Trey’s Current Rig Pt. I
One of the most overlooked aspects of Phish’s return, was the return of Trey’s classic guitar rig. And already, since the reunion, the rig has undergone many more changes to bring the tone we are hearing from Big Red today. Trey’s use of effects is quite often misunderstood, and though he uses a fairly simple rig, many people are at a loss to what he is doing and how is making those sounds he is known for. There are some descriptions of his rig out there, but nearly every one is out of date, or slightly incomplete. Today, we’ll take a tour through Trey’s current rig to provide readers with a better understanding of exactly what is going on up there.
For many years, Trey’s pedal rig has remained largely the same, with the addition of one or two minor pieces along the way. But for the most part, his setup has consisted of the following pedals for quite some time (the only addition being the TC Electronics Nova Repeater Delay):
Ibanez/Analog Man TS9 “Silver” Modded Tube Screamers
- basic overdrive pedals
- one set around 11:00, the other cranked all the way.
- silver mod provided by Analog Man has given a higher gain sound with more of an edge
Vintage Ross Compressor
- controls the peaks and valleys of one’s attack
- currently, Trey has the sustain turned almost all the way down meaning he is using it minimally
Original Boomerang Phrase Sampler
- Basic looping pedal
Digitech Whammy II pedal (externally MIDI controlled)
- responsible for the whale call
- also responsible for Trey’s octave shifts as well as the siren-like sounds
Teese RMC Wah (concealed within a Crybaby shell)
- standard wah pedal
Footswitch for CAE Tremolo + Expression Pedal for CAE Bad Cat Vibe
- activates CAE Tremolo
- Controls speed of Black Cat Vibe (see rack mounted effects)
TC Electronics Nova Repeater Delay
- The only new addition to Trey’s rig
- Popular studio delay pedal
- Used for tone color during solos
CAE 4×4 footswitch board
- on/off control for rack mounted effects
Boss FS5U footswitches + Leslie control
- Controls for Leslie speaker
Rack Mounted Gear:
Trey’s rack mounted gear is responsible for many of the actual “effects” and has also remained fairly constant for quite some time. If anything, several pieces have disappeared over the years. At this time, it has been reduced to one of its most simple setups and features the following list of items. FYI: CAE stands for Custom Audio Electronics, a company run by Bob Bradshaw who is famous for building Van Halen’s rig.
Furman M8-L Power Conditioner
- Provides power to the rig
Korg DTR-2 Rackmount Tuner
Vintage Ibanez DM2000 Digital Delay
- used for looping
- also used for reverse effect heard in “Carini” solo
Custom Audio Electronics (CAE) Black Cat Vibe
- Trey’s effect of choice through the ’99-’00 period
- Used at the begining of PYITE
- Jimi Hendrix inspired
CAE Super Tremolo
- various tremolo effects
- often used as a “slicer”
- also used for the ’95/’96 era delay loop jams
Alesis NanoVerb x2
- 1 set for delay
- one set for room reverb
-set to a gated reverb
CAE 4×4 Switcher
The next piece of the puzzle is Trey’s amp setup. This part of the rig has seen the most changes over the years and has included the Mesa Boogie Mark III(80’s-95), a Groove Tubes amp (95-98) and a Fender Deluxe Reverb modified by Bill Caruth (98-03). The speaker cabinets have rotated between the original Languedoc speaker cabinets built by Paul in the late 80’s (modeled after the Hard Truckers cabs), a set of actual Hard Truckers cabs, and a custom Bruno speaker. Trey also uses a Custom Audio Electronics preamp, but was seen toying with new preamps on recent tours, including an SMS classic tube preamp modeled after the one Jerry Garcia used. Since the reunion, there have been four variations of the setup that have appeared on stage (with additional small pieces coming and going along the way).
The first setup, debuted at Hampton and seen on much of the Summer ’09 tour, was a combination of the Mesa (for the first time since ’94), the Bruno speaker (seen with the red piping), and one of the Languedoc cabs, along with the Fender DR or a second Mesa behind as a backup, and the addition of a full Leslie speaker (as opposed to the half-cab he had used before). The Fender was seen on stage early on in ’09 but quickly disappeared. This first setup is seen in this picture from the Gorge in ‘09:
The second setup included the Mesa, both Languedoc speakers in addition to the Bruno, and the Leslie.
For the third setup, he dropped the Bruno and began using just a single Languedoc cab, along with the Mesa and the Leslie.
Finally, the current setup we are seeing today features both Languedoc speakers, once again, along with the Mesa and the Leslie.