Trivium Guitarist Explains Why They Came Back to Real Tube Amps, Talks How He Keeps His Playing Fresh

Recently, The Razor’s Edge podcast had Trivium’s guitar player Corey Beaulieu visiting. During the episode, they touched upon various guitar-related stuff. But most importantly, Corey talked about the band’s decision to record their 2020 album “What the Dead Men Say,” using actual tube-driven amps.

Both Corey and the band’s frontman Matt Heafy have been known for using digital modeling amps over the past years. However, when asked about why they made this decision to use actual tube amps for the album, he replied (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“When we’re in the studio, we always record with amps, just because, to us, it always sounded the best. And for the records, it’s just that we put everything under a microscope with fucking microphones and the studio stuff. We want it to be as best organic sound as possible.”

“And then once we were actually recording ‘What the Dead Men Say’… I remember we were recording and we were going to… Since we haven’t been using amps or anything for so long, we didn’t really have much in our collection.”

“I think I maybe had like 2 or 3 amps, one of them was broken at that point. So we had to borrow a couple of amps and stuff. And after that, I was just like ‘Screw that.’ I don’t like being handcuffed like that.”

“So after we recorded ‘What the Dead Men Say,’ I started… All the stuff that I was a fan of for amps over the years… My mindset was that I wanted to buy or find all the amps that we have used previously on other records.”

Trivium - What The Dead Men Say [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

“So I went on Reverb and scoured the internet. At least at that time, there was a pretty good abundance of used amps on the market. And since, at that time, no one was really using amps, or there was no demand for it, I was able to buy so many amps dirt cheap.”

“So I bought all the stuff. Because I always remember what we used on records so I bought it. Basically, I bought everything Peavey had made for the last 20 years.”

“And then I started messing around during our downtime and I really got into tube amps again, jamming and writing at home, just playing on amps.”

Trivium - Catastrophist [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

“It had been so long, I just rediscovered just how much I enjoyed it, how easier it was to dial in a tone that I liked by using amps, because that’s what we grew up on. We grew up on dicking around on little computer screens, programming an amp. So just being able to turn on and mess with the knobs and just dial it in… Like ‘Oh, I remember how to do this on this amp and get this kind of thing.”

Trivium's Corey Beaulieu: Riff from "Like Light to the Flies" | Behind The Riff | Jackson Guitars

“I just really enjoyed it and then I started talking about it to Matt [Heafy] and I let him borrow some of the amps that I had, some 6505s and stuff like that. And he started playing amps again and he was like ‘Oh, man.’ And the response and feel of it, ‘My playing feels more natural.'”

Elsewhere in the interview, Corey also discussed his playing style and how he’s still mostly staying true to his old-school influences. Asked about how he keeps his playing “fresh,” the guitarist replied:

“[I am] always trying to learn new stuff. And now with the internet and all these different things, even just following Instagram accounts where people just do 20-second [licks] — I follow on that stuff and I just… I don’t really sit down and try to learn but I’ll just watch stuff and it’s like ‘Oh, that sounds pretty cool,’ and just kind of get the gist of it, kind of do your own version of it.”

Trivium's Corey Beaulieu on His Pro Series Signature King Vs | Jackson Presents | Jackson Guitars

Concluding how he still has his “favorite players” that he listens to and how he keeps this as a foundation, he was then asked to weigh in on more modern players, giving Polyphia’s Tim Henson as an example. He replied:

“I obviously know all the people, players, and stuff. But I’m not really familiar with the playing stuff. There’s a lot of the newer stuff that’s totally out of my wheelhouse when they’re doing all these weird taps, sliding, all that kind of crazy stuff — I guess what you call more ‘modern’ stuff.”

“I’m still kind of playing the stuff more in the zone of what I grew up on, the whole thrash stuff, Yngwie [Malmsteen] and stuff, where I don’t really do a lot of tapping or anything. I just kind of develop my style of what I play the best.”

Trivium - In The Court Of The Dragon [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

“There are certain things where I’m just like ‘Yeah, I can kind of do it.’ But it’s not really my strength. I just know, over the years, what my identity is, of what I like to play.”

“So I just kind of stick to that, add in little things here and there or find new things to kind of creatively add to spice some things up. But usually, when we’re making a record, we just jam along to the thing and usually come up with a solo pretty quick. “

Corey concluded by offering:

“There’s nobody trying to force anything so it’s pretty natural and quick and easy at this point.”

Trivium - "In The Court Of The Dragon" (Live from The Hangar)

Trivium’s latest album “What the Dead Men Say” came out back in late April of 2020, right around the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The band kept themselves busy and the follow-up came in 2021, titled “In the Court of the Dragon.” Both records were produced by Josh Wilbur and both were released through Road Runner records.

Photo: Y’some (Matthew K. Heafy & Corey Beaulieu – Trivium (Hamburg, Nov. 2012))

  • 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 Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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