People for a Compressed Trey

Posted by in amplifiers, guitar, music, musical instruments, musician

compressed-treyThis is the sort of story that we gearheads just love.  Being that I was heavily influence by the music of Phish and its guitarist Trey Anastasio in the 90’s, I became a big fan of hollow body guitars used in conjunction with a compressor pedal to achieve loud and clear sustain with a clean, undistorted tone.  Well in the last few years of Phish’s existence, Trey ditched his long-used compressor and his tone took on a darker, edgier and grungier sound which was far removed from its pristine and singing mid-90’s hey-day.

As fate would have it, I was not alone is my disdain for Trey’s tone of late.  The folks over at had been discussing the demise of Trey’s tone and the discussion heated up once the band announced that it would be reforming for some shows this spring.  The conversation got to Trey via his long-time songwriter partner and lyricist Tom Marshall who had stumbled up these discussions.  The following is an excerpt from Tom Marshall’s conversation with Trey Anastasio:

I spent the last two days and last night in New York writing three cool songs with Red. In direct response to msharky’s request, I asked Trey what the deal is with this compressor stuff?.I explained the PT threads requesting that he bring back the compressor. He was very surprised that I was asking him this, because I’m not really a ‘tech’ guy…you know? I also don’t listen too much to old shows, and so the “tone change” was lost on me. I like writing new songs, and I don’t focus too much on the past. First i must explain that he found it funny that I brought it up, because he had been thinking the EXACT SAME THING: Phish is coming back, maybe the Ross should also come back. He’s thinking of the Mesa and possibly the cabinets too — but he does like that little fender.

Basically, he used the compressor differently than people normally do — often people will place it early in the effects chain to smooth the sound going into the other effects. Trey did it backwards, and had the Ross last — AFTER his two tube screamers. The Ross was always on. Always. His signature Squirming Coil “playable sustain” was the result of full volume pedal and both screamers on and pumping that signal into the Ross.

Me: and so you got rid of it?

Trey: I started playing without it after Phish and found that I could get an “edgier” sound that I can’t get with it.

Me: so it’s gone? or just off?

Trey: gone

Me: forever?

Trey: no, I’ve been thinking of bringing it back for a while now…if i can find it!

Well with the news that Trey would consider returning to his old sound if he could find his old compressor, the People for a Compressed Trey banded together to procure one for him!  The future just got a lot smoother!

Sources: Relix, Rolling Stone, Phantasy Tour, Tom Marshall’s Picassa Album