Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

name, city, instrument, years of playing, current band, gear
 #75554  by janetfurman
 Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:33 pm
Hello Ugly Rumor,

Sorry for the delay in responding. I've been having trouble making posts. I answered your question last week, but it never appeared - still trying to figure out why. Anyway. I didn't work on instruments, just amps and other electronics. I did see Phil's quadraphonic bass (one pickup for each string) while it was being modified by Rick Turner, with electronics supplied by Ron Wickersham, though I didn't personally contribute to that project. This was in the days before Alembic started making their own basses. Rick and Ron, along with Bob Matthews, were co-owners of Alembic in the early 70's. I remember being intrigued by this bass, because (1) there were active electronics for each pickup, meaning there were an awful lot of knobs (too many, really), and (2) it had LED lights inlaid into the neck as fret markers. Remember, in 1970 LEDs were a brand new thing and this was very cutting-edge. I still like the LED idea. Fret markers can be awfully hard to see on a dark stage! I don't remember what kind of bass this started as but it had a hollow body. Maybe Guild. Phil's Alembic bass came after I left Alembic.


ugly rumor wrote:Damn, Janet, if you were lonely you will be no more!! Did you do much on Phil's Alembic? (the one in the movie) Also, I've heard that the Gibson RD series of the late 70's was modeled on that...true?

Welcome to where we on the bus try to maintain some semblance of contact with the other riders, hope to see you often!
 #76038  by mijknahs
 Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:34 pm
Hi Janet,

You mentioned you play bass in a cover band and play some Dead tunes as well. What kind of equipment are you using these days (bass and amp, etc.)?

 #76049  by janetfurman
 Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:20 pm
Yes, I've played bass in a series of cover bands over time. Somehow, bands don't seem to last more than a couple of years before someone quits or moves away. I've probably been a half dozen bands. Some were more into Dead songs than others. In one of them we played Me and My Uncle and Bertha, in another Ripple and Goin' Down the Road. Maybe some others. My most recent band disintegrated in January, so this weekend I'm auditioning with a new band. It's an all-women band that plays hard rock. It looks like a lot of fun. We'll see how it goes.

I have three basses: a 60's Hagstrom that I bought when I was in college, a Fender Jazz Bass, and a Yamaha RBX-A2 that I bought very recently because it was so cool looking. I usually practice on the Hagstrom because I like the slinky neck, and play the Jazz Bass or the Yamaha at gigs. I play through an SWR SM500 and two Mesa Boogie cabs, a 4x10 and a 1x15. Of course, I have a Furman PL-TUNER... This stuff is heavy, I need help to get it up and down a flight of stairs. I need some roadies!

 #76050  by mijknahs
 Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:28 pm
Yeah, wouldn't it be nice to just show up at gigs with all your stuff set up the way you like it... gigging is back breaking. Thanks for joining our forum!

 #76220  by
 Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:02 am
great read. looks like there was a few bumps in the road along the way. that europe story was classic. thanks for everything you have done in our "search for the sound". :hail:
 #77369  by zambiland
 Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:53 pm
Welcome, Janet! I've loved your work for decades. In fact, I think we may have conversed about the PQ-3 back in 1980 or so.

I enjoyed reading the history page and was wondering if the band in front of the stacked wall of sound might be Sparky and the Assbites from Hell?

 #77434  by janetfurman
 Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:14 pm

I assumed the people in the photo were Phil and Mickey, but now I'm told they aren't. So I don't know who they are. The Dead did have a roadie called Sparky Raizene who may have lead a roadie band sometime after I stopped being part of the scene. I don't think it's them, either. You guys know more Dead history than me.

 #92921  by digidesign02
 Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:44 pm
Hi Janet, Would really like to have some history and background on MM_1000 .... we have it.. yep 2nd one built.. restroring ..would love to have your advice on original specs and / or anything you can recall about this piece of rock and roll history, we have a studio here in San Pedro ,Ca. where we are in the process of restoring this wonderful sounding piece of gear back to working condition... done enough research to believe this is the very machine that recorded so many great albums of the 60s and 70s and was part of wall of sound...on the road and in the studio would love to hear from you in regards ...Thanks Dennis
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 #92927  by barefootdave
 Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:30 am
I wouldn't mind having LED fret markers myself, even now, when playing on a dark stage.

Until you decide to get one with LED markers, try this:

On my bass I took some reflective tape (about $2.00 at the hardware store) and used a hole punch to get a bunch of little reflective circles. Then cut the circles in half and put the semi circles on the top of the neck where the existing fret markers are. They can't be seen from the front, and work extremely well on dark stages. If you don't like it, they come right off with a fingernail, wipe the neck down with a rag, and you're no worse off. Hope this helps next time you are on a dark stage!

Thanks for contributing your time and knowledge, and for being part of something that has made my life more beautiful.
 #92929  by Rusty the Scoob
 Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:43 am
Wow, sweet find on the tape machine!

Might want to reach out to her at her website... haven't seen much from her since this thread was active last April. Let us know how things go, that's a cool machine you have there!