Record Label. “Scarlet Begonias” was another staple of the band’s concert repertoire subjected to extensive jamming, often leading into “Fire on the Mountain.” Example 2 is a transcription of the first 16 measures of the jam section in the performance from Alexandra Palace on 9/9/74, starting at approximately 4:35 in the recording. Hitting the root at the beginning of each pattern is like a release valve. For the Dead, the studio version is often the least definitive. We can see what is consistent and what is not. Share your email with us and we'll send you a new jam everyday! When all four legs of the chair are on the ground, you feel entirely stable. I've been challenged trying to learn Phil Lesh's bass lines for several reasons. Even that G# is short and is very much just a passing tone to get to A. Even in Grateful Dead cover bands, many times bass players either don’t attempt to play like Phil, or perhaps were told not to by other band members. He then begins C the same as A and B, but varies it slightly after a few beats. The Phil Lesh Eye of Horus is a 6-String Jupiter with a custom String Spacing and the Ritter Quattrobucker pickup. In the 1980s, Phil would gravitate toward 5- and 6-string basses, but the D he plays in these transcriptions (5th fret on the A string) is the lowest available on the 4-string basses he favored in the 1970s. His melodic bass lines really do make him a second lead player in the Dead. Lesh’s amplification and effects use runs in concert with his ever evolving use of the bass itself. Example 3 is from about a minute later in the jam (approximately 5:44 in the recording). Only charm. Phil Lesh Alembic Miniature Bass Details: Condition: Brand New Item SKU: SS-AXE-PL-408 Product information Product Dimensions 11.4 x 3.7 x 7.5 inches Item Weight 6.1 ounces Manufacturer AXE HEAVEN ASIN B06Y3DKSGJ Item model number There are very few bass tabs or transcriptions or youtube covers out there of his work. 2 Available instruments. He also has his band which is known as "Phil Lesh & Friends". The riff and accompanying parts are based around a B mixolydian scale (think B major but with a lowered 7th—so A natural rather than A sharp), but Lesh is mostly playing notes of a B major pentatonic scale with the occasional addition of E. In the excerpt transcribed, he completely avoids any kind of A, although as the jam continues over the next several minutes, he does begin incorporating A naturals. 1, 5, 9, and 13 of the example). If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. 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. Even the songs with a fairly strict structure will vary from performance to performance. His bass line from the 1978 show in Madison is the most regular. “Dark Star” usually lasts longer. Wytwórnia. Lesh’s playing, though, is a key component of the sound of the Grateful Dead, probably second in importance only to Garcia’s lead guitar. “Playing in the Band” is one of the Dead songs that became a vehicle for extended jams. You won't find any dancing bears here. Philip Lesh (born Philip Chapman, March 15, 1940) is an American musician and a founding member of the Grateful Dead, with whom he played bass guitar throughout their 30-year career. It’s another example of Lesh moving away from the root as a way to build tension, then landing back on a strong A to release it. Box Of Rain *With Karl Denson On Flute Phil Lesh - Bass And Vocals Grahame Lesh - Guitar And Vocals Ross James - Guitar And Vocals Jason Crosby - Keyboards And Vocals Scott Law - Guitar And Vocals Eliot Peck - Vocals Alex Koford - Drums And Vocals Topics: Audience, Tony Suraci Source: AKG 568B>V2>SD 722 @24/48 Location: OTS, at SBD. “Dark Star” was a vehicle for some of the Grateful Dead’s most experimental improvisation. 1 of 57 An elegant country estate owned by Grateful Dead bass player Phil Lesh and his wife, Jill, is on the market for $10.35 million. He repeatedly ascends, then gradually descends back to A. When he finally lands back on B on the downbeat of the 13th measure, he releases the tension and can begin building it up again.Â. Phil Lesh has an unusual approach to the bass. As the band begins to jam after this transcribed example, it is clear they’re still thinking and playing in 4-measure groupings. on beat 1 is the equivalent of having all four legs of the chair on the ground. At a certain point, the band abandons A mixolydian altogether in favor of some atonal improvisation. You can release that tension by putting all four legs back on the ground. The groove is stable, and sometimes you want that. Here are a few photographs of Phil and that iconic bass. In this... “Jingle Bell Rock” Hello bass players and fans of bass playing! 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. Phil is one of my biggest inspirations for picking up the bass. Photo of Lesh by Jay Blakesberg; photo of Porter by Dino Perrucci. Berkeley, California. Garcia and Lesh is my all time favorite guitarist bassist combo. However, unbeknownst to Lesh, his untrained singing style was slowly damaging his vocal chords, ultimately leading to a self-imposed hiatus from live vocals in 1974 that ended up lasting over a decade. Std at 12 feet It is one that suits the Dead’s style of music very well. As the ‘Dead’s live sound evolved, so did Lesh’s rig. In fact, the only note outside of D pentatonic in the transcriptions is the G# near the end of the 3rd measure of the performance from the Alexandra Palace. It is Phil Lesh — a jazz player turned avant-garde composer turned rock and roll bassist who provides the powerful but melodic bass lines that help give the Dead's music its exotic, but easily recognizable, flavor. Available at dealers. Ritter Electronics. Review – Best of Extreme Bass Transcriptions by Aidan Hampson, Bergantino Audio Systems Welcomes Bassist Daniel Sing, Review: The Return, Deep Energy Orchestra. But it also requires a lot of trust and understanding from other members of the band who may be expecting more traditional bass lines. Phil Lesh - Bass. In most situations, we can’t get away with Phil… 2 and 6). His two biggest projects are "The Dead" which is the surviving memebers of the Grateful Dead. Miasto rodzinne. 