Songs are never played exactly the same way twice. Plus, while I was waiting for him, everybody there was excited because the first JBL K151 in SF arrived and they mounted it in a cab they have waiting and wanted to hear it. Replies to my comments ), So I walked up, introduced myself and start throwing all kinds of questions about active electronics at him: What does he think of this idea or that idea? Irwin Guitars Luthier of five custom guitars … Then, after the amp, the signals recombined into a single speaker output. (A circuit called an emitter follower was installed in the instrument to lower the pickups from high[ish] impedance to low impedance. Phil Lesh was born in the city of Berkeley in California. Events. He recognized me and asked, “Did you ever get your bass?” I told him I was working on it and asked to come up there. He was crushed when it sounded nothing like Jack. How much? TalkBass utilizes technology from Skimlinks that may give us a small affiliate commission on purchases made via links on our site. Dan Schwartz is a parent, sort of a husband, and has been a musician of some years, having played on quite a few records - and even a few good ones. Here are is some information about that iconic bass. They were available, 50 years ago, in 2 models, one 12”, and one 12” + one 8” (both speakers though were wired to that single amp output). The top (spruce) and back (maple) are carved. I have a shirt with Phil on the front playing a headless bass that looks like a Status Energy. The modern-styled bass will be added to the museum’s extensive instrument collection, which also includes Prince’s and Eddie Van Halen’s guitars. Omakase. Future Zone. I had just gotten my first Guild Starfire, a sunburst ’67 SF-I for $175. But you’ve probably got to find a Versatone and develop the same way of hitting the strings. I asked a bunch of questions, but no RT — he was on his way back from a crafts fair in Bolinas, showing the first Alembic “standard” guitar and bass. It’s a smallish “combo” amp with a very unique design. This is one of the most famous Grateful Dead shows that has yet to receive an official release, but it’s surely only a matter of time. What favorite songs appalled your parents. (Would you? In his spare time, he used to write for Harry and Sallie at the absolute sound and the Perfect Vision. Shortly after his arrival in SF, he met the Youngbloods secretary (who went by the name of Rosie McGee). Ritter 3D Bridge. The next day I hopped the train into the city, looked up Alembic in a phone book and invited myself over. Professionally, he keeps trying to leave music, but it keeps coming to get him. The pictures were taken in ’78, when it was intact, and from Larry Robinson’s book, The Art of Inlay, after the modification. Ritter Electronics. Goin' to see him and Willie Nelson on Labor Day weekend. He brought me onto the stage (the first time I had ever looked out at a waiting crowd of 20,000 people), and we searched around in different cases looking for Phil’s Starfire, but no luck (we did find Garcia’s and Weir’s guitars though.) You can also subscribe without commenting. All my short scale basses went into retirement until the 90s). I’ll sound like Jack with a different bass!” (Yes, I was THAT naïve.) Team. In 1968, there were 3 custom instruments made by Guild for the Grateful Dead. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register. All We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Bass Amps Bass Guitars Vintage Guitars Grateful Dead Cool Guitar Good Ol Percussion Instrumental Music Stuff. 4 months later I get a letter from Rick telling me that he talked to Phil and yes, it’s mine, but Phil wants me to come get it, rather than it being shipped to me. It’s Memorial Day weekend and I was on a canoeing trip up the Delaware — but when I got back Sunday night, there it was: beautiful, and mine. 30.5 inches is short scale (most Guilds and Gibsons). Thank you for your support! A Lesson in the Phil Lesh Style… Several things make it difficult to describe, characterize, or analyze Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s style of playing. First I come back from SF, the first of us ever to go this mecca, yammering about Alembic to every musician I know. It was gorgeous yes, but not really happy as it was. Ha, I have to laugh! I’ll give it you!”. Phil Lesh; Active: 1965–1995 Instruments: Bass guitar, backing and lead vocals Other projects: Phil Lesh and Friends, The Other Ones, The Dead, Furthur. What follows is the tale of meeting Phil, adapted from something I wrote up for a web site in 2007: Rick Turner was a musician from the Boston area, who started on the road to luthiery there, and continued both when he moved to NYC. Phil Lesh joined the band on a second bass guitar from YEM through the end of the show. Legendary Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh has recently begun playing a spruce-topped 5-string DeMars Long Trail Bass Guitar in the acoustic portions of his “Phil Lesh & Friends” shows. After the show I went back there again and he invited me back yet again and took me backstage to meet Phil, who was leaning on a limo with two very buzzed teenage girls, all giggling. Alex Koford played additional acoustic guitar, Jason Crosby handled … The first thing he did was remove