The Power of East Coast Surf

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Q. What does surf music sound like?

A. Surf Music is (mostly) instrumental (no singing) rock music, with a standard 3 or 4 piece rock band of 1 or 2 electric guitars, electric bass, and drums. Sometimes there is a keyboard and/or saxophone. Occasionally you'll hear a flute, trumpet or theremin. Certain kinds of guitars (Jaguars, Jazzmasters, Strats, Mosrites, the occasional Gretsch or Rickenbacher) and amps (tube amps - Fenders, Vox, Ampeg) are common. Lots of reverb is desirable; certain guitar techniques mimic the feel of surfing, like double-picking, glissandos, and bending notes with the whammy bar.


Here are some samples of NESMA bands playing various styles of surf music. All works are copyrighted by the artists.


Traditional Surf

Fathoms "Fathomized"

Fin-dicators   "Tangled Leash"

Reverb Galaxy "10 Miles to Nagshead"


Modern / Progressive Surf

Mister Neutron "Super Constellation"

East Coast Tremors "Rocket Fuel"

Atomic Mosquitos "Siouxnami"

Urban Surf Kings  "7 Faces of Dr. Surf"


Hot Rod Surf

9th Wave  "Last of the V8s"

Diamondheads  "Big Daddy Dirtpile"


Spaghetti Western

Cocktail Preachers "Slingshot to Durango"

Supertones "Twango"

El Patapsco  "Long Range Desert Group"

TarantinosNYC  "Fistful of Reverb"


Sci Fi / Spy

9th Wave  "Sci Fi Spy"

Isotopes  "Biclops"

El Muchacho  "Astronut"



9th Wave  "Snakecharmer"

Cocktail Preachers  "Margarita Meltdown"


Horror Surf

Gein & the Graverobbers  "Hungry Grave"

Coffin Daggers "Coffin Dagger"



Atomic Mosquitos  "Sabre Dance"

9th Wave "Clown Away"



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