• How to use reverb

    gilmourish.com - how to use reverb

    Reverb is one of the most common effects used by both guitarists and producers. Still, it’s an often misunderstood effect and if used wrong, it can do more harm than good. In this feature we’ll look at different types of reverb and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to using reverb as a part of your guitar tones.

    Update of post originally posted April 24 2007.

    Technical stuff

    Reverberation, or reverb, is essentially sound reflecting off a surface creating a feedback with different time and decay. The surface could be anything – a wall, furniture, persons etc. The larger the space the larger the reverb will appear.

    Going to a concert at a large venue, like and indoor or outdoor stadium, will give the impression of the band being drenched in reverb. What you hear is the sound from the stage and PA system being reflected on the venue’s surfaces creating a big reverb. In a small Club, the band will sound dry and tight, because the sound reflects earlier.

    Simulating reverb

    gilmourish.com - reverb plate

    A large reflecting metal plate used in studios in the 60s and 70s.

    Reverb can be replicated or simulated either mechanically or digitally for use in music. Plate (an actual metal plate reflecting sound) and spring (sound fed through one or more springs) are mechanical devices often used in studios and guitar amps in the 50s and 60s. They have a distinctive sound and are still favoured by many producers and guitarists for their unique and vintage flavour.

    Digital reverb appeared in the late 70s. These are units, either studio hardware/software or pedals, that simulate different types of reverb, including plate and spring but also natural reverb (church, hall, small room etc). Some units can also create artificial reverb with different effects added.

    Understanding how reverb is used

    Reverb is always used on recordings in some form (I think Slayer’s Reign in Blood was recorded without any reverb to create an overly aggressive tone). A producer will often use a short reverb on an individual track or group to create a room, allowing some separation between the tracks or instruments.

    Reverb can also be added on individual tracks or groups to create a specific effect. Strings and orchestra might get a reverb resembling a concert hall or a small room for a quartet, while guitars might get a digital spring simulation or perhaps a large hall for that special effect.

    Reverb can also be achieved in the recording process, utilising the ambience in the room. A common trick is to place a drum kit in a hall or a room that has a unique reflection character. Placing a microphone a foot or more away from the guitar cabinet will allow the tone to breathe and the mic will pick up some of the sound reflecting in the room.

    Another approach is to play back a recorded signal into a room and re-recording the ambience. This was a common trick in the days before plates and spring, where producers would use reverb chambers.

    Common for all techniques is that you want to create the illusion of space and a more lively and open sound. Without reverb, a recording would sound flat and less real or alive. Our ears hear and use reverb or the reflection of sound to calculate space and orientation.

    Using reverb to compensate for lack of space

    gilmourish.com - reverb spring

    A typical spring unit seen in Fender amps.

    A typical bedroom or rehearsal studio will sound pretty dry as the reflection time is short. Your guitar doesn’t sound anything like those huge stadium tones you love and desperately are trying to achieve. It’s therefor tempting to drench your guitar in a huge reverb but this can do more harm to your tones than good.

    As explained above, the reason for using reverb is to create the impression of space. In that regard, using reverb in a small room like your bedroom, makes sense. However, reverb created by an effects unit will in many ways sound authentic but it won’t be the same as having a pristine tone coming from your amp and reflecting off the surroundings. A big reverb sounds impressive but the tone you’ve worked so hard on to achieve will sound coloured and less dynamic. The result is often that you need to adjust the settings on your amp and pedals to compensate.

    Using reverb on a stage can do even more harm to your tone. Again, reverb is used to create space but a concert venue already have lots of natural reverb or ambience as the larger space will create bigger reflections. You’re basically trying to simulate something that’s already there and your guitar will have a hard time cutting through a dense band mix. Sadly, your loyal fans in the back will have a hard time hearing your guitar properly.

    FAQ

    “But Gilmour’s guitars obviously have tons of reverb on PULSE!”
    – No. The signal coming from his amps is dry. No reverb. What you hear on the album is a mix of his cabinets (both mic’ed and from the sound board) and ambience from mics placed around the stage and hall. Reverb was also added in the mixing of the album to create the impression of being in the audience when listening to it.

    “Gilmour sure use reverb during the fuzz solos on Pompeii.”
    – No. That’s delay (or echo) created by the Binson Echorec echo machine. Tape, disc and analog echo in general has a warm tone and often some modulation cased by wear and old parts. This creates a very musical echo that when blended with an instrument gets an almost reverb-ish character. The Binson in particular has a very spacious and “wet” tone.

    “But Gilmour always use reverb on the albums doesn’t he? I can’t get that tone without reverb!”
    – Yes, he often does. Most of the guitars on On an Island appears to be fairly dry with little or no reverb (perhaps just some room used in the mixing). Only delay was used, either as a part of the recorded tone or added digitally in the mix (mostly the former). Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell however, has lots of reverb added to the guitars to create a lush and spacious mix.

    As much as there are no rules when it comes to guitar playing, the rule is that you should never use reverb on your live guitar (bedroom, rehearsal or stage) unless it’s for a specific effect.

    Fire up those big tones!

    Spring reverb is my favourite. The mechanically achieved effect was originally featured in guitar amps in the 50s and 60s. It has defined that era and guitarists are once again beginning to appreciate its unique tone. Spring reverb is instant surf, 60s pop and early punk. Today it’s either used to replicate that vintage flavour or, as Steven Wilson often does, used for dirty and strange sounds.

    gilmourish.com - reverb pedals

    EHX Holy Grail Max, TC Electronics Hall of Fame and Strymon Blue Sky. Great sounding reverb pedals offering a wide range of different reverbs, including plate, spring and hall.

