I hope I have this right but I'm fairly sure the classic Fender amps have some special reverb sound which is more 'aggressive' than a typical reverb. I've got a feeling it's called 'snap' or 'spring' or something like that but my only experience of it is in a modelling app I used in the past.

Can someone clarify:

  1. If this is a real thing
  2. What it's called
  3. How it actually works

I'm looking into buying a reverb pedal and wondered if this is an effect mode I might want to be looking for (I don't want to buy a Fender amp)

  • It's a real thing called "spring reverb", commonly used in surf rock (think Dick Dale).
    – Pyromonk
    Oct 23, 2019 at 2:24

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure what you mean by the "aggressive"sound, but yes it's a thing, and it's called spring reverb.

It's essentially a couple of transducers, connected at either end of one or more metal springs. The input transducer converts your guitar's electrical signal to mechanical energy, which bounces around the springs. At the other end, the output transducer takes that mechanical energy, converts it back to an electrical signal and sends it on its way to be amplified. The springs vary in weight and/or length, so introduce slightly different amounts of delay, simulating the effect of soundwaves bouncing back at you from surfaces at different distances.

Spring reverb tanks don't make for practical stompboxes. A typical pedal isn't big enough to fit usefully large springs, and even if you made a big enough pedal it would have to be built like a nuclear bunker - it doesn't take much of a knock to send the springs crashing, which is not a sound you really want every time you step on a pedal.

I doubt there are many reverb pedals that don't have a "spring reverb" mode, but there are certainly pedals which do their best specifically to model vintage Fender reverb sounds.

  • Aggressive is just my subjective view perhaps... More noticeable
    – Mr. Boy
    Dec 13, 2016 at 14:37
  • and simply: a microphone and a speaker are both transducers (you can actually put a set of "can" heaphones on an acoustic guitar body and use them as a pickup). So the input to the reverb spring tank acts as a speaker without a cone, the other end acts as a microphone. The reverb knob blends the "wet and dry" signals.
    – Yorik
    Dec 13, 2016 at 16:29

Although I don't see many of them in use, Fender has made a separate spring reverb unit that usually stacked on top of an amplifier with a footswitch on the floor to engage or disengage the unit. It can be used to obtain the classic spring reverb effect without having to purchase another amplifier. I have one in my effects collection and it works very nicely.

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