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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #89664  by Jon S.
 Wed Nov 17, 2010 5:41 pm
We've (The Thankful Dads) been auditioning bassists because we lost ours to a classic rock group (stupid bassist! :P ). Anyone, the last guy to sit in (who was great, we'll almost certainly invite him in) played a vintage Gibson Ripper bass with flatwound black (nylon coated?) strings and sounded UNBELIEVABLE, more like Phil than anyone I've personally played with before.

What's the deal with the Ripper? Anyone here got one?
 #89667  by Rusty the Scoob
 Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:19 pm
Somewhat unusual basses, but quality. I can see why they'd make a good Phil bass - put flats on a bass, especially with wide humbuckers and you're 90% there, tonewise, especially if you stay away from Fender pickup designs. (despite Phil dabbling with them 1980-82 - and I count the Irwin since it was 34" scale and had P-bass pickups - sounded like a P-bass to me)

Everything you want to know about Gibson basses is here: http://www.flyguitars.com/gibson/bass/L-9Sripper.php Apparently Bill Lawrence designed the Ripper's pickups so that's pretty cool.
 #89668  by Grateful Dad
 Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:32 pm
Jon S. wrote:We've (The Thankful Dads) been auditioning bassists because we lost ours to a classic rock group (stupid bassist! :P ). Anyone, the last guy to sit in (who was great, we'll almost certainly invite him in) played a vintage Gibson Ripper bass with flatwound black (nylon coated?) strings and sounded UNBELIEVABLE, more like Phil than anyone I've personally played with before.

What's the deal with the Ripper? Anyone here got one?
No Ripper bass here (I play a Tobias 5 string through a Mesa rig) BUT the bass player auditions sound interesting.......

References: Tennessee Jedi and Fretful Dave
 #89677  by Rusty the Scoob
 Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:32 am
Grateful Dad wrote:Hey Rusty,

How would flats sound on a Tobias with Barts? Never tried them.

GD

:-)
Closer to Phil than Rounds! I've never owned a Tobias but they'd probably sound fairly close to my custom/warmoth bass with Barts - smoother, rounder, etc. I bet you'd still keep some of that Tobias Growl, too... probably a very cool combination. Definitely worth a try for any Phil-head.
 #89702  by tigerstrat
 Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:36 pm
Rusty the Scoob wrote: put flats on a bass, especially with wide humbuckers and you're 90% there, tonewise
What about Big Brown and the Osage-Orange bass, 71-79? Those pups were allegedly single coils from everything I've read.

Paging Mr. Rick Turner...
 #89705  by Rusty the Scoob
 Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:29 pm
Absolutely, those were singles.

Humbuckers and single coils aren't necessarly as noticeably different on a bass as they are on a guitar IMHO - it's more about the shape of the pickup itself, meaning how much of the string the pickup senses. This determines the harmonic content that's amplified.

For example - my J-bass has stacked humbuckers in the traditional J-bass winding size (plus 1 string) and still sounds exactly like a J-bass to me, especially if you bypass the onboard preamp/eq.

Fred Hammon's site has a good comparison between Tall & Skinny vs. Short and Fat pickups on a bass: http://www.hammoneng.com/soundclips1.htm
 #89714  by tigerstrat
 Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:45 pm
Rusty the Scoob wrote:Absolutely, those were singles.

Humbuckers and single coils aren't necessarly as noticeably different on a bass as they are on a guitar IMHO - it's more about the shape of the pickup itself, meaning how much of the string the pickup senses. This determines the harmonic content that's amplified.

For example - my J-bass has stacked humbuckers in the traditional J-bass winding size (plus 1 string) and still sounds exactly like a J-bass to me, especially if you bypass the onboard preamp/eq.

Fred Hammon's site has a good comparison between Tall & Skinny vs. Short and Fat pickups on a bass: http://www.hammoneng.com/soundclips1.htm
agreed on the sound similarities, just stickling the details on ya!
 #89717  by Rusty the Scoob
 Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:43 pm
I should have emphased that the key word in my post that you quoted above was Wide and not Humbucker. :cool:

Wide pickups are helpful, as are flats, as are picks, as is a short-scale neck, as is a clean, round amp, etc etc etc. It's not like Jerry where you guitar guys have it down to a total science, with bass you can get 90% there with just technique and one or two small tonal concessions to get into the right ballpark. You're all throwing bulls-eyes at a dartboard while we're throwing grenades at it. :lol: