Finishes & Inlays. One issue is the improvisatory nature of the Grateful Dead’s music. Lesh was born in Berkeley, California, on March 15, 1940. The first 6 beats of A and B are exactly the same, a rare instance of Lesh repeating himself. In fact, the only note outside of D pentatonic in the transcriptions is the G# near the end of the 3rd measure of the performance from the Alexandra Palace. Biography. He earned most of this money by being the bass player of popular band Grateful Dead. When I was first learning how to read music it was painful. Phil Lesh Alembic Miniature Bass is truly remarkable. 2 Available instruments. Copyright © 2020 Bass Musician Magazine, All rights reserved. 1, 5, 9, and 13 of the example). Record Label. He plays almost exclusively notes from a D major pentatonic scale (D-E-F#-A-B). Everything takes off from here. Wytwórnia. Request a custom instrument. In most situations, we can’t get away with Phil’s approach to playing. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. We hate spam as much as you do! Lesh commissioned an inlay on his fretless bass, and introduced him to Bear and Ron Wickersham — and so Alembic was born. For the Dead, the studio version is often the least definitive. Big thanks to all the mirror sites! Only charm. Join over 5,000 live music lovers who receive our free daily jam newsletter and score 15% off a new tee or hoodie in our store! Garcia and Lesh is my all time favorite guitarist bassist combo. Something else Phil Lesh is consistent about in these three performances is his note choices. Phil Lesh Amps An illustration of The Grateful Dead’s live sound rig (aka Wall of Sound), circa 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. Playing the root of the chord (or key, mode, etc.) If you begin leaning back in the chair and the front legs come up off the ground, there’s a certain amount of tension created. Internships. 7); and 2/3/78 from Madison, WI (Dick’s Picks Vol. Photo of Lesh by Jay Blakesberg; photo of Porter by Dino Perrucci. Available at dealers. The performance from 1973 is the most syncopated.Notice how few notes fall on the beat. For the better part of 50 years, non-Deadheads living in Deadhead-adjacent locations have been learning all about Phil Lesh’s rumbling bass introduction to “The Other One”—whether they wanted to or not. Alex Koford played additional acoustic guitar, Jason Crosby handled … Future Zone. Even in Grateful Dead cover bands, many times bass players either don’t attempt to play like Phil, or perhaps were told not to by other band members. Lesh continues in much the same manner, playing syncopated lines and, at least for a while, hitting a strong B on the downbeat every 4 measures, usually accompanied by a crash in the drums. Phil Lesh (bass, vocals) Jackie Greene (guitar, vocals) Larry Campbell (guitar & more) Steve Molitz (keyboards) John Molo (drums) CD covers can be found at www.phillesh.net. As the ‘Dead’s live sound evolved, so did Lesh’s rig. Miasto rodzinne. 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. There are very few bass tabs or transcriptions or youtube covers out there of his work. 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. This is a common way Lesh builds tension. One of the strongest intellects and most extraordinary musical talents in rock history, Phil Lesh re-defined what the bass could sound like, and in so doing heavily influenced what the Dead sounded like. Again, as the jam goes on, he gradually adds dissonance, but he periodically reasserts A mixolydian to keep things from going completely off the rails. You can subscribe at any time. Lesh spent his early years using Fender Dual Showman amps. 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 farther you lean back, the more the tension builds. The arrows above the 5th and 9th measures indicate where we expect him to land on B, but he consciously avoids it. He repeatedly ascends, then gradually descends back to A. Do it too long and you run the risk of losing the sense of cohesion the music originally had. As they keep playing, though, Phil Lesh begins to avoid hitting that B at the beginning of each 4-measure pattern. In other words, he’s playing his lowest, strongest D as a way of keeping the band anchored in this unusual time signature. That kind of tension and release is important in all music, but in improvised music, you as the bass player have a lot of control over how that tension builds and when it is released. Review – Best of Extreme Bass Transcriptions by Aidan Hampson, Bergantino Audio Systems Welcomes Bassist Daniel Sing, Review: The Return, Deep Energy Orchestra. 