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Help - Purchasing "Phil Lesh" style bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lyric23, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. lyric23


    Jan 2, 2013
    Hello. I am going to purchase a bass for my boyfriend that is a "dead head". I'd like to get him one similar to Phil Lesh if possible. Any recommendations? He's been playing a 5 string for years now, but needs a new one. Thanks,
  2. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    These days, Phil is using a Ritter, so I hope you've saved your pennies! Phil has used many other basses over the years, from Gibson to Modulus to Smith and other makes, but perhaps the bass he is best known for is the Guild Starfire that was modded by Alembic. You might find a Guild Starfire out there, but you'll have to live without the mods unless you've got a winning lottery ticket.
  3. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Actually Phil regularly plays a Modulus 6 string right now. I saw him this last September with Furthur and it sounded great. While I believe he plays a neck through TBX model, you can find the standard bolt on Quantum in a used version relatively easily. I picked up a Quantum 6 after seeing Furthur and I really love the bass. I think your boyfriend might really like it too.

    Happy Hunting,
  4. Before you give him the bass, first give him a gift wrapped box with nothing in it. When he asks what gives, tell him it contains "the sound of thick air" one of Phil's more inspired quotes. Or fill the box with water and tell him it's a box of rain, (a grateful dead song Phil wrote)
  5. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
  6. kellyrojo


    Feb 16, 2011
    South Carolina
  7. MLysh


    Oct 11, 2007
    "the sound of thick air" --- Bob Weir, not Phil, asked engineer Dave Hassinger (?) for this during the recording of Anthem of the Sun. Caused Hassinger to quit the project.
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    He has gravitated towards some really expensive basses over the years. Alembic, Modulus, Ritter, Smith, and I think even a Gibson or two. His tone is very "honky" to me. (Not a bad thing just an observation.)

    Here's a link to an interview that has some gear talk. Nice gift idea!
  9. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales
    Well your boy is a lucky fella. A woman who is going to fix him up with another lady to monopolize his time. ;-)

    Unless your budget is huge, the best thing would be to buy a used bass here, by Alembic. While there are a lot of different Alembic basses, the electronics are all similar so you can always pull a decent Phil Lesh like tone out of them. The Modulus would also be a good choice. Mostly the basses you are looking at will range from about $2000 up to $5000.

    Good luck in your search!
  10. If $2-5k seems like to much to spend you could get him some grateful dead music. If he doesn't already have "Fall Out From the Phil Zone" that would be a cool gift. But let's face it, if he's really a Dead Head, he'd probably be happy with a joint and a grilled cheese sandwich. I know I would.
  11. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    What would one have to be smoking in order to want to play a thing like that on purpose???

    Oh. Nevermind.
  12. lyric23


    Jan 2, 2013
    thanks everyone!!!!!
    I was hoping no more than $800

    I'll keep you posted.
  13. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    phil also play a epiphone jack cassadfy once in a while..
  14. jleguy


    Jun 6, 2006
    DC Metro
    I may not be THE expert on Phil gear but my main gig is with a Dead tribute band in the DC metro area and I've been playing Dead and following Phil since the 80s. Modulus Quantum 6-string is what he has been playing with Further (check out the Further pics of him on facebook) of late. He has played on many different basses. Unfortunately, $800 will not get you a Quantum 6, even used and in reasonable shape. I like the idea previously offered of giving him a wrarpped empty box and asking upon opening what bass (or bass gear) he'd like within your range. If my wife ever did that I'd be Grateful (pun intended). Good luck and Phil is an awesome bassist...
  15. Zootsuitbass


    Mar 13, 2011
    800 will get you one of these..... (at least I didn't pick the stripped 63 jazz from this era)

    Attached Files:

  16. Zootsuitbass


    Mar 13, 2011
    Digging on the interwebs I found this one! This pic is from The Downs of Sante Fe, 10-17-82, Trivia,, this is the first show Phil started singing again (good or bad thing??)

    Attached Files:

  17. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY
    Just get him some tube socks and a gift certificate for the rest at his favorite music store. Then he can pick it out and get what he wants.
  18. I'm not sure where the little labels that were on there for a while went, but some of them were an indication of what substances were involved...
  19. gift certificates usually suck but in this case it may be best
    maybe what he really wants is a new head
    or a warmoth neck
    or cabinet
    or pedal
    or a new case
    or a different direction with bass