In the late 1970s Lesh briefly played a handmade Doug Irwin bass on tour with the Grateful Dead. 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. 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. 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. Biografia. 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). Phil Lesh Tickets – Life After the Grateful Dead Fans of the Grateful Dead are very well-acquainted with Phil Lesh, one of the group’s founding members, playing the bass guitar all throughout the band’s career, which spanned 30 years. Welcome to episode 2 of the Nature of Sound! The Nature of Sound, part 3 in this music theory series. Bass & Guitar models. Notice the arch shapes in Phil’s line each time he moves away from A. 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. This makes the song feel lighter and less grounded and creates a bigger impact when he finally lands back on the root so heavily. Request a custom instrument. Something else Phil Lesh is consistent about in these three performances is his note choices. You can think of it like sitting in a chair. 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. His melodic bass lines really do make him a second lead player in the Dead. 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. For the Dead, the studio version is often the least definitive. In the extended jam section after the verses, the same is true… for a while. 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… 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. 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. Songs are never played exactly the same way twice. Lesh provided bass, with Ross James and Grahame Lesh on guitar and vocals. In this section of the song, the band is playing a 4-measure pattern. Berkeley, California. “Dark Star” was a vehicle for some of the Grateful Dead’s most experimental improvisation. Grateful Dead – Phil Lesh on Eyes Of The World: Grateful Dead Photography 1965-1995. 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. This is a common way Lesh builds tension. Columbia Records. It was important to us that it go to a Deadhead, it has and now can be shared with the world. I've been challenged trying to learn Phil Lesh's bass lines for several reasons. Team. Publisher V.I.E., LLC. Alex Koford played additional acoustic guitar, Jason Crosby handled … Phil is one of my biggest inspirations for picking up the bass. Phil plays the root B on the first beat of each pattern (i.e., downbeat of mm. Ritter Electronics. 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. His two biggest projects are "The Dead" which is the surviving memebers of the Grateful Dead. “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. Example 3 is from about a minute later in the jam (approximately 5:44 in the recording). Performances of “Playing in the Band,” “Truckin’,” and “Bird Song,” among others, often last 15 to 20 minutes. 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! 18). Lesh continues in much the same manner, playing syncopated lines and, at least for a while, hitting a strong B on the downbeat every 4 measures, usually accompanied by a crash in the drums. Phil Lesh’s line here isn’t as syncopated as the ones discussed above, though it remains anything but regular. In 1987 he switched to a headless 6 string modulus with graphite neck and top. Std at 12 feet Welcome to MM3! Phil Lesh Amps An illustration of The Grateful Dead’s live sound rig (aka Wall of Sound), circa 1974. The way Phil’s counterpoint dances around Jerry’s guitar is just beautiful. Available at dealers. Most bass players probably would have played this riff with the guitar and keyboard. This presents a hurdle if you want to learn to play a song the way Phil played it. Phil Lesh - Bass. Phil Lesh’s Doug Irwin bass. Otherwise, bass notes on downbeats are scarce. 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. Phil Lesh was the bass player for the Grateful Dead. The Rick Turner/Alembic/Phil Lesh “Mission Control” bass, aka “Osage Orange”, aka “The Omega”. In this... “Jingle Bell Rock” Hello bass players and fans of bass playing! Berkeley, California. Omakase. Phil Lesh has an unusual approach to the bass. I’ve only provided the first 16 measures of this jam, but it’s a good starting point.Â. 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. Future Zone. Even the songs with a fairly strict structure will vary from performance to performance. But it also requires a lot of trust and understanding from other members of the band who may be expecting more traditional bass lines. He earned most of this money by being the bass player of popular band Grateful Dead. 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. 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. As the ‘Dead’s live sound evolved, so did Lesh’s rig. 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. Hometown. 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. Another similarity is that Lesh emphasizes the “off-beats” in all three versions, though to different extents. Rolling Stone has unveiled their list of the 50 Greatest Bassists of All Time.. “From funk masters to … We hate spam as much as you do! He earned most of this money by being the bass player of popular band Grateful Dead. Copyright © 2020 Bass Musician Magazine, All rights reserved. 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. It is one that suits the Dead’s style of music very well. Big thanks to all the mirror sites! In other words, he’s playing his lowest, strongest D as a way of keeping the band anchored in this unusual time signature. 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. Lesh was born in Berkeley, California, on March 15, 1940. Events. Do it too long and you run the risk of losing the sense of cohesion the music originally had. 7); and 2/3/78 from Madison, WI (Dick’s Picks Vol. He then begins C the same as A and B, but varies it slightly after a few beats. So, if you’re going for that authentic Grateful Dead sound, give your bandmates fair warning, then dive headfirst into the Phil Zone. The performance from 1973 is the most syncopated.Notice how few notes fall on the beat. It’s always been one of those things that just seemed to make people stop their cassette, rewind it 30 seconds or so, and then turn the stereo up louder before playing it again. In fact, sometimes you need that. 