the pickups (they are both now in my original sunburst SF) so it could come alive acoustically. This also shows the mother of pearl lines. This is an arch-top, built for Phil — it’s sort of a Guild M-85, at least in shape. (Since then I’ve removed the plastic laminate that covered the pickup holes. I followed the seats of the hockey rink back around the stage to look at the gear closer up. This gorgeous Phil Lesh Alembic Miniature Bass has the finest details and highest quality you will find anywhere! News of round-wound strings had yet to make it to San Jose . Contact. The original line-up of Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (guitar, vocals), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals), Bill Kreutzmann (drums), and Ron McKernan (keys) was still finding its stride. The Journal of Music and Audio is a free online magazine delivered every other week. Lesh was born in Berkeley, California, on March 15, 1940. But it was my fretless and I used it like that for many years — and loved it (in hindsight I think it was hampered by the lack of decent short scale strings that we suffered through in the 70s and 80s. My friends were waiting for me outside and it suddenly hit me and I told them, “I think Phil Lesh just gave me a bass…” The next day I send a letter to the Dead Heads PO box and one to RT telling him what happened, admitted I’m embarrassed to bring it up but maybe he meant it and I’d be dumb not to look into it. He got into Berkeley High School for completing his schooling career. I asked, “Who’s your boss?” He said, “Phil Lesh.” And I was thinking “Oh, @#%$. Nice people. The very first instrument visible was a blond M-85 with insane inlay and no strings. Finishes & Inlays. Ritter Pickups. It sounds much better this way — two big sound holes.). Don't subscribe Confusing, eh? Gold Supporters see zero ads! He, after completing his school life, went on to attend San Francisco State University. Cold Rain and Snow and Viola Lee Blues were both Phish debuts. Spike played through a Sunn 100w head and dual JBL D140 cab. The neck is a 3-piece running straight through the body, not touching the top or back until the butt of the instrument, where the bridge is sunk into it. ©2020 Ritter Instruments - 100% made in Germany - Impressum - Terms & conditionsImpressum - Terms & conditions I asked about it to anyone there. Great articles of music and audio without ads. Anyone know what this bass was? In the late 1970s Lesh briefly played a Fender Jazz and a handmade Doug Irwin bass (Irwin had built Jerry Garcia’s iconic Tyger and Wolf guitars amongst others). Phil eventually discovered that he couldn’t use the bass, for some reason — maybe he didn’t relate to fretless -– I don’t really know. I just laughed and left the arena. Lesh provided bass, with Ross James and Grahame Lesh on guitar and vocals. Serial Number 74 00008. In the late 1970s Phil Lesh briefly played a handmade Doug Irwin bass on tour with the Grateful Dead. The second one came three and half years into it, when I met Phil Lesh. Phil Lesh's began playing the trumpet when he was fourteen years old, having grown up being exposed to jazz greats such as John Coltrane and Miles Davis. They’re rare, but findable. “Olympic? Although the long Rickenbackers, like my antique 4000, are 33”.”––Ed.]. He, in his high school, switched to trumpet and participated in all the music competitions that were held at his school. Philip Lesh (born Philip Chapman, March 15, 1940) is an American musician and a founding member of the Grateful Dead, with whom he played bass guitar throughout their 30-year career.. Below is a recent realized price for a Phil Lesh Grateful Dead played signed bass guitar. The initial technical impact Nashville-based Wooten had on the bass guitar—via the first handful of albums by Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, and his stunning 1996 solo debut, A Show of Hands—was simply seismic. 32” is medium. Welcome to the Jens Ritter Instruments website. It’s a mono preamp with 4 controls : volume, bass, treble, and pan-o-flex – a control that varies the amount of send to each side of the power amp, and each side of which filters out highs or lows. Much of the history and photos of these historic one of a kind guitars was lost if a fire a The Art Farm. For me, there were a couple early indicators of that choice. The first was my encounter with Jack Casady, when I hadn’t even been playing for a year. Available at dealers. I’m unfamiliar with that name. Phil contacted Dan after reading the feature about the DG instruments in the May 2008 issue of The Robb Report and seeing the instruments in the music media like Bass Player magazine. My 2nd thought was “So much for my Starfire…” I’m sure I gave Rick no useful feedback. I was handed the bass, plugged into an Alembic F2-B, a McIntosh 2100 and the K-151 in sealed box and told, “Go man! Garcia’s gorgeous re-entry three minutes later came in … They can have it. If it’s for the Dead, ya gotta have a skull, right? I was told to wait for him — he knew all. Where the pickups used to be. Jack used a single speaker Versatone for low-wattage gigs (the first Hot Tuna album) and to get that incredible distortion in higher power settings. The Phil Lesh Eye of Horus is a 6-String Jupiter with a custom String Spacing