    Guitarists such as Sigur Ros’ Jonsi and Jakob’s Jeff Boyle use different types of digital hall reverb as part of their tones and often blended with delays. The effect is dramatic and creates long sustained notes and chords sounding close to a synth.

    Using delay or echo is an effective way to create the impression of a bigger tone, while maintaining much of the original signal. This is one of David Gilmour’s trademarks and something he master like few others. Analog echo in all its forms, can create the impression of reverb and make the guitar sound both more sustained and bigger.

    Digital tap tempo delays allow you to play patterns and rhythms to a beat. U2’s The Edge wouldn’t be much without his delays and while he often creates walls of sound, the tone is pristine and defined.

    Blending different delays can also be an effective way of creating a bigger tone. Again, this something Gilmour often do – blending two delays with different time settings like on Run Like Hell and when replicating his old Binson multi head repeats with digital units.

    What’s important is that you create a guitar tone that you like and one that will inspire you to play, practice and maybe even write some music. If that means layering a thick blanket of reverb on your tone then go for it! Still, be aware of what your effects actually do to your tone and don’t use them just because you think you need to. Reverb can be a great effect if used right but it cause a wide range of problems and issues if used wrong.

    Please feel free drop a comment and share your experience and thoughts on using reverb!

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86 Responsesso far.

  1. Humblet says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Thanks for all !
    You seem prefer delay than reverb …. And you wrote it could be a good idea to use two different delays.
    Which one coud run together ? i mean to get this “spatial tone”
    When i ear your jams it’s sometimes like you where playing in a cathedral …. What’s your secret ? Is it in the mix ?

    Thierry

    • Bjorn says:

      You can set up different delays with different time signatures and create a reverb-like tone. Doesn’t really matter what delay pedals you combine, although analog or tape simulations, with a hint of modulation often sound bigger than digital delay. I often use a combination of tap tempos, like one to the beat and one 1/4 note.

  2. Eric says:

    I found a rickenbacher moved to los Angeles in 1918 and changed the spelling of his last name to rickenbacher in 1925 and I have a steal lap electro with his last name spelled rickenbacher. Can you tell me anymore about it.

  3. Carlos says:

    Hi there Bjorn,
    Fist of all I would like to congratulate you for your fantastic Gilmour database. I am sure you are proud of your work.

    Regarding reverb, independently if David Gilmour use it or not is not, it is not the question to be asked in my opinion.
    “The dynamics” of all those PF recordings are what we all are trying to replicate right? and yes, unfortunately this can be only achieved with pedals.
    Reverb play therefore an essential role, if you are trying to get that mystic and magical tone on PF recordings(if used moderately and not just simply spring reverb which is to bright sounding)

    I myself did not like reverb for many years, and I have now two different reverbs on my board ( 7 pedals in total) which it might sound ridiculous, but it can really do magic depending on the song and setting.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Carlos! Thanks for your kind words!
      You’re absolutely right. Most of us are trying to replicate what we hear – or think we hear. I guess what I’m trying to do, is to provide an accurate picture of what’s really going on because one can easily be fooled into think that reverb is the answer to everything, while it can really do more damage than good. I also think it’s more important if you’re playing alone at home, as compared to with a band, where a delay will provide all the magic you need.

  4. Justin says:

    Out of curiosity in Marooned, is that the Pete Cornish soft sustain creating most of the crazy spaciousness in the background guitar texturing with the octave pedal? (or slide – tough to tell really) Thanks!

    • Bjorn says:

      Not quite sure what you’re referring to but the guitar, whammy and overdrive alone would sound all dry. The spacious sound you hear, is mostly delay and some modulation created by the Rover Maestro revolving amps he used for the session and some reverb added in the final mixing.

      • Justin says:

        More or less the up and down soaring sound that’s heard throughout the song in the background. It actually starts before the main solo as a kind of a segue as the note ascends but still continues throughout. I’m not entirely sure if I’m mistaking guitar with the synthesizers.

        • Bjorn says:

          Not quite sure what you’re referring to but there is some sort of low note cello, which I think is a synth, going on and lots of ambient sounds but nothing is guitar, as far as I can hear.

        • Kielan Lee says:

          I’m pretty sure the sounds your on about are created by David using a pitch shifting effect pedal on his guitar. I think the pedal he used is called something like Digi Tech Whammy Pedal.

          • Bjorn says:

            Yes, that’s the effect used on the lead guitar. Think what Justin referred to, was some ambient sounds in the background.

            • Justin says:

              That’s what I thought that was. But there was a lot of stuff going on so it was tough to differentiate. It sounds like there’s a lot of ambient synth trickery going on as Bjorn said but the sound I was referring to definitly sounds like the pitch shifter. Thanks everyone!

  5. Kielan Lee says:

    Ok, thank you Bjorn I think I read somewhere that David Gilmour adds the reverb in the mix but I couldn’t remeber, so thank you for clearing that up for me.

  6. Kielan Lee says:

    Thank you for the reply Bjorn. I have another question if you wouldn’t mind answering? Has David Gilmour ever used an effects pedal or was the reverb added in the mixing of the song or was the reverb on the songs from an effects rack?

    • Bjorn says:

      To my knowledge, he has never used a reverb pedal or rack system. His live tones are all just one or two delays and for the studio tones, any reverb is added in the mixing process.

