Beach Boys guitar setup

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Che_Guitarra, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Che_Guitarra

    Che_Guitarra Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    662
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    If anyone knows - what guitars and amps did the Beach Boys utilize during their '60s prime? I've had a bit of a Google, but unless my keywords are wrong I can't find much info. Specifically - what gear's in the "Fun, fun, fun" tone? At a guess it sounds like a Fender guitar through a Fender amp... but I could be wrong.

    Any old school gear boffins out there?
     
  2. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    18,050
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
    If you want to know the setup on their original recordings, you'll have to check the setup of the members of The Wrecking Crew who played on these recordings. ;)
     
    lljsullins likes this.
  3. Crawfish

    Crawfish Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,236
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    The Wrecking Crew did play on the early records, but the band of couse did play live.

    You're right about the Fender guitars and Fender amps. Al Jardine played a Stratocaster for the vast majority of his career (still does). In the early clips, he's using a white one with a rosewood fingerboard.

    Carl Wilson used a Strat too, but used a Jaguar a lot in the early years. His was white also. He also played two different Rickenbacker 360/12s - the 'old style' and the newer (rounded edges) style. Later he used his Epiphone thin-body 12 string as well as a blond Gibson 335.

    Both Al and Carl used blond Dual Showmans early on. I read an interview many years ago in which Carl said "I think my ear got wrecked in 1963 from the volume" of the Showmans. They also used outboard Fender Reverb units.

    Here's a great clip of 'Fun Fun Fun' showing their gear:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4FOiVM4bQc

    Lots more on You Tube also.

    -Kevin
     
  4. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    18,050
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
    Right, but I thought the OP wanted to know what gear were heard on the original recordings.

    Their own stage gear should be easily identified on a lot of YouTube vids, as you say.
     
  5. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    55,121
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA + in the
    I'm pretty sure the Wrecking Crew guys used Fender guitars for these sessions. I see no reason they would not have also used Fender amplification also. I think at this point Brian would want a recording the guys could replicate on tour with minimal concentration so why not? But which models of guitars and amps? There's bound to be books and documentation of some kind - even if the labels tried to keep these guys under wraps from the public at the time. At least some of that stuff just has to be a Jaguar.
     
  6. 63dot

    63dot Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,152
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Location:
    USA, but more importantly, planet earth
    I too wondered and luckily one Beach Boy, Al Jardine, lives nearby and I used to see him at the library and at the store. I asked him about his sound and wondered if he used a 3 position Stratocaster or a 5 position Stratocaster. He told me his had 4 positions and he liked the in between tone. I don't know if the techie wired it that way or he was mistaken and used only 4 out of 5 positions or carefully put the selector switch either between 1 and 2 or 2 and 3 (if it was a 3 position setup).

    He didn't seem all that concerned about gear and was a songwriter for the song at heart and working for that. On his level, what separates his band from the Stones or the Beatles (and we talked about this) were the songs. I didn't understand it all then as I was a kid but now I see when one band has Revolver, another has Aftermath, then another Pet Sounds, and then Sgt. Pepper, then it's all about the compositions as the '60s really came into their own for rock and roll. Deeper than that we talked about what's inside and he was into TM even though I never looked into that.
     
  7. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    18,050
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
    For rock'n'roll sort of material they normally used Telecasters - for most other genres they used semi-acoustics or archtops.

    Don't know about the Jaguar - maybe.
     
  8. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    2,805
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Location:
    SoCal
    Studying this subject recently, I read that Carl Wilson payed the Strat, Jaguar, a Gibson 335 type guitar and (rarely) a Tele. His preference was for the 335 as can be seen in most live Beach Boys pictures.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Doug 54

    Doug 54 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,635
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    At times in late 60's Carl would use a blonde Tele w/Bigsby.
     
  10. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    23,351
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    R.I.P. 2019
    I've seen Al with the white Bigsby Tele, but never Carl. Must have been community property.
     
  11. Doug 54

    Doug 54 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,635
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    Yea, white.

    On the Ed Sullivan show where they do "Good Vibrations" Carl is playing it.
     
  12. 63dot

    63dot Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,152
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Location:
    USA, but more importantly, planet earth
    That was acutally Al's backup guitar (among several backups) and it ended up with one of my friends who didn't play, who was friend's with Al's son Matt Jardine (who at that time also didn't play). In a jam session, he brought it in with "Beach Boys" spray painted on a flight case and pulled it out for us to jam on. I knew with Al's studio just down the coast from town and this guy being Matt's friend, it was the real thing. I expected to see a white strat, but Al kept that and this was the tele with bigsby on it. I don't ever remember Al telling me about that guitar but being a Beach Boy, I am sure he had everything. In reverence to the Beach Boys I didn't use it for our jam session and told the kid to put it back in its case and at least, learn how to play and keep it with the non-original but official Beach Boys case.

    In high school I urged Matt to jam with my band, but he didn't seem to be into it but later he joined his dad's band.

    Anyway, here's Carl playing it here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ1UqDnY7as
     
  13. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    18,050
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
    Nice story, 63dot!
     
  14. 63dot

    63dot Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,152
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Location:
    USA, but more importantly, planet earth
    Thanks! The next time I saw a late-60s era Telecaster with Bigsby was about ten years later when a guitar player had one listed in the paper for $650. It was basically the same as Al's guitar but in the neighboring small town, and this guitar was refretted by local luthier who does all stuff around here including Al's guitars, and it was stripped and refinished to make it look like a natural wood instrument. Stripping colored teles was common then.

    The original finish, from the cavity, was the same off white as Al's, and being done up by same luthier it made me wonder if this was somehow the same instrument. There was no way for me to tell and I had lost any contact with Al or his son and the son's friend. I live in a small town, back then which had more people in the past and maybe 3,000 residents, and late-60s Bigsby Telecasters just don't come around my parts that often.

    The one thing which makes this guitar seem different was that it came with original Fender hardshell black case. The case I had seen Al's tele in was the flight case with Beach Boys designation on it. I kept this one for awhile and it was a very nice sounding guitar which I got to put on a couple of tracks on a CD in '91.
     
  15. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    18,050
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
    Don't tell me! ... I stripped my Dakota Red (beautiful!) 1965 Tele. :oops:

    Your story about Al's Tele reminds me about Robbie Robertsons black Tele that he used on the "brown album" (and more).

    He stripped it to a natural finish and later put a bucker in the neck position (used for Rock of Ages). Without good footage of Robbie with the transition version, you'd never know it was the same guitar.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.