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Mr_K

JPJ Bass Low In The Mix

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I'm listening to Scarlet Begonias/Fire On The Mountain, The Grateful Dead 1977, Cornell, a Betty Board Production.

I can't believe how clear Phil Lesh's bass is in the mix. It's wonderful.

The bass of JPJ was never so prominent for an entire show like Phil's.

There are a few exceptions, like the Alembic from a few songs in the 77 tour. But overall, from 69 to 80, the bass was never given a starring role for a whole set. In the monitors or the soundboard he's just not featured.

I think he deserved more. I always listen for his bass in the live recordings. I wish he was louder.

Any thoughts on the reason for this?

Thanks.

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For the studio recordings, I assume his bass sounds however Jimmy wanted it to sound. If it was supposed to be up front like on Ramble On, it was. If it was supposed to be farther down in the mix, it was. Also, the low end of his bass was absent from the original records because it was difficult to encode deep bass on LPs. The grooves had to be so large that the needles would jump out, so the low end was cut as a matter of course to prevent that.

In concert, his bass would have had a tremendous impact, but the cassette decks on which most audience recordings and soundboards were made don't accurately capture it. The reason bands in the '70s initially started to play so loudly was because the PAs were inefficient and needed tons of power to produce bass that hit you in the chest. Doing that made the low end loud, so everything else had to be turned up to match it. (Eventually sheer volume became a bragging right, but it started out with an actual purpose.) And even if professional multi-tracks from live shows back then captured the power in Jonsey's bass, Jimmy isn't going to remaster them with killer low end like someone today would mix a rap album. He's just of a different era where that couldn't be done for so long that it's not part of his repertoire, even if it's easy to do today with digital technology. 

Edited by SteveZ98

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31 minutes ago, Mr_K said:

I'm listening to Scarlet Begonias/Fire On The Mountain, The Grateful Dead 1977, Cornell, a Betty Board Production.

I can't believe how clear Phil Lesh's bass is in the mix. It's wonderful.

The bass of JPJ was never so prominent for an entire show like Phil's.

There are a few exceptions, like the Alembic from a few songs in the 77 tour. But overall, from 69 to 80, the bass was never given a starring role for a whole set. In the monitors or the soundboard he's just not featured.

I think he deserved more. I always listen for his bass in the live recordings. I wish he was louder.

Any thoughts on the reason for this?

Thanks.

I agree that Lesh's bass is more consistently well presented, but there are some Zepp boards where Jones' bass sounds similarly wonderful -- 3/19/75 Vancouver is a great example.

P.S.  If you want an even better Scarlet > Fire, try 5/17/77 Tuscaloosa...nine days after Cornell!

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4 minutes ago, SteveZ98 said:

For the studio recordings, I assume his bass sounds however Jimmy wanted it to sound. If it was supposed to be up front like on Ramble On, it was. If it was supposed to be farther down in the mix, it was. Also, the low end of his bass was absent from the original records because it was difficult to encode deep bass on LPs. The grooves had to be so large that the needles would jump out, so the low end was cut as a matter of course to prevent that.

In concert, his bass would have had a tremendous impact, but the cassette decks on which most audience recordings and soundboards were made don't accurately capture it. The reason bands in the '70s initially started to play so loudly was because the PAs were inefficient and needed tons of power to produce bass that hit you in the chest. Doing that made the low end loud, so everything else had to be turned up to match it. (Eventually sheer volume became a bragging right, but it started out with an actual purpose.) And even if professional multi-tracks from live shows back then captured the power in Jonsey's bass, Jimmy isn't going to mix it with killer low end like someone today would mix a rap album. He's just of a different era where that couldn't be done for so long that it's not part of his repertoire, even if it's easy to do today with digital technology. 

Very informative, thanks Steve!

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9 hours ago, Mr_K said:

I'm listening to Scarlet Begonias/Fire On The Mountain, The Grateful Dead 1977, Cornell, a Betty Board Production.

I can't believe how clear Phil Lesh's bass is in the mix. It's wonderful.

The bass of JPJ was never so prominent for an entire show like Phil's.

There are a few exceptions, like the Alembic from a few songs in the 77 tour. But overall, from 69 to 80, the bass was never given a starring role for a whole set. In the monitors or the soundboard he's just not featured.

I think he deserved more. I always listen for his bass in the live recordings. I wish he was louder.

Any thoughts on the reason for this?

Thanks.

Love this

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A good place to start is to listen to every 1975 soundboard you can find that has been remastered by Grame.  HIs work is fantastic and brings out an already prominent bass even more.

For example

 

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14 hours ago, Mr_K said:

I'm listening to Scarlet Begonias/Fire On The Mountain, The Grateful Dead 1977, Cornell, a Betty Board Production.

I can't believe how clear Phil Lesh's bass is in the mix. It's wonderful.

Yes  indeed!  My favorite Scarlet/Fire is May 13, 1977 at the Rosemont Horizon.

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29 minutes ago, John M said:

Yes  indeed!  My favorite Scarlet/Fire is May 13, 1977 at the Rosemont Horizon.

Better than May 17 in Tuscaloosa?  May 13 is a great one as well!

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32 minutes ago, John M said:

A good place to start is to listen to every 1975 soundboard you can find that has been remastered by Grame.  HIs work is fantastic and brings out an already prominent bass even more.

For example

 

Yes indeed, his bass sounds awesome on that board as well!  Coming out of the solo in OTHAFA 🔥🔥

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I think the '75 Seattle matrix, and even just the SB release showcases the bass very nicely. Sick Again and OTHAFA specifically, it is crystal clear in the mix which is brilliant given Jonesy was ON FIRE (along with the others for that particular night). I'm sure others could point to similar SB's...

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On 9/25/2020 at 7:05 PM, Mr_K said:

I'm listening to Scarlet Begonias/Fire On The Mountain, The Grateful Dead 1977, Cornell, a Betty Board Production.

I can't believe how clear Phil Lesh's bass is in the mix. It's wonderful.

The bass of JPJ was never so prominent for an entire show like Phil's.

There are a few exceptions, like the Alembic from a few songs in the 77 tour. But overall, from 69 to 80, the bass was never given a starring role for a whole set. In the monitors or the soundboard he's just not featured.

I think he deserved more. I always listen for his bass in the live recordings. I wish he was louder.

Any thoughts on the reason for this?

Thanks.

Phil in the kitchen whompin up them biscuits. Phil is a beast and was always high in the mix where he should be! 

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20 hours ago, John M said:

A good place to start is to listen to every 1975 soundboard you can find that has been remastered by Grame.  HIs work is fantastic and brings out an already prominent bass even more.

For example

 

Anyone know where I can get an audio copy of this amazing show and recording? Many Thanks. 

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1 hour ago, pageluvva said:

Anyone know where I can get an audio copy of this amazing show and recording? Many Thanks. 

As with many of these on YouTube there is a download link in replies to comments.  In this case check all the replies to the first comment.

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On 9/25/2020 at 6:40 PM, SteveZ98 said:

For the studio recordings, I assume his bass sounds however Jimmy wanted it to sound. If it was supposed to be up front like on Ramble On, it was. If it was supposed to be farther down in the mix, it was. Also, the low end of his bass was absent from the original records because it was difficult to encode deep bass on LPs. The grooves had to be so large that the needles would jump out, so the low end was cut as a matter of course to prevent that.

In concert, his bass would have had a tremendous impact, but the cassette decks on which most audience recordings and soundboards were made don't accurately capture it. The reason bands in the '70s initially started to play so loudly was because the PAs were inefficient and needed tons of power to produce bass that hit you in the chest. Doing that made the low end loud, so everything else had to be turned up to match it. (Eventually sheer volume became a bragging right, but it started out with an actual purpose.) And even if professional multi-tracks from live shows back then captured the power in Jonsey's bass, Jimmy isn't going to remaster them with killer low end like someone today would mix a rap album. He's just of a different era where that couldn't be done for so long that it's not part of his repertoire, even if it's easy to do today with digital technology. 

Great answer! Thanks.

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On 9/25/2020 at 6:40 PM, Bonzo_fan said:

I agree that Lesh's bass is more consistently well presented, but there are some Zepp boards where Jones' bass sounds similarly wonderful -- 3/19/75 Vancouver is a great example.

P.S.  If you want an even better Scarlet > Fire, try 5/17/77 Tuscaloosa...nine days after Cornell!

Thanks for recommending Tuscaloosa!

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On 9/27/2020 at 5:00 AM, pageluvva said:

Phil in the kitchen whompin up them biscuits. Phil is a beast and was always high in the mix where he should be! 

Go Phil!

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Southampton 1-22-1973

There are several excellent remasters.  Liriodendron, JRK, and most recently the stereo version by Northbridge 

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Jerry and Phil "lead" the band most often so Phil is always mixed well.  Dead Heads were allowed to record shows so many of them had very sophisticated recording rigs, some featuring more than just two mics and even simple mixers.  Zeppelin fans had to sneak their stuff in and hope Peter Grant didn't spot them, the Dead let "family members" plug their decks right into the soundboard!

Look for good audience recordings, much of the bass you hear at a show is from the room its self...

 

PS check the Scarlet>Fire from Sept. 12, 1981!  Even though you know it's coming, they sneak right into Fire without you catching it!

 

Edited by chef free

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On 9/27/2020 at 3:40 AM, rm2551 said:

I think the '75 Seattle matrix, and even just the SB release showcases the bass very nicely. Sick Again and OTHAFA specifically, it is crystal clear in the mix which is brilliant given Jonesy was ON FIRE (along with the others for that particular night). I'm sure others could point to similar SB's...

I'm listening to IMTOD from Seattle 1975 March 21, a soundboard. Darn, I just him to be louder on the mix. He's so good.

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7 hours ago, chef free said:

Jerry and Phil "lead" the band most often so Phil is always mixed well.  Dead Heads were allowed to record shows so many of them had very sophisticated recording rigs, some featuring more than just two mics and even simple mixers.  Zeppelin fans had to sneak their stuff in and hope Peter Grant didn't spot them, the Dead let "family members" plug their decks right into the soundboard!

Look for good audience recordings, much of the bass you hear at a show is from the room its self...

 

PS check the Scarlet>Fire from Sept. 12, 1981!  Even though you know it's coming, they sneak right into Fire without you catching it!

 

Which City is this date from Chef?

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7 hours ago, chillumpuffer said:

Which City is this date from Chef?

Greek Theater in Berkeley.

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15 hours ago, chef free said:

PS check the Scarlet>Fire from Sept. 12, 1981!  Even though you know it's coming, they sneak right into Fire without you catching it!

Listening now -- good call!

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It has been hashed and rehashed to death that what you hear on the tape and what the audience heard in the venue is not the same.

In addition, if you cannot hear Jonesey's bass on these 1975 soundboards then I suggest there is something wrong with your stereo. 

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