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Dick Dale Guitar Sound Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 6th January 2013
  #1
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Dick Dale Guitar Sound

First off, this is my first post, so let me apologize if it's not in the right section. I was debating where to put it - if some mod or anybody feels like it should be moved, i'm not opposed to that.

Let me say this as a caveat: I know next to nothing about guitars, and I produce music electronically with many cheaply recorded elements.

I love Dick Dale's music. His guitar tone is superb. I understand that it's a Fender something through a (probably Fender) amp with onboard spring reverb. Obviously he uses a lot of tremelo picking, but I'm interested in sound more than technique.

I have a Fender Stratocaster and a lot of software tools. Any ideas how I can best emulate Dale's surf sound? Here's what I've tried - using an Impulse Response of a spring reverb, then placing a mild distortion after that. Another part is adding very subtle vinyl crackle.

It doesn't quite get me close enough. Given what you understand of my capabilities, what recommendations do you have?

Does anyone have any good Impulse Responses that'd fit the style? Like Fender Amps and Spring Reverbs? Also, what pick ups should I use when playing?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

Last edited by Windy_Season; 6th January 2013 at 03:27 AM.. Reason: added email notification
Old 6th January 2013
  #2
Gear maniac
 

For starters, Dick Dale is the master.

He always uses a Fender Stratocaster with a rosewood neck. The pickups are Fender model Fat '50s single coils. Heavy gauge strings are used, 12s i think. He uses a blonde Fender Bandmaster - solid state rectifier through two Fender cabinets, one with two 15inch speakers, the other with one 15inch speaker. The Reverb unit is actually an external spring-reverb unit which he hangs from the ceiling - presumably to separate it from the vibrations of the stage from his amps.

So, your Strat is a good start, if you want his sound use single-coil pickups of some kind, ideally Fender Fat '50s, a set cost about $200 i think. Then a Fender tube amp with spring reverb, tube-driven reverb ideally would be the next step. If you want his exact tone try to buy the above setup. His guitar also uses non-standard switching of some kind, i think it is wired to only use one pickup at a time using a gibson-style 3-way switch.

I have seen him live and that was his rig. Same guitar the entire show, no pedals of any kind. Guitar, Reverb unit, Amp. The cabinets were Fender Bassman Blackface style, the ones with the handles on the side.

So i guess try to emulate that rig as close as you can afford to, Fender everything. I think your strat with hopefully single-coils into any Fender tube amp with Reverb would be really close. Any distortion Dale gets is really just the amp turned up loud, and he does play extremely loud too by the way. The bass is a Fender bass through an unknown amp with Fender Blackface Bassman style cabinets, 15inch speakers again.
Old 6th January 2013
  #3
Dick Dale uses a fielder stratocsster with heavy gauge strings (13's?). In the early 60's when he did his most famous recordings he was using flatwound strings. This is crucial to the sound!! As far as his switching on his guitar he just dis engages his tone knobs.

Amp wise Dick is the reason we have high wattage amps. He worked with Leo to develop the showman and dual showman. Look it up, it's actually a very interesting story. He always uses 15" speakers. They are showman cabs. He uses tube driven spring reverb. Fender used to make stand alone units. This was before reverb was built in to amps. They do sound a bit different. It's quite a sound!! He plays very loud!!

It's hard to capture that sound with emulation plugins. It's so much about the instruments. I include amps and reverb units as part of the instrument.
Old 7th January 2013
  #4
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davet's Avatar
 

I play guitar in a surf band. We don't play large venues yet so we're using a 65 Deluxe Reverb and a 66 Vibrolux for the guitars. Both amps have on board spring reverbs that are OK. Well equiped surf bands use those stand alone Fender Reverbs. They have a particular sound.

Again, well equiped surf bands usually play vintage Fender Showmans, Bandmasters or Bassman amps of the blond variety. I've used a Marshall JCM 800 on a number of jobs. It ain't a Fender but it works OK.

I also use a Neunaber Tech Wet Reverb 3 pedal for reverb. It doesn't sound like one of those stand alone Reverbs, but I think it's better than the spring reverb in the 65 Deluxe. I also use an Eventide Time Factor for that slap-back delay effect you hear on surf records. None of this is perfect, but I've gotten some nice comments from surf music fans about the tone I get.

A Surf Green 57 reissue MIM Stratocaster is my guitar of choice. It's not stock anymore, been upgraded with better hardware, PUPs and the like. It works fine, sounds/looks like it should. Dick Dale played flatwounds on a Strat back in the day. I heard him call them "bridge cables" in an interview. I'm playing 10-46 Fender round wounds. The other guitar player has an SSH American Deluxe Strat with 11-50 round wounds.

Go here SurfGuitar101.com | Home for tons of details.

DaveT
Old 8th January 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
Another thing that may sound odd, but with the outboard Fender reverb units, part of the sound is that the signal chain is

guitar ->reverb -> amp

which is different from how even Fender Reverb amps work. Hitting the inputs and preamp tubes with the reverb unit does give a different sound.

