Phil Lesh's tone -- preferred era?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Low8, Apr 12, 2020.

  1. Pacifus


    May 3, 2008
    I was just listening to this early today (one of my favorite albums). The Other One is consistently my favorite Phil showcase tunes but this version has an extra edge. This is the sound I crave. I feel it in my sleep.
    hennessybass likes this.
  2. edwinhurwitz

    edwinhurwitz Supporting Member

    May 13, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, SMS
    There's so much to like! Live/DEAD has a great sound, but so does the EB-3 era, some of which is my favorite. But also the Godfather/Mission Control years (although most of the shows I saw from '76 through the end of the Mission Control shows could have had a bunch more bass in the room). There's a lot of cool Modulus stuff going on, too. Seeing him play the 6 string in the early 80s was a revelation, especially when Healy kicked in the dbx for the bombs. Maybe the best Modulus sound I saw was Oxford Plains, 1988. They had subwoofer line arrays on either side of the stage and it felt like the bass was not only instant, super quick, but coming out of the very earth. It was perhaps the most profound bass experience I've ever had. OTOH, some of the shows I saw with Modulus basses sound weird and clanky.

    I think you have to factor in the rig, as well. The Showman years, the F-2B years (listen to early '72 to late '72 to hear the difference between Showmen and F-2B with McIntosh), and then the Groove Tubes rigs all have very different sounds. The Groove Tubes pre is very interesting in that it was designed to be flat to 10hz and really does help create the super low end we all heard and love. I really love mine.

    All of which has led me to put together an Alembicized Starfire, a modified EB-3, and several Moduluses, an Alembic rig, and a Groove Tubes rig. And the cool thing is that they are all great for many other styles of music, too. Given that an Alembified Starfire isn't crazy different from the early Alembics, (both are semi-hollow, only the Alembics have no f-holes), it gets a great slap tone.
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