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Jack White pays tribute to Dick Dale: “A unique innovator”

on March 18, 2019, 1:38pm

Surf rock trailblazer Dick Dale passed away over the weekend at the age of 81. Tributes to “The King of the Surf Guitar” have since poured in from fans as well as musicians alike. Today, Jack White, a modern-day pioneer in his own right, paid homage to Dale with a touching post on social media.

“It is saddening to hear of the passing of the incredible guitar player Dick Dale. “I spent many moments learning his massive reverbed guitar licks in my bedroom, and still enjoy playing his song ‘Nitro’ whenever I can,” the Detroit blues rocker wrote on Third Man Records’ Instagram account. “Sadly, I never got to meet him.”

(Read: A Running List of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Omissions)

White continued his message by praising Dale’s groundbreaking techniques and fondly recalling attending one of his concerts as a teen:

“A unique innovator of the guitar with pick melting style and swagger for miles. I can remember traveling up to Pontiac from Detroit by myself to watch him play when I was sixteen. That upside down gold sparkle Fender of his needs to be hung up some place special.”

Read White’s full tribute to Dale below.

White has covered Dale live a number of times over the years. Watch him slip in “Misirlou” during a performance of “Icky Thump” back in 2014 (scroll to the 5:00 mark):

Brian Wilson also sent out a heartwarming note on Dale, writing on Twitter, “I’m sorry to hear about Dick Dale passing. Dick’s guitar playing was a big influence on all of us [in the Beach Boys], and we covered ‘Misirlou’ on our Surfin’ USA album in ‘63.”

Additionally, Brian May said that “truly we all benefit from his trailblazing.” Mike Mills of R.E.M., Slash, Rick Springfield, and Steve Van Zandt also offered up their own tributes.

Find those all below.

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RIP Dick Dale – Father of the Surf Guitar. We all owe you. Rock on. 💥💥💥 Look how his guitar is strung ! He’s left handed, but plays essentially a right handed guitar – except for the controls and ‘horns’. So his heavy bass-end strings are at the lower edge of the fretboard. This means his fingers could never fall in the same shapes as the rest of us. Maybe this led him to use those low notes more often and more forcefully than everyone around him. But his highly distinctive sound comes from his very fast up-and down action in the picking hand (sometimes confusingly referred to as ‘tremolo’, in reference to the similar-sounding traditional Flamenco Spanish guitar technique, which is actually done in a very different way, with multiple fingernails). And a lot of echo effect. And thick strings. And a lot of energy !!! Check out his early hit ‘Miserlou’. Wild !!! I wish I’d met him. But truly we all benefit from his trailblazing. Bri

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RIP #DickDale

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Complete your vinyl collection by purchasing all of Dale’s releases here. Revisit Dale’s “Nitro” and iconic version of “Misirlou”: