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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Drip: It's not just the springs!

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This is a follow up to a previous post I made about a vintage pan I got recently. I did some experimenting tonight and made what I think is an important discovery.

To sum up: Third party 6G15 near-clone with 3-spring accutronics pan with way too much tail. I bought a vintage Gibbs 2-spring pan with correct output impedance but incorrect input impedance (same as the output). I hooked it up anyway and found a dramatic improvement in reverb sound but with a degradation of highs.

Tonight I pulled the springs out of the Gibbs pan of incorrect impedance and put them in the Accutronics pan of correct impedance, thinking it would be just like putting correct transducers in the Gibbs pan. I used 2 of the 3 available spring anchors.

Nope. The "good" springs in the washy pan still sounded weird. Very metallic and just not viable at all. Nothing like how they sound in their original Gibbs pan. So what gives? Clearly it's not just the springs. Could it be the magnets? It seems like it must be some moving part. Seriously, whose dock do you have to scrub to get a good reverb pan?

Last edited: Feb 10, 2019 14:50:18

It sounds like something’s going on, with regard to the transducers.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

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Redfeather, you have to play the odds. Buy a half dozen old Gibbs pans, keep the best and sell the rest.

Danny Snyder

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I share the same hunch/opinion as Synchro.

While above all else, I stand by the belief that these ‘systems’/circuits/environments are more in total than the sum of the parts, I also suspect not all parts are equal and the transducer assemblies on each end of the springs and pan are two of those comparatively more important components.

To be sure springs count too, but the analogy I would make is changes in pickups (from windings and wire types to magnets and type overall) will have a broader series of impacts than different kinds of strings put on a guitar. Both with affect but to different degrees.


El Mirage @ ReverbNation

I heard that the spring tension has a lot to do with it (Much like tuning a guitar string) - Are the two different pans the exact same length from each transducer? If not that will effect the sound.

Another is the actual spring segments as well - are they just one long segment each or made up of two or three shorter springs soldered together (That has to have a effect on a spring performance or just a combination of different springs. Usually each spring will have a different tension in pans anyway to get the drip sound. Each spring will have a different resonance where the mechanical induced wave goes back and forth on each spring and eventually adds up as harmonics on the combined output signal. So the spring tension and or length must have something to do with it.

I'm real new to this but from what I have looked at on the net it seems to be all in the springs to me - the slinkier the spring the better it seems for the actual drip sound - so maybe we just need one like normal type spring on one side and a really slinky on the other - is the difference of each output the actual drip sound in reality??? Just a thought;

Everybody wants ultimate drip and have tried all kinds of pans and amps - tubes etc - but I never see where the actual springs are fooled with or modified in anyway - so I'm thinking that's got to be a big part of this.

I did see somewhere that the amps (Tubes or solid state) have nothing to do with the actual drip sound - the only difference is the old tube amps did not have voltage gates on them in the output like solid state ones have - So basically you could get a Surfy Bear to do the same thing to drive the pan etc . . .

It sounds like if you lost highs and have more lows sound wise could it be the springs are to slack or not short enough in the new pan?

I'm not a expert but it sounds like that may be the problem to me

I hope that helps - there are so many potential variables with pans as well so I would think there will be a tweaking phase with everyone of them to get it just right - good luck with it.

Last edited: Feb 10, 2019 08:02:59

It appears that you are using a three spring pan. I could be wrong but I was always of the belief that the best pan for max surf drip is a two spring long pan. The three spring long pans (which some folks prefer) provide tons of cavernous deep reverb but not as much drip.

I clarified my original post, regarding spring count. 2-spring is definitely better for surf and that's how I was testing.

I was lucky that these older pans didn't have their springs epoxied to the magnets like the newest ones do. The newer of my two, the accutronics, used something like hot glue or silicone but I was able to pry it away with tweezers. The old Gibbs pan had nothing, which is exactly how much is actually needed, from what I can tell. Curious that modern manufacturers saddle themselves with an extra step of dubious value.

It'll be interesting to see where this goes. No question current pans are all over the place, even pans from the same manufacturer and spec's. Apparently Billy Zoom uses 17" two spring MOD pans in his great sounding "Big Kahuna" outboard units....however I have read that he changes out the springs. Interesting to say the least.

Surfing_Sam_61 wrote:

It sounds like if you lost highs and have more lows sound wise could it be the springs are to slack or not short enough in the new pan?

He probably lost highs because of the impedance mismatch. Impedance is very important. Do you know the analogy about the water pipes? imagine running water from a tiny pipe into a huge pipe. It loses all pressure. You need to run the water into a same size or smaller pipe. Similar would be if you plug your high impedance guitar output into an input meant for a low impedance signal, like a synth. The tiny high impedance guitar signal is just lost in there. The volume is incredibly low and the tone is severely affected. This is what DI Boxes are for.

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