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Why Didn't British Amps Get Reverb?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Paul in Colorado, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    Around 1963, American amps started sporting reverb. Fender, Gibson, Supro, Ampeg...
    But British amps of the same era continued to be sans-verb. Marshall, Vox (UK models anyway), Hiwatt etc. Why didn't they add reverb? An inability to procure reverb tanks? Musicians in the UK didn't care? Does anyone know the answer?
     

  2. Bendyha

    Bendyha Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2014
    Northern Germany
    I've got one of these Oranges...around 1972................and Matamp had a slightly earlier version from 1970 I think, but true, Brits were not that big on them.....not enough surf perhaps.
    Solid state...but sound quiet good. Think Peter Green albatros.
    [​IMG] upload_2018-4-16_22-25-45.png
     

  3. Fenderslinger

    Fenderslinger TDPRI Member

    Age:
    52
    17
    Mar 22, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Reverb, oral hygiene, and fresh veggies were not a thing in 1960's england...
     

  4. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Fwiw, Gibson beat Fender to the punch for introducing onboard Reverb...1960,iirc, is when Gibson amps started having Reverb. Gibson also had tremolo earlier than did Fender back in the ‘50’s.
    As for the English built amps.....Marshall, HiWatt, Orange in particular were going for output, and the players that used them were not looking for Reverb but power. The Marshall’s took their design cue from big Tweed Fenders, which did not have Reverb. They didn’t need no stinkin’ Reverb, right??? I still don’t look for Reverb when in overdrive/distortion modes.
     

  5. RoyalBaby

    RoyalBaby Tele-Meister

    290
    Jul 23, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    I don’t know. Maybe the lack of reverb tanks , I guess most other bits in a valve amp we’re commonly available parts in the sixties. Hammond reverb tanks were made in the USA ( Illinois?) so hard to get ( there was an embargo on goods from the USA into the U.K. until 1960 for a start) or just expensive.
    The Shadows didn’t use reverb so tape delays were popular early on and made by various British and European companies so perhaps there was a feeling no one wanted reverb? It’s also a relatively subtle thing compared to tremolo ( which did appear commonly enough in British amps) so,perhaps, that was seen as a better selling point?
     
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  6. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    56
    Jun 7, 2017
    GCDB
    Vox did have a UK reverb unit that used phono cartridges and was somewhat temperamental .

    The Watkins and various Italian echo units seems to be more popular, and people tend to buy what they are use to hearing and is available. Tape Echo was the sound of UK instrumentals.

    IIRC the Marshall 18 watt combos could be ordered with reverb but if any were so eqipped the numbers must be very small, one item that could be truly said to be rare..
     
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  7. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    56
    Jun 7, 2017
    GCDB
    I also wonder if there were various licensing and patent issues the were deemed too troublesome and/or expensive to work out..?
     
    24 track likes this.

  8. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    57
    Jan 4, 2017
    Wales
    Errr... well, rationing only ended in 1954 and we were stoney broke! Perhaps we had other things to do? I dunno, really.
     
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  9. OneHenry

    OneHenry TDPRI Member

    Age:
    62
    43
    Apr 16, 2018
    North carolina
    Hell, even American cars, some stereos, and Hammond organs had spring reverbs in the 60s.
     
    Fiesta Red, AAT65, nojazzhere and 2 others like this.

  10. RoyalBaby

    RoyalBaby Tele-Meister

    290
    Jul 23, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    Just reading ...Fender used the reverb units on licence from Hammond but JMI ( who made Vox) wouldn’t pay for the licence so invented their own equivalent which did get used in some amps but didn’t catch on ( presumably for the reasons you mention).
     

  11. David Barnett

    David Barnett Poster Extraordinaire

    This was because Jennings didn't want to pay a licensing fee to use the Hammond reverb. Or at least that's how it's always attributed. Wouldn't any fee just have been built into the price of each reverb tank? Maybe it was just too expensive to import Hammond reverb tanks into England?

    "Tempermental" is the nice way to put it.
     
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  12. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

    I take it you're English .......
     
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  13. JL_LI

    JL_LI Tele-Holic

    Age:
    68
    808
    May 20, 2017
    Long Island, NY
    Having lived through that era, I believe it all comes down to surf. Surf relied on big splash reverb and clean head room and Fender and Ampeg went full tilt after the surf market. High school kids who couldn't sing in tune could play a passable "Wipeout", "Walk Don't Run", and with a little practice, "Pipeline". There was a new middle class with money to spend (even if it was Dad's money) on guitars and amps. Guitars and amps really took off with the British invasion, but the pattern had already been established. The high school freshmen wanted the gear they saw in the battle of the bands and that was Fender Reverb amps and Ampeg Reverberockets and Geminis, the bigger the better. British and British sounding amps really didn't take over in the US until the 70's and by that time surf was passé. The British sound was more about high gain breakup than splash, even in the mid to late 60's. For that sound, an AC30 blew away a Fender with three times the power and with high gain, reverb just shovels more mud on top of the dirt.
     

  14. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    Interesting stuff, guys. I never even gave it a thought until this morning. I knew about the Vox Phono Cartridge 'verbs, but didn't know about the licensing stuff with Hammond. I remember amps marketed with the ad reading that the amp featured "Hammond Reverb."

    I think a lot of recorded UK music had the reverb added on in the studio using chambers or plates.

    Maybe having gone through surf music (and access to Fender amps) we Yanks were more attuned to hearing it.
     
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  15. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Tele-Holic

    780
    May 3, 2016
    In the South
    Can we stop conflating 'England' and 'Britain'? Hell I'm no nationalist, but sometimes...
     

  16. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    And of course we didn't know that the Vox amps our local shop had in California had little or nothing to do with the Vox amps we saw British bands using. And being built by Thomas ORGAN, they had reverb.

     
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  17. 24 track

    24 track Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    Binson echorec, was the big addon for your kit , ask pink Floyd, I had never even seen one up close at all,I guess it was similar to the Fender reverb units of the time as a separate effect, kind of like the old tape echos of the time as well
     

  18. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    28
    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    Mericans used onboard reverb. Brits used Echo/Delay devices.

    Outboard units tend to be very flexible, and you could often dial in a mediocre to fair reverb sound with the right echo/delay unit.
     

  19. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

    Just trying to be inclusive, I guess!
     
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  20. 24 track

    24 track Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    Marshall even released a JCM 800 series that used 5660's instead of the El34's for import into Northamerica because that was the info they recieved from their distributor at the time to give the populous a more American sound ( I Know cuz I 've got one ) and I dont want to mess with it to convert it, because the amp is totally original.
     

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