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Author Topic: Beach Boys and Fender guitars  (Read 8486 times)
Jon Stebbins
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« on: March 27, 2006, 09:55:14 AM »

Okay...I've researched this stuff for years, and here's what I know. Dave Marks' parents gave him a Sears Silvertone acoustic for Xmas 1958. Carl got a Kay electric hollowbody around the same time. Dave switched to a late fifties Carvin electric that he bought from John Maus in 1959. The earliest incarnation of pre-BB's playing guitars together strated in '59 with Dave on the Silvertone and later the Carvin, and Carl on the Kay. In '61 Carl played the Kay unplugged on Surfin'. Within months of Surfin' Carl bought a '62 sunburst Fender Stratocaster which he used on subsequent recordings. Al of course played the standup bass, even reportedly at one or two early gigs. Brian took over on bass after the first gig or two, and his first bass was the classic '62 sunburst Fender precision. Al is said to have switched to an electric guitar for some of those early gigs but no photo evidence exists. If the World Pacific recordings with Al on rhythm are our best evidence i would suggest with certainty that Al was NOT playing a Fender. Al's rhthym sound on those recordings is very cheesy and un-Fender like. When Dave joined in early '62 he played a Rickenbacker for the first couple of gigs. The he bought a sunburst '62 Fender Stratocaster like Carl's. Note - Brian, Carl and David were already playing through Fender amps before they recorded the 4/62 demos for Surfin' Safari, 409, and Lonely Sea that landed them the Capitol contract. In late '62 Carl switched to the olympic white Fender Jaguar. David stayed with his sunburst Stratocaster until late '63. There are photos of the BB's in Sept. '63 in which both Dave and Carl are playing Jaguars. Carl's is white, Dave's is Red. Later Dave painted the Jag black and used it with the Marksmen. Carl kept using the white Jag until mid '64 when he switched to a Rickenbacker 12 string. Ironically David also switched to a Rickenbacker 12 string for his Marksmen guitar at the same time. He and Carl saw A Hard Days Night together in summer '64 which prompted the switch away from Fender. Al played a white Gibson SG custom when he first replaced David as rhythm guitarist in late '63. If you listen to the Hollywood Bowl recording from Nov. 63 it's obvious the BB's signature guitar sound suffered a bit in texture. BTW...upon Al's first gigs back with the BB's as Brian's road replacement in spring '63 he played Brian's sunburst Fender bass whenever he filled in for Brian. Al did not play any guitar on the Capitol recordings until after Dave left.

Personally I think Fender would be wise to get in touch with Dave Marks about this stuff. Dave is a survivor who played on all the BB's "surf" and "hot-rod" music and definitely developed their Fender format with Carl...Al's finest contributions were more on the vocal end, and though he did a great job playing Dave's original guitar parts live for all those years on the surf and hot-rod classics...he was not the guy who recorded them. Dave still plays Stratocasters regularly, he has a nice sunburst '57 model in his possesion, although he has a few other non-Fender guitars he uses as well. Unlike Al...Dave's original Fenders from the BB's and Marksmen period are all gone...although Jeff Foskett now owns Dave's original Rickenbacker 12-string from the 1964/65 Marksmen days.
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Jonas
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2006, 10:00:27 AM »

gosh darn this is some great info. long live fender! Im playing an american fender double strat on a fender deville. though I installed Bill Lawrence pickups...which sound like a *dream*.
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2006, 10:58:08 AM »

Quote from: Jon Stebbins
Within months of Surfin' Carl bought a '62 sunburst Fender Stratocaster which he used on subsequent recordings.

Jon, is this the same guitar that Justyn Wilson now plays?

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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2006, 11:06:37 AM »

Hey Emdeeh! You'd have to ask Justyn...that would be nice if it was...wouldn't it? I know the boys still have Dennis' clear drum set...I think one of the Jardine boys had it for awhile and then Carl brought it to a certain event to show us...were you there that day??
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2006, 11:59:43 AM »

Thank you, Jon, that's wonderful information.  I have a few more specific questions you may or may not know the answers to, but here goes:

Were all of those Fenders bought at retail, or did Fender ever set the Beach Boys up with anything?

