"The King of the Surf Guitars"
Dale's 1961 West Coast hit, "Let's Go Trippin,'" released two months before the Beach Boys' "Surfin," is considered the beginning of the Sixties surf music craze.
Dick Dale invented surf music in the 1950's not the '60's as is commonly
believed. He was given the title "King of the Surf Guitar" by his fellow surfers
whom he surfed with from sun-up to sun-down. He met Leo Fender the guitar and amplifier
Guru and Leo asked Dale to play his new creation, the Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar.
The minute Dale picked up the guitar, Leo Fender broke into uncontrolled laughter and
disbelief, as he watched Dale play a right handed guitar upside down and backwards.
Dale was playing a right handed guitar left handed and changing the chords in his head
then transposing the chords to his hands to create a sound never heard before.
Fender gave the Stratocaster along with a Fender Amp to Dale and tell him what he thought of it. Dale took the guitar and started to play he actually blew up amp and speaker. Dale proceeded to blow up forty nine amps and speakers. They'd actually catch on fire. Fender would say, "Dick, why do you have to play so loud?" Dale would explain that he wanted to create the sound of Gene Krupa, the famous jazz drummer, created the sounds of the native dancers in the jungles along with the roar of mother nature's creature's and the roar of the ocean.
Fender kept giving Dale amps and Dale kept blowing them up! Till one night Leo and his right hand man Freddy T. went down to the Rendezvous Ballroom on the Balboa Peninsula in Balboa, California. Standing in the middle of four thousand screaming dancing Dick Dale fans Fender now knew what Dick Dale was trying to tell him. Back to the drawing board. A special 85 watt output transformer was made that peaked 100 watts when Dale would pump up the volume of his amp. However they now needed a speaker that would handle the power and not burn up from the volume that would come from Dale's guitar.
Dale with his Fender Stratocaster
Leo, Freddy and Dale went to the James B. Lansing speaker company where they explained that they wanted a fifteen inch speaker built to their specifications. It would soon be known as the 15'' JBL -D130F speaker, it made the complete package for Dale to play through being named the Single Showman Amp. When Dale plugged his Stratocaster guitar into the Showman amp and speaker cabinet, Dale became the first to jump from the volume scale of a modest quiet guitar player of a scale of 4 to blasting up through the volume scale to TEN ! That is when Dale became the 'Father of Heavy Metal' quote "Guitar Player Magazine". Dale broke through the electronic barrier limitations of that era!
Dale still wanted to go further, as the crowds increased, Dale's volume increased, but he still wanted a bigger punch with thickness in the sound so that it would pulsate into the audience and leave them breathless. Dale designed a speaker cabinet and had Fender put 2 -15''-JBL-D103's into it which created a new and more powerful output transformer. It was called the Dick Dale Transformer. This 100 watt output transformer peaked 180 watts was known as the Dual-Showman Piggy Back Amp. This is why Dick Dale is called the Father of all the power Players in the world!
Dick Dale called "King of the Surf Guitar," to a large degree invented and defined the form in the early '60s with his pioneering use of Fender reverb, dazzling staccato playing, and thundering instrumentals that incorporated Middle Eastern and Latin melodic influences. This was a musical genre that Beach Boy Brian Wilson and others would later bring to fruition.
His twang, heavily reverbed tone on the 1962 "Miserlou" influenced Beach Boy Carl Wilson and many other California guitarists; his signature staccato slide down the strings was copied by the Chantays to open their classic "Pipeline." Dick Dale to a large degree invented and defined the form in the early '60s with his pioneering use of Fender reverb, dazzling staccato playing, and thundering instrumentals that incorporated Middle Eastern and Latin melodic influences.
Playing guitars strung for right-handers with his left hand (as Hendrix would years later), he had an agreement with Fender instruments to "road test" new amplification equipment before it was manufactured for the general public, and found that its hollow, sustained tones evoked the mood of surfing, then catching on in a big way in his Southern California stomping grounds.