and the Ritter Quattrobucker pickup. How many frets do *you* need on your 4-string? Speaker cabinets w/tie-dyed grille cloths were sitting all over the place, instruments of all sorts were hanging up. It’s ready. The Mockingbird Foundation. For educational purposes only. He started his music career as a violinist. Instruments: Rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals Other projects: RatDog, Kingfish, Bobby and the Midnites, The Other Ones, The Dead, Furthur, Dead & Company. According to Ron Wickersham in Blair Jackson’s book Grateful Dead Gear, this was the first active bass. But eventually I got a call from Rick. HIGH PERFORMANCE HOME AUDIO PRODUCTS Photos with real Mission Control Bass by Jason Scheuner. “Oh, probably $1000.” Imagine $1000 then to a 16 year old. In ’71 the bass player (Spike Daley, now living in Grass valley, CA) in my first all-original band wanted to sound more like Jack Casady (Spike liked Jack, Phil Lesh, John Entwistle, and Rick Danko—good taste), so bought himself a bass just like Jack’s—the Guild Starfire. Alembic Custom Bass Guitar called “Osiris” aka “Mission Control” aka “Osage Orange” aka “The Omega”, built by Rick Turner for Phil Lesh not just for, but as part of the Grateful Dead’s legendary Wall of Sound. Started in 1972, completed in mid 1974. Phillip Chapman Lesh (born March 15, 1940 in Berkeley, California) is a musician and a founding member of the Grateful Dead, with whom he played bass guitar throughout their 30-year career. But did I let that stop me? Box Of Rain *With Karl Denson On Flute Phil Lesh - Bass And Vocals Grahame Lesh - Guitar And Vocals Ross James - Guitar And Vocals Jason Crosby - Keyboards And Vocals Scott Law - Guitar And Vocals Eliot Peck - Vocals Alex Koford - Drums And Vocals Topics: Audience, Tony Suraci Source: AKG 568B>V2>SD 722 @24/48 Location: OTS, at SBD. Online site of the Grateful Dead Archive at University of California, Santa Cruz. Ah, I see. A Phil Lesh stage played Modulus 6-string bass circa 1990 features in a collection of iconic rock 'n' roll gear and memorabilia up for auction this summer. Lesh enrolled at UC Berkeley to become a music major, but he and a friend, Tom Constanten, quickly became appalled by the music department's tendency to discourage individual creativity. My brother told me that Jack Casady was in the shop when he went to pick it up and said, “I hope you’ll be playing that around here — that’s a seriously karma laden bass.”, But, over the years, I discovered why Phil gave it up. ), Anyhoo – it’s July 1973; I’m 16. I left, my head in the clouds. —Bewildered Editor Leebs. A nice guy named Sparky Razine tells me it belonged to his boss and he believed it was for sale. Today we celebrate the birthday of one of rock's most enduring bassists: Phil Lesh, who's been playing bass for The Grateful Dead as long as they've been The Grateful Dead. You can see the neck running through the body. In one’s early life as a musician, one tends to look for signs along the way that you’ve chosen the right path. The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.. And since we’re entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! The Band opened Last performance as the Grateful Dead Jerry had a heart attack at the Betty Ford Center and died on August 9, 1995 Jerry Garcia - Guitar Bob Weir - Guitar Vince Welnick - Keyboards Phil Lesh - Bass Bill Kreutzmann - Drums Mickey Hart - Drums Bass & Guitar models. For Sale: Bass Guitar Strings and Accessories, The TB Bazaar: Gear For Sale from our Sponsors, For Sale: Double Bass Amps, Strings & Accessories, Wanted: Bass Guitars, Amps, and Accessories, Wanted: Double Basses, Amps & Accessories, (You must log in or sign up to reply here.). I was so blown away by the tone, the evenness, roundness and fullness that I didn’t have a moment to feel on the spot. She was the girlfriend of Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, and introduced the two of them — Rick had done an inlay on a bass for Jesse Colin Young, so she thought they’d have something to talk about. He had a bass he wanted people to play and give him feedback on. We at Nate D. Sanders Auctions can obtain up to these amounts or more for you: I went to visit my oldest brother in Palo Alto from New Jersey and saw a Guitar Player magazine with an article listed on the cover, “The Dead’s Gear”, and had in the last year gotten into them. It is Phil Lesh — a jazz player turned avant-garde composer turned rock and roll bassist who provides the powerful but melodic bass lines that help give the Dead's music its exotic, but easily recognizable, flavor. What?” Then I tell a few close friends that winter about the letter from RT, and all of South Jersey having recently converted to Deadheads (they hadn’t played our area from 68-72), it spread like wildfire and most people thought I was lying. Come September, I was back in NJ and the Dead played Philly. Think “Crown of Creation” and “Sunrise”. Phil Lesh’s “Eye of Horus” bass, built by Jens Ritter, has been acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. 