SOLIDGOLDFX SURF RIDER
BY STEVE OUIMETTE
the only thing that stands between you
and vintage spring reverb tone is the
hassle of tubes and maintenance.
Who doesn’t love reverb? Whether it’s from an old Fender Deluxe Reverb
or a super-tweakable digital unit, most of
us would agree that being enveloped in the
lushness of a verbed-out note is a thing of
beauty. But for all the shapes that reverb
takes, there’s something about a spring
reverb that’s still special. Maybe it’s the way
those vibrating springs colored everything
from surf to country to psychedelia in the
first two decades of rock ’n’ roll, but the
appeal is undeniable.
Though the Surf Rider isn’t a true spring
reverb, the device recreates the tone and
response of a spring unit with remarkable
accuracy. All this in a box that fits on your
pedalboard and you don’t have to handle
with kid gloves.
sensibility toward tailoring your reverb
sound. The Res (resonance) control tailors
the virtual size of the reverb tank from
long to short, Depth sets the intensity of
the reverb, Level is a blend control that
goes from dry to soaking wet, and Tone
lets you dial in how dark or bright the
more contemporary and programmable
digital reverb is essential to your sound.
Ride the Wild…
I played the Surf Rider with a variety of
amplifiers, including a Rivera-era Fender
Concert, a Mojave Dirty Boy, and even
Overloud’s TH- 2 amp modeling software in Pro Tools. Operating the unit is
straightforward, easy, and lends itself to
a lot of fun exploration. To get a haunting, almost volume swell-like wash, I set
the Level to 2 o’clock and pulled the Tone
down to about 10 o’clock to reduce the
brightness. This yielded a gorgeous lushness that was both beautiful and eerie.
There was not a hint of harshness in the
tone, and notes simply rang out and then
sank gracefully back into the abyss.
CLICKHere… or scan this QR code with a mobile device to hear audio clips of this pedal at premierguitar.com/nov2011.
With its black and turquoise color
scheme, script lettering and wave graphics, the Surf Rider looks like a matchbook
from a funky old coastal motel. The
control set, however, reflects a modern
To get that killer Dick Dale sound
(which he gets by running through a ’60s
tube-driven Fender Reverb unit), I cranked
up the Tone and turned the Res to the
lowest setting to get the longest tank simulation. With the Level up higher and the
Depth fairly high, you could hear those
chaotic and wild elements that make this
tone so cool—a sound at which the Surf
But the Surf Rider doesn’t only excel at
the wild and crazy. It does a fine job of adding a little extra touch of depth and size to
notes without getting in the way. And even
with the Level way down, the additional
texture made a beautiful and tasteful addition to any clean guitar tone I threw at it.
SolidGoldFX has done a great job of capturing the sound and spirit of a vintage
spring-reverb unit without the size and
maintenance issues that go with the territory. Perhaps the only thing missing from
the Surf Rider is being able to kick it and
get the springs to bark like on a vintage
amp, and—depending on your musical
values—that might not be such a bad
thing. For me, the Surf Rider’s stability
and solidity is a winning combination.
Given how authentic this pedal sounds—
and that it’s priced at a fraction of a vintage or reissue standalone Fender unit—it’s
a pretty good deal too.