Watch the Rebel Twang online guitar lesson by Jason Loughlin from Essentials: Surf Guitar
We start off in the key of E major. My melody is in the low register of the guitar and is always targeting chord tones with some common embellishments. The most prominent embellishment is approaching the chord tone from a diatonic step above. I'll also slide into a chord tone from a diatonic step below. There is one bluesy element being used here, the pickup note that kicks off the first phrase has a bend release from the b3rd to 2nd. This melody will get harmonized with major triads when we modulate to F.
You'll notice I'm using tremolo for the melody in E major. Duane Eddy used tremolo quite a bit. When there's longer notes in a melody, tremolo can help add movement.
Let's talk about the modulation now: First you'll notice I turned off the tremolo - no need for it since the rhythms are more active. This is basically the same melody played in E major except I'm harmonizing every note with a major triad inversions. The melody note will always be on top. Occasionally, I have to harmonize an approach note. Just find a major triad inversion with a top note that's close to the note you're looking for and change your top note. On my I chord I needed a 6th on top. So, I used a root position triad, Root, 3rd and 5th, and just changed it to Root, 3rd, and 6th. Use the vibrato bar wherever you have longer notes!