The rig for 2019 Summer Tour shows more significant changes than we’ve seen to this setup for some time; perhaps since the big 2017 overhaul. Before we get in to details, it’s worth noting that the rig appears to be in a somewhat dynamic state, as is often the case early in a tour. All the below is a snapshot, and is subject to change as the summer goes on. That said, there are a few alterations that require special note:
- As of the STL openers, both Leslie G-37 rotating speakers are gone (more below).
- [EDIT: See note] Trey is down to a single Ambikab, where previously there were 2. (Note: as of Merriweather, the second Ambi is back, acting as a cab for the 5881 head).
- [EDIT: See note] Trey is using a Fender 1965 Deluxe Reverb Reissue for some clean tones; see the “Stash” they played on the opening night in STL for an example. (Note: it’s unclear whether the DR was ever actually used as an amplifier. The cleaner tones may simply have been a function of the gentler 5881 tubes in the second Komet, with the DR acting only as a 1×12 speaker cab).
The overall trend seems to be toward simplicity. As is often the case early in a tour, a few things are still being worked out with respect to amps and speakers. That said, Trey’s equipment is definitely taking up noticeably less space on stage than it has in recent Phish tours (his rig size is closer to a TAB or GotF tour), and in STL his pedal rack was covered by a black cloth (see below), presumably to mitigate any tendency it may have to be distracting.
There’s a natural tendency as a guitarist to want to expand your rig to give yourself the greatest possible tonal flexibility and the maximum number of effect options in order to enhance your ability to impact the listener. That tendency is always in tension with musicians’ desire to keep the technology in front of them as simple as possible in order to ensure that their primary focus is on the core functions of musicianship and musicality. The technology can sometimes be distracting. It’s a fine line, though, because effects and tone can drive musicality in positive ways, too. Over the last few years, we’ve seen this push-pull in Trey’s rig, including the total rebuild in 2017. We’ll see where the push-pull takes us through 2019 and beyond.
Note: several of the photos in this post come courtesy of Robert Keeley, proprietor of Keeley Electronics, who toured the rig in STL and posted some pictures on social media. Keeley makes some of the most phenomenal boutique guitar gear in the known universe, including a legendary line of compressors, among other things. If you haven’t seen his work, check it out. We’re in his debt for getting these excellent shots. Additional shots were provided by TGR reader AT, who also provided some email commentary summarizing what he saw in STL. Thanks AT!
Amplification: 2 x Komet Trainwreck 60. One has 6L6 (5881) tubes and the other has EL-34. The 6L6/5881 amp runs to a hidden, dedicated 1×12, while the EL-34 amp runs to the Ambikab we can see from the audience. There is a Deluxe Reverb behind the rig for clean tones, and it runs to its own internal speaker. It has been suggested that the DRRI is just serving as a speaker cab for the 5881. This remains to be determined. (Note: as of Merriweather, we know that the DRRI is gone, and the 5881 amp is for clean tones, and is running into a second Ambikab).
Ambikabs: 1 Komet Ambikab. The Ambikab has its own effects loop with a Source Audio Ventris Reverb and an Eventide TimeFactor. The 12″ speakers are Celestion Heritage 65’s. (A second Ambikab was added as of Merriweather for the 5881 head).
Leslies are removed: The Leslies that was dedicated to guitar has been replaced by a Boss RT-20 Rotary Ensemble, which is a digital Leslie emulator. The Leslie that was used for the samples coming from the McMillen 12-step is gone and those samples now run direct-to-board.
Electric: Koa 1. Ocelot is backstage. Blonde No. 2 for “Pebbles and Marbles.
• 2 x Tube Screamer (vintage TS-808)
• Ross Compressor (as of STL, the Ross Compressor was IN; as of Merriweather, it was OUT)
• Digitech Whammy II
• 2 x Electro Harmonix (“EHX”) POG2
• Boss OC-2 Octave Pedal
• EHX Key 9
• 2 x Beigel Tru-Tron 3x Envelope Filter (one sweeps UP, one DOWN)
• CAE Wah
Time-Based (reverb and delay)
• Eventide Space Reverb (this was briefly set to REVERSE, but returned to Centaurus mid-tour)
• Source Audio Ventris (Ambikab Loop)
• Eventide TimeFactor (Ambikab Loops, set to DIGI) (Note: a second TimeFactor, set to Band, was added 7/3 before the amplifiers)
• 3 x Way Huge Supa Puss atop rack (all 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; the third acts as a mild echo and was used very frequently during early Summer 2019 but was replaced by the TimeFactor BAND on 7/3)
• Ibanez DM-2000 digital delay
• Victoria Reverberato
• 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. Note: this now runs direct to FOH.)