This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with Dick Dale.
Dick Dale, who will be performing at Hard Rock Live on the Las Vegas Strip December 13th at 8 p.m., invented surf music in the 1950’s. He was given the title, “King of the Surf Guitar” by his fellow surfers with whom he surfed from sun up to sundown.
He met Leo Fender, the guitar and amplifier Guru, and Leo asked Dale to play his newly 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.
Dale, being completely self-taught, plays left handed upside down, which was a result of holding the guitar left-handed. The strings became upside-down. Chords are designed for right handed players making it very difficult for a left handed player unless he were to change the strings for a left handed guitar, something that Dale never did.
Dale is also a master at the acoustic, electronic, bass and Spanish guitars, as well as the ukulele, banjo, drums, piano, organ, electronic keyboard, harpsichord, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, harmonica, xylophone and accordion.
Go to Dick Dale’s website for more on his remarkable career and association with Leo Fender.