  7. Kielan Lee says:

    I don’t understand why after the reverb FAQ you say don’t use reverb in your bedroom. This makes no sense to me. Am I misunderstanding something, I use reverb all the time in my bedroom and it sounds fine. I agree with not using reverb live in a hall or somewhere big like that but in a room such as a room in a house doesn’t seem like a bad thing. I would be very great full If someone could explain to me why its bad to use reverb in your bedroom or have I just misunderstood what Bjorn said?

    • Bjorn says:

      Whatever works for you. If you use reverb in your bedroom to make your guitar sound bigger, then great! My point with this feature is that reverb is something you use to create a certain effect – the space and room you get in a studio or on a stage and other environments. Reverb is often used without though of why you use it and that often makes a guitar sound duller and kill much of the dynamics of the tone and you end up tweaking your amp and the other pedals instead of focusing on the real problem. In that sense, I believe that using delay is a much more effective way of creating space, while maintaining the true dynamics of your tone. Again, do whatever works for you :)

  8. I’m way late to the party but if anyone wants to hear the impact of reverb on recording, listen to the current remasters of the class ZZ-Top albums and then go listen to the original mixes, which are dry. That is a great way of highlighting how reverb is used in the studio.

  9. Hi Bjorn, have you tried the Neunaber stereo WET reverb? It sounds immense, a truly stunning reverb for ambience. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a nice verb!

  10. Richard Petzold says:

    What do you think of the line6 pod hd500 (and the hd500x)?

  11. KEITH says:

    Just curious about my post on reverb, it’s still in moderation from two or three weeks ago. No worries, I know you’re busy, just a friendly reminder! Hope all is well.

    Much love, Keith

  12. Jeff says:

    Interesting article. i have a typically sized bedroom that I use as my studio and I have an affinity for a fatty tones width lots of width and depth. I use a compressor in almost everything I do. That alone helps to “boom” the tone and give it some life, if you will. when I want to create an intimate sounding tone I will use little to no reverb at all and add delay to create that sense of depth but one that I deliberately want to limit. Having said that I have always loved a “live” tone to music in general and if I want to create something like that even in my small space then I turn up the reverb and I can get that really warm “Pulse” sound.

  13. Richard Petzold says:

    I don’t have any experiences but im searching for some delay/reverb/fuzz to get a sound like gilmour has it in Marooned or the solo of comfortably numb. I’m under 18 years old and my budget is about 300€ (+/- 50€). Maybe some of you have some pedals you can recommend… Thanks :)
    Ps: sry for my english it’s not my first language. ;)

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Richard! What amp and guitar/pickups do you have? Let me know and I’ll try to help with the pedals.

      • Richard Petzold says:

        I will buy my amp next time… It’s engl gigmaster 30 combo e300. Nothing special but it is in my budget and i like the clean sound :) my guitar is a fender ltd am strat… Thank you. ;)

        • Richard Petzold says:

          Oh sorry in forgot the pickups. Three single coils ;) but i don’t know which ones…

        • Bjorn says:

          OK, I don’t know that particular model but in any case I’d go for something versatile. That will enable you to cover as much ground as possible with a minimum of pedals. You should look into the Mooer pedals. They’re really great. Check out the Hustle Drive (Fulltone OCD clone) for Tube Driver tones. That should cover Marooned and the overdrive tones. The Blues Mood is an excellent clone of the Boss BD2, which also goes nicely for most of David’s overdrive tones. For distortion I’d go for the Black Secret and for delay, check out the Reeco. See the Buyer’s Gear Guide for more tips.

  14. KEITH says:

    While not a big fan, Billy Squire set his amp at the end of a long hallway, with the mic at the other end, which gave him a very distinct reverb sound. I can’t remember where I read it, but it was a detailed article mostly about the recording of his guitars, and the reverb, and also gave some details about Eddie Van Halen’s micking techniques. I’ll try to find the article, it was quite interesting.

    Peace, KEITH

  15. Dimitris says:

    So, the more reverb a venue/room, you play at, gives you, the less you need to add from a pa system, right? I understand now, how using reverb from your amp (although a cool effect, to our ears, on stage) can dampen the guitar sound and reduce its clarity and definition.
    We once did a Floyd tribute at an open square, next to the sea. In that case, where reverbations are “lost”, dodn’t you need some from the mixing console?
    Also, on a ’07 comment you replied that vocals and keys on live situations, are somewhat different. How so?
    Any suggestions on how to use the effect with each instrument (guit.bass.drums.keys.vocals) in concerts?

    • Bjorn says:

      I should point out that I’m no expert on the physics involved. There’s a lot going on when sound is projected. A sound guy won’t add any reverb to the PA mix unless it’s for a specific effect. The room, big or small, will provide the reverb. Open squares has lots of big reverb because the distance to the reflecting source is longer. Keep in mind that the ground, people, trees etc also reflect sound. If you were to add reverb in the mix, then it should be added in a small Club, where the reflections are short. Not in a large space. Again, reverb should be added IF you need a specific effect. I’ve had sound guys drencing us in reverb and delay but it sounds like a mess and they really don’t know what they’re doing.
      Vocals are often dry but some singers want a bit of reverb or delay depending on the music. In my band’s case, we often use a bit of delay on songs that have a bigger production. The more intimate numbers sounds better with a dry vocal. Keys or synths often sound better with some reverb but that’s usually added by the keyboard player as a part of his sounds.
      It’s important to know the difference between stage and recording. All recordings require some reverb but a stage production should utilize the Natural reverb of the room.

  16. Andrew H. says:

    I’ve got a Catalinbread Talisman plate reverb that I love. It plays especially nicely with their Echorec delay pedal.