2 and 6). He then begins C the same as A and B, but varies it slightly after a few beats. In the extended jam section after the verses, the same is true… for a while. The songs are given life on stage, not in the studio. I’ve included a transcription of the riff Jerry and Keith are playing, because it’s important to see how Phil Lesh plays against it. In this... “Jingle Bell Rock” Hello bass players and fans of bass playing! 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. He earned most of this money by being the bass player of popular band Grateful Dead. The way Phil’s counterpoint dances around Jerry’s guitar is just beautiful. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Another issue is that the Dead aren’t just known for improvisations—the Dead are known for long improvisations. The Nature of Sound, part 3 in this music theory series. 18). I’ve only provided the first 16 measures of this jam, but it’s a good starting point.Â. In most situations, we can’t get away with Phil… When he finally lands back on B on the downbeat of the 13th measure, he releases the tension and can begin building it up again.Â. Phil Lesh was the bass player for the Grateful Dead. This presents a hurdle if you want to learn to play a song the way Phil played it. It is one that suits the Dead’s style of music very well. Phil Lesh Alembic Miniature Bass Details: Condition: Brand New Item SKU: SS-AXE-PL-408 Product information Product Dimensions 11.4 x 3.7 x 7.5 inches Item Weight 6.1 ounces Manufacturer AXE HEAVEN ASIN B06Y3DKSGJ Item model number Which version are you going to learn?  For most bands, the studio album version is thought of as the definitive version. 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. Leave a Reply Cancel reply. 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. Ritter Pickups. I've been challenged trying to learn Phil Lesh's bass lines for several reasons. The Grateful Dead played this song almost 600 times between 1971 and 1995. 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. He does, however, seem to have basic parameters for his groove that he follows as a sort of framework for variation: 1) improvise with the D major pentatonic scale, 2) accent the first beat of each repetition of the 10-beat phrase with a strong root D, and 3) emphasize the off-beats everywhere else. This makes the song feel lighter and less grounded and creates a bigger impact when he finally lands back on the root so heavily. 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. His two biggest projects are "The Dead" which is the surviving memebers of the Grateful Dead. Events. The riff and accompanying parts are based around a B mixolydian scale (think B major but with a lowered 7th—so A natural rather than A sharp), but Lesh is mostly playing notes of a B major pentatonic scale with the occasional addition of E. In the excerpt transcribed, he completely avoids any kind of A, although as the jam continues over the next several minutes, he does begin incorporating A naturals. Even the songs with a fairly strict structure will vary from performance to performance. Lesh is primarily improvising with an A mixolydian scale. on beat 1 is the equivalent of having all four legs of the chair on the ground. It’s always been one of those things that just seemed to make people stop their cassette, rewind it 30 seconds or so, and then turn the stereo up louder before playing it again. In fact, sometimes you need that. The first two times through the pattern, he plays a C# on the downbeat of the 2nd measure (mm. Phil Lesh & Friends' Live at the Warfield (recorded May 18 and 19, 2006) follows a carload of live recordings issued on the Instant Live label a month previously. He has also performed in live shows as a violinist. Performances of “Playing in the Band,” “Truckin’,” and “Bird Song,” among others, often last 15 to 20 minutes. At a certain point, the band abandons A mixolydian altogether in favor of some atonal improvisation. Lesh’s playing, though, is a key component of the sound of the Grateful Dead, probably second in importance only to Garcia’s lead guitar. Rolling Stone has unveiled their list of the 50 Greatest Bassists of All Time.. “From funk masters to … It is one that suits the Dead’s style of music very well. Contact. Lesh will usually stick to a basic feel like it’s a road map, but how he navigates from point A to point B in each performance varies. You can think of it like sitting in a chair. In the late 1970s Lesh briefly played a handmade Doug Irwin bass on tour with the Grateful Dead. Even that G# is short and is very much just a passing tone to get to A. 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. As the band begins to jam after this transcribed example, it is clear they’re still thinking and playing in 4-measure groupings. Below are transcriptions of Phil Lesh’s bass line from the first verse of three different performances of this song: 12/9/73 from Tampa, FL (available on Dick’s Picks Vol. 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. “Dark Star” usually lasts longer. “Playing in the Band” is one of the Dead songs that became a vehicle for extended jams. History Album. Welcome to episode 2 of the Nature of Sound! Example 3 is from about a minute later in the jam (approximately 5:44 in the recording). Several things make it difficult to describe, characterize, or analyze Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s style of playing. in 1992 he started using a short scale 6 string with 26 frets. During this time, Phil also had the task of handling the group’s high vocal harmonies, at which he excelled with his near-perfect pitch. Phil Lesh’s Doug Irwin bass. It was important to us that it go to a Deadhead, it has and now can be shared with the world. “Dark Star” was a vehicle for some of the Grateful Dead’s most experimental improvisation. Hometown. Phil Lesh has an unusual approach to the bass. Welcome to MM3! In the 1980s, Phil would gravitate toward 5- and 6-string basses, but the D he plays in these transcriptions (5th fret on the A string) is the lowest available on the 4-string basses he favored in the 1970s. Believe me ,it's a no-brainer! We can see what is consistent and what is not. Lesh’s amplification and effects use runs in concert with his ever evolving use of the bass itself. The verse of the song is based on repetitions of a 10-beat pattern (4+4+2). It’s another example of Lesh moving away from the root as a way to build tension, then landing back on a strong A to release it. Given that this song usually includes an extended jam section, Lesh will gradually discard these parameters as the band moves toward free improvisation. Berkeley, California. “Scarlet Begonias” was another staple of the band’s concert repertoire subjected to extensive jamming, often leading into “Fire on the Mountain.” Example 2 is a transcription of the first 16 measures of the jam section in the performance from Alexandra Palace on 9/9/74, starting at approximately 4:35 in the recording. His style is unique and not very "rock-like". He gets into the higher register of his instrument early and often. A transcription of a few measures of three different versions is by no means exhaustive, but it will give us an idea of how Phil builds a bass line and how he varies it from performance to performance. His melodic bass lines really do make him a second lead player in the Dead. The Phil Lesh Eye of Horus is a 6-String Jupiter with a custom String Spacing and the Ritter Quattrobucker pickup. Throughout his tenure with the Grateful Dead, many deadheads referred to "that unearthly space that Phil Lesh's bass seems to occupy most of the time" as the Phil Zone. Ritter Electronics. Berkeley, California. 1); 9/9/74 from Alexandra Palace in London, England (Dick’s Picks Vol. Phil is one of my biggest inspirations for picking up the bass. Phil Lesh - Bass. The Rick Turner/Alembic/Phil Lesh “Mission Control” bass, aka “Osage Orange”, aka “The Omega”. Phil Lesh – bass, vocals; Bill Kreutzmann – drums; Mickey Hart – drums (February – October 1971) Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals; Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals; Ron "Pigpen" McKernan – keyboards, harmonica, percussion, vocals; Phil Lesh – bass, vocals; Bill Kreutzmann – drums (October 1971 – March 1972) On these dates, the band consisted of Lesh on bass and vocals, the divine Ms. Joan Osborne on vocals, guitarists Larry Campbell and John Scofield, saxophonist Greg Osby, drummer John Molo, and Rob Barraco on keyboards and vocals. I’ve transcribed four passes through this pattern and labeled them A, B, C, and D in the excerpt so it’s easy to keep track of where we are. As we see from these three performances, Lesh does not have a specific bass line that he plays for this song. Here are a few photographs of Phil and that iconic bass. This helps keep the band together, but also keeps the jam relatively grounded. Columbia