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A.H. question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Gopher Bob, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. Gopher Bob

    Gopher Bob

    Nov 24, 2001
    If i fret the bass at teh 2nd fret of the G string and artificial harmonic it at the 6th fret.. what note is that, and what relation does it have to the note i fretted at the 2nd fret,e.g.... octave higher?
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It's not about frets and their relationships - it's about subdividing the effective string length. So if you divide this in two you get an octave, divide the remaining in two again you get another octave etc.
  3. The relationship of the artifical harmonic to the fretted note is the same as it would be for natural harmonics on an open string.

    Compared to the open string, four frets up on an is an (out of tune) major third plus two octaves. So any artificial harmonic you hit four frets up from the fretting position will be two octaves and a major third higher than the plain fretted pitch.

    Your example is to hold down an A on the G string, making the harmonic on the 6th fret a C# (the same note is right under your RH noding finger, making it the easiest harmonic interval to remember).

    So I disagree with Bruce - frets and their relationships are a very useful way to think about harmonics.
  4. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    You're both right.

    Four frets above the fretted note will always give you the 5th harmonic, seven frets up will always give you the 3rd harmonic, etc etc - as BTM said.

    But, it is about subdividing string length. The harmonic nodes always correspond to fractions of the string length. The 2nd harmonic (octave) occurs half way along the string (which is the 12th fret), the 3rd harmonic (octave and a fifth) occurs at 1/3 and 2/3 of the string's length, the 4th harmonic (2 octaves) occurs at 1/4 and 3/4 (not 2/4 because 2/4 = 1/2 = 2nd harmonic) of the string's length etc.
  5. Hey Moles, when you refer to a harmonic using it's number in the harmonic series it's probably a good idea to make that clear - musicians use "5th" and "3rd" to refer to intervals so regularly that it can get confusing to talk about the fifth harmonic (is it the harmonic an octave-and-fifth higher at the seventh fret? The fifth harmonic in the series at the fourth?)
  6. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Fair point - in that particular post, in order to make it a little clearer, I used the abbreviation (3rd, 5th etc) when refering to the harmonic series, and the word (third, fifth etc) when referring to scale degrees.