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:

  1. As of the STL openers, both Leslie G-37 rotating speakers are gone (more below).
  2. [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).
  3. [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).

Cabinets:

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.

Guitars:

Electric:  Koa 1.  Ocelot is backstage.  Blonde No. 2 for “Pebbles and Marbles.

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.

Effects:

Gain/Overdrive
•  2 x Tube Screamer (vintage TS-808)
•  Klon
•  Ross Compressor (as of STL, the Ross Compressor was IN; as of Merriweather, it was OUT)

Voicing
•  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)
•  Boomerang
•  Eventide Space Reverb
•  Source Audio Ventris (Ambikab Loop)
•  Eventide TimeFactor (Ambikab Loop, set to DIGI) (Note: a second TimeFactor, set to Band, was in line as early as Fenway)
•  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 has been used very frequently during Summer 2019)
•  Ibanez DM-2000 digital delay

Modulation
•  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.)

The classic floor array shot. Notice at the bottom of this photo the volume pedal marked “BASS.” This would normally be a bit further down and the Leslie controls would go there. But the Leslie is gone. From bottom: BASS volume control, ONCE tap switch for Heavy Things, RST-24, CAE Wah, Digitech Whammy II, Boomerang, McMillen 12-step, Loops volume expression pedal.

The RST-24. There’s a four-pedal expander that attaches to this that is hanging off some velcro at the top of this picture. That expander has controls for MuTron 1 and 2 and POG 1 and 2. Note the Leslie controls are moved on to the RST now. There are three Supa Puss channels.

The purple 6L6-loaded Komet has its back to us, and here we see atop the rack THREE Supa Pusses (“T” is for Triplet, “4” is for quarter note, referring to the TAP settings); 2 POG2’s, the Boss OC-2 octave and the Ross Compressor. That purple Komet was used as backup when another Komet required some work in during the Vegas ’18 run.

The EHX Key9 and Boss RT-20 Rotary Ensemble, the latter of which has taken over Leslie emulation duties.  The Key 9 replaces the EHX B9, which had been in the rig previously.

The TS-808’s and the Klon Centaur, with detailed setting information (thanks again to Robert Keeley!). Note the relatively low gain settings on the 808 MORE.  That probably reflects the natural gain on tap from the Komets.

Komet 5881 sitting atop the Reverberato, which is atop the Fender DRRI. A Royer mics the DR. One source reports that the speaker in the DRRI is connected to the Komet 5881.

Here’s an internal look at the Komet 5881. Plus some Reverberato settings.  5881 is a lower wattage variant of 6L6, providing less clean headroom and distorting earlier.

Top half of the rack; note that the Eventide Space is now set to REVERSE, whereas previously Trey had used variations on the CENTAURUS patch. The Shure UR4D under the DM-2000 is for wireless applications.

Inside the EL-34 amp.

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The Ocelot guitar backstage in St. Louis.

im mar mar charlotte
The Spruce “I’m the Mar Mar” guitar backstage in Charlotte.

Camden 6-30 5881 Ambi
Purple Komet head, tubed with 5881s, running into the second Ambikab in Camden on 6-30.

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Nice shot of the Victoria Reverberato from SPAC. You can see the rack-top pedals (including the Tru-Tron and a POG2) covered by a lid and black cloth at top left.