Records. Columbia Records. He also has his band which is known as "Phil Lesh & Friends". So, if you’re going for that authentic Grateful Dead sound, give your bandmates fair warning, then dive headfirst into the Phil Zone. Once you begin moving away from the root, avoiding the downbeat, and/or introducing or increasing syncopation, you are creating tension in the music (leaning back in the chair). This is where Jerry Garcia and keyboardist Keith Godchaux play the riff that ends the song proper, and is the starting point for the jam that follows. One thing to notice is that Lesh lands on a strong root D on beat 1 of each 10-beat measure (i.e., the first beat of A, B, C, and D). The groove is stable, and sometimes you want that. Famed for his three-decade stint as the bassist with the Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh was born March 15, 1940 in Berkeley, CA; rooted in jazz and classical performance, he initially explored the violin and trumpet, and while attending Mills College studied avant-garde composition and electronic music under the tutelage of Luciano Berio. Since the death of Jerry Garcia he has performed with numerous different artist, and worked on many projects. Omakase. Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band - Samson & Delilah (Hebrew Version) w/ Mark Levy But it also requires a lot of trust and understanding from other members of the band who may be expecting more traditional bass lines. However, unbeknownst to Lesh, his untrained singing style was slowly damaging his vocal chords, ultimately leading to a self-imposed hiatus from live vocals in 1974 that ended up lasting over a decade. Std at 12 feet Glancing at these three transcriptions (example 1), they seem to be wildly different, but there are several things Phil does consistently between all three versions. Songs are never played exactly the same way twice. You won't find any dancing bears here. Share your email with us and we'll send you a new jam everyday! Notice the arch shapes in Phil’s line each time he moves away from A. Otherwise, bass notes on downbeats are scarce. Phil Lesh has an unusual approach to the bass. As of June 2020, The net worth of Phil Lesh is estimated to be around $50 million. You can release that tension by putting all four legs back on the ground. Another similarity is that Lesh emphasizes the “off-beats” in all three versions, though to different extents. Hitting the root at the beginning of each pattern is like a release valve. Biografia. With each decade and lineup change, however, the band's rig evolved. Publisher V.I.E., LLC. The fact that it leads into one of the Grateful Dead’s biggest and best songs certainly doesn’t hurt, either, though whenever folks try to d… Phil Lesh’s line here isn’t as syncopated as the ones discussed above, though it remains anything but regular. THIS SOUNDBOARD IS **FREE** THANKS TO PHIL & FRIENDS (WWW.PHILLESH.NET) And for the most part, once the jam section of the song begins, what Lesh plays in one version won’t translate seamlessly to another. Phil Lesh - Bass. The longer you do that, the more tension you create–at least to a certain point. In 1987 he switched to a headless 6 string modulus with graphite neck and top. Team. 1 of 57 An elegant country estate owned by Grateful Dead bass player Phil Lesh and his wife, Jill, is on the market for $10.35 million. Most bass players probably would have played this riff with the guitar and keyboard. Grateful Dead – Phil Lesh on Eyes Of The World: Grateful Dead Photography 1965-1995. But it also requires a lot of trust and understanding from other members of the band who may be expecting more traditional bass lines. When all four legs of the chair are on the ground, you feel entirely stable. His bass line from the 1978 show in Madison is the most regular. Lesh provided bass, with Ross James and Grahame Lesh on guitar and vocals. The longer he avoids it, the more the tension builds. Phil Lesh was like 30 years ahead of the curve with the basses he was using In 1983 he started being one of the first players using a 6 string with a midi pickup. Bass & Guitar models. Phil opts for an independent line that acts as a sort of counterpoint against the main riff.Â. The performance shown in example 4, from Veneta, OR 8/27/72 (released as Sunshine Daydream), begins with the song’s intro riff, which leads to an “opening jam.” In this particular performance, the opening jam lasts over 11 minutes before Garcia sings the verse. 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