Phil Lesh’s Alembic “Mission Control”

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tangripper, Aug 1, 2021.


  1. tangripper

    tangripper

    Apr 5, 2018
    Myrtle Beach
    I could literally feel the electricity every time I picked up this bass…Phil is one of my biggest musical influences and being around this guitar was real special to me.
     

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  2. Standalone

    Standalone

    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    Wow. Whats the story on the refit and how you came to check it out?
     
    ReillyProductions and tangripper like this.
  3. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    MOAR pics and info, please.

    ...in relation to your handling & experience with it. I have always loved this bass and it's backstory.
     
  4. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    Such a unique guitar.
     
  5. tangripper

    tangripper

    Apr 5, 2018
    Myrtle Beach
    I was working as a luthier at a high profile shop a few years ago and it came to us...it sat for a year or more in limbo near my bench. I saw it was finally restored and someone had used it for a Dead related tribute or gig.

    I don't know why it came to us or where it is now...it was gutted and the PU cavities were filled on like someone had started the job but then bailed.

    the bass has alot of history and as a long time Deadhead, I was just thrilled to be able to hold it and be near it.
     
  6. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass

    Nov 22, 2017
    A friend of mine played it at a Dead tribute show in California a few months before the Covid shut down. I don't know him very well; we are just Facebook friends, so I don't know how he got his hands on it.
     
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    The history of the bass after Phil stopped using it is just as fascinating as his time with it. There's plenty of pictures of the original electronics out there along with write ups of the Quad-pickup system it once had. I believe one of the reasons it fell into unuse and disrepair was that the osage orange in the bass was delaminating.

    It's definitely out and about these days and I believe it's been played by a number of guys in some of the bigger touring tribute acts.
     
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  8. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    What an odd thing to do. I wonder why not just give it to Alembic if one can’t afford to have them restore it.
     
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  9. tangripper

    tangripper

    Apr 5, 2018
    Myrtle Beach
    I think there was alot of things going on with this thing and money to restore it was the least of them all....
     
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  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I believe this was the case too. Didn't Alembic also have some hand in the work on it?
     
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  11. tangripper

    tangripper

    Apr 5, 2018
    Myrtle Beach
    yes...maybe even before it arrived at our shop...as cool as that bass was, it def had some bad juju going on as well
     
  12. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I know it was stripped of it's quad functions and some of the more specific Wall of Sound features that were once part of all the push buttons in the top half of the body, but that stuff is pretty non-useable without the WoS which was parted out 45 years ago. The original pickups are around or were around, IIRC they were the first thing that was rediscovered.
     
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  13. tangripper

    tangripper

    Apr 5, 2018
    Myrtle Beach
    that Alembic/steal your face inlay on the headstock has got to be my favorite inlay in any guitar ever...I used to hold this thing and try to imagine what it was like for Phil playing thru that wall of sound and looking out over a big crowd of hippies while probably tripping on some of Owsley's private reserve stash product..gave me goosebumps all the time
     
    tblurker and Standalone like this.
  14. Bikeguy57

    Bikeguy57 Supporting Member

    That pieced in center section looks kind of sketchy. Hopefully it looked better when finished?
     
  15. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    If that’s the same instrument as the one in the op, the insert used to fill/cover the old face routes was replaced with one that goes all of the way to the end.
     
    bajaandy and tangripper like this.
  16. Standalone

    Standalone

    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    It does not really look like it could be the same —
     
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  17. tangripper

    tangripper

    Apr 5, 2018
    Myrtle Beach
    how's that?
     
  18. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    It would take some skill and no reward to re create that hole and its ~0.50x0.75” rectagonal spotface in the new insert. Not impossible, but also less likely than building a total counterfeit up from scratch. B7EC90E5-2957-4DCF-AA68-BEC42BC8B06B.jpeg
    D8DBA567-F4B7-43B7-9B52-9AEA049C17F6.jpeg
     
  19. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    PA
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 19, 2022

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