rich menga books search contact

***Secret FSR Fender guitars? Yes, they exist, and they're right here

Amazon links are affiliated. Learn more.

How to get the surf guitar drip sound

This is a cool sound. But is the Jazzmaster guitar required to get it?

Something I've been working on lately is to get more "drip" sound out of my Jazzmaster which you can hear in the above video.

The surf guitar drip sound is a combination of effect settings and playing style. But before I get into that, no, the Jazzmaster is not required to get the sound...

...but it helps. A lot.

Which guitar to use?

The drip sound comes easy to traditional Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars because they "ping" the reverb easiest.

What I mean by "traditional" Jazz and Jag are the ones that have single-coil pickups with 1meg pots that makes for an absolutely ridiculous amount of treble response. Both the Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster and Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar have these traditional pickups and electronics.

However, it is totally possible to use a Stratocaster or Telecaster as both those guitars also have single-coil pickups with electronics that have excellent treble response. The treble isn't as "hot" as the Jazz or the Jag, but it's definitely good enough.

Where dual-coil (humbucker) guitars are concerned, you'll need something with a lot of treble to it, which is something dual-coil pickups aren't usually voiced to do. Well, not unless it's a Gretsch or maybe an Epiphone Sheraton.

Which effects to use?

Spring reverb or a really good spring reverb clone is required. The spring reverb on my DigiTech RP360 is pretty convincing. In pedal form, the BOSS FRV-1 is the best of the lot.

And as far as an actual amp, the real deal is the Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb or the large-and-loud Fender '65 Twin Reverb.

Technically, any amp with a real reverb tank in it can get the job done. But to get a surf sound, the amp has to be pushed fairly hard so the tank springs vibrate more.

For example, my Fender Frontman 212R has a real reverb tank in it. But to "make it surf", significant volume is required. I live in an apartment, so when recording I use the DigiTech instead. And it works fine.

Also, a tip. For extra punch to make for more drip, use a compressor effect.

What technique to use?

The goal is to make the guitar sound like musical water dripping.

Palm muting is required to do this and a lot of it.

What will happen when you mute notes and chords is that you will experience some soreness on your picking hand palm from constantly resting on the strings to mute them. This is totally normal. You get used to it eventually.

The most drip sound happens on the plain strings since higher notes result in "pinging" the reverb more. And since you're using a very generous amount of reverb, higher notes are required to cut through the reverb so it doesn't sound like a muddy mess.

When you first do this, yes, it will sound like a muddy mess. This is not like playing muted power chord 5ths with distortion. It is something that requires more finesse to get right. Fortunately, it doesn't require a crazy amount of practice to do. This isn't rock soloing but rather just a way to ping that reverb as much as possible to make that cool drip sound.

Lastly, I'll say that if you're using to playing rock, you have to unlearn that a bit when going for a drip sound.

Instead of going for sustain, you go for super-short quick notes.

Instead of going for full-bodied chords, you go for smaller chords with fewer notes that are spread out.

Instead of filling every space with the sound of guitar, you have to learn when to pause and play nothing. Why? So you can actually hear the reverb fading out, as that is part of the drip sound.

📰Get Rich's newsletter to be notified of new articles

Best ZOOM R8 tutorial book
highly rated, get recording quick!

⭐ Recent Posts

Boss RC-5 Loop Station Guitar Looper PedalWill looper drums ever not suck?
It is amazing that this problem still exists.

The best looking Dean Z I've ever seen
This is an example of when Dean does the Z right.

Black Sabbath - Black SabbathMy favorite Black Sabbath track from their first album
It's not what you think it is.

Epiphone Prophecy Les PaulA secret of the Epiphone Prophecy Les Paul hiding in plain sight
It's right in front of your face and you probably didn't even notice it

Fender Player MustangShorter scale guitars with the most bang for the buck
You can go short without spending too much nor getting something too cheap.

🔥 Popular Posts 🔥

Casio F-91WCasio F-91W cheat sheet
A quick guide on how to set the time, date and a few other tips and tricks.

How to use the DigiTech JamMan Solo XT looper pedal
Yes, I bought one of these. And it's complicated.

Top 5 classic electric guitar looks
There are certain guitars out there that when made with certain woods (just for appearance) and colors define the classic look for that particular instrument.

Squier Thinline TelecasterGetting a lightweight electric guitar the easy way
Many guitars bust over 8lbs (3.6kg) in weight. Can we go lighter and still get something good? Yes, we can.

Fender Modern Player JaguarQuick Review: Fender Modern Player Jaguar
I tried a "2 Color Chocolate Sunburst" Fender Modern Player Jaguar with MP90 pickups.

Fender American Professional Stratocaster Olympic White Maple FingerboardDid you know Fender has 8 white guitar body color options?
When it comes to guitars, white is not white. In fact, it's usually anything but white.

Alesis Quadraverb GTObsolete guitar gear: Alesis Quadraverb GT
The Alesis Quadraverb GT effects processor is something I owned myself for a long time.