Surf Chord Progressions Needed

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by detour, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. detour

    detour TDPRI Member

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    ... like the title says. I was asked to put together a surf track for a video, and I need some ideas for classic surf chord progressions. I've got a couple so far, but very derivative, I need a fresh perspective. either chord names or numbers are fine. The only direction I was given was "like The Endless Summer soundtrack."

    thanks.
     
  2. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Here's something that I came up with just fooling around. Same rhythm and tempo as "Out of Limits."

    Verse:
    Em/ C/ D/ B/
    Em/ C/ D/ B/
    Em/ C/ D/ A/ B///////

    Bridge:
    G/////// Em/////// F/////// D/// B///
     
  3. folktheatre

    folktheatre Tele-Meister

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    Most surf stuff is 12 bar. Sometimes it's totally minor and sometimes they'd take songs from various styles and do surf versions like Misirlou. Check the Lost Legends of Surf compilations.
     
  4. johnny k

    johnny k Friend of Leo's

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    misirlou by dick dale, walk don t run or surf rider by the ventures, bird bath by the trashmen, a shot in the dark by mancini, the ghost and mr chicken by vic mizzy, or the munster theme. All of those are old time classic surf tunes, i think that s what you are aiming for.
    here s another one by Rev horton heat which s a bit of a newer twisted sound
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdbLuNSW5y8
     
  5. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    The ubiquitous ...
    Am G F E (two beats each).
     
  6. jonsongz

    jonsongz Tele-Meister

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    I wrote this one recently. It's in E minor..and then the bridge/chorus part changes to the relative major.

    https://soundcloud.com/jonsongz/nightwaves
     
  7. Clifton82

    Clifton82 Tele-Meister

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    Is it the Major 7 that makes the "surf sound"? Just curious.
     
  8. StoogeSurfer

    StoogeSurfer Tele-Afflicted

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    Asus2 might be the greatest surf chord ever. Walk Don't Run is a fun descending progression: A/G/F/E.
     
  9. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    :confused: I can't think of that move in a surf song, unless it's passing, like: A AMaj7 A7...
     
  10. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I can hear a 'soft' surf thing with the major 7th chord used....I just sat down and worked through a new thing. In my mind, I hear this type of approach as being one of those daybreak or dusk things that entails the emotional thoughts that the surfer would have while studying the ocean...contemplative sort of thing.
    For the heavy action, the rhythm would have to be as different as the chord choices...hence the minor chords and aggressive, pulsing rhthyms that one often hears in surf music. One's choice for what is needed would depend greatly on the video, imho.
     
  11. Pepe

    Pepe Tele-Meister

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    Although these are all definitely Surf, I think examples that fit the OP's request ('like Endless Summer theme') a little better might be tunes like:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWC69XnkhuE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6mpoE18ysA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCRwFwP9W8g

    Whoa! Did you see that fin!? :lol:
     
  12. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    The Theme from Endless Summer only has 2 chords...

    Really, there's lots of variations in chord structure for surf. Yes, there's a lot of mediocre (and some brilliant) suf that uses a 12 bar, I IV V sort of thing, but there's more variety than that out there.

    Quite a few pieces are also in the major mode, minor melody, category.

    As another example, there's a piece I like that goes I vi iii V I then I vi ii IV I for its verses.

    Other marks of the genre are glissandi, reverb, and muted picking. Not necessary for surf, but often used.
     
  13. guitar dan

    guitar dan Tele-Afflicted

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    As usual , great adice already given.

    My 2 cents-
    Some staples of surf music:
    1. guitars drenched in reverb
    2. wammy bar chord dip/return
    3. A lot of surf tunes have that beat: 1 2+ 3 4
    4. tremolo picking
    5. simple melodies- usually either played on the low string as single note, double stops on the higher strings, or melodies created from arpeggiated chords.
    6. On some tunes, the BASS slides into a note over and over from half step below. Guitar does not.


    As far as chord progressions, I think a lot of them were in minor keys. I like it when the song is in a minor key, and they use a Dom7 chord for the 5 chord. (Ex: Ami E7) It produces a very strong sound. The Harmonic Minor is made for this very thing.

    I think the Ventures actually covered a wide range range of tunes in in major and minor keys, from country tunes to jazz standards. I remember reading where Nokie said that he considered them to be just an instrumental band, not neccessarily a surf band. But they're style is that surf sound to me.

    One of my favorites not mentioned yet: Surf Rider - used in Pulp Fiction
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXi3mCfv15k
     
  14. johnny k

    johnny k Friend of Leo's

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    i haven t heard / seen endless summer, so i guess it all depends if you want to have a laid back kind of song on the video, or a more raunchy one. I don t think duane eddy mentionned yet, but he s a great intrumental player.
     
  15. detour

    detour TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for all the replies, and the ongoing discussion. I've got a couple of things I'm working on.
    I'm an okay surf player. I just never tried to write a surf song. I''m not trying to write a masterpiece, just something with an old school vibe.

    This is really good. I love the noir aspect. Great tone!
     
  16. jonsongz

    jonsongz Tele-Meister

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    Thanks detour glad you enjoyed it. As other posters have noted, surf is probably more about atmosphere and certain signature sounds and techniques than it is about particular chord changes. Look forward to hearing what you come up with!
     
  17. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    as someone who has been around surfers all my life.... I'm yet to hear anyone play "old 50's/60's surf music" as a serious listening pleasure in their homes or at parties.. ;).... most have wider tastes in music....:)

    we usually just listen to the current music of the times.. anything and everything.. loud and fast..:)

    it would appear "surf music" and "music surfers listen to" can be two vastly different things...:)
     
  18. detour

    detour TDPRI Member

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    Hi. Thank you all for your input. It's done (for now), and I stuck with derivative ;)

    This is actually the first "song" I've ever written and recorded (with lots of help). I thought I'd share here for those who may be curious.
    I'm playing all guitars (except acoustic rhythm). please remember... it's a soundtrack for a video.
    https://soundcloud.com/detour718/sudden-drop-off
     
  19. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Pretty cool. Authentic feel IMO.
     
  20. src9000

    src9000 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sounds good. Congrats.
     
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