Keyboard on riff that opens "California Girls"?
July 14, 2017 7:44 AM   Subscribe

What is/was the keyboard instrument that provides the slightly tinny opening riff to "California Girls"?
posted by John Borrowman to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
 
Twelve string guitars, played by Carl Wilson (and possibly doubled by studio cats like Glen Campbell).
 
posted by Herodios at 7:51 AM on July 14


Wikipedia has the Personel list. (Jerry Cole was on the 12-string guitar). The keyboard-like instruments on the song were a vibraphone and an electric organ.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:59 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]




The OP seems to me to be asking about the keyboard part that comes in 2 bars or so before the vocals, not the "orchestral introduction".
posted by thelonius at 8:21 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


The OP seems to me to be asking about the keyboard part that comes in 2 bars or so before the vocals, not the "orchestral introduction".

Yes. I would have assumed Farfisa/Vox. Heard the sound faithfully reproduced during Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds Tour and now have an earworm.

Technically, the keyboard riff may not actually open the song.
posted by John Borrowman at 8:32 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


The OP is either incorrect about the instrument being a keyboard or is incorrect as to which section of the song most writers are calling the introduction. I've tried to answer the question both ways.

Try this:

Steve Hoffman: "From the song's enticing opening intro, featuring Carl Wilson (lead) and Jerry Cole (rhythm) on 12-string electric guitars (plugged directly into the console) . . . The organ (Hammond B-3) solo- played by Al de Lory- fits in perfectly and sounds just right . . . "
posted by Herodios at 8:35 AM on July 14


PS: I've been fooled into assuming that a cheesy organ sound on a 1960s record was a Farfisa before. But, obviously, repeatedly, it's become clear that it's possible to get cheese out of a mighty B-3 if that's what the player really wanted. Garth Hudson, et al got B-3-like sounds out of a Lowry.

Too, I suppose it's possible there were both on the record, but it seems unlikely.

PPS: The thing that really throws me off the trail on most BB records is usually all the harmonica work, especially bass harmonica.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:45 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


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