  17. Carlos-Brazil says:

    I’ve made a comment some weeks ago at FB that should be considered when talking about reverb, delay and, also, “volume” effects. “We can not be naive (though fans) and ignore the fact that there is also the backstage work of a sound engineer on a huge mixing board that helps the musician on his performances. It is through this sound engineer that many “extra” resources as “echo to the vocal performances” are introduced live as well as some nuances/delays variations along the performances/recordings. Not everything is controlled “alive” by the musician, although we know that certainly Dave planned every detail and each setting and each timing.”.

  18. Ivan says:

    Hello Bjorn, greetings from Kiev! Have you ever heard/used a reverb pedal called Supernatural? I watched some videos on the pro guitar shop site recently and the pedal sounds very interesting, due to the different presets… You can hear some Pink Floyd excerpts played using this pedal… I myself like to use reverb moderately. Let me know your opinion. Best wishes, Ivan

    [Hi Ivan! I haven’t had the chance to try it out yet but it sounds very good indeed. I might have to give it a try :) – Bjorn]

  19. Jesse says:

    I have a hiwatt so it doesnt have reverb but im missing that certain echo dimension. what echo pedal would you recomend for that gilmour sound?

    [Delay is really essential for David’s sounds… always been for Pink Floyd in general. If you’re not looking for anything particular, then a Boss DD-3 will do fine. It’s accurate and sounds good. I also recommend the Ibanez DE-7, which has a great sound sounding tape echo feature. If you need to store patches for several songs, then the Boss DD-20 will let you store four settings (+ 1 user setting) and it has a digital display letting you dial in accurate time setting , which can be handy on some songs like Time, Run Like Hell etc… A little more expensive is the Electro Harmonix Memory Man. This is a wonderful tape sim with sounds ideal for those early 70’s delays (Pompeii, Dark Side etc). The T-Rex Replica is slightly more expensive but it’s arguably one of the best sounding pedal delays out there. – Bjorn]

  20. Ernest Peske says:

    …I think it will not be a Fender Custom Shop Guitar, just a “normal” signature stratocaster… I think $ 2000 – $ 2500 could be a realistic price.
    Maybe Fender will also offer a Tribute version (very, very expensive, includig scratches), but this is not confirmed yet.

    Well, we can always built our own DG strat, like you did.
    …Without a replica of all the scratches, it’s not really that important anyway. (but I must admit, it looks nice).
    Were did you buy that beautifull black 1-Ply Parchment?
    Your guitar looks very, very nice!!

    Cheers, Ernest

    [I’ve heared different stories too and like you say, it seems like there’s gonna be two versions of the guitar. There are some reports on Duncan doing the pickups. I don’t know, it’s cool to see a Gilmour guitar being made but I don’t think I will spend my money on it. I love my “blackie” and I have never really understood the “artist” model thing. Guitars are very personal and I’d much rather customize guitar to my taste than spening thousands on someone else’s baby.
    I think the pickguard is from Allparts. If you look closely, mine is flat while David’s has rounded edges and seems a little thicker but I haven’t been able to locate one. Mine is also a bit more shiny. Right now I’ve ordered new speakers (Weber Thames) for my cab, so I’m a little short, but next investment will be a complete overhaul of the guitar. The bridge, saddles etc are beginning to show wear and it’s time to upgrade. I’ll keep Callaham in mind. – Bjorn]

  21. Ernest Peske says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Bill Callaham did confirm that his bridge-block is exaclty built like the original Fender Strats (pre-CBS versions, 1954 – 1969).
    Only, he did enhance the tremelo arm; it fits better.

    I will order one block and see what it will do.
    It’s not that expensive and it can easily be switched.

    Unfortunately, I own a Modern American Series Strat, which will never be 100% vintage / reissue, because of the modern (2 pivot) bridge and slightly different body-routing (there’s space for a humbucker or single coil bridge pickup).
    But I’ll be more then happy with 95% … !! Pete Townsend uses one of those modern bridges, so the actual sound can’t be that “modern”… anyway, next year there should be a Fender Custom David Gilmour Signature Strat available! (I hope…)

    Cheers, Ernest

    [Thanks for the info! Let me know when you’ve installed the new bridge. Yep, the Signature Strat. Hopefully they’ll make a faithful replica with all the little scratches and special features. It will be expensive tho…. very expensive. – Bjorn]

  22. o says:

    i just watched it and it was only 3 songs. Pigs, 2’nd half of shine on (from the slide solo) and breathe.. I think it was pretty good,,great solo on pigs and an awesome jam on the funky part of shine on.. vocals was a bit off sometimes.. The filming was decent, sound wasn’t the best but no problem hearing what was going on :)

    On the same tape there was clips of someone called Miracle Dimension, from 1996,,they did echoes, sorrow, another brick… that was bad, but they were pretty young.. I have never heard of them…

    [I think I justfound the CD taped from the desk. Wasn’t as bad as I’d feared but thank God we’ve improved :-) I’ve never heard of Miracle Dimension. – Bjorn]

  23. Sylvain says:

    We all want a copy lol ! ;)

    [Oh no…. Leave me with some dignity…. – Bjorn]

  24. Ryan says:

    haha a TPFE bootleg…thats awsome

  25. Kuba Swierszczyk says:

    Collin if your looking for a small tube amp try and look for a princeton reverb or the champs.

    I own a princeton reverb, its 15w has i believe 6-8x tubes (pure tube nirvana) and an unbelievable spring reverb. Mine doesnt break up until around 6-7 on the volume knob and believe me thats pretty loud. The cleans are classic fender at its best.

