As many readers already know, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the rig at soundcheck on 10/20/18 and chat a bit with Trey and his guitar tech, Michael Kaye, about how it all works. One big takeaway from my tour is that the most important thing Trey thinks about in its construction and maintenance is his ability to express himself musically and focus on what the audience and his bandmates need, not the technology. That means that, as complex as the rig can appear, they’re making efforts all the time to keep it as simple as possible and facilitate communication with Page, Jon, and Mike, and with all of us in the crowd. For example, one reason they moved the gear rack behind Trey is that it was impeding communication between Trey and Page when it was between them. Another example: they have an outboard foot controller that toggles through specific “favorite” presets on the Whammy II (Trey only uses a handful of the 12 settings), but as convenient as that sounds they find the additional pedal distracting from the fundamental task of making music.
The second big takeaway was that the rig is really dynamic from night to night. I’d heard this before, but didn’t appreciate the full extent of it until I saw it in person. In early Fall, the “voicing” pedals (all the EHX pedals and the OC-2) and the compression were particularly in flux. The pedal drawers and rack-top are designed to allow for pedal rotation, with velcro fasteners, interchangeable power cables, and spare parts available in abundance when changes are necessary. When I arrived on stage, Trey had just asked that the Ross Compressor be returned to the rig in place of the Klon. Earlier that day, they had installed a second Tru-Tron so that Trey would have access to two settings without toggling manually. During soundcheck, Trey requested the addition of a second POG2 for the same reason. On 10/23/18 in Nashville, they’d added the EHX Key9 and Boss OC-2. It’s constantly changing – so much so that they keep a label-maker on hand to replace the labels on the RST-24 on the fly. Given that, the rig explainers we do here at TGR really are snapshots of a moment in time, which is why I generally have dates attached to photos.
Below you’ll find the usual rig rundown format that has appeared in previous tour notes over the years, but I’ve interspersed information gleaned from my conversations with Trey and Michael. I’ll update this over the course of the tour.
Heartfelt thanks to Michael, the Phish organization, and especially to Trey Anastasio, who has been an enormous influence on my musical and creative pursuits over these many years, and who was more kind, gracious, and generous with his time than I could have imagined.
Amplification: 2 x Komet Trainwreck 60. One has 6L6 tubes and the other has EL-34, with the 6L6 being used most often. 6L6 is a blackface-to-tweedy Fender sound with a strong mid-focus, while the EL-34 is a Marshall sound, with an even more aggressive, muscular low end.
Leslies: 2 x Leslie G-37. One of the Leslies is dedicated to guitar, while the other is used for the samples coming from the McMillen 12-step. There is a Leslie speed selector switch and a volume expression pedal that controls the Guitar Leslie volume.
Electric: Koa 1. Koa 2 is backup and Mar-Mar is in the hotel and dressing room.
Mics: Trey’s rig is mic’d by a Shure SM-57 and a Royer SF-12. Trey also uses SE GuitarF Reflexion Filters to isolate these mics. Trey also told me that he added extra filters to the non-mic’d speakers just to tame some of the stage volume.
Effects (see below for order):
• 2 x Tube Screamer (vintage TS-808)
• Ross Compressor (this was out other than 10/21)
• Digitech Whammy II
• 2 x Electro Harmonix (“EHX”) POG2 (second added 10/21)
• EHX B9 (the EHX Mel 9 has been in this slot also)
• EHX Key9 (definitely IN for Nashville)
• Boss OC-2 Octave Pedal (definitely IN for Nashville)
• 2 x Beigel Tru-Tron 3x Envelope Filter (second added 10/20)
• CAE Wah
Time-Based (reverb and delay)
• Eventide Space Reverb
• Source Audio Ventris (Ambikab Loops)
• 2 x Eventide TimeFactor (Ambikab Loops, set to DIGI)
• Moog MF-104M analog delay
• 2 x Way Huge Supa Puss atop rack (both have the R79 removed from the printed circuit board, allowing for a smoother curve or more linear slope on the mix control. One is set to quarter note, the other to dotted eighth.)
• Ibanez DM-2000 digital delay
• Victoria Reverberato (used only for Trem on Phish tour, but Reverb is used on Acoustic Tour and in the studio. Trey called the Reverberato loop his “warm switch,” since the extra tube stage warms up the signal noticeably)
• Bradshaw Custom Super Tremolo (for CHOP)
• Shin -Ei UniVibe
• McMillen 12-step midi keyboard foot controller (see the bottom of the 2018 Spring TAB Tour entry for a full explainer)
• Snark SN-10S Tuner (replaces the Korg rack tuner. It’s fed from the tuner output of the Leslie volume pedal)
Effect Order (as of Hampton 10/20/18):
Puss Quarter Note–>
TS- 808 More–>
Supa Dotted Eighth–>
Shin Ei Univibe–>
CAE Tremolo Chop–>
Ibanez DM – 2000–>
(then Ventris and Eventide Time Factor)
Here’s a Twitter thread on the Kasvot Växt rig for Halloween (click for more):
This is an Ed O'Brien Stratocaster (EOB Model). It's decked out in white @drstrings. The CAE wah and RST-24 are also done in white. Trey's amps are off stage but he still appears to have access to most effects via the RST. pic.twitter.com/gQDmvDuo4a