Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Yvon, Oct 30, 2001.

  1. Yvon


    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I'm learning Birdland, I learned the first part of the harmonics and that is fine, my problem is the secong part, when Jaco go up one octave. I can't make them sound in tune.

    DO I have to fret the hamonics at the same place and just move my right hand?
    DO I have to move my right and and fret them in a different position?

    Thank you
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    The right hand moves to "stop" the harmonics at a different node. More than likely they won't be all that in tune, due to the nature of the harmonic series and that of the string.
  3. Yvon


    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I practiced it for over 3 hours today, I think I got it ok now.
    I can't wait to try it with the band sunday
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    The first time around you are subdividing the effective string length once - so are putting your thumb on the string at around where 24 - 26th frets would be. Then you subdivide the distance you already subdivided to get another octave up. So if you see the original "node" as halfway along the effective string length, the second part is threequarters of the way from where you are fretting the note, to the end of the string at the bridge.

    Having said that, I never look at it like this, as it would take too long and instead I usually pick some reference point on the bass - on a Jazz bass it's roughly where the bridge pickup is situated - but in reality it's slightly different on every bass. But you just have to pick your reference point and remember it.

    If you experiment with artificial harmonics you can find lots of places where they sound louder and clearer - I tend to "file these away" in terms of reference points on the bass and use them in improvised solos where appropriate for colour and variety.

    Of course if you use several basses or change basses frequently then you have to get a whole new series of reference points! ;) One of the reasons why I tend to stick with one main playing bass!
  5. Yvon


    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    Thank you Bruce,
    I use a Tung 5 string and a fender P bass.
    I win't try artifitial armonics on my P bass ;)
    I have some very, very old dtring on it.
  6. I don't have my bass on hand, but if I want to play an artificial harmonic that is one octave higher than the note I'm fretting with my left hand, I place my right hand (thumb in my case) 12 frets higher than the note I'm fretting with my left hand. ( This could mean imagining the location of the 28th fret or so.)

    If I want a harmonic two octaves higher than the note I'm fretting with my left hand, I put my right hand 5 frets higher than the left hand note. This means that unless you're playing up high on the upper frets with your left hand, chances are your right hand will be finding the harmonic nodes (is that the right word?) directly on the fretboard. So if I'm fretting the note 'A' on the 14th fret of the G string, I would put my right-hand thumb on the 19th fret of the G string to get a harmonic two octaves higher.

    Hope I've helped in some way and not just stated something obvious.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well you did repeat most of what was in my post - did you read it?
  8. Yes, well essentially we are talking about the same thing, but I tend to think of things mathematically or geometrically. A lot of times when I play, I add numbers when I make larger leaps. (I do this less as I get more and more familiar with the notes.) I was emphasizing that you can add 12 to the left hand fret to get a harmonic one octave higher in pitch, and you can add 5 to the left hand fret to get a harmonic two octaves higher in pitch. Perhaps this is a new way of thinking about it for some people. Or perhaps it is obvious to others? Anyhow, I thought I presented it a little differently than you did.
  9. rwagne2


    Aug 2, 2001
    Ok, I'm following this false harmonic bit pretty closely, and I've got both parts of the birdland intro down - one octave and two octaves higher (however my pinching index finger has a mighty swollen bruise to get the same volume :eek: )

    I've noticed that the sound of this technique, when eq'd with boosted midrange and cut highs, makes a really bluesy, greasy sortof guitarish sound. I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to practice scales and arpeggios using this technique... that is, making a run up a scale, switching right hand positions halfway through to get to the upper range of the scale. This would open up guitar style solos, no?

    I kinda like throwing in double stops now and a again, with one note being pinched in this manner - especially when there is a drum break in a song or something. Thanks you guys for explaining this technique to me, I feel a whole new world of playing has opened up.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well that's what I said in my post above - I use these in solos and you don't need to learn scales especially for this as they are all the same as far as your left hand is concerned.

    As far as getting the volume - I think that it is all about accuracy - if you are right on it with your thumb then it sounds louder. I can even make some of these louder than normal playing - so it stands out.

    If you listen to the Zawinul Syndicate live album (World Tour) you can hear artificial harmonics that are actually louder than the bassline being played. Can't remember which track - but I'll listen to it again and tell you whether it's Bona or Bailey!