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Mike Gordon's bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 59jazz, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    I was watching gov't Mule's DVD, The Deepest End ( a great show of low end heavies!) and was wondering, what 5 string is ol' mike playin'?
  2. GSRLessard14

    GSRLessard14 All-Things-Claypool Enthusiast

    Jun 23, 2005
    Newington, CT
    Great dvd.

    It's a modulus.. Body shape looks like a quantum.
  3. yep, a modulus
  4. rontalsaurus


    Aug 19, 2002
    Mike's been playing a Quantum 5 string since mid-European tour, summer 1997.

    With Leo Kottke he's playing a Lakland Hollowbody.

    Before the switch in 1997 he played a custom bass made by Paul Languedoc (the band's sound guy and Trey's luthier), as well as an Alembic Epic from time to time.
  5. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    There are a lot of speakers in that picture.
    Just to add on here: He plays a 5 string Genesis from time to time also (it's in some video, can't remember which one). He's played a 4 string Turner Renn. on stage with The Duo a few times too. I have a pic of him somewhere slapping away on a Fender jazz...he's pretty good.
  6. rontalsaurus


    Aug 19, 2002
    yeah, just a little bit...:smug:
  7. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    Thanks guys! I wasn't sure about it being a modulus; mapel f-board and rather unique looking 4 + 1 head stock.
  8. No, that isn't a modulus. That is a custom made bass that was made for him by Paul Langouadoc, Phish's soundman (and the luither of all of Trey's guitars, Mike's main bass up until '97, and this particular bass).

    That bass is called the "Fish" for the intricate inlay of a Fish on its headstock. It has a 2 piece curley maple body with a hollow chamber and a Koa top. It has EMG active pickups, but only one knob that blends the two pickups (Mike has trouble with too many options on his bass). The headstock is the same style on Trey's guitars and his original (dragon) bass.

    He dosent use that bass very often, but its definatly an amazing looking bass. I would kill to have Paul make me a bass (but I wouldn't pay the 20,000:D )
  9. heh heh, theres this one fill that is my favorite ... i think its 8/11/04 in suzy greenberg ...drool

    I really like the modulus's look and sound, along with the languedoc - mike just always had a good sound to my ears

    Need ot hear more of the Lakland tho
  10. Yeah, Mike definatly has a sound to his fingers. I personally perfer the eairly days with the Languadoc Dragon bass better. Although I love the Modulus, it is just a slight bit to bland for me, compared to the warm sound and depth of the Koa body/Curly maple neck on the Dragon.
  11. rontalsaurus


    Aug 19, 2002
    Interesting. I found his tone with the Modulus during the recent Eden years to be incredibly fat, punchy and nuanced. It sat in the mix so well that I could make out every little detail he was doing in big outdoor and indoor venues at the height of a very noisty jam. It almost convinced me to switch to a graphite bass with a pick...almost.
    I agree that '97 to '00 his tone was a bit sterile with the SWR rig.

    I never found his tone on the Languedoc basses to be particularly warm though. It always seemed pretty crunchy and tight with a lot of high mids.
  12. rontalsaurus


    Aug 19, 2002
    Didn't the "Fish" have a solid body with Morch pickups and preamp?
    I thought the "Dragon" was the one that was semi-hollow with EMGs...and was stolen.
  13. Just the opposite, at least according to this site:


    This is what I'm basing alot of my information on, but that site has some incorrect info, and is missing alot, so I can't be completely posotive on that reliability.

    As far as Mike's other basses go, this is (to my knowladge), the extent of his vast collection:

    Modulus Genesis 5 string. this I don't have a lot of info on, but he does own one and has used it live on side projects.

    Modulus Quantum 5 strings. at least two Coco Bolo (one with 24 frets and one with 26) models and at least one Black Cherry stain model. These have EMG or Bartolini pickups, and I have no idea about the preamp used in each.

    Modulus Quantum TBX 5 string. This has a Coco Bolo top, EMG pickups, and again, I have no idea about the preamp used. This is still his primary bass (he alternates often between this and a standard Coco Bolo Quantum).

    Paul Languadoc custom "Dragon Bass" 5 String. This was his main stage bass from '87 to '97 (when he switched permanently to the Modulus'). It has a solid Koa body with a Curly Maple top and neck with Koa laminates. The pickups are custom made active pickups, by Morch Guitars in Denmark. They required their own preamp, which is what was installed. It was reported to have been stolen back in '97, but I have seen footage of him playing it backstage and live throughout '00 and '01.

    Paul Languadoc custom "Fish Bass." This is the bass the original poster was referring to. This was made as an experiment between Paul and Mike. It has a 2 piece curley maple body with a hollow chamber and a Koa top. It has EMG active pickups, but only one knob that blends the two pickups, as I said eairlier. The body style and headstock both mimic Trey's guitars.

    Lakland Hollowbody 4 string. It has a sunburst finish, Dark Star pickups(??) and is generally only used when he is playing with Leo Kottke.

    Alembic Epic 5 String. The only proof of this I've ever seen is in their documentary/movie Bittersweet Motel, in which he uses it during a band practice, playing "Birds Of A Feather." It appears to also have a Curly Maple top, but I have no idea about the body wood. It only has 3 control knobs (Volume, Pan, and Filter??).

    Gibson Thunderbird 4 String. Mike ordered this sometime before or slightly after the Phish hiatus. He never used it live with Phish, or with anyone else that I have knowledge of. No idea if he's recorded with it either.

    Fender Jazz MIA. Again, I don't have much info about this one. I don't even know how many strings it has, as its been awhile since I've seen the footage of it, and I wasn't paying a lot of attention anyway. If someone finds it, PM me please.

    Rick Turner Renn 4 String. He's used it onstage with the Duo a few times. That's about the extent of my knowledge about it.

    Dave Smith A Series Headless/Body less Bass. I've never seen or heard it used, but he describes his in the gear section on his website. It has a RMC Piezo bridge pickup, Aguilar preamp, and a built in tuner.

    Finally, there is one bass he used briefly in some of the 'Mike' footage of Rising Low that I have no idea about. I had never seen Mike use it before, nor had I ever seen a bass like is. It appears to be a custom job 5 string. I would appreciate any information on it that anyone has.

    He uses 1.5 MM graphite picks and Ken Smith Slickround (half round) strings. All the info about his rigs and effects are correctly posted in the link I provided above.

    Finally, about the tone of the Dragon vs. the Modulus. Perhaps "warm" wasn't the correct word to descirbe his tone, but what I ment was, it sounds like WOOD. It has the full bodied character of wood. It has that sound that can only come from wood. The Modulus basses cannot capture that. Its just very balnd compared to his other basses. I feel that way about almost all graphite/carbon fiber necked instruments.
  14. rontalsaurus


    Aug 19, 2002
    I agree with you on the tone of Modulus basses.
    As for the Alembic, at the NYE '95 release party the showed the whole show on video and I was shocked to see that Mike is playing the Alembic during a song or two. I had to blink my eyes a few times and pinch myself, but it was definitely the Alembic. I asked him and he said that he remembers playing an Epic every once in a while during that time.
  15. Bluebard


    Oct 21, 2014
    Time to resurrect this old thread :woot: does anyone know whether the Morch pickups in Mike's old Dragon Bass (87-97) were humbuckers or single coils? I always assumed they were humbuckers, I guess because Mike uses humbuckers now in his Modulus...but was listening today and now I'm wondering whether they might be fat-sounding singles with a nice warmth to them.

    I definitely prefer the Dragon Bass tone to his Modulus tone now...extremely articulate but with a mellow woody warmth under that bright zingy high end, and something magical about whatever mids are accentuated...and killer slap tone! One of my fav bass tones along with those of Chris Squire, Jack Casady, and Phil Lesh.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018

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