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Michael Johnson >> Surf Guitar Legends >>
Lesson Subject: Surf Legends
What you learn: Dick Dale Style - Part 1
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: Welcome class to the interactive lesson on the surf style of Dick Dale! Mr. Dale is considered the "King of Surf Guitar" with his lightning fast picking style and exotic scales. Many of you know his music from the sound track of "Pulp Fiction." Dick Dale actually played the guitar with the strings reversed (1st on the top of the neck to 6th on the high position) and mostly played simple melodies on a single string using exotic scales like the Double Harmonic Minor or considered the Gypsy and Byzantine mode. Check out the sample of the licks you'll learn:

Pick Exercise 1 Slow

Michael: In this lesson you'll learn:

1. Double Picking exercises

2. Playing the Double Harmonic scale

3. Playing licks the use double picking and the Double Harmonic (Gypsy, Byzantine) scale

Michael: Here's the scale pattern on the E string:



Michael: Notice the pattern, we'll use pull-offs later in the licks. Let's try using a picking pattern on that scale.



Michael: I'm using double picking or otherwise known as alternate picking, here's a sample video:

Pick Exercise 1 Slow

Michael: You can practice increasing the speed.

Pick Exercise 2 (fast)

Michael: Here's 3 different speeds you can play, try to find the fastest speed you can play:

Lesson 2 - Part 2 - Picking Slow

Lesson 2 - Part 2 - Picking Medium

Lesson 2 - Part 2 - Picking Fast

Michael: Notice the various speeds I sent, which speed can each of you play? slow, medium or fast?

Kaan: medium

siryoyo: got them all

Rhinosaur: fast

Russ: slow

Buddy: all

Michael: Great, some of you already have a good technique for picking, for the others keep practicing, this is an excellent exercise! For now use the 1st finger. Now we can play the same scale on the 1st (E) string.



Shawn: How do you recommend fingering the fret board?

Michael: Use one finger for now Shawn, now practice the same picking exercise on the 1st string.

Lesson 2 - Part 4 - Picking Slow

Lesson 2 - Part 4 - Picking Fast

Russ: I'm using a acoustic ...can i still make it sound good ?

Michael: Using an acoustic is an excellent instrument to practice on, it builds up your hands. Here's a jam track you can play the coming licks over:

Looping Jam Track 1

Michael: You can practice your scales and picking over this track as well! Let it rip everybody, try to concentrate on one of the picking speeds you're good at and then push yourself to be faster, but within time. OK, here's our first lick on the 6th (E) string:



Michael: Notice how this lick follows up a portion of the double harmonic scale pattern, simple, but effective. Dick Dale is the King at making a simple licks sound hard. I played slow on the tab, of course increase the speed to your picking level, here's the next lick:



siryoyo: Great finger stretching exercise!

Michael: This lick starts on the C (8th fret), it gives the melody more tension. This is a nice sequence playing down the scale pattern, try playing both licks together and notice how the chords on the jam track changes.

siryoyo: Is this in the key of e?

Michael: Yes siryoyo, it starts on E and then moves up the F, it has a flamenco type sound. I'll send you the chords:



Michael: These are polytone chords, basically the same chord fingerings but notice the 1st, 2nd and 6th strings ring or drone open while you move the position of the chords.

Stick: Malaguena

Michael: Yes, just like the song!

E Major Chord


F Polytone


Michael: Here's our next lick.



Michael: Some of the these licks will move with the progression changes between E and the F polytone chord like the last lick. This starts on F, which fits nicely over the progression change, E and then F. You have to listen to the changes while playing over the jam track. Here's our next lick:



Michael: Now this lick can actually play over the chord changes as well, notice how you pull-off in between the scale. The first half of the tab plays over the "E", the second half over "F", now let's play using the 1st (E) string:



Michael: This is pretty much the same as Lick 1 on the 6th (E) string, notice the fingering. You use the 3rd finger as you ascend up the scale and use the 1st as you descend the scale pattern. Here's another lick:



Michael: This starts on the 12th fret and descend the scale pattern. I like the sound of this one. Make sure you try all three speeds of picking as well. Try playing on the 6th string the first time through the jam track and then the 1st string. Here's our last lick:



Michael: You can use this one over the F chord change like I talked about on the 6th string licks, it adds a nice sound to the progression.

Stick: Try sliding from the 12th back to the 1st fret to loop it ....kool

Michael: That's a cool idea stick. This lick sounds like something from an Iron Maiden song or something.

Rhinosaur: Yea it does!

Michael: However this lick descends. Also this lick kind of sounds like a ACDC tune as well.

siryoyo: Should we practice this in up and down string action?

Michael: Yes siryoyo, that's an excellent idea! Bye everybody! Cool, I'll see everybody next lesson!



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