Trey’s Mutron-esque Sounds on “Kill Devil Falls” Slightly Reminiscent of “Disco Dead”


Editors Note: Several other effects like phase, “vibe-esque”, octave, etc. are used throughout the jam. As a guitarist Trey has quite the rig set-up, we all know this. In this particular passage it seems he’s running something along the lines of TruTronIII > LowGainTS9Silver > SlightDelay > Mark III Mesa Boogie. (Thanks Josh)- However, it is clear the Mutron III does stick out with its envelope sound at many points in the KDF Jam that are distinctly new. 

By Tripp Demoss

Listen closely to Trey Anastasio’s guitar effects, about 18:45 in this clip of a 25 minute “Kill Devil Falls” on 7/31 in Atlanta last Friday. Ever heard those sounds before? (Aside from the Tubescreamer or channel two of his Mark III)

You bet you have. It’s just like a MU-Tron III pedal, the envelope controlled masterpiece, a 70’s era guitar effects device that you might have recognized from many funk dance numbers or perhaps the Grateful Dead.

However, it should be noted that the Tru-Tron 3X is actually what Trey and Bob used for the GD50 shows, not the original Mu-Tron. For more info watch this video.

This is what Jerry Garcia mastered in the latter half of the 1970s. Disco Dead. The Dead playing faster and tighter, fresh off a “hiatus” where they released Blues for Allah and played several shows anyways, Mickey Hart back in the saddle, and Disco Dead hitting cruising altitude.

The disco “Dancing in the Streets” is my absolute favorite version of the tune that the Dead played and it is accentuated by the MU-Tron III. You can also hear this effect on “Estimated Prophet” and “Fire on the Mountain.”

Late 1970s Dead gives you gems like this “Eyes of the World” with the metronome turned up to presto. The wall of sound was gone, full rhythm section returned, and visions of Terrapins were dancing in their heads.

If you’re looking for more Disco Dead, you can hear Jerry blasting these bouncy, upbeat scales on albums like Dick’s Picks volumes 3 and 20.

It would not be a stretch to assume Trey picked up these “Disco Dead” effects doing his research for the “Fare Thee Well” shows- if he wasn’t already familiar with them to begin with, granted.

Whatever the case, lucky audience members at Phish’s summer tour shows over the past and next few weeks are no doubt in for a sampling of some “Jerry” flavor to Trey’s playing this summer, fresh off the heels of a fantastic send-off(?) to the Core Four and the Grateful Dead qua Grateful Dead.

* Special thanks to Josh

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