    I would recommend patience as its hard to snag one without going trigger happy on ebay and shelling out around a grand for one. I almost did and found one a week later for $375 at a vintage shop about 2 hrs from my house. Good luck.

  26. o says:

    I’m picking up the video after work today,,
    i’ll let you know how it looks… guess i can send you a copy if you want..

    [Great! – Bjorn]

  27. o says:

    a friend of a guy i know filmed it i think, he told me he had it on vhs somewhere…. i haven’t seen it..

    [Please let me know if you get more info… – Bjorn]

  28. Collin says:

    I would really like to know how much effect that bridge block would have on the overall tone.

    By the way, small tube amps – I was thinking a Fender Blues Jr. It’s been getting some good reviews. Now I just need to make sure it stays clean, like you said..

  29. o says:

    some guy i know told me he had a PF experience show from 13.01.2001 smuget,oslo on -vhs.. is that you guys ?

    [Oh… Yeah, that’s us. How did you hear about that? It must sound horrible… it was one of the first gigs we did. – Bjorn]

  30. alessandro bartolini says:

    hi bjorn nice reading
    i use to have quite much reberb till 2 years ago when i was playing with my band in song like shine on part1.
    then lintening carefully my sond that it was not at the best, i could hear that a lots of revereb gets the sound drown , not much presence. mow i use just a little reverb for haveing a sound not too dry.

    anyway i would tell end listen your opinions about this: i ahve have a lexinon MPX1 i use for delay and reverb, i think is a must useing a unit to split the signal before going into the digital unit(delay and rev.) like this. and later re mix the dry sound with the effect.
    the sample kills the worm and dinamics of the sound
    bye see you

    [I haven’t tried the Lexicon so I really couldn’t tell how to set it up. Anyway, the delays should always be placed last in the chain and I recommend turning off the reverb. – Bjorn]

  31. Ernest Peske says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    here’s some results of my latest rechearch, regarding the Tremelo Block from Bill Callaham.

    – Original 1954 – 1969 Strats: features USA cold(?) rolled steel
    – New American Strats: features a Cast Powdered Steel Block
    – Japan / Mexican Strats: features a Zinc Block
    – American reissue/ Relic Custom Shop: features hot rolled leaded steel block

    Hope someone can confirm this…
    I am about ordering one of those Bill Callaham Blocks, because it comes very close to the original Fender block ’54 – ’69!

    Cheers, Ernest

    [Thanks for the info Ernest! Anyone? – Bjorn]

  32. Ryan says:

    yea that’s what I was thinking….but as you’ve said before the green is basically the same thing give or take a few minor adjustments in its design…..I love the green one anyway!! but I guess anything would sound like golden sound waves to me after using that black reissue for so long ha ha that thing in stock form is a death trap…but i heard its ok modded

    [No doubt the green sounds nice. – Bjorn]

  33. Ryan says:

    hey! check it out

    eBay: 1970’s Electro Harmonix Big Muff (item: 220108088518)

    [Nice! 350$ “Buy it Now”… Ouch! – Bjorn]

  34. Ernest Peske says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Here’s something completely different…
    I just checked the site of Callahamguitar.com (you did mention somewere on your site!)…
    They offer interesting upgrades (bridge / blocks with tremelo) for all kind of stratocasters (USA modern, USA reissue, Mexican etc.). They do get very good reviews (Harmony Central).
    Would be nice to know what kind of steel / block the original Stratocasters used to have (let’s say 1954 – 1970). Is it different from a reissue ’50er or modern strat? Is that, maybe the sectret why the old/original strats sound so good…
    Bill Callaham suggest that I shoold use one of there blocks. But I think that creating more sustain can also be dangerous, …the strat maybe (!) will sound less “open”! (Like blocking the tremelo with wood!). Also someone did mention that the balance of the actual sounds slightly changed: more mids!
    Also, the Callaham block “rings” more then the modern Fender versions. Quite a change I think. I really don’t know what to think!
    Still interesting to know: what block is David using on his blackie? …problably the original ’70 stock version, but I couldn’t figure out what kind of steel that is. Anyway, would be a simply mod with a great result? …or maybe absolutely not?
    Cheers, Ernest

    [I don’t know much about these things. Obviously the new reissue Fenders use different blocks and I would imagine there’s a difference in the tone but how much this is, I’m not sure… I haven’t tried the Callaham my self. I’ve read great reviews and some not so good…. as always, I guess it’s a matter of taste. No doubt they’re good quality stuff. I really can’t tell about the sound… sorry. From what I can see on David’s blackie he’s using the stock bridge/tremolo system. You can see the Fender logo on the six sadles… there’s even some rust on it.- Bjorn]

  35. fabien says:

    Hi Bjorn

    great article, i think i will buy a tube amp with spring reverb ;-)))

    i’ve seen that Dunlop has just building a replica of the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz, it is in the new Dunlop’s products line called Jime Hendrix authentic. Have you try it?

    great job !

    [Thanks! I haven’t been able to try the new Hendrix fuzz yet. No dealer here in Norway has got yet… I’ve heard both good and bad things about it. It looks promising tho with the original specs and the BC108 silicon transistor. – Bjorn]

  36. Ryan says:

    there are two different ones from what I saw there’s the deluxe memo man and the stereo memo man the deluxe was a ton more with about 500ms or so and the stereo had just about 300ms

    [It’s the Deluxe. Gives you a little more to work with. – Bjorn]

  37. Ryan says:

    did you use the deluxe memory man or the stereo?