Next up this year for me will either be an old Tremolux head, a vintage Fender reverb unit, or if I hit the lottery, both... and no, I don't play surf, but the outboard reverb units sound like nothing else.
Old 8th January 2013
  #6
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allphourus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
Another thing that may sound odd, but with the outboard Fender reverb units, part of the sound is that the signal chain is

guitar ->reverb -> amp

which is different from how even Fender Reverb amps work. Hitting the inputs and preamp tubes with the reverb unit does give a different sound.

Next up this year for me will either be an old Tremolux head, a vintage Fender reverb unit, or if I hit the lottery, both... and no, I don't play surf, but the outboard reverb units sound like nothing else.
Try the Vibro King.
Old 8th January 2013
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by allphourus View Post
Try the Vibro King.
or a Tone King
Old 8th January 2013
  #8
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by allphourus View Post
Try the Vibro King.
Great amp, but don't need anything more over 40 watts, and I prefer to stick to pre CBS if I'm buying these days. Just personal preference.
Old 15th June 2017
  #9
Lives for gear
I see that Dick Dale is still touring... and he's 80! I want to check out his show next month.
Old 15th June 2017
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windy_Season View Post
First off, this is my first post, so let me apologize if it's not in the right section. I was debating where to put it - if some mod or anybody feels like it should be moved, i'm not opposed to that.

Let me say this as a caveat: I know next to nothing about guitars, and I produce music electronically with many cheaply recorded elements.

I love Dick Dale's music. His guitar tone is superb. I understand that it's a Fender something through a (probably Fender) amp with onboard spring reverb. Obviously he uses a lot of tremelo picking, but I'm interested in sound more than technique.

I have a Fender Stratocaster and a lot of software tools. Any ideas how I can best emulate Dale's surf sound? Here's what I've tried - using an Impulse Response of a spring reverb, then placing a mild distortion after that. Another part is adding very subtle vinyl crackle.

It doesn't quite get me close enough. Given what you understand of my capabilities, what recommendations do you have?

Does anyone have any good Impulse Responses that'd fit the style? Like Fender Amps and Spring Reverbs? Also, what pick ups should I use when playing?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
The classic Dick Dale rig was a Fender Strat played in a Fender Dual Showman equipped with JBL D130F 15" speakers through Fender's outboard spring reverb unit, with controls not available of the reverb built into Fender's amps. (3 knobs - Dwell, Mix, & Tone.) The Strat is strung upside down with a special extra heavy string set custom made for him.

The story is that Dale went to Leo for a amp that was louder than the amps available in the late '50s, which resulted in the creation of the Dual Showman. Dale also got Fender to start using the JBL speakers because the Jensens in common use at the time couldn't take the extra power, as well as the fact the highly efficient JBLs were louder than any other speaker then available. Additionally the JBL with its aluminum dome projected the bright, trebly tone sought after by the instrumental surf guitarists. Leo Fender worked with JBL to develop the D130F for guitar amps because the JBL D130A (the standard hi-fi version) could not reliably take the amount of power supplied by the Dual Showman.

You will not be able get Dick Dale's sound using amp sims and software reverb - no software can accurately duplicate the sound of the Fender outboard spring reverb when it's hit hard - Dale has a rather percussive playing style and he really whacks those reverb springs - much harder than normal and beyond that range that digital emulations are designed to deal with* - and you also will not be able to really get his sound at low volume. Additionally I do not believe that anyone makes a sim of Dale's Fender Showman, which is the very old blonde version with the 12AX7 phase inverter circuit with the presence control, which gives a somewhat Marshall-like edge to the tone. And given the unpopularity of JBL 15" guitar speakers these days you're not likely to find a speaker emulation that even comes close - and JBLs jump harder and faster than any other guitar speaker when you hit them really hard - and they do it without breaking up or distorting. And his playing technique and his sound are inextricably linked.


* - and beyond the intended dynamic range of the hardware for that matter

Last edited by John Eppstein; 15th June 2017 at 10:24 AM..
Old 15th June 2017
  #11
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noah330's Avatar
As John states, the JBLs are really a huge part of that sound. As big as the Dual Showman actually.
Old 15th June 2017
  #12
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
The classic Dick Dale rig was a Fender Strat played in a Fender Dual Showman equipped with JBL D130F 15" speakers through Fender's outboard spring reverb unit, with controls not available of the reverb built into Fender's amps. (3 knobs - Dwell, Mix, & Tone.) The Strat is strung upside down with a special extra heavy string set custom made for him.

The story is that Dale went to Leo for a amp that was louder than the amps available in the late '50s, which resulted in the creation of the Dual Showman. Dale also got Fender to start using the JBL speakers because the Jensens in common use at the time couldn't take the extra power, as well as the fact the highly efficient JBLs were louder than any other speaker then available. Additionally the JBL with its aluminum dome projected the bright, trebly tone sought after by the instrumental surf guitarists. Leo Fender worked with JBL to develop the D130F for guitar amps because the JBL D130A (the standard hi-fi version) could not reliably take the amount of power supplied by the Dual Showman.

You will not be able get Dick Dale's sound using amp sims and software reverb - no software can accurately duplicate the sound of the Fender outboard spring reverb when it's hit hard - Dale has a rather percussive playing style and he really whacks those reverb springs - much harder than normal and beyond that range that digital emulations are designed to deal with* - and you also will not be able to really get his sound at low volume. Additionally I do not believe that anyone makes a sim of Dale's Fender Showman, which is the very old blonde version with the 12AX7 phase inverter circuit with the presence control, which gives a somewhat Marshall-like edge to the tone. And given the unpopularity of JBL 15" guitar speakers these days you're not likely to find a speaker emulation that even comes close - and JBLs jump harder and faster than any other guitar speaker when you hit them really hard - and they do it without breaking up or distorting. And his playing technique and his sound are inextricably linked.


* - and beyond the intended dynamic range of the hardware for that matter
John, sometimes your posts are just absolutely fascinating. Thanks for that one. You da man.
Old 15th June 2017
  #13

Actually, the FRV-1 from Boss does an excellent job catching the sound of those 6g15 units. Even when you hit them hard.

They are missing the acoustic feedback of a physical spring, but if Dick is hanging the unit from the ceiling, he doesn't want that part of the sound anyway.

You should get really close to the SUrf King sound with a FRV-1 and a good Baseman sim....



-tINY

Old 15th June 2017
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

Actually, the FRV-1 from Boss does an excellent job catching the sound of those 6g15 units. Even when you hit them hard.

They are missing the acoustic feedback of a physical spring, but if Dick is hanging the unit from the ceiling, he doesn't want that part of the sound anyway.

You should get really close to the SUrf King sound with a FRV-1 and a good Baseman sim....



-tINY

Well, we're going to have to disagree on this point.

The FRV-1 is indeed a fine reverb pedal and in most cases you'd be right. But not Dick Dale - it'll get you most of the way there but not that last 10-20% that sets Dale apart from all the other classic surf instrumentalists. That standalone Fender reverb unit does something unique when you hit it really hard while playing in a percussive style. My guess it's that it's probably because it uses a much stronger drive tube that other spring reverbs - while the built-in reverb in a Fender amp (and most other tube driven spring reverbs) uses a 12AT7 that puts out maybe 1 watt for a reverb driver tube the Fender floor unit uses either a 6V6 tube (in the newer versions) or an equivalent 6K6GT (in the original pre-CBS 6G15 model). These tubes can hit the input transducer of the tank with a full FIVE WATTS of power the same amount of power as the full output of a Fender Champ (which also uses the 6V6 power tube.) When you hit the tank like that it gives the reverb a really hard, percussive leading transient that other springs just can't match, and which no electronic reverb I've ever heard - including expensive studio units - has been able to duplicate (except for clones of the Fender, of course.). Modern outboard spring boxes with SS electronics can't even come close.

The good news is that there's a company that's importing what appears to be a pretty faithful Chinese clone of the Fender unit. I saw "appears" because I have yet to get my hands on one in person to verify the authenticity of the circuit, but it costs about half of the genuine Fender and the company importing it can give you a choice of different reverb tanks so you can tailor your sound. I don't remember the name of the company or product but there's a thread about it running on another gear site, so I can do a little research and get back with info. One of the guys at that site has ordered one so hopefully I can get a user report on it.

EDIT: The name of the company is "Tone Bakery" but they don't list the reverb on their website - you'd need to contact them. The unit is available on Ebay from a seller called "JRR Shop". There's a current listing on Ebay. It says last one left, 4 sold. Buy it now price is $400, (with a "best offer" button on the listing) much cheaper than what the real Fenders go for. Tone Bakery also list several dealers on their site. The person who posted about it says customer service is good. The driver tube in this unit is the 6V6, just like the RI Fenders.

Wish I had an extra $400 to burn...

Weber also sells a kit, but it starts at $525 with standard tolex, grill cloth, handle, and chrome panel. Fancy options will raise the price, as will factory assembly.

Last edited by John Eppstein; 15th June 2017 at 09:30 PM..
Old 15th June 2017
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
Great amp, but don't need anything more over 40 watts, and I prefer to stick to pre CBS if I'm buying these days. Just personal preference.
For period correct tone you'll want a brownface with the presence control and a 12AX7 phase inverter not the 12AT7 found in blackface and newer models. The 12AX7 is a significantly higher gain tube (gain=100 instead of 60) and it gives you a little bit of harmonic distortion "crunch" when you're driving the amp hard that's a bit lacking in the newer models. Also the "presence" isn't part of the regular tone circuit - it works by altering the frequency response of the negative feedback loop in the power amp, so it addition to altering frequency response it also affects power amp gain and the spectrum of harmonic distortion when you play the amp at higher volume.

And you'll definitely want a JBL speaker, preferably an alnico magnet D130F 15".

Note that the really early (first 500, if that) units of the blonde Tremolux (the smallest of the Fender piggyback amps) used EL84/6BQ5 tubes, so the tone won't be quite the same. Later ones (later blonde, light brown) used 6L6s or 6V6s. Also those EL84 amps can have stability problems. Tremolos also used 10s, probably not what you want. For an amp smaller than a Showman you'll probably want a Bandmaster or maybe a Bassman. The Bandmaster has a smaller output transformer so the low end isn't quite as good. Speaker really should be a 15 - 12s might do in a pinch but they won't have the fullness in the lower registers. JBL D130s, despite being 15s, are NOT lacking in treble, so don't worry about that. (I don't really understand the current prejudice against light coned 15s for guitar - I love 'em,as did (does) Dick Dale.
Old 15th June 2017
  #16
BTW, Dale's original Strat had a mod with an extra toggle switch in addition to the standard "knife blade" that gave him the ability to run the middle and neck pickups together, however I doubt that's necessary with the modern 5-way switch.
Old 15th June 2017
  #17
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
For period correct tone you'll want a brownface with the presence control and a 12AX7 phase inverter not the 12AT7 found in blackface and newer models. The 12AX7 is a significantly higher gain tube (gain=100 instead of 60) and it gives you a little bit of harmonic distortion "crunch" when you're driving the amp hard that's a bit lacking in the newer models. Also the "presence" isn't part of the regular tone circuit - it works by altering the frequency response of the negative feedback loop in the power amp, so it addition to altering frequency response it also affects power amp gain and the spectrum of harmonic distortion when you play the amp at higher volume.

And you'll definitely want a JBL speaker, preferably an alnico magnet D130F 15".

Note that the really early (first 500, if that) units of the blonde Tremolux (the smallest of the Fender piggyback amps) used EL84/6BQ5 tubes, so the tone won't be quite the same. Later ones (later blonde, light brown) used 6L6s or 6V6s. Also those EL84 amps can have stability problems. Tremolos also used 10s, probably not what you want. For an amp smaller than a Showman you'll probably want a Bandmaster or maybe a Bassman. The Bandmaster has a smaller output transformer so the low end isn't quite as good. Speaker really should be a 15 - 12s might do in a pinch but they won't have the fullness in the lower registers. JBL D130s, despite being 15s, are NOT lacking in treble, so don't worry about that. (I don't really understand the current prejudice against light coned 15s for guitar - I love 'em,as did (does) Dick Dale.
John - thanks for the info - currently I'm running Mullard CV4024 as my phase inverter tube in my Bandmaster, Princeton Reverb and Tremolux; I think it's also in my Showman and switching to a 12AX7 may be worth trying.

Since my post in 2013, I did buy a Tremolux and matching cab, and then found a Bogen Challenger CHA-33 that was already converted and had the original tubes, and finally a Dr. Z MAZ 18 Jr. amp head. I think I'm done with buying amps for a while with what I have, but then again who am I fooling...
Old 16th June 2017
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Well, we're going to have to disagree on this point.

The FRV-1 is indeed a fine reverb pedal and in most cases you'd be right. But not Dick Dale - it'll get you most of the way there but not that last 10-20% that sets Dale apart from all the other classic surf instrumentalists. That standalone Fender reverb unit does something unique when you hit it really hard while playing in a percussive style. My guess it's that it's probably because it uses a much stronger drive tube that other spring reverbs - while the built-in reverb in a Fender amp (and most other tube driven spring reverbs) uses a 12AT7 that puts out maybe 1 watt for a reverb driver tube the Fender floor unit uses either a 6V6 tube (in the newer versions) or an equivalent 6K6GT (in the original pre-CBS 6G15 model). These tubes can hit the input transducer of the tank with a full FIVE WATTS of power the same amount of power as the full output of a Fender Champ (which also uses the 6V6 power tube.) When you hit the tank like that it gives the reverb a really hard, percussive leading transient that other springs just can't match,.

Yes, we're gonna disagree...

Until you've had a Boss Unit and played it for a while, you're just talking out your ass. But, your opinion is still yours to espouse.

As to the driver circuits: If you actually put 5W into a spring tank, it wouldn't last long. You do need about 500mW with current-mode drive and enough voltage headroom. The driver in those tanks looks just like an inductor impedance-wise. So, the traditional 12at7 or a 12au7 (both triodes in parallel) can handle the job - though a 6aq5 or a 6k6 gives you a bit more margin to play with. There is no reason a solid-state driver should be inferior if properly executed... but it won't hurt the environment as much as it wastes a lot less power.



-tINY

Old 16th June 2017
  #19
Gear Guru
I think the FRV-1 is an extremely good digital version of the Fender spring reverb IF you can't have the real thing. It's a shame they don't make them any more. I don't own one, but I would grab one if I saw it.

It all depends on whether you want to slavishly recreate the rig that Dick Dale used - but you still may not end up with his sound. I love that sound - but i'm not even going to try to copy his rig.

I am happy to use alternative modern tools to make a sound that is "inpsired by" Dick Dale - and while it may not compare side by side, in the context of a modern mix it could even be better. I'm all about supporting a song - not about recreating the past.

So with that in mind - I think any decent electric guitar can be played "Dick Dale style". The "need" for high watt amps and JBL speakers was about competing with enthusiatstic drummers while maintaining good clean headroom. For recording - I see no reason not to go DI. I use Sansamps like the Character Blonde to get clean Fender-ish amp tone - and cab IR's can emulate a good clean speaker.

Apart from the playing technique and a good clean guitar/amp tone - surf guitar for me is all about the reverb and tremolo. For commercial exploitation reasons, Fender chose to call his Tremolo circuits "Vibrato" and his vibrato arms "Tremolo". He is at odds with the entire history of music there - but it makes a little more sense when you realise he was competing with Magnatone amps which had a gorgeous Vibrato circuit that actually was Vibrato. His circuits started out with something similar but cheaper, and then he went to cheaper again which was just tremolo. So it was basically a bit of commercial fraud going on - Fender did not invent electric guitars or amps - just made money by making them worse/cheaper. I expect Behringer will be worshiped in latter decades for doing the same sort of thing.

So the gorgeous "Fender spring reverb" this is actually a Hammond invention that was exploited by Fender.

For my money - the Digitech Supernatural is any amazing spring reverb emulation. I have a lot of time for the Strymon Flint - which includes amazing tremolo (including the first Fender type that is sort of a bit vibrato-ish). I went with the Supernatural myself, but I would like a Flint.

The Neunaber reverbs mentioned above are excellent reverbs - but i'm not convinced about the spring sounds. They don't seem to have the "drip" that surf guys are looking for. The Boss FRV-1 is highly respected by the surf guitar community - as are a few other digital spring emulations.

Depends if you want authentic - warts and all, or if you want a modern take on a classic. There are plenty of old school players who have all the right gear but still can't play like Dick Dale. Then there are some young players with amp sims who can sound impressively like the real thing ... gear is only ever a small part of the equation.
Old 16th June 2017
  #20
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post

The Neunaber reverbs mentioned above are excellent reverbs - but i'm not convinced about the spring sounds. They don't seem to have the "drip" that surf guys are looking for. The Boss FRV-1 is highly respected by the surf guitar community - as are a few other digital spring emulations.
Recently tried the Neunaber reverb, the MXR Reverb at my local guitar shop with my pedalboard and Tremolux, and both were "meh" in comparison to the reverb on my Princeton Reverb so I didn't pull the trigger. Malekko's Spring Chicken is also highly regarded but haven't tried it or the FRV-1, but would need to buy to try. While a standalone Fender tank would be nice, would rather have something that's more pedalboard friendly and know it may not sound as good.

Like any pedal, the tone becomes subjective compared to what you like, and what amp or standalone reverbs you've used.
Old 16th June 2017
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

Yes, we're gonna disagree...

Until you've had a Boss Unit and played it for a while, you're just talking out your ass. But, your opinion is still yours to espouse.

As to the driver circuits: If you actually put 5W into a spring tank, it wouldn't last long. You do need about 500mW with current-mode drive and enough voltage headroom. The driver in those tanks looks just like an inductor impedance-wise. So, the traditional 12at7 or a 12au7 (both triodes in parallel) can handle the job - though a 6aq5 or a 6k6 gives you a bit more margin to play with. There is no reason a solid-state driver should be inferior if properly executed... but it won't hurt the environment as much as it wastes a lot less power.



-tINY

I guess you don't have much experience with the Fender outboard reverbs? I'm just telling you what the schematic tells me - and relating the sonic effects that result. You go ahead and wake Leo up from, his nap and explain to him that he's using the wrong tube. I'd really like to hear that discussion.
Old 16th June 2017
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
You go ahead and wake Leo up from, his nap and explain to him that he's using the wrong tube. I'd really like to hear that discussion.

Isn't that what you said when complaining about not having an output tube in the in-amp reverb circuits?

If you are going to use a beam tetrode, a 6v6 is overkill (but still in production). The 6k6 is really hard to find and spendy, but the 6aq5 is abundant and inexpensive....

As far as playing around with a '63 unit - no. I have heard lots of studio and live recordings and been at a few shows where one was used (though it's been 2 decades since I saw Dick Dale live....). Can you point to a recording that uses a Topanga or an FRV-1 where you feel the tone is lacking? Or maybe you have played one?



-tINY

Old 16th June 2017
  #23
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foldback's Avatar
Not all spring reverb tanks (that look the same) are the same.

Back in the 80's I was part of a spring reverb manufacturing business called Kenmark. We got samples of every tank made (except for the big Hammond Necklace reverbs spring units). We had small ones, long ones, two spring, four spring, six spring and more. We found one of the original Hammond spring designers and discussed tube vs solid state.

Spring tanks have input impedance and output impedance, there were a lot of models that look similar but the only way to tell is by the part number. Both the input and output impedance could be specified (on a custom order of 25 or more units), the input and output impedance completely depends on the circuit driving and recovering the sound from the spring unit.

Good music to all!
Old 17th June 2017
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
I think the FRV-1 is an extremely good digital version of the Fender spring reverb IF you can't have the real thing. It's a shame they don't make them any more. I don't own one, but I would grab one if I saw it.

It all depends on whether you want to slavishly recreate the rig that Dick Dale used - but you still may not end up with his sound. I love that sound - but i'm not even going to try to copy his rig.

I am happy to use alternative modern tools to make a sound that is "inpsired by" Dick Dale - and while it may not compare side by side, in the context of a modern mix it could even be better. I'm all about supporting a song - not about recreating the past.

So with that in mind - I think any decent electric guitar can be played "Dick Dale style". The "need" for high watt amps and JBL speakers was about competing with enthusiatstic drummers while maintaining good clean headroom. For recording - I see no reason not to go DI. I use Sansamps like the Character Blonde to get clean Fender-ish amp tone - and cab IR's can emulate a good clean speaker.

Apart from the playing technique and a good clean guitar/amp tone - surf guitar for me is all about the reverb and tremolo. For commercial exploitation reasons, Fender chose to call his Tremolo circuits "Vibrato" and his vibrato arms "Tremolo". He is at odds with the entire history of music there - but it makes a little more sense when you realise he was competing with Magnatone amps which had a gorgeous Vibrato circuit that actually was Vibrato. His circuits started out with something similar but cheaper, and then he went to cheaper again which was just tremolo. So it was basically a bit of commercial fraud going on - Fender did not invent electric guitars or amps - just made money by making them worse/cheaper. I expect Behringer will be worshiped in latter decades for doing the same sort of thing.

So the gorgeous "Fender spring reverb" this is actually a Hammond invention that was exploited by Fender.

For my money - the Digitech Supernatural is any amazing spring reverb emulation. I have a lot of time for the Strymon Flint - which includes amazing tremolo (including the first Fender type that is sort of a bit vibrato-ish). I went with the Supernatural myself, but I would like a Flint.

The Neunaber reverbs mentioned above are excellent reverbs - but i'm not convinced about the spring sounds. They don't seem to have the "drip" that surf guys are looking for. The Boss FRV-1 is highly respected by the surf guitar community - as are a few other digital spring emulations.

Depends if you want authentic - warts and all, or if you want a modern take on a classic. There are plenty of old school players who have all the right gear but still can't play like Dick Dale. Then there are some young players with amp sims who can sound impressively like the real thing ... gear is only ever a small part of the equation.
You just don't get it. There are a number of products that do an acceptable job of emulating a Fender spring reverb functioning in a conventional manner. That's not what I'm interested in re this discussion and has no bearing whatsoever on the question. It's irrelevant.

The POINT is that there are a number of effects created utilizing the standalone Fender spring reverb in an unconventional manner (I though you were the guy who's always talking about unconventional ways to use familiar tools...) often to create the sounds of crashing surf by over-driving the tank. This was very common during the heyday of instrumental surf music in the early '60s - before you guys touting digital emulations of the product were even born. One of the very important aspects of Dick Dale's style was the he could emulate the sound of surf, and the Fender standalone reverb unit was indispensable for doing this. A conventional spring circuit built into an amp couldn't do this - it required the excessive drive from the high powered driver tube and the variable reverb drive provided by the "Dwell" control to fine tune the level into the driver tube to really pull it off adequately and in a convincing manner. YOU CANNOT DO THIS WITH A DIGITAL EMULATION BECAUSE OVERDRIVING THE DIGITAL REVERB ENGINE WILL RESULT IN REALLY NASTY SOUNDING DIGITAL CLIPPING.

I don't see why you guys find this so difficult to understand.

I suppose that a smart coder could probably emulate it if he were to really apply himself to the problem, but nobody has because (A) that is not something within the intended operating parameters of the reverb unit, as it isn't really any sort of reverb emulation - it's a type of mechanical distortion, and (B) it's really of interest to those who desire to recreate a period correct rendition of this one particular type of effect of instrumental surf guitar, which is not a style with sufficient commercial popularity to warrant the investment in development needed to get it right. The few people who really need to be able to get those effects will simply use the real thing and the people designing FX pedals almost certainly are of the opinion that most people these days probably don't know enough to actually notice. The marketing people who ultimately control product development take the position that 80 of getting there is good enough to move product and sadly they're more or less right. Most young players won't be able to tell the difference - unless they start wondering how those old guys go it to sound so much like surf.

So no, this is something that digital emulations aren't able to do, regardless of the quality of their (actual, conventional) reverb tone. Because it ain't really reverb, it's controlled mechanical clipping and digital devices don't do clipping very well.