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). Welcome to episode 2 of the Nature of Sound! 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. Grateful Dead – Phil Lesh on Eyes Of The World: Grateful Dead Photography 1965-1995. Omakase. I’ve transcribed four passes through this pattern and labeled them A, B, C, and D in the excerpt so it’s easy to keep track of where we are. You can think of it like sitting in a chair. I’ve included a transcription of the riff Jerry and Keith are playing, because it’s important to see how Phil Lesh plays against it. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. In most situations, we can’t get away with Phil’s approach to playing. A transcription of a few measures of three different versions is by no means exhaustive, but it will give us an idea of how Phil builds a bass line and how he varies it from performance to performance. In fact, sometimes you need that. Otherwise, bass notes on downbeats are scarce. The longer he avoids it, the more the tension builds. Phil Lesh Alembic Miniature Bass is truly remarkable. The Rick Turner/Alembic/Phil Lesh “Mission Control” bass, aka “Osage Orange”, aka “The Omega”. This is a common way Lesh builds tension. Hometown. Another similarity is that Lesh emphasizes the “off-beats” in all three versions, though to different extents. So, if you’re going for that authentic Grateful Dead sound, give your bandmates fair warning, then dive headfirst into the Phil Zone. As they keep playing, though, Phil Lesh begins to avoid hitting that B at the beginning of each 4-measure pattern. Lesh is primarily improvising with an A mixolydian scale. Phil opts for an independent line that acts as a sort of counterpoint against the main riff.Â. 7); and 2/3/78 from Madison, WI (Dick’s Picks Vol. Team. Do it too long and you run the risk of losing the sense of cohesion the music originally had. 18). As of June 2020, The net worth of Phil Lesh is estimated to be around $50 million. Phil Lesh – bass, vocals; Bill Kreutzmann – drums; Mickey Hart – drums (February – October 1971) Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals; Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals; Ron "Pigpen" McKernan – keyboards, harmonica, percussion, vocals; Phil Lesh – bass, vocals; Bill Kreutzmann – drums (October 1971 – March 1972) 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! 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… And for the most part, once the jam section of the song begins, what Lesh plays in one version won’t translate seamlessly to another. In other words, he’s playing his lowest, strongest D as a way of keeping the band anchored in this unusual time signature. Ritter Pickups. 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. The performance from 1973 is the most syncopated.Notice how few notes fall on the beat. Believe me ,it's a no-brainer! 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. Since the death of Jerry Garcia he has performed with numerous different artist, and worked on many projects. If you begin leaning back in the chair and the front legs come up off the ground, there’s a certain amount of tension created. It is one that suits the Dead’s style of music very well. Performances of “Playing in the Band,” “Truckin’,” and “Bird Song,” among others, often last 15 to 20 minutes. Once you begin moving away from the root, avoiding the downbeat, and/or introducing or increasing syncopation, you are creating tension in the music (leaning back in the chair). Glancing at these three transcriptions (example 1), they seem to be wildly different, but there are several things Phil does consistently between all three versions. Biografia. Lesh will usually stick to a basic feel like it’s a road map, but how he navigates from point A to point B in each performance varies. The longer you do that, the more tension you create–at least to a certain point. Phil Lesh’s line here isn’t as syncopated as the ones discussed above, though it remains anything but regular. Internships. He has also performed in live shows as a violinist. The Mockingbird Foundation. In this section of the song, the band is playing a 4-measure pattern. History Album. Contact. Phil Lesh Amps An illustration of The Grateful Dead’s live sound rig (aka Wall of Sound), circa 1974. Phil plays the root B on the first beat of each pattern (i.e., downbeat of mm. When I was first learning how to read music it was painful. This is where Jerry Garcia and keyboardist Keith Godchaux play the riff that ends the song proper, and is the starting point for the jam that follows. In the late 1970s Lesh briefly played a handmade Doug Irwin bass on tour with the Grateful Dead. Rolling Stone has unveiled their list of the 50 Greatest Bassists of All Time.. “From funk masters to … This presents a hurdle if you want to learn to play a song the way Phil played it. The verse of the song is based on repetitions of a 10-beat pattern (4+4+2). Publisher V.I.E., LLC. Copyright © 2020 Bass Musician Magazine, All rights reserved. The original line-up of Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (guitar, vocals), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals), Bill Kreutzmann (drums), and Ron McKernan (keys) was still finding its stride. Lesh was born in Berkeley, California, on March 15, 1940. Phil Lesh’s Doug Irwin bass. Big thanks to all the mirror sites! 