Trey's Guitar Rig

Trey Anastasio's Guitar Equipment, tour-by-tour.

Komet Trainwreck 60

Komet Trainwreck 60 Heads (manufacturer link).

komets-lehle

Trey first introduced these amps to his rig at Madison Square Garden for the 2016-17 New Year’s Run and has not been without them since (as of Fall 2018).  The Komet Trainwreck 60 is based on a circuit originally designed in 1999 by the legendary Ken Fischer, who passed away in 2006.  Trey was very enthusiastic about the tone and quality of the amplifiers when he and I spoke about them at Hampton 2018, and he was particularly excited that the two amps he brings on tour have low serial numbers and “actually had Ken’s hands inside them.”  The Trainwreck 60 is capable of running several different tube configurations, and initially Trey ran one with NOS Phillips 6L6 power tubes as a rhythm guitar amp and a second with NOS Mullard EL34 tubes as a lead guitar amp.  He used a Lehle amp switcher to toggle back and forth between them.  It seemed like Trey had settled on the EL-34 sound and for awhile was just running two identical amps with one as a backup in case the other failed.  The 6L6 amp has come back into use, however, and was used frequently during Summer and Fall of 2018.

In the EL-34 configuration, this amp delivers the English / Marshall style sound in spades. But re-bias the amp and swap in 6L6 tubes and it just as handily delivers classic American-style 1960s tube tone of vintage Fender amp and lands somewhere between a cranked Blackface-era Deluxe or Vibrolux and a cranked 50s Fender Tweed-era amp.  EL-34’s are tight, track well, and have a throaty growl that can reach full-on howl when pushed with Trey’s Tube Screamers.  The downside is the EL-34 clean tone can be somewhat nasal, while 6L6 tubes tend to produce bigger, bubbly cleans in spades.  The EL-34 and 6L6 amps are never used simultaneously.  With the guitar on full volume, both of these amps are very gritty, and the EL-34 especially so.  Trey rolls off the guitar volume for a cleaner sound. A lighter pick attack will also clean up the sound a bit. The 6L6 amplifier produces a sound modeled on the vintage American/Fender sound, and lands somewhere between a cranked Blackface-era Deluxe or Vibrolux and a cranked 50s Fender Tweed-era amp.

As of Fall 2018, the 6L6 is used most often, with the EL-34 engaged for particular sounds, like on Walk Away (10/19/2018), which was played without outboard overdrive. Trey played the opening licks for me at soundcheck on 10/20/2018 and it was scorching even without pedals.  Trey noted that the Komet with EL-34 tubes was dialing in the Marshall sound that Joe Walsh used on the original recording.  He also showed me a pretty sweet and bubbly clean tone using a soft attack and a slightly rolled off volume on the 6L6 (playing Roggae). The preamp tubes in the 6L6 are NOS Amperex Bugle Boy tubes, which have different gain characteristics than a Mullard, and a good, crystalline clear, high end. NOS Mullards are in the EL-34.

The Ross Compressor has been used much less consistently during the Komet Amps era than during previous eras.  During the Baker’s Dozen shows at Madison Square Garden, a source close to the rig (citing a conversation with Trey) said that the Ross Compressor was necessary during the Mesa Boogie Mark III era but is less so with the Komet Trainwrecks.  The reason has to do with the natural compression delivered by power tubes that are turned up and working hard. While the Boogie’s pre-amp tubes were cranked (Volume set to 10), the power tubes were staying relatively cool (Master Volume set to 3).  That’s because the Boogie has so much power/headroom that higher Master Volume settings would be ear-splitting on stage.  In that scenario, the Ross was necessary to compensate for the absence of natural power tube compression and provide the “eternal sustain” sound Trey uses for songs like Divided Sky and YEM.  On the lower-wattage Komet, there is only a single Volume knob (no Master) and it controls the power tube output.  Because the amp has lower overall power than the Boogie, that Volume knob is set higher, so the Komet power tubes are really cooking.  Under those conditions, the power tubes deliver compression and sustain naturally, and once Trey got comfortable that the Komet was producing sufficient natural compression and sustain, he started relying on the Ross much less frequently.

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