Reverb is easily one of the most popular and most talked-about types of guitar pedals out there because it is so useful for creating depth and space in your sound.
One of the oldest forms of unnatural reverbs created is spring reverb.
You likely associate the effect of spring reverb with the surf and psychedelic music scene of the 1960s, though it was actually invented 30 years prior.
If you’re not a big fan of the swirling and out-of-this-world reverb effects, a spring reverb pedal might be right up your alley!
But when deciding on a pedal, a big question that comes up is whether you should go the analog route, or maybe venture down the digital path?
In this article we’re going to explain the difference between the two to help you decide which one might be best for your needs, then provide some the best options for each, so you can start putting the ‘boing’ in your sound!
- 1 Analog Vs. Digital
- 2 Best Digital Spring Reverb Pedals
- 3 Best Analog Spring Reverb Pedals
- 4 Spring On Down
Analog Vs. Digital
When it comes to spring reverb, there are two basic kinds that you can choose from: Analog and Digital.
There are many pedal manufacturers these days that are inserting real spring units into their pedals to help capture that true spring reverb sound. If you’re looking for authenticity, look no further. The only reasons we would tell you to stray away from analog pedals is that they’re usually quite large, they’re much more expensive, and they are pretty much one trick ponies.
For those of you who are looking for a recreation of spring reverb in a format that is far more portable, we would check out some digital reverb pedals.
Manufacturers have been able to create lush sounding spring reverbs with digital circuits. While they don’t come with an actual spring built inside, they do a great job at emulating the ‘boing’ we all love.
Best Digital Spring Reverb Pedals
Let’s start with our favorite digital pedals...
The guys over at Catalinbread know a thing or two about sticking the sounds of the past within high-quality and portable pedals.
For achieving that hard-to-find spring tone, they use a Spin FV-1 chip to create an authentic spring sound. It functions the same as a real outboard spring reverb without the size or fragile character.
There are four different knobs onboard: Dwell, Tone, Mix, and Volume, all which are pretty self-explanatory. Dwell allows you to dial in tons of depth for that drippy, vintage beach-bum sound, or just dial in a little bit for that short slapback effect.
Mix allows you to control the amount of dry signal going through, though when turned to 10, can give you some pretty awesome metallic effects.
Tone allows you to get rid of that brightness or harshness of the top, and when in conjunction with Volume, enables you to inject some tube-like warmth from pushing more gain into the front of your amp.
Bottom Line: Many digital spring reverb units become less and less believable as you tweak them or A/B them against real spring reverb units. Somehow, Catalinbread has managed to stand up to those pedals and give you the authentic sounds of the 60s in a gorgeous little orange and green box.
The JHS Spring Tank Reverb is perfect for giving you those lush, Deluxe-style spring reverb tones, though there is more than meets the eye.
There is also a second channel onboard for you to select and adjust reverb depth independently. Essentially, you get two adjustable reverbs via the two footswitches that are found on the face. The Tank 1 knob lets you dial in changes from the first row of parameters while the Tank 2 knob (easy-to-see with its bright red design) activates and allows for adjustment to the second row.
You can switch back and forth between two different reverb sounds with ease, going for a short, slap-like sound during the verses of your song and a long, lush sound during the choruses.
There are four distinct controls onboard including Boost, Highs, Depth, and Length. Boost gives you overall volume control, Highs allows for tone control, Depth controls the size of the reverb, and length controls the overall decay time.
Bottom Line: Looking to harness the power of two spring reverbs, but can’t sacrifice the board real estate for more than one? The JHS Spring Tank does just that, all while providing a unique and distinct spring sound!
Best Budget Option
J. Rockett Audio is known for making some of the best pedals for touring artists, as they’re simple, durable, and extremely portable. After much success with their Archer Boost Overdrive, they followed it up with the similar looking BOING.
The BOING is easily one of the most simple pedals that we’ve ever seen, as it only comes with a large, single knob to help you dial in those sounds of the 60s.
If you don’t like the fuss of dealing with a bunch of different parameters to get a breakthrough sound, J Rockett Audio has got your back.
The BOING takes one of the most straightforward approaches at recreating that authentic Deluxe Spring Reverb sound. This makes it easy for the touring musician to get their reverb tone dialed in on stage quickly.
The tough-as-nails silver chassis is perfect for those who are on the road too, as it can pretty much make it through anything.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking to get an accurate representation of that signature Deluxe Spring Reverb tone in the most simplistic way possible, we highly recommend getting your hands on the J. Rockett Audio BOING.
The Mad Professor Silver Spring Reverb is both versatile and easy to use, all while emulating the sound of that beautiful Deluxe spring. You’ll find three knobs and a footswitch on the face of the pedal including: Time, Tone, and Reverb.
Time controls the overall decay of the reverb, Reverb controls the amount of reverb (basically a wet/dry knob), and Tone controls how bright or dark it is.
As for sound, you get the incredible warmth of an amplified spring reverb while not sacrificing the clarity of a studio reverb pedal.
We love that they didn’t include a noise reduction system in the pedal. This helps to keep the decay feeling very natural without a cutoff that’s too quick.
As for the build, the pedal feels firm, and the knobs are smooth, giving us the hunch that this thing will last for a very long time.
Bottom Line: The Mad Professor Silver Spring Reverb has a great sound, as well as an ample amount of versatility to it. It may be a bit pricey for some, though, for the tones alone, the price is well worth it.
The SubDecay Super Spring Reverb pedal is truly ambitious pedal in the world of spring reverb, as it allows for tons of flexibility and impeccable tones.
It comes complete with a spring/room switch, which gives you the ability to switch back between two reverb tones. You also get the trails switch that allows you to choose whether the reverb decays naturally when the pedal is bypassed or if it shuts off right away.
