Alter Bridge’s Mark Tremonti Explains Why He Gave Up on Digital Modelers: ’I Never Found the Right Lead Setting’

Recently, Alter Bridge guitarist and occasional vocalist Mark Tremonti, as well as the band’s frontman and guitarist Myles Kennedy, sat down to chat with Premier Guitar. One of the expected topics that they touched upon was about digital amp modelers and their decision to return to using tube-driven amps. Reflecting on the decision to go back to the old-school choice, Tremonti said:

“I did half of a tour with a Kemper at one point, just to try it out. I never found the right lead setting that made me comfortable. I always felt some digital weirdness in there. When I switched to my MT 100, I wouldn’t go back. So, on the road, it’s just the one MT 100 now.”

The MT100 amplifier is Mark Tremonti’s signature model by PRS. However, the amplifier in question is still not officially released and is currently only available to Mark. On the other hand, there are other smaller variants that you can get your hands on.

Mark Tremonti And I Talk About his New Amp (Full Version)

Going deeper into the interview, Mark and Myles also talked about how rough it is to be a musician these days. Reflecting on the old-school ways of album and tour cycles, Myles said:

“It was hard enough once people stopped buying physical copies of records, and then you add the way the world’s changing. Being a musician… You got to work hard.”

“But we’re in Munich right now, and it’s like, ‘So far, so good.’ It’s kind of blowing our minds that people are showing up. It’s been great!”

Alter Bridge Full 4K Concert - Orlando, FL 1/27/2023 Hometown Gig

On whether this strict working ethic has a potential breaking point, Myles said:

“To be totally candid, there was a period when I was afraid that could happen. I was like, ‘You know what, I did three records back-to-back-to-back. I’ve got to shut this down for a little while and let the well refill’—which is weird for me. Usually, once a record’s done, I’m already on to the next one.”

Tremonti also commented on the matter, saying:

“I remember watching an interview with Carl Verheyen [Supertramp guitarist and a session player]. He’s like, ‘I’m a professional guitar player. I don’t go a handful of days a year without playing the guitar.’”

“That struck me. Now, I try to make sure that when I’m gone from home, I’m working all the time. Every day I’m practicing for the next Sinatra shows. I’ve got two coming up after this tour, and I have another one in March. I’m trying to book as many as I can.”

“I’m also writing a book, which is taking up most of my time at the moment. Then, I’m writing songs for whatever happens next, trying to stay ahead of things.”

Elsewhere in the interview, two of them also discussed Alter Bridge’s creative process and how they come up with new music. Tremonti offered:

“It’s an addiction. You write that song that makes your hair stand up, and you want to do it again. It’s the same with anything creative, whether writing a song or book, or painting a picture. It is like a drug.”

Alter Bridge - Holiday (Official Video)

Myles added:

“We’re nearly two decades in, and we have a good understanding of what boxes to check and what our fan base wants to hear. It’s that delicate dance of making sure that they’re content and that we’re also still pushing ourselves.”

Discussing the band’s latest album “Pawns & Kings,” Myles said:

“If you listen to some of the prior records, there were a lot of textures and elements weaving through. The other day, I was reviewing one of the songs from [2016’s] ‘The Last Hero.’ I was listening on headphones and was like, ‘I didn’t even know that keyboard part was in there!’ We pulled all that out of this record. ‘Less is more’ was the motto.”

Alter Bridge - Show Me a Leader

Tremonti also weighed in on the record, which came out in October 2022, by saying:

“We decided, ‘Let’s get back to our old way of doing things.’ We want it to be more just the guys playing their instruments. No orchestration underneath. No pads. Just us. It gives it more depth, and everything else has more room to breathe.”

Last year, in an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Mark Tremonti also discussed the delayed release of his MT-100 amplifier. When asked whether we’ll get to see it on the shelves anytime soon, he replied:

“I’m hoping next year [2023], you know, right now it’s at the phase where we’ve approved the final schematic of the amp, and then all of a sudden, the war breaks out. So we can’t get tubes from Russia, for the one channel, so you gotta mess with the amp [to compensate for that].”

Tremonti - If Not For You (Official Music Video)

“Right now, we’re in the phase where it goes to the factory, where they’re actually going to make it — so they have to take our handmade version of it, and then do a commercial build, and then send us three versions of that for approval.”

“They’ll send me one, they’ll send PRS one, and then they’ll keep one. So, we can make changes and tweaks to get it perfectly right. “

“So last time, when we did the MT-15, they were spot on. They took what we did, and they made it sound exactly the same. So, I’m looking forward to it — any day now I should be getting a call that I’ll be getting a new version for approval.”

Mark Tremonti Talks PRS Gear

“You know, we’ve been working so hard on this for so many years. Now we’ve got to deal with this tube problem. So, I hope it’s like sometimes when problems happen and you have to change things, it becomes a happy mistake, and you get a better-sounding amp.”

“Because that’s what happened with the MT 15. When we were using 6L6s and then factory we were getting them from stop producing them. So, we used 5881s and they sounded even better.”

Photo: Antje Naumann (14-06-06 RiP Alter Bridge Mark Tremonti 2)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.