Quote:
So with that in mind - I think any decent electric guitar can be played "Dick Dale style". The "need" for high watt amps and JBL speakers was about competing with enthusiatstic drummers while maintaining good clean headroom.
NO.

Something that you "modern" kids with your sims and plugins fail to comprehend (and the vendors of those products go to great lengths to conceal from you) is after you reach a certain volume things begin to happen that just don't under extreme conditions. Since in out modern apartment dominated world in which even live venues are often subject to strict controls on volume, many, if not most up and coming players will never know or understand the difference. The guitar itself doesn't behave exactly the same when it's in proximity to a REALLY loud amp.

And there is no way to create the sound of a JBL guitar speaker without using one, or possibly certain models of Peavey Black Widow. There are physical reasons for this, but I'm not going into detail now, especially since you likely would not unbderstand what I'm talking about.

Quote:
There are plenty of old school players who have all the right gear but still can't play like Dick Dale. Then there are some young players with amp sims who can sound impressively like the real thing ... gear is only ever a small part of the equation.
Again, NO. They can certainly fool most people on a casual listening basis, maybe 80-90% of the way there, but they can't really do a fully convincing job for somebody who grew up on that music. There are a lot of fine details missing and it's those fine details that make all the difference. For example, they can't really pull off those "surf" effects.

They can get to the level of a talented, practiced college cover band of the early '60s, which will convince probably most people - unless they're followed by Dick Dale (or to a lesser degree Bob Bogle or Nokie Edwards.)

Fake is always revealed if real is there to compare it to.

Quote:
The Neunaber reverbs mentioned above are excellent reverbs - but i'm not convinced about the spring sounds. They don't seem to have the "drip" that surf guys are looking for. The Boss FRV-1 is highly respected by the surf guitar community - as are a few other digital spring emulations.
The "drip" is part of the sound - perhaps the most obvious and easily emulated part but it's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the "slap" (not echo slap) and crash, and the ability to hit the springs with percussive effects on the guitar that build in intensity to create the illusion of crashing surf. A related but less subtle form of this is creating the sound of rolling thunder by kicking the unit repeatedly with increasing/varying intensity, starting softly.

Last edited by John Eppstein; 17th June 2017 at 07:05 AM..
Old 17th June 2017
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post


As to the driver circuits: If you actually put 5W into a spring tank, it wouldn't last long. You do need about 500mW with current-mode drive and enough voltage headroom. The driver in those tanks looks just like an inductor impedance-wise. So, the traditional 12at7 or a 12au7 (both triodes in parallel) can handle the job - though a 6aq5 or a 6k6 gives you a bit more margin to play with. There is no reason a solid-state driver should be inferior if properly executed... but it won't hurt the environment as much as it wastes a lot less power.



-tINY

As I said, take it up with Leo - if you can. Or continue arguing with yourself, that's fine, too.

The circuit is what it is and does what it does and I don't think anyone who knows the unit and appreciates it's more or less unique characteristics cares much about your theorizing.

The proof of the puddin' is in the eatin'.

And people been eatin' THIS puddin' for half a century and then some.

By the way, did you know that bumblebees can't fly? Except that nobody told the bee....
Attached Thumbnails
Dick Dale Guitar Sound-reverb_6g15_schem.jpg  
Old 17th June 2017
  #26
Here for the gear
My 1966 Ampeg Gemini VI gets pretty close to the Dick Dale sound. Its spring reverb is unique sounding compared to other built in spring reverbs i have used. pretty cool trem circuit and the stock 15" Jensen Concert speaker helps as well. they can be had used for around $500-600 in average condition. One of the nicest sounding clean amps i have had the pleasure of owning.
Old 17th June 2017
  #27
Gear Guru
I appreciate John's passion for the real deal. Not sure that the real deal (even if available, un-broken, fully restored and affordable by the OP) would be suitable anyway. The real equipment is freaking LOUD - and if the need was to be slavishly authentic then the original recordings studio rooms and equipment, down to the exact tape formulations used, would also be necessary. And still - somebody would find something to fault with the sound.

Very interesting idea that Dick Dale was trying to emulate the literal sound of surf with the spring reverb. I'd never considered that - but makes sense.

I'm guessing this is referring to a certain pink noise element to abusing a reverb tank and amp ... and one can't rule out tape hiss either. I'm sure it was all part of this sound, but not convinced it's necessary to create a modern spin on a classic sound.

If I was intentionally trying to emulate the sound of surf (which seems like a great artistic idea) I would probably consider getting some rolling swells from a ride cymbal. Some filtered white noise swells could also be cool ... and maybe riding the reverb with a volume pedal ... thank's for the concept ...

The idea that digital could never emulate the abuses of a spring reverb seem quaint to me. I think the point is, those are probably ugly sounds that most people would wish to avoid. I will agree that digital reverb can be too clean and noise-free - but i've learned to experiment with analog saturation before and after a digital reverb.

