Wipeout by The Surfaris

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Difficulty: Intermediate

Composer – Berryhill/Connoly/Fuller/Wilson

Where to find this song – The Surfaris Play Wipe Out track # 8

Release Date – May 1963

A Glendora, CA, surf group remembered for “Wipe Out,” the number two 1963 hit that  ranks as one of the great rock instrumentals, featuring a classic up-and-down guitar riff and a classic solo drum roll break, both of which were emulated by millions (the number is no exaggeration) of beginning rock & rollers. They recorded an astonishing number of  albums (about half a dozen) and singles in the mid-’60s; the “Wipe Out” follow-up, “Point Panic,” was the only one to struggle up to the middle of the charts. The Surfaris were not extraordinary, but they were more talented than the typical one-shot surf group, and people noticed them for that. No one can forget the intro on the drums! Many high school bands require the drum line be learned for percussionists.

The Main Riff



How To Play It

There are twelve measures to this riff. What we will do is break them down right now so that you can see what is identical and what is not. This song is VERY good to help you work on your dexterity, being that it is surf music. Surf music usually comes in patterns like these, and there are many, many changes throughout the song.

Measures one, two, three, seven, and eleven: Play these measures by placing your 3rd finger on the “G” string on the fifth fret. Play it twice, and then use your 1st finger to hit the third fret on the same string. Then, use your 3rd finger again to play the fifth fret on the “D” string a couple of times. Use your 1st finger to play the third fret on the “G” string, and then your 2nd finger to play the fourth fret of the same string.

Measure four is played by using your 3rd finger to play the fifth fret on the “G” string a couple of times. Then, use your 1st finger to play the third fret of the same string. Use your 3rd finger again to play the fifth fret on the “D” string, and then use that finger again to play the fifth fret on the “G” string. To finish the measure, use your 1st finger to play the fourth fret on the “B” string, and then use your 2nd finger to play the fifth fret on the same string.

Measure five is similar to the rest. Play this measure by placing your 3rd finger on the “B” string on the sixth fret. Then, move your 1st finger to the fourth fret on the same string. Use your 2nd finger on the “G” string to play the fifth fret. Move your 1st finger to the “B” string on the fourth fret and then use your 2nd finger on the fifth fret of that same string.

Measures six and ten are played by following the same format as measure five until you have gone to the fifth fret on the “G” string. After that, just move the second finger to the “D” string
on the fifth fret. To finish off this measure, use your 1st finger to play the third fret on the “G” string. Then, use your 2nd finger to play the fourth fret and that is it for the measure.

Measure eight is played following the same format as you did in measure seven until you have played the fifth fret on the “D” string. After that, use your 1st finger to play the third fret on the “A” string. The next part is a bit tricky, and you may want to alter how this is described due to your comfort level in playing this part. You can play the end of this measure by using your 1st finger on the fourth fret and then your 3rd finger on the sixth on the “B” string, or you can use your 3rd and 4th fingers to do the same. This part is
based on comfort. The reason you may not want to use your 4th finger is that generally, it isn’t too strong when compared to your other fingers. This part is up to you.

Measure nine is played by following the same principles of the seventh measure, just on a different fret. Play it in that arrangement and follow the tablature.

The LAST MEASURE is played by using your 2nd finger on the “D” string on the fifth fret. Play that for a while, and to end the measure, place your 1st finger on the fourth fret on the “G” string. Whew!!! You are done!!

Video Breakdown

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Riff Resources

Complete Transcription To “Wipeout”(PDF)

Complete Transcription To “Wipeout”(Power Tab)