You mention amps but not the model type.  What amps were they all using through Dave's tenure, and beyond if you know.

When did Brian's white P-bass come into play over the '62 sunburst?  Was that considered to be "the band bass"?  You see it on tour in Glen Campbell's hands, Al's hands, etc.  Also, do you know if the white bass or the sunburst bass was favored in the studio, even up through Today and Summer Days?  There's that picture of Carl playing the Sunburst sometime on stage in 66 or 67, so that bass was still around.

I'm sure I'll think of other stuff, but again, thanks.  Great stuff.
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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2006, 01:05:04 PM »

aeijtzsche...I just spoke with David about this and he says the BB's received, "No surfboards, no guitars and no 409's". The equipment was bought at retail and either came out of the BB's till, or more likely in Dave's case...out of his parent's pockets. The amps were matching '62 blonde Fender dual showmen with reverb units. Dave is pretty sure Brian's was a '62 Fender bassman amp...also blonde. Regarding the white Fender precision bass...that's a great question. It's a good bet that the white bass was added to the BB's arsenal in mid '63. I have a photo of the BB's on stage in spring '63 and Al is playing a white bass that looks like that one. However, I have an earlier shot... as well as one from later in the year in which Al is playing the sunburst bass. So perhaps he borrowed the white bass from another group, or Brian (or the band) already had two by mid '63. Carl also seemed to use the sunburst strat on occasion after he'd bought the white Jaguar, as there is a photo from mid '63 in which he's playing the strat instead of the jag.

Note* - In the earliest live shot i have of the group...March '62...Dave looks to be playing through something other than a dual showmen(a smaller amp)...but by the time the band was gigging regularly in mid '62 they were using the set-up I've described above...and that set-up continues into '64.

Note* - Something else I find interesting about the photographic evidence from '62 - '63...the Beach Boys only used two microphones up front...they went to three in '64. Usually Mike and Brian would share one and Carl and David the other...as the photos demonstrate. However, when Al replaced Brian... then Carl and Mike shared one, and Al and David the other. I do have instances of Mike on one and Al, Carl and Dave on the other...as well as one instance of Brian, Carl and Dave on a single microphone. I'm wondering when it dawned on them that three were better than two! BTW - Dennis was NEVER miked in the early days.
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2006, 01:26:39 PM »

Cool, Jon.

It looks to me, from what little photographic resources I have, that Carl and Al continued to use Showmen for quite some time, at least live.  Who knows what they favored in the studio over the years.  I'd guess at some point they would have gone with Fender Twins and that like, rather than lugging around the big showman cabs.  There's a great picture in the Badman book from behind the Beach Boys stage backline.  It's kind of strange, because I can't make sense of what is plugged into what, but it looks like one of the Head Amps is in a cardboad box on the ground behind the cab...

I think Brian was indeed using a Bassman, with the piggyback head.

I really wish there were pictures of them in the studio with their gear.  Surely there are some out there.

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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2006, 01:28:07 PM »

When was Dennis first miked?  And by any chance, do you know when Mike stopped playing sax onstage?  And how long did the Moog ribbon controller last?  Huh
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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2006, 01:41:54 PM »

They started giving Dennis an overhead microphone in '64...don't know when they started miking the bass drum...probably not until much later.

Mike played the sax on Shut Down at least into '65...he actually played it on several songs in '62/'63/'64...among them Fun, Fun, Fun(intro)...Long Tall Texan...What'd I Say...Let's Go Trippin..and on occasional "surf" style jams that the band often did to fill out their sets. It seems evident in the early days that Mike's sax was more than a prop.

I have a studio shot in the DM book from '62 showing Dave playing through a blonde twin reverb.



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Mark H.
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2006, 07:03:22 AM »

About when did Al get the "white" strat?  Looks like Olympic White from the photos....a 1963?  By 64 they had those publicity shots with all white geetars.  Also....any information on Al's red strat....you can see it in the Smile booklet photos....looks to be Dakota Red.  Some time in 67 seems he switches away from Fender to Epiphone.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2006, 07:59:50 AM by Mark H. » Logged
aeijtzsche
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2006, 07:19:04 AM »

The white strat is a '62, according to the Fender article.  But he may not have obtained it until '64.  The Hollywood Bowl show where he's playing the SG custom is from late november, I think, 1963.

I don't know anything about the red strat.  It wasn't in play live for very long, from what I can tell.
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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2006, 09:10:10 AM »

The first photos of Al with the white Stratocaster are early '64. According to Carrie Marks...Matt Jardine has said Al's orig. white Strat was stolen off the BB's equipment truck in the late '70's. Apparently he then had one of his others painted white.  Al often used Carls' white Jaguar after Carl switched to the Rickenbacker(TAMI Show). There are also cases of Al playing the Rickenbacker and Carl the Jag...Ed Sullivan "Wendy" in '64 is one.
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2006, 10:06:01 AM »

Quote
Matt Jardine has said Al's orig. white Strat was stolen off the BB's equipment truck in the late '70's.

So what would that make the White Strat that was presented to fender to measure for the Jardine Signature Strat?  Not the original?
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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2006, 10:48:22 AM »

I have no first hand confirmation of that...just passing on what Carrie recalled Matt once saying.
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Mark H.
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2006, 12:28:52 PM »

Basically an American Vintage 62 Strat in Olympic White would constitute an "Al Jardine" strat.  By appearances that was basically a stock instrument.  It had no unique modifications or identifying features that I'm aware of.  I wonder if Al still has the red strat.

While I've never seen published pics...I seem to recall Carl playing a yellow strat in the late 70s/early 80s for a song or two at some of the live shows I attended.  I may even have a photo from my own collection....I will have to dig about and see.

Did Fender issue an Al Jardine strat?
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2006, 12:42:17 PM »

Yep, "Old Yeller" from that era.  Conflicting reports on whether it was really faded yellow or "yellowed" white (from age).
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2006, 12:43:47 PM »

Quote
Did Fender issue an Al Jardine strat?

They will be shortly.  Read the "Al Jardine in Concert" thread, the lead post is an article about how Al has just handed over his strat for Fender to replicate.
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Mark H.
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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2006, 03:22:18 PM »

Thanks for the referal to that thread.  That's really cool news.  A couple of points....

The article said that Fender's Custom Shop was evaluating/cloning the instrument.  If they ultimately release an Al Jardine Custom shop strat...price that puppy at or near $4,000.  SRV and Rory Gallagher models would be comparisons.  On the other hand...the Custom Shop may only develop a proto-type...with a Mexican manufactured instrument ala Robert Cray strat or Jimmie Vaughn model at less than $1,000.   

I doubt an Al Jardine Strat would have the same level of appeal as an Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, or Eric Johnson model....these retail between $1,200 and $1,600 and are production USA models.  I just purchased a new Eric Johnson strat before the end of 2005 and it is one really great guitar.  I'm sure Fender will do the BBs proud.  They need to release a matching white Brian Wilson P-bass.  I'm gonna start saving now!
« Last Edit: March 29, 2006, 07:02:11 AM by Mark H. » Logged
Jonas
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« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2006, 03:24:10 PM »

T They need to release a matching white Brian Wilson P-bass.

I would be on that like white on rice!
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2006, 03:50:54 PM »

Yeah.  If I have to, I'm just going to get a reissue 62' P-bass and put a white pickguard on it.  I think that would work for my purposes of honoring Brian's bass' contributions to the world.

I'd put the Jardine strat in the Eric Johnson or EC range, 1300 or so.
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« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2006, 03:59:15 AM »

@Mark H : You cann see Carl playing that Strat on the Knebworth-DVD (Keepin the summer alive)
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