Grampian Type 636
An introduction to the unassuming-looking 60s reverb that, thanks to its unique sound, has become one of the most sought-after studio effects of the present day.
This is a page we’ve set up to begin gathering all the information we have about the legendary (and rightly so) Grampian 636 spring reverb. It’s still being added to – for more Grampian history and our experience with these machines head to Tony’s Grampian 636 blog post.
Scroll down for schematics, sound and video clips.
We are indebted to Frank Mercer, who very kindly sent us much of the original schematics and info you will find on our site – here’s his original letter to us, detailing some of his thoughts and recommended Grampian modifications.
Oh, and this happened once (but it’s a pretty safe bet that it will never happen again!):
You may not think there’s much of a connection between windmilling sixties guitar legend (and latterly friend of Soundgas) Pete Townshend of The Who, and the original Upsetter – godfather of reggae and the man who is credited with inventing the remix – the one and only Lee “Scratch” Perry, but this humble grey and silver box links the two (in addition to their undoubted shared mastery of the recording studio as instrument). Pete used his for guitar distortion, Lee for the unmistakable spring reverb sound on his productions and dubs. As a result, these unprepossessing little boxes have become extremely sought-after by fans and admirers of both distorted guitars and also of dub, reggae, and the myriad forms of electronic music that have spawned and developed from humble beginnings in Kingston’s Black Ark Studio. Grampian Reverb Units can be found in the studios of many exciting and vibrant artists and producers today; their sound as urgent and vital as when they were first abused by these two sonic pioneers.
We've put a full set of Grampian tech specs and schematics up online, as well as the content of the original instructions. Also included are review articles from the 60s that mention the Grampian - linked below.
Note that all these were given to us to distribute and are free to use, however if you re-post, quote from, or share them then please add a credit and back-link.
BRING THE NOISE
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Grampian Type 636 Spring Reverb - a dub classic. Also used by The Who's Pete Townshend for his signature guitar distortion for many years. Serviced and ready to go. Check the extra level of distortion when driving the mic input. Guitar demo follows. Selling for a customer by sealed bids over £1000: contact us via the Soundgas site.
Four classics making sweet, beautiful acid :)
Grampian Sound Clips
Examples of stems through a Grampian Type 636 (and some other effects) in our studio. It’s a spring reverb, but can also be used a source of incredible germanium distortion.
Want to get your music through our gear? Find out more about our Studio Services.
Grampians in the press: Frank also sent us the following Grampian-related cuttings from Studio Sound Magazine:
(Relevant pieces of text are highlighted.)
– Studio Sound Jan, 1969 – “No whizzy effects are possible, but the quality of the reverberation is excellent.”
– Studio Sound June, 1970 – “Many a first class recording and (dare I say?) broadcast has gone out enhanced by the Grampian unit.” by Angus McKenzie (founder of London’s legendary Olympic Studios)
– Studio Sound Nov,1970 – “It is important to note that a constant current direct to the transmitting transducer is essential to the proper working of the device…”
This page is part of our collection of resources on the legendary Grampian Type 636.
We’re fanatical about these units and the unique sound they can produce if restored to full functioning – if you are looking for one of these units, or have one to sell in any condition, please get in touch.
And, if you’re wondering, yes we do have some info about the elusive Grampian Ambiophonic Unit (Type 666) as well.