SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:Use a pick... They're cheap.
This really is a lot of it. Phil has always been a tone hound, but his tone is more from his playing technique than from his gear, although he uses good gear. But he has used (at the expense of alerting everyone to ebay's offerings) everything from massive 2X18/3X15 set-ups to his current 8X10 or 16X10 Eden rigs. I really like his sound using the Meyer Sound 650-R2 2X18 set-up and 2X10s with the Phil & Friends shows. I currently use a single 15 inch Meyer in a Fender cabinet (stealth...now you know my secret!). Meyer speakers require a powerful amp, but are very clean and worth it. But back to your question, I got great tone from my Bag End speakers, Yorkville when I ran them, even my old Labseries L-2 with two 15s. Phil uses or used D'Addario half-rounds, and a medium or heavy pick. A good bass amp is uncolored, good speakers run flat (Meyer, Bag End), and the tone will come from the guitar and the technique. Eden colors their speakers, so I'm a little surprised that Phil uses them, but maybe there is a reason?
Grateful Dad has the right approach. Lots of headroom for what you play, and you can EQ the guitar for tone. Personally, I reach for a tone that I like rather than trying to copy Phil. There are times (early 80's, Fender period) that I hate his tone. I try to incorporate thought patterns influenced heavily by Phil rather than trying to be him, and my influences are different, having played blues for so long (many of you in New England may know Ernie Williams, for whom I played).
If you want to play bass and want a good cheap rig, I highly recommend two single 15 inch Bag End cabinets, available on ebay for about $300 each, and if you can find a Gibson GB-440 amp head, they are usually about $400-500 and very good amps and pre-amps, designed by Russ Allee (David Eden) and Steve Rabe (SWR). Mesa also makes great stuff. If you want my old Labseries, I'll let it go cheap. It's in Virginia, near Roanoke, and I'll be there June 8th - 12th, but you have to let me know before I leave Colorado on the 8th. It's the best amp of its time (late 70's, early 80's) in my opinion. But in my opinion, you can do better with modern equipment. It depends on your level of commitment.
Let us know what gear you get! It is, after all, a very personal quest for tone.
Gone are the days we stopped to decide where we should go, we just ride...