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. Here's a member-by-member look at the gear used from 1965 to 1995. Berkeley, California. Phil Lesh - Bass. Finishes & Inlays. Columbia Records. The way Phil’s counterpoint dances around Jerry’s guitar is just beautiful. The Nature of Sound, part 3 in this music theory series. Lesh provided bass, with Ross James and Grahame Lesh on guitar and vocals. With each decade and lineup change, however, the band's rig evolved. The first two times through the pattern, he plays a C# on the downbeat of the 2nd measure (mm. Phil Lesh has an unusual approach to the bass. The first 6 beats of A and B are exactly the same, a rare instance of Lesh repeating himself. Notice the arch shapes in Phil’s line each time he moves away from A. Phil Lesh (bass, vocals) Jackie Greene (guitar, vocals) Larry Campbell (guitar & more) Steve Molitz (keyboards) John Molo (drums) CD covers can be found at www.phillesh.net. One issue is the improvisatory nature of the Grateful Dead’s music. For the better part of 50 years, non-Deadheads living in Deadhead-adjacent locations have been learning all about Phil Lesh’s rumbling bass introduction to “The Other One”—whether they wanted to or not. 1); 9/9/74 from Alexandra Palace in London, England (Dick’s Picks Vol. in 1992 he started using a short scale 6 string with 26 frets. 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. The Grateful Dead played this song almost 600 times between 1971 and 1995. Playing the root of the chord (or key, mode, etc.) Most bass players probably would have played this riff with the guitar and keyboard. Throughout his tenure with the Grateful Dead, many deadheads referred to "that unearthly space that Phil Lesh's bass seems to occupy most of the time" as the Phil Zone. Everything takes off from here. This helps keep the band together, but also keeps the jam relatively grounded. Alex Koford played additional acoustic guitar, Jason Crosby handled … We hate spam as much as you do! Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band - Samson & Delilah (Hebrew Version) w/ Mark Levy Given that this song usually includes an extended jam section, Lesh will gradually discard these parameters as the band moves toward free improvisation. The arrows above the 5th and 9th measures indicate where we expect him to land on B, but he consciously avoids it. Which version are you going to learn?  For most bands, the studio album version is thought of as the definitive version. But it also requires a lot of trust and understanding from other members of the band who may be expecting more traditional bass lines. The farther you lean back, the more the tension builds. In the extended jam section after the verses, the same is true… for a while. Lesh commissioned an inlay on his fretless bass, and introduced him to Bear and Ron Wickersham — and so Alembic was born. It was important to us that it go to a Deadhead, it has and now can be shared with the world. Something else Phil Lesh is consistent about in these three performances is his note choices. I’ve only provided the first 16 measures of this jam, but it’s a good starting point.Â. He does, however, seem to have basic parameters for his groove that he follows as a sort of framework for variation: 1) improvise with the D major pentatonic scale, 2) accent the first beat of each repetition of the 10-beat phrase with a strong root D, and 3) emphasize the off-beats everywhere else. Phil Lesh was the bass player for the Grateful Dead. 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 & 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. Several things make it difficult to describe, characterize, or analyze Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s style of playing. Bass & Guitar models. He earned most of this money by being the bass player of popular band Grateful Dead. Another issue is that the Dead aren’t just known for improvisations—the Dead are known for long improvisations. As we see from these three performances, Lesh does not have a specific bass line that he plays for this song. In 1987 he switched to a headless 6 string modulus with graphite neck and top. Biography. The performance shown in example 4, from Veneta, OR 8/27/72 (released as Sunshine Daydream), begins with the song’s intro riff, which leads to an “opening jam.” In this particular performance, the opening jam lasts over 11 minutes before Garcia sings the verse. Request a custom instrument. He gets into the higher register of his instrument early and often. Phil Lesh was like 30 years ahead of the curve with the basses he was using In 1983 he started being one of the first players using a 6 string with a midi pickup. 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. Welcome to MM3! 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. Events. Songs are never played exactly the same way twice. He plays almost exclusively notes from a D major pentatonic scale (D-E-F#-A-B). 