Beyond those controls, you get a Decay knob, Dry knob, and a Tone knob.
Just like the Catalinbread Spring Reverb, the SubDecay utilizes the FV-1 Programmable DSP Chip to give you that authentic spring reverb tone while still offering up tons of ambiance that you wouldn’t be able to get with an analog pedal.
The out-of-the-box sound is based on the blackface Fender Twin with the trim set at 85 percent.
Bottom Line: With tons of controls and gorgeous digital emulation, the SubDecay delivers total functionality and versatility in achieving the spring reverb sound of your dreams. If you’re someone who is into tweaking your tones endlessly, you’ll love this pedal.
Best Analog Spring Reverb Pedals
The Demeter RRP-1 is one of the most authentic guitar spring reverb pedals around. If you’re looking for realistic surf-rock tones or ambient, psychedelic effects, look no further.
Even with authenticity in mind, Demeter still gives you ways to take your spring reverb tone to the next level. On the inside, you’ll find two spring tanks that give you a few different reverb options to mess with.
The shorter spring gives you that slapback-like decay time while the longer spring gives you a bright tone that lingers on. You can choose to use these tones one at a time or mix them for some wild effects.
The coolest thing about the Demeter RRP-1 is that you can use it at line level. This means that it goes beyond a simple guitar pedal, as it can be used for just about any type of recording application in your studio.
Bottom Line: It may be a bit bulky and way out of many regular guitarists’ price range, though if you’re looking to capture the authentic sounds of spring reverb, this guitar pedal offers the best way to do so.
It was hard to pick a “best analog spring reverb pedal”, as the Van Amps Sole Mate has many features that stand up to the Demeter RRP-1.
Just like the RRP-1, the Sole Mate provides lush, springy reverb tones that’ll bring you back a few decades.
This solid-state analog pedal utilizes the MOD Three Spring Reverb Tank, easily one of the best spring tanks available on the market. The onboard controls include a single output Volume knob, and On/Off switch for bypassing, and a Dwell knob for setting the decay time.
The Sole Mate matches the sounds of the ‘66 Fender Deluxe Reverb Amp, though a bit more focused to give you that springy sound without getting too washed out. The one thing to note is that it does come with a 12vAC adapter that is made to work with 120V AC power, which makes it pretty unique in terms of power. Basically, it’s not the most universal running pedal.
Bottom Line: The Van Amps Sole Mate is one of the best analog spring reverb pedals around with one of the highest-quality reverb tanks. It is also made in a wide variety of colors and patterns to match your style.
Best Budget Option
Danelectro has always been known as the silly, budget music company. Their electric guitars have become pretty iconic thanks to players like Jimmy Page and Beck.
To fit their retro vibe, they introduced the Danelectro Spring King DSR-1 that gives you a thick, realistic spring reverb with the correct tone and warmth of the original Deluxe units. Real spring enthusiasts will love the kick pad on the face that gives you the effect of a tank crashing in an old amp.
As for portability, it is one of the only stomp-box style spring reverbs that can be powered with nothing more than a 9v battery. While it doesn’t leave the smallest footprint, it’s pretty cool that you get the sound of vibrating strings without the weird power requirements.
On the face of the pedal, you’ll see Volume, Tone, and Reverb, each which is pretty self-explanatory.
Bottom Line: For a fun and amusing spring reverb pedal with a classic tone, this is easily one of the best (if not only) budget analog spring reverb pedals around!
The ScreaminFX Uverbia is an analog pedal for those who want to experiment a little more. While it does the spring reverb thing with the real tank, it can also create an array of unheard of sounds thanks to the ThunderTube driver circuit.
This JFET circuit is essentially a recreation of a tube amplifier that gives you warm distortion when cranked to its highest settings. Run it before your amp, and you pretty much get the ability to add distortion pre-input making it perfect for playing the blues, rock, or surf music with a twang.
You’ll find some pretty simple controls onboard including Wet/Dry, Dwell, Volume, and Gain, though you also get one that’s a bit more ambiguous, Snap.
The Snap switch controls the gain profile of the ThunderTube to help give you different tones across different frequencies. All of that is built into a shiny, silver box with some futuristic, internal neon lights that look awesome on stage.
Bottom Line: The ScreaminFX Uverbia is an awesome boutique pedal that has been shaking the spring reverb market ever since its birth. For a variety of tonal possibilities and an authentic sound, it’s a solid choice for you analog lovers.
Looking for that true analog reverb sound, yet can’t afford to give up the amount of real estate needed? Well luckily for you, there is a portable, analog spring reverb pedal from Spaceman Effects that gives you an excellent tone without taking up space.
It’s also versatile in sound thanks to the four control knobs that give you a pretty wide range. Use Dwell to dial in everything from splashy tones to mellow tones, use Tone to move between light and dark tones, use Mix to control your wet and dry ratio, and use Volume to change the overall output.
Orion, unlike other analog pedals, has kept that tank crash sound out of the equation when you move or stomp the pedal. However, if you want the effect for any reason, you can get it by kicking the side.
One of the best things about this pedal is it runs with 9vDC, making it far more universal than most other analog spring reverb pedals.
Bottom Line: For a high-quality, handmade, analog spring reverb that will fit beautifully on your pedalboard, look no further than the Spaceman Orion.
Spring On Down
To get that drippy, surf sound of the 1960s, you’re going to need to utilize spring reverb. You can use the unit on your vintage amp, though you won’t have nearly as much control.
If you’re looking to go digital, we would recommend the Catalinbread Topanga Spring for sheer tone and versatility. If you’re looking to go analog, we would go with the Demeter RRP for the dual spring tank and authentic spring sound.
We hope that our spring reverb pedal article was helpful in narrowing down your options! Have fun sculpting those sweet sounds of yesteryear!