Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Re: Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:49 am

zambiland wrote:It's actually a very common concept in synthesis. Given Lesh's background in music, it would seem like like a concept he'd take to pretty easily, whether from the background of organ stops, electronic music or from orchestral arrangement where using different instruments gives a similar result to the above, i.e., given the different waveforms of different instruments (flutes being sine waves with limited overtones, oboes more like a sawtooth wave with huge overtones), you can create harmonic structures with the overtone capabilities of each instrument in mind resulting in a unified textural experience. I'm not sure how much of this was realized in the Osage Orange bass, my suspicion is not much.


Yeah, it seems that you'd have to have a system that senses what note you're playing - hence the wired frets - but then translating that data to filters real-time using 70's technology would probably be tough.
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Re: Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Postby Rick Turner » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:13 pm

We never got around to the tracking filter idea.

Also, "back in the day" I never heard a word about intonation, and if it had been off, it would have been easy to fix by pulling frets, filling slots, and recutting.

Don't forget, there was a fair amount of substance abuse going on in those days, too. Both Phil and Jack have spoken to me with regret about having let go of their early Alembics. At least I know where Jack's bass is...

Oh, well...
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Re: Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Postby Sparechaynge » Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:47 am

Hi, Rick!

Phil still has The Godfather/Big Brown, right? I know it was on tour few years ago but has it since moved on? That is probably the coolest science project/instrument I have seen in a while.

While you're here, do you have any recollection of the "missing" inlays in question a little further back in this thread? Not a major detail, but I am rather curious.

Thanks for the all cool sounds!
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Re: Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Postby Rick Turner » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:18 am

Well, I built all of that bass in it's original form other than the George Mundy electronics, inlays, hardware, and pickups included. (Yeah, I know that the official Alembic line is that all the instruments were collectively built, but that's bullshit)

Inlays...I don't know...it was just one of those things that came out of discussions with Phil...lots of the Egyptian stuff, etc. My very first meetings with Phil in 1969 were about doing inlays on the Guild Bluesbird-esque fretless that is now owned by Dan Schwartz.

The Godfather/Big Brown lives. I did a little poking about on it about three years ago, more to identify functions and parts than anything else. And on that one, I did the woodwork, inlay, hardware, and pickups, and Ron W. did the electronics.
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Re: Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Postby Sparechaynge » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:44 am

Rick,
Ah, yeah, I understand about the inlays. Not a problem.

I have heard the story of you vs. Alembic, and it's sad that you and the other builders don't get full credit. I read your photo essay in Fretboard Journal a recently and it put me back on the trail of finding out more about these basses. There's a lot of misinformation out there, as you know.

I know you're a busy guy, but do you have a moment to put some labels on the knobs of the Godfather? I have read a brief description you gave about it elsewhere, but it would be helpful to have some visual assistance. Doesn't have to be knob-by-knob, groups are good too.
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Re: Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Postby broesau » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:33 am

Phil needed a reminder.

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Re: Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Postby Sparechaynge » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:08 am

Yup, that's what I'm looking for. Anyone have a version large enough to read the labels? That size is all I can find, which is why I asked Rick if he could help. That pic really just makes me want to know even more.
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Re: Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Postby zambiland » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:27 pm

As far as I know, it's not that complicated really. Each pickup has a state variable filter, so there's a filter type switch (bandpass, highpass, lowpass, notch, although I'm not certain of the last), frequency, Q, filtered level and direct level for each pickup, which you can see as groups of 5 knobs. The other knobs are probably pickup selector switches, master volumes and controls for the quad.

Michael Delacerda had a bass that had a very similar setup minus the quad that ended up in the hands of Fred Hammon known as the Supreme Being. There was a thread about it on the old Dudepit where he went over all the controls in detail. Apparently with the filters swept all the way down, that bass can rearrange organs.

Nice to see you here, Rick!
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Re: Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Postby Sparechaynge » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:21 pm

Ok, now I see how they are laid out. I know (think) the big silver knob is the quad master volume per Rick's photos in FBJ, and the 2 on the lower horn are probably the pup selector and MV. So then, what is the big witch hat knob just before the first bank of filters? Also, by Zambiland's account the 5 knobs for each filter have the 5 functions listed, but then what are the small switches for?

Sorry to be a pest, but I really want to get this down.
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Re: Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Postby zambiland » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:42 pm

I don't know what the final knob is that you are asking about, maybe a mode switch, but I think the little silver ones are just trim pots, probably for pickup gain.
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Re: Phil Lesh Osage Orange Guitar

Postby Sparechaynge » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:05 am

Thanks a lot! Good to get that finally straightened out.
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