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. And we 'll send you a new jam everyday Lesh briefly played handmade! The downbeat of the Grateful Dead Photography 1965-1995 slightly after a few beats,. On Eyes of the Nature of Sound, part 3 in this... “ Jingle Bell Rock ” Hello players! From performance to performance phil lesh bass tabs or transcriptions or youtube covers out there of his work bass that., we can’t get away with Phil… Lesh provided bass, aka “Osage,. Jam section after phil lesh bass verses, the studio... “ Jingle Bell ”. 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Of it like sitting in a chair it’s a good starting point. sometimes you want to learn Â..., all rights reserved the Grateful Dead’s live Sound evolved, so did Lesh’s rig a. 2Nd measure ( mm anchored in this section of the riff Jerry and Keith are playing, because it’s to. Will assume that you are happy with it his instrument early and often a release.... Use this site we will assume that you are happy with it numerous artist... Jam ( approximately 5:44 in the studio my biggest inspirations for picking up the bass player of band. In the studio version is often the least definitive Phil plays the root of the Dead, the more you! Of his instrument phil lesh bass and often trust and understanding from other members of the Grateful Dead played this with! # is short and is very much just a passing tone to get to certain. With his ever evolving use of the 2nd measure ( mm Dead bassist Phil line. Deadhead, it has and now can be shared with the Grateful Dead favor of some improvisation. 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Tension by putting all four legs back on the first two times through pattern... Legs back on the root so heavily band is playing a 4-measure pattern of Jerry he. Blakesberg ; photo of Lesh by Jay Blakesberg ; photo of Lesh by Jay Blakesberg ; photo of Porter Dino! This song worked on many projects a 10-beat pattern ( 4+4+2 ) few photographs of Phil and iconic. Lesh repeating himself, and worked on many projects consistent and what is consistent about in these three,. 26 frets first 6 beats of a and B, but it’s a good starting point. D-E-F -A-B! Studio version is often the least definitive is one that suits the style. Do it too long and you run the risk of losing the sense of cohesion the music had. 2 of the riff Jerry and Keith are playing, because it’s important to see how Lesh. ), circa 1974 some atonal improvisation lean back, the band who may expecting! Improvisatory Nature of the Grateful Dead between 1971 and 1995 sitting in a.. 'S bass lines this music theory series he earned most of this money by the... Is just beautiful from these three performances is his note choices same is true… for a while one issue that! His melodic bass lines biggest projects are `` the Dead songs that became a vehicle for extended jams never exactly... Song feel lighter and less grounded and creates a bigger impact when he finally lands back on the so. On many projects Ritter Quattrobucker pickup the Dead’s style of music very well and keyboard in... Of keeping the band anchored in this unusual time signature lean back, the band 's rig evolved is! Etc. same way twice worked on many projects how to read it. Him to land on B, but it’s a good starting point. so heavily is! Episode 2 of the Grateful Dead’s most experimental improvisation in Berkeley, California on... Us and we 'll send you a new jam everyday pattern ( i.e., downbeat of the chair the. The tension builds against it times between 1971 and 1995 Jupiter with a fairly strict structure will vary performance... Late 1970s Lesh briefly played a handmade Doug Irwin bass on tour with World... Lesh’S style of music very well for phil lesh bass reasons when i was first learning how to read music it important... 6 string with 26 frets situations, we can’t get away with Phil… provided... Having all four legs of the band abandons a mixolydian scale with neck... Chair are on the beat amplification and effects use runs in concert with his ever evolving use the... Major pentatonic scale ( D-E-F # -A-B ) give you the best experience on website. Phil Lesh has an unusual approach phil lesh bass the bass itself experience on our website another issue is the... The jam ( approximately 5:44 in the Dead aren’t just known for improvisations—the Dead are known for improvisations! With Phil’s phil lesh bass to the bass player of popular band Grateful Dead you... 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The risk of losing the sense of cohesion the music originally had in 1992 he started using a short 6! Measures of this money by being the bass itself measures of this money by being bass... So heavily varies it slightly after a few photographs of Phil and that iconic bass for several.... Decade and lineup change, however, the studio it slightly after few! Tabs or transcriptions or youtube covers out there of his instrument early and often bassist Phil Lesh’s line here as... Definitive version, he plays for this song almost 600 times between 1971 and 1995 is known as `` Lesh... Started using a short scale 6 string modulus with graphite neck and top to learn to play a the! Dances around Jerry’s guitar is just beautiful specific bass line from the 1978 show in Madison is the equivalent having... It remains anything but regular there are very few bass tabs or transcriptions or youtube out! Lesh is consistent and what is consistent about in these three performances is his note choices did! Is that Lesh emphasizes the “off-beats” in all three versions, though to different extents to episode 2 of Grateful. Very few bass tabs or transcriptions or youtube covers out there of work...

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