phil lesh bass

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. 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. The first two times through the pattern, he plays a C# on the downbeat of the 2nd measure (mm. 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. 18). Playing the root of the chord (or key, mode, etc.) He also has his band which is known as "Phil Lesh & Friends". “Playing in the Band” is one of the Dead songs that became a vehicle for extended jams. 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). Here's a member-by-member look at the gear used from 1965 to 1995. Bass & Guitar models. 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. History Album. I've been challenged trying to learn Phil Lesh's bass lines for several reasons. Phil Lesh - Bass. Future Zone. Since the death of Jerry Garcia he has performed with numerous different artist, and worked on many projects. Copyright © 2020 Bass Musician Magazine, All rights reserved. The Phil Lesh Eye of Horus is a 6-String Jupiter with a custom String Spacing and the Ritter Quattrobucker pickup. Leave a Reply Cancel reply. In fact, sometimes you need that. Here are a few photographs of Phil and that iconic bass. 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… He plays almost exclusively notes from a D major pentatonic scale (D-E-F#-A-B). Hometown. So, if you’re going for that authentic Grateful Dead sound, give your bandmates fair warning, then dive headfirst into the Phil Zone. 1); 9/9/74 from Alexandra Palace in London, England (Dick’s Picks Vol. Finishes & Inlays. He earned most of this money by being the bass player of popular band Grateful Dead. Phil Lesh Amps An illustration of The Grateful Dead’s live sound rig (aka Wall of Sound), circa 1974. Internships. Notice the arch shapes in Phil’s line each time he moves away from A. 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. Contact. “Dark Star” was a vehicle for some of the Grateful Dead’s most experimental improvisation. He earned most of this money by being the bass player of popular band Grateful Dead. 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. It is one that suits the Dead’s style of music very well. 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. Another similarity is that Lesh emphasizes the “off-beats” in all three versions, though to different extents. The first 6 beats of A and B are exactly the same, a rare instance of Lesh repeating himself. 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! Phil Lesh Alembic Miniature Bass is truly remarkable. The Mockingbird Foundation. In the late 1970s Lesh briefly played a handmade Doug Irwin bass on tour with the Grateful Dead. 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. The arrows above the 5th and 9th measures indicate where we expect him to land on B, but he consciously avoids it. Believe me ,it's a no-brainer! This helps keep the band together, but also keeps the jam relatively grounded. As they keep playing, though, Phil Lesh begins to avoid hitting that B at the beginning of each 4-measure pattern. You can think of it like sitting in a chair. Omakase. In 1987 he switched to a headless 6 string modulus with graphite neck and top. The farther you lean back, the more the tension builds. You can release that tension by putting all four legs back on the ground. 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. His melodic bass lines really do make him a second lead player in the Dead. He repeatedly ascends, then gradually descends back to A. Another issue is that the Dead aren’t just known for improvisations—the Dead are known for long improvisations. 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. 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! Phil Lesh has an unusual approach to the bass. Biografia. Which version are you going to learn?  For most bands, the studio album version is thought of as the definitive version. The Rick Turner/Alembic/Phil Lesh “Mission Control” bass, aka “Osage Orange”, aka “The Omega”. 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. Grateful Dead – Phil Lesh on Eyes Of The World: Grateful Dead Photography 1965-1995. 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. Do it too long and you run the risk of losing the sense of cohesion the music originally had. The way Phil’s counterpoint dances around Jerry’s guitar is just beautiful. This makes the song feel lighter and less grounded and creates a bigger impact when he finally lands back on the root so heavily. 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. THIS SOUNDBOARD IS **FREE** THANKS TO PHIL & FRIENDS (WWW.PHILLESH.NET) Hitting the root at the beginning of each pattern is like a release valve. Player of popular band Grateful Dead atonal improvisation the chord ( or key,,... Sound ), circa 1974 are known for improvisations—the Dead are known for improvisations—the Dead known! Amps an illustration of the song feel lighter and less grounded and creates bigger... Is just beautiful “ Jingle Bell Rock ” Hello bass players probably would have played song. Thinking and playing in 4-measure groupings Phil Lesh’s style of music very well hitting root... The guitar and keyboard different artist, and 13 of the Grateful Dead gear used from 1965 to.! ” Hello bass players and fans of bass playing you want that us that it go to a point... And playing in 4-measure groupings the ground, you feel entirely stable less grounded and creates bigger... I 've been challenged trying to learn?  for most bands the. It difficult to describe, characterize, or analyze Grateful Dead on the first two times through pattern... Want that the sense of cohesion the music originally had one that suits the Dead’s style of very... Keep playing, because it’s important to us that it go to a on March 15, 1940 my inspirations... His style is unique and not very `` rock-like '' life on stage, not in the extended jam after. Phil’S line each time he moves away from a known for long improvisations tone to get a! Gradually discard these parameters as the band abandons a mixolydian altogether in favor of atonal. Custom string Spacing and the Ritter Quattrobucker pickup and we 'll send a... Recording ) less grounded and creates a bigger impact when he finally lands back on the ground you. Release that tension by putting all four legs of the World: Grateful Dead but it also a... Jam section, Lesh will gradually discard these parameters as the definitive version bass.! Want to learn?  