Alter Bridge’s Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy talk about the amps and effects that power their sound.
Guitarist Mark Tremonti is a dyed-in-the-wool amp nerd. Plus, he isn’t afraid to step away from the boutique side of things and use more affordable (and available) amps in his backline. His guitar foil in Alter Bridge, Myles Kennedy, also talks about which effects he keeps on his board.
Mark Tremonti’s Top 5 Amps
Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Reissue
I’ve never actually played an original, to be honest. Ever since I started touring, I needed that clean tone. I bought a Fender Twin, and I’ve never been able to replace it. I’ve tried Matchless, Roland, and AC30s, but every time I just go back to the Twin. It’s got that super-high chimey sound. Since I use my fingers a lot, I like my clean sound to be really bright. It’s totally stock. There’s just something about that open-back 2x12 combo that I’m really used to.
Mesa/Boogie Triple and Dual Rectifier
I first tried a Triple Rectifier when I worked for a couple of months at a guitar shop in Tallahassee called Main Street Music. They were the high-end amp dealer in town. Mesas really shine in the live setting. You can’t really get them up to the volume they need to be in a guitar store. There’s no amp I’ve played that gets that chunky, crisp rhythm sound. The first Mesa I had was a Dual Rectifier. I have four or five of them, and they are still my favorite tonally, but I use the Triple Rectifiers live for more headroom.
My favorite Bludotone is the “’70s circuit Dumble-style” amp. It’s that on-the-edge, expressive, upper-midrange sound. It sounds like it’s about to blow. Some of my favorite tones I’ve ever found on YouTube come from that circuit. Brandon from Bludotone does a really nice version of it. The ’70s circuit is a rawer, edgier sound than my Dumble. The Dumble has a much smoother sound. I have Bludotones that emulate that, but I like the ’70s circuit just for that unique tone. I have four Bludotones at home, and I sometimes get on the phone with Brandon for hours to talk amps. Every time we talk, we try to come up with a new project. I’m talking with him now about doing a 1x12 combo with a built in Loop-a-Lator.
Cornford Ritchie Kotzen RK100
They loaned me one, just to get used to it, and I liked it a lot. The one that I eventually got was so much better sounding than the one that they loaned me. It’s just one of those special amps. The RK100 is another amp where you can twist the knobs any way you want, and it’s going to sound great. It sounds so rich, and it does rhythm and lead equally well. It’s hard to find amps that do that. The only amp that I’ve seen that can do that as well as the Cornford is the new PRS Archon. Most of the rhythm and lead stuff on the new Alter Bridge record and my solo album was recorded with the RK100.
Dumble Overdrive Special
I’ve had it for a couple years now, and it’s everything it’s cracked up to be. You can buy one for $100K, but it’s hard to find one for a reasonable price, so I got lucky. I use each amp for a specific reason. With the Dumble, I don’t switch channels—I just set it one way and play. I don’t need a clean, dirty, and lead tone out of each amp when I’m in the studio.
The first time I ever played one was when I was doing a show with Paul Reed Smith at NAMM. He had about eight amps onstage, and I saw the Dumble and immediately plugged in. It sounds good wherever it’s set. It has this magic to it. It’s very expressive and sensitive to your pick attack, and every note just sings. It has that blooming sound. My Dumble is #281, so it’s relatively recent—probably made in the last five years.
I would never take it on the road. The funny thing is, I haven’t really featured it on the studio albums too much. The stuff we do is more aggressive, though I think I used it a little bit mixed in with my lead tone on the latest Alter Bridge album. I just took in three or four of my favorite amps and left it up to the producer to mix and match tones. It’s on some of the more subtle stuff, like “Bleed it Dry.”
I think my favorite tone video that I’ve seen online is from a 1979 Dumble called “Low Tuned Slide.” It’s just amazing. [Click here to watch the video.]
Myles Kennedy’s Top 5 Effects
Fulltone Clyde Wah
I'm a huge fan of Fulltone pedals. A friend of mine turned my on to the Clyde back in 1997. I've used this pedal religiously since the day I bought it. It sounds amazing. It’s built like a tank. And it’s held up without any problems for 16 years.
Line 6 MM4
This is my main pedal for modulation effects. It replicates an arsenal of chorus, phaser, and tremolo effects very nicely. I've used the tri-chorus setting on a number of tracks I've recorded with the Mayfield Four and Alter Bridge.
Fulltone Ultimate Octave
This is the effect I used on the intro lead to “Before Tomorrow Comes.” It's an extremely versatile distortion/fuzz with an octave-up switch. It’s a great effect to kick on when you want to push your lead tone into extreme territory.
This is the pedal I used for my leads with Alter Bridge on AB III and Fortress. The perfect balance of sustain and clarity without changing the tone of the amp.
I used this pedal to replicate the effect I used on my “Blackbird” solo. If you dig the Robin Trower or Jimi Hendrix Uni-Vibe sound, I can't recommend this pedal enough.