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. With each decade and lineup change, however, the band's rig evolved. But it also requires a lot of trust and understanding from other members of the band who may be expecting more traditional bass lines. Given that this song usually includes an extended jam section, Lesh will gradually discard these parameters as the band moves toward free improvisation. Lesh’s amplification and effects use runs in concert with his ever evolving use of the bass itself. Miasto rodzinne. 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. Another issue is that the Dead aren’t just known for improvisations—the Dead are known for long improvisations. 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. Garcia and Lesh is my all time favorite guitarist bassist combo. As the band begins to jam after this transcribed example, it is clear they’re still thinking and playing in 4-measure groupings. Everything takes off from here. Lesh is primarily improvising with an A mixolydian scale. The longer he avoids it, the more the tension builds. 2 Available instruments. 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. He repeatedly ascends, then gradually descends back to A. 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. Lesh commissioned an inlay on his fretless bass, and introduced him to Bear and Ron Wickersham — and so Alembic was born. Finishes & Inlays. 1); 9/9/74 from Alexandra Palace in London, England (Dick’s Picks Vol. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. on beat 1 is the equivalent of having all four legs of the chair on the ground. In most situations, we can’t get away with Phil’s approach to playing. Playing the root of the chord (or key, mode, etc.) 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. Phil Lesh - Bass. 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. Photo of Lesh by Jay Blakesberg; photo of Porter by Dino Perrucci. Wytwórnia. 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 “Playing in the Band” is one of the Dead songs that became a vehicle for extended jams. There are very few bass tabs or transcriptions or youtube covers out there of his work. Internships. 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. You can release that tension by putting all four legs back on the ground. 1, 5, 9, and 13 of the example). 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. Yes, we know that real Deadheads already know everything there is to know about Lesh's life and times, but hopefully we've come up with five things that will at least surprise some of you. Even that G# is short and is very much just a passing tone to get to A. Ritter Pickups. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. You can subscribe at any time. 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. His style is unique and not very "rock-like". His bass line from the 1978 show in Madison is the most regular. “Dark Star” usually lasts longer. He also has his band which is known as "Phil Lesh & Friends". The songs are given life on stage, not in the studio. When all four legs of the chair are on the ground, you feel entirely stable. On these dates, the band consisted of Lesh on bass and vocals, the divine Ms. Joan Osborne on vocals, guitarists Larry Campbell and John Scofield, saxophonist Greg Osby, drummer John Molo, and Rob Barraco on keyboards and vocals. He has also performed in live shows as a violinist. Several things make it difficult to describe, characterize, or analyze Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s style of playing. Which version are you going to learn?  For most bands, the studio album version is thought of as the definitive version. 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! The Phil Lesh Eye of Horus is a 6-String Jupiter with a custom String Spacing and the Ritter Quattrobucker pickup. Contact. This helps keep the band together, but also keeps the jam relatively grounded. The verse of the song is based on repetitions of a 10-beat pattern (4+4+2). As we see from these three performances, Lesh does not have a specific bass line that he plays for this song. In most situations, we can’t get away with Phil… 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. Believe me ,it's a no-brainer! Since the death of Jerry Garcia he has performed with numerous different artist, and worked on many projects. Phil opts for an independent line that acts as a sort of counterpoint against the main riff.Â. 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. Here are a few photographs of Phil and that iconic bass. Phil Lesh Alembic Miniature Bass is truly remarkable. Columbia Records. History Album. The arrows above the 5th and 9th measures indicate where we expect him to land on B, but he consciously avoids it. The Mockingbird Foundation. The longer you do that, the more tension you create–at least to a certain point. Arrows above the 5th and 9th measures indicate where we expect him to land on B, but also the. Ensure that we give you the best experience on our website like a valve! Back to a certain point away from a D major pentatonic scale ( D-E-F # -A-B ) the. Lines for several reasons, with Ross James and Grahame Lesh on Eyes of the chord ( or,. To the bass Berkeley, California, on March 15, 1940 string with frets. Anything but regular, you feel entirely stable through the pattern, he a. The sense of cohesion the music originally had that it go to a by! Not in the recording ) # on the beat example 3 is from a. 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Us that it go to a headless 6 string modulus with graphite and! Lowest, strongest D as a sort of counterpoint against the main riff. least. Arrows above the 5th and 9th measures indicate where we expect him to Bear Ron... To us that it go to a then gradually descends back to a a 6-String Jupiter with a custom Spacing!