Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #136768  by TI4-1009
 Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:40 am
I saw this posted by Don Butler (aka "Toneman") over on the Beatles Gear board:

"Having known Jack Cassidy for a couple of decades or so, His original Les Paul Bass is the Gibson version. I'm not sure if he actually plays his Epiphone signature model, but I know he loves that Gibson one. He was a Fender guy at first and then switched to a Guild Bass that our friend Rick Turner modified for him. BTW, Rick said that he always use to install Pyramid Gold flats on Jacks Bass and on Phil Lesh's basses back in the day."
 #136771  by Rusty the Scoob
 Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:21 am
His original Les Paul Bass is the Gibson version. I'm not sure if he actually plays his Epiphone signature model, but I know he loves that Gibson one.
He does play his Epi signature model, although they cherry-pick the good ones to give to him. I'm told it's a nearly exact copy of his particular era of Les Paul Bass which only roughly resembles the Les Paul guitar.

As far as the Pyramid Golds, that's fairly common knowledge. I tried them myself and agreed with the common reviews - they're not what they used to be, now you get three fantastic strings and a thumpy, tone-dead low E. They mostly sell them to McCartney guys who put them on their Hofners and they would be perfect in that role. Phil used them because Paul used them, and back in the day they probably were the best thing around. If I could get Pyramid Gold Classics or something with four good equal strings I'd be all over it.
 #136773  by TI4-1009
 Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:47 am
Yup, I've seen Hot Tuna acoustic twice in the last year and he was playing the JC Epi both times- great sounding bass- thump and/or growl.

The Pyramids I put on my Rogue Hofner knockoff had the dead-ish E too. I'm told that you can keep sending it back to them until you get a winner, but that's really not a great business model.
 #136777  by TruckinThruTennessee
 Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:00 am
I've put them on my custom build jazz bass, I had the same problem, the top three are real bright and smooth, but my low E is always dead sounding. Not Dead in a good way either. I took the strings off and, in the name of music, sanded down my frets until they were barely there, not quite fretless but not really fretted either. Slapped the strings back on ANNND.....same thing. But on the bright side, slides, walking bass lines, and up the board runs are extremely easy, really mellow, and smooth. Did not fix the pyramids, but did give a new insight to my tone. Long story short. Tried them, wasn't satisfied, tried fixing the problem, still not satisfied. What I ended up doing was getting a Black Diamond pack of flatwounds and stealing the low E. The Black Diamond is bright and punchy and equals out real well with the top three. Moral of the story, DeadHeads make it work. Although I am up for any suggestions on flatwounds that I do not have buy two packs of. :D
 #136888  by Rusty the Scoob
 Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:27 am
It's hard to make a blanket recommendation, I like certain strings on certain basses and there are some that I like on stage that aren't as good at home, etc. But based on the other thread I'd give a set of Ken Smith Slickrounds a try. They're key to the 90's Phil, '97-up Mike Gordon tone. They're flats that give a nice high end definition, very slappable and sound great picked, and work fine for fingerstyle too. The main complaint about them is it's really hard to get a good low B, they sell them separately in paper envelopes and they sit around too long, I think.
 #136961  by Bassman
 Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:26 pm
I just put a set of D'Addario HalfRounds on my Alembic Mark King standard 4- string bass, and wouldn't you know it a dead sounding E string.
So I just sent for a set of Ken Smith Compressors. See how these work out.
 #137123  by Bassman
 Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:02 pm
Ken Smith Compressors are quite nice, just a little more "bite" than the Slicks. I dig em.