    [Stereo what? – Bjorn]

  38. Collin says:

    I checked out the Memory Man. Woo… I think I’m sticking with the DE-7, the Memo is EXPENSIVE!!!

    By the way, I don’t think my parents will like a half stack 5o plus in my room, so do you have any other suggestions as far as good (but low priced) tube amps go?

    [I don’t have all that experience with smaller tube amps, but I guess you can’t go wrong with a Fender. I also enjoyed the new line from Epiphone, although they”re perhaps not ideal for the Gilmour tone. If you’re only planning on playing at home, I don’t think it matters whether you use a tube or a transistor amp. What you should be looking for (if you’re looking for David’s tone) is an amp that can stay clean (and I mean super clean) and a tone that’s quite scooped in the mids. You don’t want a modern Marshall or a Peavey kind of thing with mid tones hitting your right in the face. – Bjorn]

  39. In my opinion the best “reverb” effect you can use is the illusion that the delay effect makes!
    Using delay you cannot kill your sound and it seems like you have a big reverb (if you are able to use it).

    [Agree! – Bjorn]

  40. Ernest Peske says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    interesting Delay question:
    Regarding tape echo (BOSS DD20), do you sometimes use the two head option? If yes, can you give an example / song? Maybe Run Like Hell?

    … have you ever tested / heard the T REX Replica Delay?
    A lot of Pro’s are using it…

    Cheers,
    Ernest

    [I haven’t really explored the DD-20 that much, so I don’t know… I’ve tried the Replica a couple of times and it sounded very nice. Warm sound and great simulations… Still, I prefer the EH Memo Man. – Bjorn]

  41. Brendan says:

    I like the article Bjorn. I must say that delay and reverb can be very nice sounding effects, but people go overkill. They don’t sound good when you set everything to ten, when will people realize that. For example, I would guess none of you listen to G3 but I like them, especially Vai (For the Love of God is an amazing track) but if you listen to the 2005 dvd at the beginning of the jam when Malmsteen comes out (please don’t ban me for mentioning him) he comes out and plays and the delay drowns out everything. It sounds terrible. I must admit though it was funny how low they decided to mix his guitar.

    [Good point! Also, I have always loved Vai and Satriani. Both have great tones on their own. I still enjoy Passion and Warfare with Vai. – Bjorn]

  42. Brian says:

    Bjorn, I agree with you that reverb can definitely change your tone and obviously this being Gilmourish.com…lol, you’re right in that Gilmour doesn’t use a reverb unit on stage, but I would like to add that a lot of people don’t realize how little of the actual amplifier’s sound they hear at many concerts so for those that maybe don’t know I’ll add a little insight on this idea.

    I’ve been to over 200 concerts in my life and I recently saw Eric Clapton and on stage Eric is currently using a 57 Fender Twin and at 40 Watts that’s not a lot of volume to get over 20,000 screaming fans. So, the amp is mic’d and ran through the PA and most of the guitar work you are hearing is being put out through the PA system. Now, that amplifier doesn’t have reverb on it, so what’s done is it’s added on the mixing board because in general there is a reverb knob for each channel on the huge boards used at large concerts. But basically all I’m saying is a lot of times that’s where the reverb comes from. Now granted it’s not a lot, usually just a touch, because there is some reverberation because of the acoustics of a large venue. But basically I just wanted to say that because everything is mic’d and thrown through the PA, rarely do you actually hear the exact sound onstage, unless you’re right up front.

    Another example I can give is, Eric Johnson who runs 2 Fender Twins on Stage with the Volume on 3 so that they can be mic’d but he also runs his Reverb on those amps at 4 as well as running delay for a really wet sound. Some people lust after Johnson’s tone. Some people don’t, obviously it’s a matter of taste.

    You mention the natural reverberation from playing in a hall or building and that’s true, but in all the places I’ve ever played it’s never been enough so I’ve always added some Reverb. Now I don’t run as much as I would in a small room, but I always run some because as you said, it’s personal taste. I personally can’t stand a dry sound. I like things to sound like I’m playing to 20,000 people in a huge arena even when it’s only a 1,000 in small club. So I usually run a touch of reverb and some echo as well. My amps are almost never mic’d because I play about as loud as Hendrix use too…lol. I run 2-3 tube amps (Fender, Dean Markley & Peavey 5150) all around 100 Watts and I usually run them around 6-8 on volume. A lot of times I’m playing outside too for big crowds so I need more volume and I also add more reverb because there’s nothing to echo around on.

    Just something I wanted to add. It sounded like a lot of people thought reverb was some big evil thing and usually reverb is on everything. Whether it’s added by the amp, the pa system or the mixing board when recording an album so I see reverb as something I love and use often, but I think the key is to not put on TOO much, depending on where you’re playing.

    [Great comment! I don’t see reverb as an evil thing… far from it… but at least according to my taste, I don’t think one should use it when playing live. Regarding how the sound is reflected in the PA system, – there are several different reasons why the sound coming from the PA isn’t “real”. As you point out, additional effects are often added, – normally delays, reverb and gate/compression. It’s also a matter of what kind of microphone you use to mic the cabinet and not least, how it’s placed infront of the cab. I always like to recommend listening to bootlegs for David’s real sound and it’s often the ones with the crappiest sound that reveals the real sound… when the source is right infront of the stage. – Bjorn]

  43. Kuba Swierszczyk says:

    Not sure how I feel about reverb, sometimes it’ll add that extra umph to a seemingly thin sound. I find myself playing a lot w/ reverb and delays which I now realize is really hindering my guitar playing in terms of becoming a better player.