2 Available instruments. Dan explained: “Electrical basses come typically in three scale lengths, which is the measurement of the space between the bridge and the “nut”, the point where the fretboard begins. This is from disc 2 of Dick's Picks vol.34. Judge the sound for yourself: it’s half of the Tuesday Night Music Club album (most audible on “We Do What We Can”), and I also use it on Rosanna Cash’s “I Was Watching You”. He was unable to achieve the position he wanted to be in the university band. I saw Sparky and called hello. You can have it if you want it!” I called “For free?” He says “Yeah! (Bear = Owsley; he had a vision for a team of people who would push the art of instrument and sound system building forward, and Rick was the missing piece). Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by boogiebass, May 29, 2002. It sat at Alembic on Brady St. til ’73 being used as a test bed for different electronic ideas. He said to come back between sets. This probably only lasted a couple minutes – he had some serious @#%$ going on and I knew better than to wear out my welcome. [ I had no idea what “short scale” meant. I was in love/lust, my jaw hanging. I read the article – an interview with Rick Turner, all about Alembic. Phil Lesh Alembic Miniature Bass is truly remarkable. Phil Lesh Alembic Miniature Bass Details: Condition: Brand New Item SKU: SS-AXE-PL-408 In ’71 the bass player (Spike Daley, now living in Grass valley, CA) in my first all-original band wanted to sound more like Jack Casady (Spike liked Jack, Phil Lesh, John Entwistle, and Rick Danko—good taste), so bought himself a bass just like Jack’s—the Guild Starfire. Good ol' Phil. As I was walking away I threw a question back at him: “Hey! One issue is the improvisatory nature of the Grateful Dead’s music. I’d seen a Guild M-85 and was thinking, “Maybe I need something else! I was ecstatic but also somehow disappointed — I didn’t sound like Jack. My brother was coming east on business and Rick thought that was OK – him handing it to my brother was the same to him as me flying out and him handing it to me. Phil Lesh with The Grateful Dead live in 1974 with Custom Alembic. Those are mother of pearl lines, not frets. Yes, we know that real Deadheads already know everything there is to know about Lesh's life and times, but hopefully we've come up with five things that will at least surprise some of you. So far, so normal, but after around 15 minutes, the band backed off to create an on-the-spot opportunity for Lesh to deliver one of the most gloriously unkempt bass solos in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. 40 watts per side, BUT: it doesn’t seem like it. Phil Lesh's Modulus bass guitar. Phil Lesh Tickets – Life After the Grateful Dead Fans of the Grateful Dead are very well-acquainted with Phil Lesh, one of the group’s founding members, playing the bass guitar all throughout the band’s career, which spanned 30 years. He was excited that there was bass player in the shop (3&1/2 years already – I’m reeeaaaalllll good!). I'm guessing this pic was taken circa 1994-95 or so. I used to think this was Bear’s idea (hence it appearing in the Guild Guitars book as a fact) but Mark Dronge tells me it was his idea, discussed in a limo ride from NYC to NJ w/Phil, Jerry Garcia, and Bob Weir. In ’88 when Rick was running the Gibson showroom in N. Hollywood, I handed it to him and said “Rick – make this thing be what we know it can be, please.” And in ’90 he calls me and leaves a message “Well, 21 years I’ve been working on this thing but it finally works!”. Hah! With each decade and lineup change, however, the band's rig evolved. The encore also featured Warren Haynes on guitar. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Request a custom instrument. I tried but stupidly went across the floor and never got there (although once I break free from the floor I go running up the arms of the chairs, slipped and cracked my sternum). History Album. Let’s hear it!”. What the heck’s a Versatone? Supporting Members list unlimited gear with no listing fees in the Classifieds, get instant Keyword Alerts, and get Free Shipping at the TalkBass Store. He devised a new tailpiece/bridge with his own piezo pickups as the saddles and came up with a new string, a giant classical guitar string, non-magnetic, with a nylon core and bronze winding. This all resulted in some serious ostracizing for a bit. Here's a member-by-member look at the gear used from 1965 to 1995. A rare Bass solo by Phil Lesh. He's recorded or played with Rosanne Cash, Bob Dylan, Jon Hassell, Brian Eno, Bernie Leadon, Dave Navarro, Linda Perry, Sheryl Crow, Stan Ridgeway, and was a member of the Tuesday Night Music Club. © 2020 PS Audio - Boulder, Colorado, USA, How Records are Made, Part 3: Quality Control, The Adventures of Jeff Beck: First Movement. Well, that’s that.”, RT arrived and couldn’t be nicer and treated me not at all like some kind of geeky long-haired teenager from New Jersey. Eventually I got around to asking Rick about the M-85 and he told me that Phil wanted to sell it when Rick put some kind of wiring back in it. ... Phil Lesh. As was so often the case, the centerpiece of this show was the big jam in the second set, which kicked off with a beautiful “Dark Star”. Lesh commissioned an inlay on his fretless bass, and introduced him to Bear and Ron Wickersham — and so Alembic was born. Even the songs with a fairly […] 34” is long scale, which most Fenders are. 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