Dale and his Del-tones were so popular in Southern California's Huntington Beach/Balboa area that he felt no need to tour nationally. Dale never reaped the commercial rewards of the surf boom, 1963's Scavenger was his only other record that made the charts. Dale's impact was largely limited to Southern California, but his influence was vast, helping ignite surf music and contributing several of the genre's most enduring classics, especially "Let's Go Trippin'" and "Miserlou" (both of which were covered by the Beach Boys on their early albums). Dale's first album called 'Surfer's Choice' was the first Surfing album to be commercially sold with a picture of Dale surfing by the pier in San Clemente, Ca. with a surfing title on it. This album alone sold over eighty-eight thousand albums in the late 50's and today in the 90's it would be like 4 million.
Disillusioned with the music he retired in 1965. In 1970 he reformed the Del-tones and continued performing around Southern California with different versions of the group through the eighties.
1986 Dale was named Forefather of Rock and Roll by Thirty Years of Rock and Roll,
Dale staged a comeback in 1987 that began with a guest appearance in the Frankie Avalon-Annette Funicello movie Back to the Beach, in which he and Stevie Ray Vaughn performed "Pipeline." Their version was nominated for a Best rock Instrumental Grammy. 1993's "Tribal Thunder" prompted the first nationwide tour of his career and brought him to MTV with his first musical video, "Nitro." Dale continues to perform today; he gained more prominence from "Miserlou," which opened the hit film Pulp Fiction.
1989 Dale was inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame located in the Hall of Champions building in San Diego, Ca..
Dick Dale has been called one of the hardest working men in show business.
In the past five years he has maintained a heavy concert tour and public appearance
schedule throughout the world. Focusing in Europe, Australia, Japan, Canada, South America
and the U.S.
He makes time to endorse some of his favorite products, including Dean Markley strings, Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Graphtech String Saddles, Billabong clothing and Australia's Ugg Boot Company. Perhaps his most prominent endorsement would have to be for Fender Musical Instruments. Because of the popularity of Dale's signature playing, Fender added to their inventory of guitars, the making of the Dick Dale Signature Stratocaster which seems to be a favorite amongst the Dick Dale guitar players. John English, Fender's custom guitar maker set out to the task of building Dale's Signature Stratocaster guitar with Dale being the overseer. To be included with his favorites was the honor distinction to be the first musician ever to be endorsed by Telex Corp. Using the Telex FMR450 Wireless which has made it possible for Dale to play his guitar walking into the audience.
Along with his Dual Showman Fender Amps, Dale is particular in what tubes that he uses to help create his sound, he has chosen Ruby Tubes from a company called Magic Parts located in Point Reyes Station, California (800) 451-1992
Dale has also recorded original material for Disneyland's Space Mountain roller coaster ride, and the soundtrack for the History of NASA video shown in Space Mountain. Dale's music is being used in all the Disneyland's throughout the world along with being featured in a Disneyland Music album which is being sold by Disneyland. May 21, 1998 a historical day for Disneyland, Dick Dale was chosen to be the person to highlight the grand opening of Tomorrowland by standing on top of Space Mountain (without the use of a safety harness) with his Gold Fender Stratocaster guitar (the beast) and play for all to hear throughout Disneyland "Ghost Riders"& "Miserlou" - Dale's music has gone down in the annals of Disneyland history.
1996 Dale presented a Platinum Record award for his performance recording of Miserlou, the guitar instrumental that gave Quentin Tarantino the energy force to create the the all time award movie Pulp Fiction. Miserlou was made the Title song.
1996 Dale Inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame - Hollywood,
1997 Dale Recorded and Performed the Music for Disneyland "Space Mountain"
1998 Dale Performed on top of Space Mountain for Grand Opening of
1999 Dick Dale Nominated for Lifetime Achievement Award by "The L.A. Weekly Magazine"
Dale's impact was largely limited to Southern California, but his influence was vast, helping ignite surf music and contributing several of the genre's most enduring classics, especially "Let's Go Trippin'" and "Miserlou" (both of which were covered by the Beach Boys on their early albums).
The Official Dick Dale Web Page