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I'm looking to experiment with some post-rock sort of stuff, and my guitar sound is just far too empty right now. I've got an echo park that I've been messing around with, but given that it's primarily a delay pedal it's not expanding my tone in the way I'd like.

I've looked around a bit, and there's obviously tons of options with different focuses. I'm worried that if I just jump into something I'll end up with a sound more suited to 60s surf or something. How can I find a reverb pedal that might give me this big sound I'm looking for?

Note:

I checked out this question, but there's really no info on reverb pedals specifically: What are most common effects (pedals) for Post-rock music genre?

I also realize that technique is much more important than the pedal itself, but I just want a decent starting point.

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If your soul is really in need of filling, I don't think any electronic device is going to do the job. –  Wheat Williams Aug 19 at 19:41

5 Answers 5

I cannot recommend the neunaber WET reverb enough. If you are looking for a post-rock style reverb, this one is hard to beat.

It goes from slight shimmer to ghost trails to whale songs.

http://neunaber.net/products/wet-mono-reverb-v4

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As I have written many times before, I can recommend something to you until I'm blue in the face but you may hate it for your sound. So, instead of giving you a fish, I'm gonna teach you to fish.

Any reverb in existence will get you towards the sound you are looking for--you just may like certain units better. Usability, feature set, tone, it all should play a part in your decision. Surf over to ProGuitarShop and hit their reverb pedal section. Give everything there a listen and pick the one you think sounds the best and has all the bells and whistles (or lack thereof) you want. If you don't like any of those, head to your local guitar shop and play with whatever they have there. Effects require experimentation. I can talk to the utility of certain effects, and even discuss some very nice implementations of those concepts, but in the end it relies totally on the user's taste. That's why there are about 5 billion overdrives on the market. Some electrical engineer out there thought overdrive XYZ didn't do ABC so he made his own to fill out the feature gap.

As for worrying about sounding like surf: surf is a genre that heavily relies on technique in addition to reverb. Whack some 16th notes at around 120-132 bpm with a verb'd out sound plus a slapback delay tone and bingo--you got surf. Play quarters with a dotted eight delay with the exact same reverb setting and you have yourself a nice ambient/textural tone. Effects do not entirely define a genre (as you stated in your question). It's a composite of many, many parameters. See this question for further related discussion on what defines a player's tone.

With all that non-subjective stuff said, here's a list of my favorite reverbs :D. Again, your mileage may vary.

Malekko Chicklet => Tiny, tiny footprint, easy to use controls and a wide range of sounds. It's digital (which is sometimes a no-no for me) but still sounds lush. Were I in the market for a reverb this little guy would be my first stop.

TRex Room Mate => Not for the feint of pocketbook. This one gets you a nice, lush, analog tube driven reverb that is very, very tweakable.

Electro Harmonix Holy Grail => This and it's big brother, the Holy Grail Plus, or the Cathedral are solid choices. All with versatile sounds, and decently affordable. I owned a Holy Grail for much of my early music career and it worked for me.

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Great answer. I've rewritten the question to fit so it won't be closed. –  Matthew Read Jun 1 '11 at 2:13
    
Thanks Matthew! –  Jduv Jun 1 '11 at 3:12
    
A fave of mine, though digital, is the Digitech HardWire Stereo Reverb. The entire Hardwire line is worth a look; I also have their Tube Overdrive and Valve Distortion pedals; great ones both. I'll keep my Boss analog chorus though. –  KeithS Mar 1 '12 at 19:56
    
... and as for the 5 billion overdrives; 4 billion of them are TS-8 clones, the major differences being the specific values of various capacitors, how close a cap has to be to that ideal, and whether they use tube, electrolytic or mica caps. –  KeithS Mar 1 '12 at 20:00

A consideration for reverb pedal use is whether you use distortion in your amp, or do you run it clean and rely on a distortion pedal in your effects chain?

In a traditional guitar to combo amp setup, the reverb spring tanks in the amp are after the pre-amp, so any distortion the pre-amp generates gets fed into the tank, then passed to the power amp, so you are "reverbing" the distortion, then passing it on to the power-amp section for final amplification. This results in a smoother sustaining sound, similar to what you'd hear from someone like Carlos Santana.

If you use a reverb pedal, and you're feeding that into the pre-amp of the amp then distorting the sound, you'll get an entirely different sound. It might not be what you expect or want. Transitions between notes will cause the distortion to generate some harsh sounds as it receives multiple notes at once. That happens when we play a chord into a distortion, but soloing could result in some "interesting" sounds, more like a ring-modulator. You'll have to try it and see if it's what you want.

If you have an amp with an effects loop, you might want to put the reverb pedal into that loop, not into your normal pre-amplifier effects chain, just so you can get a more traditional sound of distortion -> reverb.

If your amp is clean, and you don't have an effects loop, put the reverb after any distortion pedals then feed that into the pre-amp in, to make the overall guitar sound closer to the traditional sound of a distorted amp pushing sound into the tank then to the power-amp.

Of course, that's if you want to sound like a normal system. You're always free to change things up to get "your" sound.

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I hear raves and I hear rants about the Holy Grail Nano. I don't have one, so I do not know.

You might check into getting an amplifier that comes with a built in reverb tank. It will be a tube or valve amp and probably give you a fuller sound than any pedal.

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The Electro Harmonix Holy Grail reverb pedals were very nice IMO. They no longer have the one I had listed on their website, but the Holy Grail Nano is very similar. See here.

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