Bingo - that's the interview that makes me think of him primarily as a 34" scale guy, and a big reason why I put Bartolinis in my custom bass.
Interesting tidbit about the center detent on the master volume. I ended up with one on the master volume of my reissue Starfire just by coincidence and I really like it. It helps that it has super hot output... even with the volume in the center detent position it's hotter than most other basses, so I run it there most of the time, with the option of boosting the hell out of the signal if I want.
Phil decided it was time to upgrade with a brand-new Quantum 6 bass.
Certain characteristics had to be the same as his previous Modulus basses. The scale had to be 34", even though 35" is a Modulus standard; it needed 26 frets; the neck had to be 3-1/4" wide at the 24th fret; and the body needed to be extra-wide. “Phil feels an extra-wide body looks more normal,” says McNall. “Plus, he played Alembics for many years, so he’s used to that shape.” Lesh chose a gorgeous piece of figured walnut for the top and figured chechen for the fingerboard. The neck and body will have a clear satin finish, another new twist. He chose an ABM bridge (stock Quantum 6’s have Hipshot bridges).
Phil’s previous Quantum 6’s had EMG pickups, but when trying out some alternates, he fell in love with Bartolinis. The new Quantum will have a Bartolini NTMB circuit with five knobs: volume, blend, bass, mid, and treble. (Phil doesn’t like the stacked knobs standard on the NTMB.) He also asked for an unusual detent on the master-volume control, although that presented serious problems for the Modulus production team. Although Phil’s previous Quantum had piezo pickups, he decided they’re too much of a headache to include in the new bass.
Since Modulus had to dig up the old mold for Phil’s neck and work up some new tooling, the company decided to make four of the custom basses. Lesh will get two (his main bass and a backup), the Doobie Brothers’ Tiran Porter will get one, as will Mike Gordon of Phish. At press time Modulus was working overtime to complete Phil’s basses in time for some June shows with Bob Dylan.