isn't going anywhere, at least until something better comes along, like a Topanga 2.0 or something.
     
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  7. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Holic

    777
    Nov 14, 2010
    Santa Barbara
    All I can add is that he's reputed to strike the strings hard.
     
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  8. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 18, 2018
    WV
    I think any BF/SF reverb will get in the ballpark. But to nail it you would have to have a big iron fender, separate reverb unit, hit the strings hard..... upside down. In other words, be Dick Dale.
     
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  9. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I’m not a Reverb aficionado. But once you get away from a true outboard tank, digital seems to be the ticket, to me.

    I never knew what “drip” was u til I tried the Analog Alien Rumble Seat’s reverb. Now I’m hooked.
     
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  10. OttoCorrect

    OttoCorrect Tele-Meister

    Age:
    31
    170
    Feb 24, 2018
    USA
    Lol, yup. I got into surf/instro stuff through Man or Astro-Man? so, while I love a good outboard tank as much as the next guy, I’m hardly one who thinks it’s absolutely required for the genre. People that rigid are too exclusionary for my tastes. Kinda like how any rockabilly band *needs* a stand up bass. I dunno, the Cramps managed to sound pretty good with an electric bass or no bass at all if you ask me. Etc etc etc. End rant.
     
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  11. Shuster

    Shuster Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    651
    Oct 31, 2018
    South Texas
    Thanks Guy's,,,
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  12. Shuster

    Shuster Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    651
    Oct 31, 2018
    South Texas
    Once Again,Thanks Guy's,,, But why can't you ask for a little info, without getting flamed by another member starting another thread?
    Which is not Kool!
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  13. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Yeah, everyone thinks SRV used the biggest strings... DD used absolutely HUGE strings. Something like 15-60. I would think that would have a whole lot to do with his tone, because of all the super fast alternate picking, slapping the string back and forth.
     
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  14. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Meister

    284
    Dec 19, 2017
    Seattle, WA
    As of a few years ago at least, Dick Dale was very responsive to fan email. I sent him a few questions and heard back from him the same day, and we had a pleasant back-and-forth exchange over several days. Really nice guy. I don't have the address anymore but it probably isn't hard to find, if he's still hanging out online. If your nephew's a fan, exchanging a few emails with a guy like Dick Dale might really make his day. It certainly did mine.
     
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  15. Picton

    Picton Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    43
    Feb 7, 2009
    Reading, Massachusetts
    Really heavy strings, a blocked trem, and a THICK pick are a big part of his tone.
     
  16. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    Wisco
    Strat>Twin

    Dick Dale once autographed my Gretsch, while informing me that the Fender Stratocaster is THE ultimate guitar.

    While groping my date.
     
  17. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Strat>bassman, heavy strings, heavy pick and super fast strumming hand. I chased his tone for years.

    Oh, and very loud.
     
  18. DrPepper

    DrPepper Tele-Holic

    Age:
    59
    701
    Nov 24, 2017
    Texas
    Strat into blackface Fender. Way too much reverb, guitar in drop C tuning.
     
  19. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    It was a joke man.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
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