Wipe Out TAB how to play Wipe Out by the Surfaris on guitar

In this guitar lesson we will be taking a look at the Wipe Out TAB. By the end, you’ll know how to play this Surfaris surf rock classic from start to finish. Wipe Out isn’t a particularly difficult track to master and is therefore open to guitar players from the middle beginner level up.

Wipe Out isn’t a track that requires much back story as I’m sure that pretty much everyone reading this is familiar with it. Its catchy instrumental melody is instantly recognisable to anybody and I’ve always considered it one of those tracks that guitar players simply have to learn at some point. Wipe Out is a proper audience pleaser and it can be mastered quickly. If you’re a guitar player, you simply need to learn this song. Let’s dive straight into the deep end and take a look at the TAB. (Does that work as a pun?)

Wipe Out TAB guitar lesson and guide

wipe out tab and guitar lesson

Wipe Out is only just over 2 and a half minutes long and the whole song is for the most part, based around two parts. I’ll refer to these two parts as “guitar melody” and “guitar chords”. The first of these two sections that we hear is the guitar melody but that doesn’t come in right away.

The first thing we hear is the wave sound followed by the only vocal part of the track. I believe it’s the band’s manager that sings the Shakespearean “wipe out” at the start which is followed by a short drum-based intro.

The first we hear of the guitar comes about half way through the fifth bar. You’ll have to listen closely to the track to get the timing spot on here. If you’re performing with other musicians, this may take a little practice to get just right.

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Here’s the TAB for this first guitar section.

Wipe Out TAB guitar melody section

Some may have picked up on the fact that the above is based on a 12 bar structure. That structure is used throughout the track without exception. So for most, Wipe Out will be an easy song to memorise structurally.

That guitar melody section is followed by the section that I earlier referred to as the guitar chords section. There isn’t a great deal of guitar in this part as it’s the drums that are at the forefront. The chords are performed on the first beat of the bars. Here’s the TAB.

Wipe Out Tab guitar chords section

Nothing too crazy going on there. Just 3 barre chords played to a 12 bar structure. Our chords are C major, F major and G major. Also notice how some bars are completely empty. Like I said, this isn’t a guitar heavy section.

This part is followed by the melody section again and then after that melody section, we have another run through of the chords section. We already have the TAB for those parts so no further TAB or guidance is required at this stage.

After that, we get the guitar solo. This guitar solo lasts for 12 bars and here’s the TAB for it.

Wipe Out guitar solo TAB

In my opinion, you have a couple of options when it comes to the Wipe Out guitar solo. You can either stay true to the original track and learn the actual solo or you can do what I normally do and just improvise your own at the time. You can even choose to go 24 bars instead of 12 if you like. As long as you keep things simple, you’ll be fine. A minor / C major pentatonic scale and stay in the groove.

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The guitar solo is followed by our third play through of the chords section. No changes here, just play through as you did before with the previous two chord sections.

After that final chords section, we return to the guitar melody. This time, we play through the melody once and then begin to play through it again for the fade out outro.

This presents a little bit of a problem when performing Wipe Out live. How you end this one is pretty much up to you, but I remember doing something like this in the past. Very simple and straightforward but it does the job. I’ve simply thrown in a bar of G7 and resolved it with the root chord at the end. If you’re playing with a drummer, they can do some cool drummy stuff in that empty bar too. Also with this section, look out for those repeat marks as they’re key.

Wipe Out TAB final verse and outro

Tempo and Reverb

That just about wraps things up for this Wipe Out lesson, but I do have a couple of other things that I think are worth mentioning. Firstly, the tempo. Admittedly, this may just be a me problem, but I always feel that Wipe Out feels slow when performing it at the proper tempo. I like to knock things up another notch in terms of tempo when I play this one. Not too much, just a little tempo boost. Its up to you but I found that a tiny increase in tempo made things more fun.

Also, reverb. Your guitar tone needs to be nice and clean for Wipe Out, but this is a great track to smash a load of reverb onto. Dial it up. I want you to sound like you’re playing in some giant f****** church or something.

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What next?

In my opinion, the two ultimate surf rock tracks are Wipeout, and Muserlou by Dick Dale. You’ve learned Wipe Out now (hopefully) so why not tackle Misirlou next?

Misirlou TAB and Guitar Lesson

Misirlou is a fantastic surf rock song just like Wipe Out is, and it looks very impressive and flashy when you’re playing it. The good news is that it may look flashy and hard but it actually isn’t. Is actually quite easy indeed. 

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