The EHX Turnip Greens was a bit of a revelation to me. It's a Soul Food overdrive and Holy Grail Plus reverb in one box - but you can switch the order. Most people would put reverb after overdrive - but I was surprised how much I liked overdrive after reverb. The EXH spring reverb is not bad, but personally I prefer the Boss FRV1 or the Digitech Supernatural which I bought. I really think the Lexicon engineers did a fantastic job on the Supernatural spring model ... you really have to compare it with other pedals to appreciate how good it is. And you can take it further with overdrive and eq ... some people say it's dark, but it's got bottom end and I find others too thin ... but that's just a starting point ... it's really good and I would suggest snapping them up before they are gone, because I really don't think the Polaris compares well.

But I will admit there is some magic in a simple spring. I haven't got around to experimenting with them fully ... I mistakenly bought a hi-z one. I intend to buy a pair o 8 ohm tanks and literally drive them with a low watt guitar amp ... I've been following some of the suggestions from John and I think it might be possible to build an amazing stereo spring tank with a modern spin on it. I'm thinking a sealed steel box for ultimate shielding - speaker input for an actual low wattage amp with a tone stack, and I would probably use a spare API preamp for the recovery.

I wish some pedal genius would make a stompbox drive and recovery circuit - this is not rocket science ... actual spring tanks are cheap and could be placed on a pedal board if there was such a pedal ... a decent spring is too long to place in a pedal ... but pedal boards are long enough. It could be cool to kick it too ...

I believe I do "get it" ... it's just that expensive vintage gear isn't always possible or practical for many reasons, and I don't want to be a Dick Dale wannabie. But I love the sound, and want to incorporate something similar into a more modern musical setting ...

Love the idea actually emulating surf .... you wouldn't perhaps suggest that Dick Dale was *faking* a surf sound???

Spring reverbs were *faking* hall reverb ...
They were created by the Hammond organ company who were *faking* church pipe organs ...
And church pipe organs were *faking* brass, strings, woodwind, vox humana ... etc

Art is about faking life ... I love it. I have zero problem faking spring reverb if it sounds good - and it does. But I do accept that some real springs could sound even better - my brief experiments were very promising but with hum and level problems I think I can solve.
Old 18th June 2017
  #28
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
I wish some pedal genius would make a stompbox drive and recovery circuit - this is not rocket science ... actual spring tanks are cheap and could be placed on a pedal board if there was such a pedal ... a decent spring is too long to place in a pedal ... but pedal boards are long enough. It could be cool to kick it too ...
Danelectro made the "Spring King" which was a hybrid digital / analog spring pedal. It uses a PT2399S delay chip to produce a fixed slap back delay effect which is feed into the springs to make them sound larger than they are. You can even kick and bang the pedal around to get the crash effect. Its no fender sring reverb to be sure but its a cool idea.
Old 19th June 2017
  #29
Quote:
YOU CANNOT DO THIS WITH A DIGITAL EMULATION BECAUSE OVERDRIVING THE DIGITAL REVERB ENGINE WILL RESULT IN REALLY NASTY SOUNDING DIGITAL CLIPPING.

But, you can model the overload of the input to the spring tank to get that drip... which is exactly why the FRV-1 is so amazing...

I suspect the Topanga has a FET gain stage to overdrive before hitting the tone circuit and the digital reverb.... but I didn't buy that one, so I didn't look deeper.

Your assumptions are limiting you.



-tINY

Old 19th June 2017
  #30
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windy_Season View Post
First off, this is my first post, so let me apologize if it's not in the right section. I was debating where to put it - if some mod or anybody feels like it should be moved, i'm not opposed to that.

Let me say this as a caveat: I know next to nothing about guitars, and I produce music electronically with many cheaply recorded elements.

I love Dick Dale's music. His guitar tone is superb. I understand that it's a Fender something through a (probably Fender) amp with onboard spring reverb. Obviously he uses a lot of tremelo picking, but I'm interested in sound more than technique.

I have a Fender Stratocaster and a lot of software tools. Any ideas how I can best emulate Dale's surf sound? Here's what I've tried - using an Impulse Response of a spring reverb, then placing a mild distortion after that. Another part is adding very subtle vinyl crackle.

It doesn't quite get me close enough. Given what you understand of my capabilities, what recommendations do you have?

Does anyone have any good Impulse Responses that'd fit the style? Like Fender Amps and Spring Reverbs? Also, what pick ups should I use when playing?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
When I'm fooling around with Dale stuff, for med a strat on the bridge pickup, clean amp, tremolo picking and massive massive amounts of spring verb is the key. Massive amounts of spring reverb is the most important part of the sound (besides playing). Other effects just seem to complicate things without really adding anything.
Also try placing the spring reverb before the amp. You might like it better or you might not.

I have never found a spring reverb impulse I liked (I do love reverb impulses in general) but I find the spring reverb in Amplitube's Fender Pack to be quite good.
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