    Thanks for the article it was very informative. Me personally I dont gig, rather just practice in my room, and ive got a Fender Princeton Reverb amp, which you may know the reverb on those amps is unreal– arguably better than the deluxe and twin amps.

    [From my personal experience, I think that effects be a great inspiration to ones playing but it can also be distracting when you’re practicing technique. – Bjorn]

  44. Pavan says:

    I don’t mind helping you write a Bass article. I play electric Bass, and classical-style upright Bass in my school’s Orchestra, so I figure that I can be of assistance.

    Let Me Know!

    ~Pavan

    [I’ll let you know! Thanks! – Bjorn]

  45. gdkzen says:

    I’m sort of a tone snob myself, so don’t worry Bjorn – nothing offends me :)

    I agree very closely with the basic concepts you’ve outlined. In fact, your comments on the use of delay to smooth out distorted tones (and by extension, create a more realistic dimensional image w/ stereo delays) is something that most guitarists fail to understand. This is a very important tool in the studio.

    I would add to this by saying that reverb can be used in a way different then originally intended. On occasion, I have used very mild reverb to modify the fundamental sound of the guitar I am using. For instance, most people would never think of getting a warm jazzy tone out of a stratocaster, however if you run it through a very gentle reverb prior to amplification, you can give the impression of a hollow body. Add some mild chorus in the fx loop, and you have a very different sounding instrument.

    Effects can be used in one of two fundamental ways. 1) Effects can be used to enhance the natural sound of the instrument. 2) Effects can be used to mutate the sound of the instrument. Neither philosophy is correct or incorrect. In fact, David Gilmour is an example of both uses.

    [Yeah, usingdelay for different purposes is a very useful tool. – Bjorn]

  46. Pavan says:

    BTW, I’m looking for a nice Sheep bootleg from ’77.
    Do you happen to have one, or know where I can get one?
    I have some sound files from some bootlegs on Gilmour’s tour in Venice, id you’d like to trade.

    [There are some really nice bootlegs from the Animals tour, – “Animals Instincts”, “Who was told not to Spit on the Fan” and “Cursed by the Pig” are my favourites. Try searching Yeeshkul. I’m sure you’ll find them there. – Bjorn]

    • Daniel says:

      One of the best bootleg sources is the Doc, at Brain Damage; the definitive Pink Floyd radio show…
      The man has access to incredible things… a joy to listen too, great podcasts.
      Heck, between him and Gilmourish I have became more than a fan but rather a competent expert in Floyd stuff… thanks Bjorn, this site is a place of constant visit… learned a lot from you bro.

  47. Pavan says:

    Bjorn, have you ever thought about writing some articles on Gilmour’s basses?
    You have to admit his playing on Animals is pretty good.

    Personally, I started out as a bassist last year and eventually worked my way into Guitars. Waters’ bass lines arent that hard…

    [Gilmour did play bass a lot on the Floyd albums, so maybe I should write about it…. I’ll add the suggestions in the “great ideas” box! – Bjorn]

  48. bernhard says:

    great article bjorn, and it really refelcts my own experiences. I used to use some reverb in the very early days of my playing, but I got dissatisfied with very quickly.

    generally speaking, I’ve been playing with delay for years, but stripping it back more recently. guess it’s part of finding your own style and tone. when at home I play with a very stripped back setup, which includes an ehxdmm at the very end of my chain, not only a great preamp, but also a great way of enhancing the nuances of your playing.

    the memory man is very lush, and as long as you’re not looking for any too exact delay things, it’s the unit for me that provides me with a natural soft delay instead of reverb.

    [The Memory Man is one of the most beautiful delays out there. I had one for years, but broke down. – Bjorn]

  49. Sherwin says:

    Hi, Bjorn.

    Thanks for the excellent article. Very informative and you bring up some great points. As a Fender Twin player I know just how easy it can be to get lost in all that reverb.

    And nice job mentioning Sigur Ros – I saw them a few times during the “()” tour and they were always amazing.

    [Thanks! Sigur Ros is one band that always amazes me! – Bjorn]

  50. Nate says:

    I actually find that even in my small bedroom, using the reverb from my digital effect box through my amp sounds terrible. Maybe its the effect itself, but it always sounds way over the top. Of course when I’m playing with headphones hooked up to the effects box it sounds great, but playing through the amp delay is all i need to smooth out the sound some.

    BTW the ibanez delay is really nice! I am having a hard time dialing in a good “Run like Hell” setting though. Just need a tuner and a volume pedal and I can finally get rid of that digital effects box!

    [You can do so much with a delay pedal and I definitely recommend it over reverb. Use different delays too, – one set very mild and one with a setting for leads. When these are combined you’ll get a very big sound. The time for Run Like Hell is 380ms. It’s very difficult to dail in on the Ibanez, but I’ve found the typical WYWH/Animals 370ms setting at about 2 o’clock. I recommend the Boss DD-20 for accurate settings and storing of multiple patches (Another Brick, Run Like Hell, Time etc). However, I think the Ibanez sounds better with the tape sim. – Bjorn]

  51. Jeffrey says:

    I have to agree. Using reverb as an “effect” live is sometimes fun for Post Rock/shoegaze type stuff like Sigur Ros, EITS, or even Mogwai, but if you have a nice toneful/chimey amp like a Hiwatt, Reeves, Sound City, etc….you don’t really need it. In the early days, I was a Fender amp reverb junky. I’ve learned that if your tone doesn’t sound good without reverb, you don’t really have good tone, IMHO. Recording/mixing is a different ballgame.

