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Bending a Harmonic?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by 20one, Jul 1, 2004.


  1. 20one

    20one

    Jan 10, 2003
    Abilene, TX
    I bought the "Live at the Quick" by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones DVD the other day since I love the CD... on Victor Wooten's Amazing Grace solo there's a part where it sounds as tho he is bending the harmonic and all he's doing is plucking the string as he normally does and moving his left hand up a whole step...

    I've been sitting here for hours trying to do this same thing and the moment I move my hand to bend the harmonic it just dies... so, anyone know how the eff he did that?
     
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sounds as if he was sliding the harmonic, from your description.

    There are a couple of ways to bend a harmonic. One is to bend the string behind the nut. Careful, I have broken a string doing that a few times. The other is to bend the neck. Again, be careful, if you get carried away, you could break the neck off.
     
  3. 20one

    20one

    Jan 10, 2003
    Abilene, TX
    yeah I knew about bending the bass itself and pulling on the string above the nut... but I'd never heard of the sliding technique... and like I said, I tried it and all I accomplished was pissing myself off rofl
     
  4. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Hit the harmonic, press lightly to the fret, and slide. Gives it a wizzz sort of sound.

    This technique is much easier on a fretless (not frets to cancel the harmonic's ringing)


    Good Luck
    Adam Barkley
     
  5. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    i think that's called like an open hammer pluck or something. just press on the top before the nut (not the fretboard), but not too hard though, i hear it can break.
     
  6. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I thought the "open hammer whatever" was hitting a note then hammering on and popping another note. Ex. Open A followed by hammering on third fret (C) and popping the fifth (G) or the octave.

    Not sure what you are talking about though.
     
  7. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Right...except the first component is an OPEN note("Open-Hammer-Pluck"). ;)
    Notice it contains 3 parts.

    To get 4 parts-
    A variation would be "Open-Hammer-Thumb-Pluck" or "Open-Hammer-LH Slap-Pluck".
    Etc.

    And-
    The "Pluck" component may also be performed as a "Flam"(using the index & middle fingers to perform the "Pluck"). This stuff is demonstrated at Wooten's website(at least it used to be).
     
  8. if u could grab hold of Modern Electric Bass by jaco, Jaco did showed it a little how he played BirdLand.
     
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - it's possible to slide artifical harmonics on fretted bass, pretty easily. Sliding natural harmonics is much harder, but can be done - so I can do it on those above 7th and 9th frets - but most others choke.
     
  10. CS

    CS

    Dec 11, 1999
    UK
    Play the harmonic, then press the string against the fret. Practice so you can still get the harmonic to sound when it's 'trapped' against the fret. Once you can do that with confidence now slide in the direction you want to go. Smaller intervals are easier at first.
     
  11. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Read my example, it starts with OPEN A. :D
     
  12. Whafrodamus

    Whafrodamus

    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I play that version a lot for shows, its' a sliding harmonic.
     
  13. 20one

    20one

    Jan 10, 2003
    Abilene, TX
    ah I got it... thanks abark and CS
     
  14. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    I know for sure that Stanley Clarke actually bends a harmonic with a slightly different twist. I don't have my bass in front of me, but I think he plays a natural harmonic at the D on the G (7th fret) and then, while ringing, goes up to the high D on the G (19th fret) and bends it up. Give it a try...
     
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    But he isn't really bending a harmonic, in that case. He is bending the fundamental of the high D, which is the same frequency of the original harmonic(plus some overtones that are not present in the original harmonic;)), but isn't bending the actual harmonic.
     
  16. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    my bad - 19th fret!
     
  17. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    yeah, so he's just doing a harmonic on the 7th fret would be still be G, and going up an octave to the 19th fret (12 half steps) and bending the octave, as i understand.
     
  18. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    I think he does it somewhere in School Days?
     
  19. ahhhhhhh is it even possible to slide a harmonic on a fretted, its so hard, can someone explain to me again how to do it :crying:
     
  20. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    It's possible, but it requires lots of practice. Your touch has to be perfect, or it won't work. I can only slide one a couple of frets. Some people can slide them almost as well as you can on a fretless.