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A question about tone

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by 5intheface, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. 5intheface


    Dec 18, 2004
    I don't know if this would the right place to go for this question, but Hell, I'll ask it anyway....I'm sure pretty much everyone on these boards has heard Jaco's interpretation of America the Beautiful titled, "Amerika" off his Invitation album, (by the way, wasn't that recorded in Japan? Kind of funny)

    Anyway, my real question is this: How does he get that tone about 36 seconds into it, where the bass is saying "God shed his grave on thee"? Is it stricly a technique thing, or is he using a pedal of effect of some kind? It sounds much like Frank Zappa's tone on "Watermelon in Easter Hay" off of the Joe's Garage and FZ plays the music of FZ albums. I remember reading the way Zappa got the effect in the Linear notes of Fz plays Fz, but is Jaco doing it the same way, or is it just how he's the knobs adjusted on his amp and is popping the note or what? if anyone knows I appreciate any input.
  2. Agent000


    Jan 23, 2005
    It's done with tapped harmonics, ie - fret the 14th fret and with your right hand tap the string on the 19th fret wire. Here's some tab for that little section. Fret the note, tap the fret in parenthesis. This is 5 frets, you can also do 7, 12, etc. Hope this helps

  3. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yeah - find the hot-spot; sometimes it's not exactly over the fret. Also remember that with this technique it matters how long you leave your finger on the tap-spot. If you 'hot-potato' your finger off right away, then it'll mostly sound like the regular, lower, fretted note; if you leave your finger down touching the string for just a short-short hesitation, then it'll be mostly the pure "ping" of only the harmonic. If you leave your finger on for longer than that, all it does is kill your sustain - for a pure ping (that's assuming you aimed it just right), you'd leave the tap finger there for maybe ¼-second or ½-sec. at the very most, or the note'll die fast.

  4. EddieG


    Jan 19, 2005
    These are what Jaco called "false harmonics". The way Jaco is doing this (as demonstrated by him on the Modern Bass DVD), is to fret the note, then up around halfway between your fretted note and the bridge, place the edge of your thumb (picking hand) lightly down on the string, and pick behind it using the index finger of your picking hand.

    Jaco covers this technique extensively on that DVD.

    Attached Files:

  5. 5intheface


    Dec 18, 2004
    Are you sure he's tapping? he didn't have any frets! I'll try it out though and get back to you, thank you.
  6. Classical_Thump


    Jan 26, 2005
    In that video he has a fatter P-bass neck on his old Jazz body. Says he wants to get his fingerings down or something...haven't seen it in a while.
  7. Agent000


    Jan 23, 2005
    Oops...yeah, those are probably false harmonics like EddieG was describing. I play them as tapped, but I have frets. My spacing from the note to where you set your fingers is correct though.