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Calling all reverb aficionados: Surfy Bear Build

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by theprofessor, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Yeah, I get it. There's not all that much to it. But I already have questions, and I thought it would be nice to have a Surfy Bear build thread on TDPRI. I haven't found one here, at least. There's loads of information over at the surf guitar site, but the thread I've seen was more than 100 pages. I really don't want to sift through all that.

    I got this kit second-hand from a fellow TDPRI member who decided to pass it on. Included in the deal was an old Heathkit audio generator as a housing. I'm going to paint the shell. At the moment, I'm planning to use the medium-sized Accutronics / Belton 1AB2B1B, provided that the specs check out (EDIT: I just checked; they do: INPUT impedance: 8 ohms; OUTPUT impedance: 2,250 ohms). I also have a full-sized MOD 4AB3C1B, but it won't fit in the Heathkit. So we'll see what happens.

    I've already gutted the Heathkit for the project and have begun work on the face plate, modifying it for my purposes.

    IMG_9970.JPG
    Here's the face plate so far. Input on the left, output on the right. The Surfy Bear kit comes with two Chinese mono jacks. I replaced those with two Switchcraft ones.

    At bottom, from left to right: DWELL - MIXER - TONE. I've got some Gibson-style reflector knobs coming. One says tone, and one says volume (= mixer, I guess). And I'll use a different style knob for the dwell. I still have to figure out exactly where to put the reverb tank output and input. The Alpha pots that come with the kit are a good bit smaller than the pots that were originally in the Audio Generator, so I got some neoprene O-rings and put them around the shafts to make up the space. Otherwise, they're connected as usual, with internal toothed lock washers and so forth.

    IMG_9971.JPG
    Here's the inside. I think that's where I'm going to mount the PCB. At the moment, it's resting on a cork stopper that I used to cover up a rather large hole where a control knob was. I'm considering adding an LED or a 12V lamp, and that might go where I put those grommets at the bottom right, or perhaps on the other side.

    IMG_9972.JPG
    Here's a close-up of the PCB in the direction I plan to mount it.
    IMG_9973.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018

  2. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    I already have a question. I'd like to add an indicator lamp of some kind, but I don't know what kind of lamp I need. Can anyone point me to the right kind of part--maybe something I could get at a local hardware store, electrical supply, or from Amazon?

    Here's the schematic:
    Surfy Bear schem.jpg
     
    BorderRadio likes this.

  3. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    56
    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    Well...I can't help, but I'm really interested in these.
    It's funny that there are 100 posts on the Surf BB, and there is so much talk about reverb on the TDPRI, but there seems to be virtually no interest in this thing that the big reverb guys can't stop talking about.
     

  4. 2pointmandolin

    2pointmandolin Tele-Meister

    112
    Jan 20, 2009
    central Florida
    Wow! I just ordered one of these today. Now I have to come up with a cabinet, reverb pan and 12 volt wall wart.

    I'd be tempted to leave that heath kit enclosure as is. Love the patina .
     
    MickM and BorderRadio like this.

  5. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Virginia, USA
    I've actually been wanting to one of these for a while myself.

    I'll be watching @theprofessor's progress closely and will be excited to hear the final product!
     

  6. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

    WOW your timing is perfect!!! I just got mine last week and planning to do a build also.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
    BorderRadio likes this.

  7. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    56
    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    It seems a lot of guys put them in a tool box.
    I'm keeping my eye out for the right enclosure.
    I dig The Professors!
     

  8. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    United States

  9. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Hey Rob - Do you know what kind of light I'd need for this thing? I don't have to have one, but I'd like an LED or 12V lamp on it. What am I looking for?
     

  10. Jeru

    Jeru Tele-Holic

    569
    Nov 17, 2006
    Chicago
    Bottom left on the schematic, very straightforward. LED in series w/ 1k resistor or 12v bulb across the ‘power in’ wires, after the switch.

    Hundreds upon hundreds of LEDs or bulbs to buy, from any vendor. You ALMOST can’t go wrong. See if you can figure out how much current the SB circuit draws, and make sure that you use a wall wart that supplies enough current to satisfy the verb and also the current draw of your bulb/LED. An LED will draw way less current, but a bulb will look cooler.
     
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  11. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    United States
    For you pedal guys here's a demo of my favorite pedal, the Strymon Flint reverb + tremolo. 5E3 + Strymon Flint = serious sweetness and surf heaven:

     
    King Fan, RLee77, FenderLover and 2 others like this.

  12. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Thanks very much, Jeru. The problem is me: I'm a bit of a dummy when it comes to reading this stuff, and I really just want pictures! :) I have built two amps with great success, but I still am a bit unsure of myself sometimes when I'm looking at lines on a schematic.

    The 12V / 1A power supply I got is a switched, regulated power supply that supplies 1000 mA. It's center-positive: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VQDMTO/?tag=tdpri-20
     

  13. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Also good timing for me, going to take the plunge on a build, if the Weber combo 5H15 doesn't win me over first. Wallet says I'll be building a Surfy Bear in the immediate future.

    [Edit] I just ordered a kit--time to make an enclosure!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
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  14. Bill Moore

    Bill Moore Tele-Holic

    I too have been looking, and will be watching this thread!
    I'm thinking more of an enclosure that will sit on top of my 5E3, and covered to match, (controls also on top).
    I'm a hoarder, (for certain things), and don't throw power supplies, (wall warts, etc.) away. I have some old printer supplies with more than enough current. As for the indicator, I want to use a typical Fender type to match the amp, just with an LED bulb.
    (I just looked yesterday, the kit price has gone up $10 since I last priced them!)
     
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  15. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    I already have this lamp assembly, as it came with the radio. Is it just a matter of finding a 12V bayonet bulb that will fit it?

    IMG_9974.JPG IMG_9975.JPG IMG_9976.JPG
     
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  16. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ

  17. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    I just read the fine details of this thread, got it on the LED :D
     

  18. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    Oh well, if you've got the lamp, you're pretty much done. ;)
    If its an LED, wouldn't you drill out the lamp base and run the little LED in it to make a faux Fender-lamp? So basically, keep the jewel and the base, chuck the light bulb mount?

    I'm not familiar with the Surfy Bear. But I've enjoyed reading about this project. Wonder if there's anything there that might help.

    http://el34world.com/Hoffman/revibe_origin.htm
     

  19. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    I listened to that demo video...interesting. I have a feeling, based on what I hear with the Fender unit there, that the inductors in that tank are loose. The Reverb sonic from that 6G15 has a harsh clingy sound for a Fender Reverb, ime. When the inductors are tight in their mounts, that type of sound is changed into something more controlled and more pleasant...Ime. If that were my 7nit, I would pull the tank to check it out.....and usually I find loose inductors when I check it out. Fwiw, this proves true for solid state reverbs that use tanks. I have had players marvel at the change in their Reverb effect when the inductors are made firm in their mounts.
    That Surfy Bear sounds pretty good for a SS Reverb.
     
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