    [Totally agree! If you’re tone doesn’t sound good without reverb, then you should do some serious evaluation. And as you point out, using reverb when recording is a completely different thing and I think we all agree that an album without some kind of reverb is a dull experience. – Bjorn]

  52. Martin says:

    Great article Bjørn, and I completely agree with you.

    At home I sometimes use a hint of the spring reverb on my AC30 to smooth out the tone a little bit, but I never use that live.

    [Yeah, when playing in your livingroom you can’t get enough ambience and adding a little reverb can be a nice tool. – Bjorn]

  53. Ash-Zayr says:

    Take some of the most beautiful well known guitar parts in history; or even the most mystical, dreaming, or whatever…..erase the reverb and it remains: nothing!

    Ok, people might come with Carlos S. and “Samba Pa ti”…;) He always used a pure, dry sound but he is a guitar player, who really should better “hide” behind some reverb…;)

    For me, reverb is the most natural, undisturbing effect of all, giving me inspiration while playing….make me fall into my riffs, lines and melodies….a guitar is the same like vocals in this regard…..vocals recroded without reverb in record history??….not to imagine how terrible this would be.

    In so far, we might discuss about the technical side, how to avoid over-effects due to wrong use, but we should be one in saying, that for music like PF, this is essential. Unlesse you are AC/DC, the dryer the better, reverb is my thing! *gg*

    Ash-Zayr

    [Well, I totally agree with you and maybe you misread me, but I never said that reverb shouldn’t be used while recording. Of course any record without any reverb (natural ambience or effect) will sound too dull and boring. What would Pink Floyd be without reverb? But what I meant was that in a live situation, I don’t recommend using reverb on your guitar. It will ruin your tone. Again, using reverb on vocals and perhaps keyboards in a live situation is a different thing. – Bjorn]

  54. o says:

    here’s a article about recording on an island….

    Link: Sound on Sound interview with On an Island engineer Andy Jackson.

    [Thanks for the link! Great reading! Seems like they mostly used plate reverb and the old Lexicon unit. – Bjorn]

  55. pinkfloydfan1 says:

    hmm i always use reverb just seems to make my tone more natural

    [Well, if it sounds good to you, then that’s the most important thing. – Bjorn]

    • Viktor says:

      I am no experienced in playing at venues, but my reverb on fender delux reverb is still one nut subtle just to give a touch of life. Space with nice analog delay currently vapour trail.

  56. EME says:

    I totally agree with you Bjørn regarding the significant pros of not using reverb in a band, and especially at larger venues. But when playing at home, and trying to blend with a cd or dvd, I consider reverb a great tool if used in the right way. But that is my humble opinion anyway!

    I know you’ve been using a Fender Twin in Airbag.. Don’t you just love adding a little spring reverb on that amp?:)

    [I’m not a purist and I too often use reverb when I play at home, – I have a Marshall 5251 50w transistor combo with spring reverb. I don’t think I used the spring feature on the Fender when we recorded the Airbag stuff, but the sound is unique and I have yet to hear a digital unit that can produce the same kind of reverb. – Bjorn]

  57. echoesLA says:

    Great article Bjorn. Every bit was informative to me! I had no idea.
    Cheers,
    -K

    [Thanks! – Bjorn]

  58. Leandro says:

    Nice article Bjorn! Completely agree with your opinions…..I have seen (heard) how using reverb on strage can ruin your overall tone….

    The only trick that (i know) is using reverb and gradually fading it out….to create an effect of distance as if your guitar were far away and it approaches the audience….but it can´t be done if you want your harmonics or clean tone to be noticed…

    Bjorn, your knowledge has no ending, does it? hehe

    Leandro

    [Thanks! Reverb can be a great effect when used as an… uh… effect. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Sigur Ros from Island. I’ve seen them them live a couple of times and the guitarist’s sound is HUGE! It’s like a truck in a tunnel…. overwhelming. He’s using a lot of different delays and good sounding reverb units to create multiple layers and textures. There’s not many details in his playing, but the effect is quite unique. – Bjorn]

  59. Collin says:

    I will definitely keep away from reverb when building my rig. I think I understand now why it isn’t too wise to use in a hall. By the way, that SC 50 Plus that Leandro (I think) linked has dropped off eBay :(. I’ll just keep a-lookin’.

    [Yeah, I saw that but they pop up from time to time. – Bjorn]

  60. Ernest Peske says:

    Yes, finaly, this time I am the first one to leave a comment :-P

    Great article Bjorn and I do completely share your opinion!

    When it comes to recording:

    It can be nice to create some space in a mix of a recording to add some (stereo) Plugin-ambience-reverb for the lead solo. Sometimes I also use a software Plugin Delay… When you work this way, you can always go back to the original dry guitar and have 100% control of everything. Also, it makes editing like cutting / pasting etc. a lot easier!
    Would be interesting to know if Gilmour works this way during recording sessions and mixing ;-)

    Cheers, Ernest

    [Thanks! I don’t know how David records the guitars, but it’s very time saving adding effects digitally. In Airbag, we use QBase and I always record the guitars dry and add reverb in the mix, sometimes also delay. If I find out later that I don’t like it, I just change it. – Bjorn]

    • merseymale says:

      I believe he does take after take of the solo but rather than playing them all back as ‘layers’ he auditions each one & picks the best bits so that in the Final Mix he can have each bit -each section of each solo- carefully faded in & out as a kind of cut&paste job. Voila! THE PERFECT SOLO! :-)

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