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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #138040  by TeeJay
 Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:19 am
As a guitar player that hangs out on the jerry tone page I have been digging around the phil sound page for tips to pass along to my bassist buddy. We are in a bar band that plays rock covers but I have benifited so much from adding jerry tone ideas to my guitar rig that I was curious if there are similar basic phil strategies that could be used to improve bass tone even in a crappy bar band. The guitar player in me keeps looking for threads on obel, buffers, and mutrons so I need some help on where to start. Thanks phil guys.
 #138048  by musicmike
 Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:19 pm
Get a very thick pick and play up by the neck, play most notes short except bombs, jump ov8's and know his mixo scale and most of all listen. I Play bass in a dead cover band and I am a music teacher so I know this is vague but so is your question. R U looking for help with his /her playing or the sound of his/her amp . would love to help so check out our page and let me know what U would like to know. Peace Otto https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crazy-Ot ... 6490541818
 #138052  by TeeJay
 Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:50 pm
Thanks Otto for the reply. Sorry for the vague question. I guess what I was trying to ask was did Phil have a basic recipe for tone as jerry did (middle pup>buffer/obel>twin pre>mac>jbl)?
 #138055  by ugly rumor
 Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:03 pm
Since Phil's tone was not a constant for the thirty years he played with the Grateful Dead, you'll have to be even more specific. His equipment varied considerably, as he changed basses, amps, strings, and even playing style. How can you pick someone else's tone, anyway?
 #138065  by tatittle
 Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:01 am
Im a guitarist and haven't studied Phils rig. But one thing I see as crucial is 15" speakers....doesn't necy need to be JBL like guitar I imagine...but stay away from those 10" stacks bassists love LOL.

Well I just read Phil actually uses 10's now...I haven't seen him recently, and I just naturally think of the 70's era Dead by default as I prefer it to the 90's by far. I always hear funk and modern type tone from multiple 10's with bass. Note selection and rhythmic sensibility is most important obviously regardless.
Last edited by tatittle on Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #138293  by zambiland
 Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:56 pm
TeeJay wrote:Thanks Otto for the reply. Sorry for the vague question. I guess what I was trying to ask was did Phil have a basic recipe for tone as jerry did (middle pup>buffer/obel>twin pre>mac>jbl)?
There are a couple of recipes:
60s-70s: short scale bass with flatwounds; amp with Fender tone stack (whether Showman for the 60s all tube sound or Alembic F2B with a power amp for the 70s. There are other preamps that can be had cheaper that do the Fender tube tone stack. Trace Elliot made one and I think there's a Peavey one as well); 15 inch speakers, preferably JBL. Gauss for the later 70s tone.

80-90s: Modulus 6 string. EMG pickups, DC45s; different strings for different tones, but the Ken Smith Slick Rounds do pretty well for the not so clanky tones. For the real clanky ones, try rounds; SWR preamp with a power amp or just an SWR amp (if it has enough power for you). The preamp he used a lot back then was the SWR/Groove Tubes collaboration, so there is also the option of finding an old Groove Tubes preamp. An Eden amp will do in a pinch. Bigass power amp and then as full range speakers as you can find, 15s over 18s.