artificial harmonics

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Deicide666, Aug 18, 2000.

  1. Deicide666


    May 1, 2000
    I play with a pick and with my fingers, and I can do artificial harmonics with the pick, but not with my fingers. Does anyone have an idea of how to do this?


    May 29, 2000
    hooksett NH USA
    I dont understand. First, how do you do artificial harmonics with a pick,, second,, why cant you do it by tapping??????????
  3. Deicide666


    May 1, 2000
    Well with a pick, you like hit the string with your thumb just as you pick it. Its a guitar thing mostly, but its possible on a bass. I dont see how you could tap it. Maybe im not understanding you... Does anyone know of a site with information on this? I could never find a site for it, but my friend told me how to do it with a pick. Ive never heard of doing it with your fingers, but i assume its possible somehow...
  4. Alienbass


    Aug 12, 2000
    The way I play artificial harmonics is to simply press the fret as though you were playing a note, then you position the side of your thumnail lightly against the string in an imaginary position halfway between the fretted note and the bridge. Then use your middle finger to pluck the string behind your thumb. If it does not give you the harmonic, adjust your thumbnail position until you do. The higher up the fretboard the note, the further back you move your thumbnail, and vice versa.
    BTW, I picked this up from Jaco's Modern bass video, and it is fairly easy once you get the hang of it.
  5. Deicide666


    May 1, 2000
    Whoa, thanks dude! Thats a little hard to get the hang of, but if it wasnt, what would be the fun? :)
  6. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    steve bailey has an excellent technique for harmonics, where instead of using your thumb as the place holder, you use your index finger - this works well for me. since i am probably already plucking with my index and middle fingers, it's not that big a stretch to just touch the string with the index finger and pluck with the middle. it's also easier to do harmonic chords this way.
  7. Deicide666


    May 1, 2000
    Actually I was messing around after I read the post and I tried that method. I seemed to have better luck with the thumb one though. Thanks though, I'll be working on both ways.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I use the thumb method and found this really easy to pick up, but I've never been able to do it with just my fingers as John describes. I think it may be because I've always integrated my thumb into playing and use it a lot for double stops etc.

    But I also feel that I can get a greater "span" between the edge of my thumb and the plucking finger, so I can still play very close to the bridge which emphasises the harmonics and still put my thumb all the way up to the position above the 24th fret. I could never do this with just fingers.
  9. Brasheron


    Mar 28, 2006
    Hey guys.

    I'm really new to this whole forum dealie, but here's my two cents on artificials:
    Steve Bailey's system of picking behind the index finger works well, but like most systems for artificials its really slow. Its hard to get sixteenth note runs past 100 bpm, but check this out. If you use a fingernail (middle or ring or even pinky) behind the index, you can pluck the string from below as usual and also strum down pick-style with no difference tonally. in comparison, the harmonic usually comes out cleaner and clearer than when the pad of the finger is used. using this up and down motion makes 16th notes at 150 bpm a piece of cake. check out the beginning and end of this tune I'm working on called Impermanent Ink on myspace:
    Also, I'm not quite that coordinated yet, but it makes playing quicker lines a lot easier, and more comparable in tone and speed to a guitar player. its moving that index-node along with the left hand that becomes the chore. but wiggling your first finger is a hell of a lot easier than trying to move your thumb back and forth at 150 bpm sixteenths. plus it makes raking the strings super easy. questions/comments? thanks for reading.

  10. yep...I learned it from watching Jaco Pastorius doing "Birdland"
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

  12. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Wow-very old. I was 14 years old when this thread started.

    On topic: I use the thumb method-got it from watching the Jaco DVD. I've attempted to use the Steve Bailey method, but never got the hang of it. Not a technique that I use enough to justify spending a lot of time to get it down.