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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 8/7/02

Classic Surf for Guitar: Volume 1
2001 - SongXpress (Warner Music)

review by Dallas Ragan of The Digital Bits

Classic Surf for Guitar: Volume 1 Program Rating: A

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/B+/A

Specs and Features
101 mins, NR, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered, Snapper case packaging, lessons on tuning and chord patterns, additional tips, DVD-ROM material, program themed menu screens, scene access (9 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: none

I would like to introduce to you what could be one of the finest instructional tools on DVD I have yet to see: Classic Surf for Guitar: Volume 1, published by Warner Music's SongXpress line. According to Dan Warner, our instructor on this DVD, Surf music is seeing resurgence due to movies like Pulp Fiction and from musicians getting back to their surf roots. I would like to personally add Blue Crush to the list of reasons, that new chick surf movie coming out. Seeing as there's a "resurgence," I guess it's a necessity for me to learn Surf guitar. Since I live about five hours from an ocean - an ocean that smells funny I might add - I decided to jump on my six-string board and ride the wave. Hey... if I'm not able to surf, at least I can learn to rock out like a surfer. What happened to simply being a Golden God? Now I have to be a surfer too?

Dan Warner teaches us four classic surf guitar songs: Miserlou (by Dick Dale, and as featured in the opening credits of the above referenced Pulp Fiction, Penetration (by The Pyramids), Pipeline (by The Chantays) and Tequila (by The Champs - no surfer would be complete without alcohol). On the main menu screen you have three options to choose from: Play All, Song Selection and a Special Feature menu. Play All runs through all the songs continuously, which is nice, whereas Song Selection lets you choose which song you would like to focus on. The Special Feature menu gives you five more options: Tuning, Chord Patterns, Additional Tips, DVD-ROM Material (still haven't gotten my DVD-ROM yet) and Related Videos. I was really impressed with this section and this is where the majority of my scoring came from. The Tuning and Chord Pattern sections are basic and are also part of the specific Song Selection Menus, but the real treat comes from the Additional Tips menu. Under this section, you're taught Barre Chords, Power Chords, Licks & Tricks and Bends, in a very informative and easy lesson. I would recommend this DVD for this feature alone. I was actually able to grasp and understand the concept of Barre and Power Chords in about five minutes thanks to this disc. I won't even go into the DVD-ROM material (for reasons mentioned above) and the Related Videos is pretty much self explanatory (basically a cover graphic and brief description of other Warner videos which might be helpful to those playing guitar).

Each song, if you choose the Song Selection option, is broken down into several parts, allowing you to concentrate on parts if the song that may be troublesome or difficult without having to go all the through what you've already mastered. Dan Warner is very instructional and, coupled with the tablature constantly displayed at the bottom of the screen, it makes for a very easy and understandable lesson. Each song also has a Performance option, which plays the song in its entirety with tablature displayed, giving you the chance to learn the songs timing and rhythm.

My only complaint is that it's sometimes difficult to see the finger positions of the instructor. But the tablature does help balance this out. Oh... and for those of you wondering: no, sadly Keith Wyatt is not featured on this disc.

I would definitely recommend this DVD for anyone: beginner to pro and beach bums alike. Classic Surf for Guitar: Volume 1 won't help you catch any gnarly waves, but it will help you on your way to becoming king of the beach.

Dallas Ragan
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