SurfyBear Reverb Pedal

The original Fender Reverb Tank Unit 6G15 started it all! Before the days of amps with built-in reverb… Leo Fender built the first reverbs that were separate outboard units. Built like a tank and all analog driven by tubes and using springs to create an amazing spacious reverb with cavern sounds and drip, drip, drip. Even when Fender soon started adding tube-based spring reverbs as part of their amps that were built-in they did not replace the reverb for players like Dick Dale, Ventures and many surf players.

The very first spring reverbs were introduced by Hammond for their organs in the 1950s. Reverberation made its debut at Fender using a spring unit bought from Hammond in 1961. Built-in spring reverb first came to the Fender amplifier with the Vibroverb in 1963 and eventually to the rest of the amp line.

The Fender Reverb Unit (6G15) outboard tube, spring reverb-equipped effects unit were originally introduced in 1961. Fender discontinued these in 1966 and replaced them with a solid-state model, the FR1000 (which are less desireable). The Fender tube reverb was reintroduced in 1976 with a silver control panel (“Silverface”). It was discontinued in 1978, making these a bit rare and hard to find. All the vintage Fender Reverb Units are quite collectable.

Spring reverb technology is well known since more than 50 years. One of the first reverb units available for electric guitars was the Fender® 6G15® standalone reverb which has set the standard for generations of musicians. Still today, the unique sound of spring reverbs is very popular among guitarists.

Vintage Fender Reverb Units cost a small fortune. The original NOS reverb driver tubes are hard to find. Fender reissued the Reverb Unit in 1994. They are very cool, but differ in the tubes and are not hardwired.

The SurfyBear Reverb Pedal features the same specifications of the Fender® 6G15® reverb unit replacing the tubes with JFET transistor technology. This is not a digital effect. These are fully analog spring reverbs that are lighter, smaller and less maintenance then their tube ancestor. SurfyBear has offered this as a DIY kit for years. Now sold as a fully assembled reverb unit. Same controls with the drip, drip, drip of the original!

These are offered in three color tolex coverings. I purchased the brown one to match my original 1963 vintage Fender Reverb Unit.

THE CONCEPT Basically, the tubes in the schematic are replaced with JFETS/MOSFETs and the output transformer with a current source. The circuit is all Class A and it is optimized for a tube-like harmonic content using a real spring unit. Uses a standard 12V DC power supply adapter.

NO TRUE BYPASS Is a vintage reverb unit true bypass? Changing the tone a little bit is part of the game here and we wanted to keep it so. We did not invent a new effect, our purpose is to allow everybody to enjoy that sound without carrying around a heavy and expensive instrument.

A detailed description of the Fender® 6G15® reverb can be found on the SurfGuitar101 Wiki.

  • SurfyBear Pedal in wooden enclosure covered with Brown Fender® style tolex
  • D2F custom padded bag
  • 12V power supply – it works worldwide 100-240V
  • User guide and warranty information
  • Surfy Industries sticker