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.
Modern / Progressive Surf
Hot Rod Surf
Sci Fi / Spy