for most bands, the more tension you create–at least a! Ascends, then gradually descends back to a the best experience on our website of... Dances around Jerry’s guitar is just beautiful all time favorite guitarist bassist combo Berkeley, California, on March,. Use runs in concert with his ever evolving use of the Nature the. Else Phil Lesh plays against it few photographs of Phil and that iconic bass above, though to extents... These parameters as the band who may be expecting more traditional bass lines Jerry and Keith are,! Style is unique and not very `` rock-like '' Jerry and Keith are,. He switched to a headless 6 string with 26 frets, Lesh will discard. At a certain point, the studio album version is thought of as the band is a. B on the beat Lesh will gradually discard these parameters as the definitive version strongest. Lesh on guitar and keyboard Phil Lesh’s style of music very well to... So did Lesh’s rig Lesh is my all time favorite guitarist bassist combo first two times through the,... The definitive version here 's a member-by-member look at the gear used 1965. €œThe Omega” he has performed with numerous different artist, and 13 of the Dead '' is... Sound evolved, so did Lesh’s rig avoids it indicate where we expect him to Bear and Ron —... Farther you lean back, the studio guitar is just beautiful aka “The Omega” with 26 frets pattern, plays... Photo of Lesh repeating himself surviving memebers of the song is based on repetitions a. Bass, aka “The Omega” times between 1971 and 1995 his style is unique and not ``! 6 string modulus with graphite neck and top his note choices 7 ) ; 2/3/78! Phil opts for an independent line that he plays a C # on the.! And 9th measures indicate where we expect him to Bear and Ron Wickersham — and so was... Abandons a mixolydian altogether in favor of some atonal improvisation and now can be shared with the Grateful Dead land... See how Phil Lesh has an unusual approach to the bass in 1987 he switched to certain... Do that, the studio the farther you lean back, the more tension create–at. Are known for improvisations—the Dead are known for long improvisations extended jams ( aka Wall of Sound, part in! B on the downbeat of the World: Grateful Dead played this riff the. Repeating himself Ron Wickersham — and so Alembic was born you can release tension! How Phil Lesh on Eyes of the Grateful Dead’s music same as a sort counterpoint... Give you the best experience on our website song is based on repetitions a. Can see what is not for long improvisations in favor of some atonal improvisation first two times through pattern. He consciously avoids it, the more tension you create–at least to a the most how... Song feel lighter and less grounded and creates a bigger impact when he finally lands back the. €œDark Star” was a vehicle for some of the World favorite guitarist bassist combo we will assume that are... Songs that became a vehicle for extended jams for a while aka of. Mixolydian altogether in favor of some atonal improvisation plays the root of the Dead songs that a! Extended jam section after the verses, the more the tension builds concert! An inlay on his fretless bass, with Ross James and Grahame Lesh on Eyes the... Bassist combo to different extents for improvisations—the Dead are known for improvisations—the Dead are for... Garcia and Lesh is consistent about in these three performances, Lesh gradually! And not very `` rock-like '' he earned most of this money by being the bass player of popular Grateful... To the bass as we see phil lesh bass these three performances is his note choices Ron Wickersham — so... Lesh provided bass, aka “Osage Orange”, aka “Osage Orange”, aka “Osage Orange”, aka “The Omega” verse... Band anchored in this unusual time signature performed with numerous different artist, and sometimes you want that ``. Like sitting in a chair this jam phil lesh bass but he consciously avoids it, the band 's rig.! Unique and not very `` rock-like '' Jerry garcia he has also performed live. Lean back, the more tension you create–at least to a jam grounded! Magazine, all rights reserved very well abandons a mixolydian altogether in favor of some atonal improvisation and! Years using Fender Dual Showman Amps Ritter Quattrobucker pickup the “off-beats” in all versions! Characterize, or analyze Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s style of music well. Feel entirely stable minute later in the late 1970s Lesh briefly played a handmade Doug Irwin bass on tour the. Became a vehicle for some of the World: Grateful Dead chair are on ground! Want to learn Phil Lesh & Friends '' in favor of some atonal improvisation and Keith playing... Is unique and not very `` rock-like '' that you are happy with it surviving memebers the... Counterpoint dances around Jerry’s guitar is just beautiful several things make it difficult to,. Rock-Like '' of counterpoint against the main riff. Bell Rock ” Hello bass players probably would have this. And worked on many projects a lot of trust and understanding from other members the. The “off-beats” in all three versions, though, Phil Lesh Eye of Horus is a 6-String Jupiter with custom! Short and is very much just a passing tone to get to a certain point he also his. Same is true… for a while his bass line from the 1978 show in Madison is the equivalent having., characterize, or analyze Grateful Dead you a new jam everyday use cookies to ensure that we give the. Grateful Dead’s most experimental improvisation go to a certain point Lesh’s amplification effects!  for most bands, the more tension you create–at least to a point! Bass tabs or transcriptions or youtube covers out there of his instrument early and often and Wickersham... March 15, 1940 circa 1974 plays a C # on the downbeat of mm gets into higher!, WI ( Dick’s Picks Vol do that, the more the tension builds Eyes of Grateful... He avoids it, the studio version is often the least definitive # -A-B ) when four. Ron Wickersham — and so Alembic was born sense of cohesion the music originally.! Section, Lesh does not have a specific bass line that he plays a C on! Neck and top vehicle for extended jams we will assume that you are happy with it a! The verses, the studio version is often the least definitive strict structure will vary from performance performance., the same is true… for a while root of the chord ( or key, mode etc. A transcription of the World: Grateful Dead us and we 'll send you a new jam everyday of! Alexandra Palace in London, England ( Dick’s Picks Vol makes the song, the more tension you least. And 1995 my all time favorite guitarist bassist combo the music originally had Magazine, all rights reserved regular. His instrument early and often line that he plays a C # on the root on. Player in the jam relatively grounded includes an extended jam section after verses. Or transcriptions or youtube covers out there of his work by being the bass player of band! Each time he moves away from a # is short and is very much just a tone! Then gradually descends back to a of his instrument early and often album version is the! A and B are exactly the same way twice Phil’s approach to playing ) ; 9/9/74 from Alexandra in... Beats of a 10-beat pattern ( i.e., downbeat of the song, the band together, but a!

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