Ty Tabor’s Early and Latest Tones (Part 2)

August 31, 2009 | By | Reply More


Vid: Ty Goes Through His Current Rig!

In terms of Ty Tabor’s “transitional” gear, I won’t go into the gory details here, but for a long while – including King’s X’s latest album, XV – Ty used Yamaha guitars: the Les Paul-like AES series (mostly the 920), and two signature models, one of which had a baritone scale.

Amp-wise, he used Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifiers, then a Marshall 30th Anniversary head, and eventually got onto Randall MTS amps. Randall has gotten lots of props for these amps, which allow you to swap multiple tube preamp modules in and out of a tube-powered head. (In fact, George Lynch’s and Kirk Hammett’s signature Randall amps use this technology.)

Here’s what Ty said about the heads to Modern Guitars in 2005:

“I’m actually using some [amps] these days that I’m extremely happy about. I used them on the entire last tour actually, and I got the kind of comments I used to get in the old days for the first time in many years. I’ve been using, believe it or not, some tube Randall gear, the MTS series, designed by Bruce Egnater. They’re just tremendous amps. I can’t explain how awesome these amps are. It’s been a long time since I just plugged into something and found home. They’re all tube, all real sounding, and you just slip modules in and out of the front of the amp, tubes and all. In other words, it’s like having several major, expensive tube amps all in one. I’ve got every kind of Marshall, I’ve got top-boost AC-30s, Fenders, everything you can imagine. And the fact is, I have several of the actual Marshalls and Boogies to compare them against. The Egnater versions are better than all of the real amps. That’s why I’m freaking out.

“They’re totally awesome. And what’s also so awesome about them is that the power amps have 6L6s on one side and EL34s on the other. So you can combine the two in different configurations. You can adjust the warmth or coolness of the biased of the tubes by how hard you hit them directly from the front of the amp, and anybody can do it with a standard meter. That kind of flexibility has never existed within the tube world, and it just opens up the whole thing. It’s a huge leap forward in guitar technology.”

XV Gear

Here’s what Ty used to record King’s X’s latest disc, XV (2008), from a guitarsite.com interview:

What amps did you use on XV?

I’ve got some new gear here that I’ve been really inspired by – some of Bruce Egnater’s gear. It really sounds amazing. I’ve been so inspired by that, I’ve been writing some really heavy stuff with it. I play Randalls – I use the RM4, which is like a modular unit thing, where you plug these preamp modules in that are actual tube preamps – not software emulation, but actual hardware emulation of different famous amps throughout time. And Bruce Egnater designed this thing for Randall. I’ve been playing those for the last couple of tours and last couple of albums. Bruce himself makes his own version of that, that has even more features than the Randall version, and I’ve got one of those here at home, too [I believe he’s been touring with the Engater stuff]. So lately, I’ve been playing both Randalls and Bruce Egnater’s amp version. It’s just inspiring stuff because I would never be able to afford that many amps – if I had to go out and buy a Bogner and a really classic Marshall. Instead, I’ve got this whole list of classic amps that have been tweaked by Bruce Egnater – he’s a guru.

I forgot to mention, one of the things that I’m most excited about the whole thing is Jeff Hilligan, at Bruce Egnater’s place, designed a module to emulate the kind of ‘Gretchen Goes to Nebraska’ era tone [i.e., the Lab Series tone] of King’s X guitar. It’s the first time that anybody’s done it that I actually think it sounds like it. He’s done an amazing job – we’re actually talking about putting it out there, because people are always asking me, “How do I get that tone?” And it was such a nightmare how to get that tone, that if we can just fine-tune it a tiny bit and tweak it, it would be a real easy way to get it.

What about guitars?

I’m using Yamahas exclusively, for years now. And on the last record, I used primarily an AES 920 and an AES 720. And along with those two, I pulled out my original Strat that I used on the first four King’s X records. It’s a Strat Elite – it’s been retired for a while – and I used it with the Yamahas on this last record. I think we came up with some pretty brutal guitar tones on a couple of things.

Current Gear

At this summer’s NAMM convention, the website HarmonyCentral.com shot a vid (below) of Ty running down his rig, including his new guitar. He goes through pretty much everything, but here’s a written list with more detail.

Ty's new signature model axe, made by Guilford of Illinois.

Ty's new signature model axe, made by Guilford Guitars.

New Guilford Ty Tabor signature guitar with Seymour Duncan P-Rail pickups.
> The P-Rails combine humbucker, P-90 and single-coil options into one pickup!
> Guitar is mahogany with “tone vents” (not chambered), maple cap, maple neck/fingerboard, Strat scale (25 1/2″).
> This guitar looks like it should sound really cool: sort of a Strat meets les paul Junior meets Les Paul with maybe a little EVH Wolfgang in there. (I want to try one!)

To: Preamp
Egnater M4 — chassis that holds 4 tube preamp sections:
> Brian May-like Top Boost AC30 module, probably the VX.
> Ty calls this a JCM 100 module, which doesn’t make sense: Is it a DSL or a JCM 800? Jeff Hilligan from Egnater said in the Rig-Talk forum that this is the SL2 module, which Egnater says is a JCM800 on channel 1 and a hot-rodded ’80s Marshall on channel 2.
> EG-5 module (supposedly a cross between a Bogner and an SLO), which Ty describes as a “super hopped-up” Marshall, and says he uses this module “90% of the time or more.” Egnater confirms this module was modded for Ty.
> Modded COD module, which Ty says was modded to add more midrange and to emulate the Lab Series L5. Jeff from Egnater said this: “Module one (Gretchen [the Gretchen Goes to Nebraska album]) is based off the COD module with over a year of me obsessing over his old tone – tweaking different values of resistors, caps and tone controls. Channel A obtains his older clean tone and channel B the heavier old tone. Go listen to Pleiades on Gretchen – this song starts out with channel A and then moves to channel B.”
> Click here for a list of all Egnater modules.

To: Effects (all rack)
> Line6 Echo Pro
> Axe Effects Ultra, just for effects (not amp modeling)
> Alesis Midiverb II, which he’s had for a while for chorus
> The blue/black Rockman units are a Rockman Sustainor (left) and a Stereo Chorus/Delay

To: Power Amp
> Randall RT2/50, which has 6L6s and EL34s (switchable).

To: Cabs
> Ty doesn’t talk about these, but he uses Egnater cabs which are loaded with Celestion V30s – stock, anyway.

And there you have it!

Ty takes us through his current rig!

– End of part 2 (of 2) –

Category: Egnater, Marshall, Mesa/Boogie, Randall Amplifiers, Seymour Duncan

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