Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #107927  by mfc1129
 Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:39 am
I'm new to this forum, and I'm sure that others have asked before; but I was wandering if anyone knew of any good accurate tabs for any Dead material online? It seems pretty rare to find any good bass tabs online and this is something I would like to change. If their is anyone on here that would like to make some cash tabbing out some songs, one by one, and accurately then let me know? I would be willing to pay a decent rate per song, not only for my benefit but so that I could post them online for other people like me, who don't have the time or the skill to do it themselves. I just think it's a shame that you can find any guitar part for any dead song but when it comes to PHIL, there is like 4 or 5 semi-accurate songs online, WTF? If anyone is interested please email me @

 #107966  by zambiland
 Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:46 pm
I think part of the problem is that Phil rarely plays anything the same way twice even in the same version of the song. So, you'd have to pick particular versions. If my memory serves me zucchini, there was a note for note transcription of Scarlet a while back in Bass Player magazine. You might start with that. The hard part with Phil is the rhythm. He's all over the place, in a good way.

It's kind of like dealing with jazz bass players. Learning how to cop their parts involves getting lots of versions of the same songs and finding out what the common approaches are.

If there are particular versions you want transcribed, let me know. If I have time I might take a shot at one or two. I should warn you, though. I don't do tab.
 #107970  by mfc1129
 Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:20 pm
What I was thinking was to learn songs off of certain albums, and then adapt them, I just want to get the basic idea of what he's doing in certain songs and then take off with it. This is essentially what Phil did anyway; lay down the structure and then improvise from what you already have. I've learned songs like fire on the mt., dark star, china cat, franklins tower, casey jones, shakedown st. etc, but as you said his playing is all over the place and standard bass wisdom flies right out the window, so I learned the basic structure of these songs first and then adapted my Phil interpretations to it afterword. The problem for me is learning songs that are not on albums, does anyone have any suggestions?
 #107986  by Tennessee Jedi
 Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:01 am
mfc1129 wrote:The problem for me is learning songs that are not on albums, does anyone have any suggestions?
Youtube Dude
When I get confused listening to the Music play I head to Youtube to see if there are vids to check out for more clues ...
Like for instance watching Jerry you can see chords shapes frequently as he solos. Little clues like that ....
Look for Phil vids ....
Check out this guy , too
 #109509  by TI4-1009
 Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:48 am
Touch of Grey tab- including bass- in that new Guitar World with the Further article and Tiger centerfold.
 #109520  by gr8fullfred
 Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:04 am
The real problem is that the Dead never played the same song the same way twice. Hence any tab would only be accurate for that version of the song. Not to mention that Phil is all over the place most of the time. You need to know enough of the licks to be able to play the song, while being able to Jam and fill in the rest. Except for the licks that actually make the song the song, I am never trying to be exact. I learn as much about Jerry's playing as possible for me, but I know very little note for note type stuff. Trying to note for note Phil would probably be harder than trying to note for note Jerry, being that it seems more difficult to pick Phil exactly out of the mix.

That being said, Phil is throwing out some incredible stuff with FURTHUR these days, and no one in rock compares to him at this time. Think about it, he has been playing bass for longer than most of the others have been alive! Not an easy task to note for note him, but keep trying.........
 #109541  by Rusty the Scoob
 Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:47 pm
Phil Lesh101 wrote:I'm almost positive it isn't even possible to note for note learn how to play a song like Phil.
Of course it's possible! Phil has 10 fingers and toes, just like the rest of us.
 #109734  by Phil Lesh101
 Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:32 pm
Rusty the Scoob wrote:Not really... his fingers move fairly slowly although they're speeding up lately. He plays like he has 25 brains, that's for sure.
I like how you think :lol: