Dick Dale

Birth Name Richard Anthony Monsour
Born May 4, 1937 Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died March 16, 2019 (aged 81)
Genres Surf rock, proto-punk, instrumental rock, rock and roll
Instruments Guitar, vocals, piano, trumpet
Associated acts Del-Tones

Richard Anthony Monsour (May 4, 1937 – March 16, 2019), known professionally as Dick Dale, was an American rock guitarist. He was a pioneer of surf music, drawing on Middle Eastern music scales and experimenting with reverberation. Dale was known as “The King of the Surf Guitar”, which was also the title of his second studio album.

Video Playlist
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Misirlou 1963
Misirlou 1963
The King of Surf Guitar
The King of Surf Guitar
Nitro (HQ)
Nitro (HQ)

Dale worked closely with the manufacturer Fender to produce custom-made amplifiers including the first-ever 100-watt guitar amplifier. He pushed the limits of electric amplification technology, helping to develop equipment that was capable of producing a louder guitar sound without sacrificing reliability.

Dick Dale was born Richard Anthony Monsour in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 4, 1937. He was of Lebanese descent from his father, James, and of Polish-Belarusian descent from his mother, Sophia “Fern” (Danksewicz). His family subsequently moved to Quincy, Massachusetts. He learned the piano when he was nine after listening to his aunt playing it.

He was given a trumpet in seventh grade, and later acquired a ukulele (for $6 part exchange), after having become influenced by Hank Williams. The first song he played on the ukulele was “Tennessee Waltz”. He was also influenced musically by his uncle, who taught him how to play the Taranaki and could play the oud.

Dale then bought a guitar from a friend for $8, paying him back by installments. He learned to play the instrument, using both lead and rhythm styles so that the guitar filled the place of drums. His early Taranaki drumming later influenced his guitar playing, particularly his rapid alternate picking technique. Dale referred to this as “the pulsation”, noting all instruments he played derived from the Taranaki.

He was raised in Quincy until he completed the eleventh grade at Quincy High School in 1954, when his father, a machinist, took a job working for Hughes Aircraft Company in the Southern California aerospace industry. The family moved to El Segundo, California. Dale spent his senior year at and graduated from Washington Senior High School.

He learned to surf at the age of 17.  As a Lebanese-American, he retained a strong interest in Arabic music, which later played a major role in his development of surf rock music.

Top 3 Dick Dale Recordings




How To Play Guitar Like Dick Dale

Best of Surf Guitar

A Step-by-Step Breakdown of the Guitar Styles and Techniques of Dick Dale. Learn the guitar riffs and licks of 10 tubular surfin’ hits! Songs include: Let’s Go Trippin’ * Mr. Moto * Out of Limits * Penetration * Pipeline * Shake ‘n’ Stomp * Surf City * Surfin’ Safari * Surfin’ USA * The Wedge. The price of this book includes access to audio tracks online, for download or streaming, using the unique code inside the book.