Birdland intro

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Pthump, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. Pthump


    Nov 18, 2004
    Can anyone explain how Jaco is playing the intro to birdland?
  2. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    With harp harmonics, or like this:

  3. For more details on how harmonics work you can research that.. but a quick summary is you can fret the string somewhere. This changes the lenght of the string. You can still play harmonics at same distances as when it's open...fret the note with left hand, and then use your right hand thumb over the harmonic spot and pluck with free fingers from right hand. At least that's how i do it. There's other techniques too.... but i think that's how jaco does it as well...regards.
  4. I think he just bent the <14>'s
  5. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    The intro of "Birdland' is a synth. Do you mean the melody? That is placing the thumb on the string and using the ring finger nail to pluck the harmonic while fretting the note with the other hand.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Garry is right - Jaco used artificial or false harmonics to play that - so his thumb rested on top of the string creating a "node" that is subdividing the effective string length to create a harmonic firstly an octave above where he's fretting, then further subdividing (halving) the effective string length to go up another octave.

    Much easier to show/demonstrate than talk about here - but the trick is to keep moving your right hand thumb, exactly an octave above wher your left hand is fretting, to get the first part - then halve the distance between thumb and bridge for the second part. :)
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    First time I heard false harmonics was Stanley Clarke doing the quiet bit after the solo where the main part of the song kicks back in. I tried for a month to do it and couldn't. Then I heard Stanley was coming to town in a few days, so I went and saw him do it live during the Modern Man tour and learned the thumb technique.

    Then shortly after the Stanley concert, I heard Van Halen play "Dance The Night Away," and I knew Eddie was doing false harmonics in that part right before the last chorus and out, but he was doing chords, and I couldn't do those chords using the thumb. Well wouldn't you know it? They were coming to town soon too, so I went and saw them, too. And Eddie did his false harmonics by fretting the note and tapping the strings at the point where he wanted the harmonics (5 frets up, 7 frets up, and the octave), and that worked on bass, too.

    So in the space of about two months, I learned both ways of doing false harmonics, and drove everyone in the band nuts until I got it out of my system. Sort of. I still don't have it out of my system and do harmonics a fair amount. I'm just a lot more judicious in my usage.
  8. Think he even, at some stage in one recording i have heard, takes the left hand further up a 4th
    and takes the harmonic at the 5th instead of at the octave, effectively taking the entire thing up
    another octave.

    Not sure I heard it right but its possible, the melody then starts at the 19th fret and
    the harmonic is down 3/4 towards the bridge instead of 1/2 way, just around the bridge
    pickup on a jazz, has to be really precise though.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    If you read my post again that's what I'm saying - without referring to frets - as Jaco didn't have any!! ;)
  10. Your right, read to fret...:)
  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I think his left hand stays where it always is, but his right moves so that he gets a higher harmonic - I think it moves up a 5th (sounding pitch).
  12. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK

    Isn't that always the way - get a new technique, try and use it everywhere and then (hopefully) reach a certain level of maturity in your choices!

  13. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    I could be totally wrong here but I'd swear I read something once that Jaco RECORDED the intro harmonics to birdland (for heavy weather) on a fretted bass and then switched to fretless for the rest of the tune.

    Kinda moot anyway because he could do it perfectly on a fretless as well :D
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I was sort of joking - but my point was that if you're talking about artificial harmonics, then you need to refer to the effective or speaking string length and not fret positions. So if you halve the distance between your left hand and the bridge with your thumb - that gets you an octave above; put your thumb halfway again towards the bridge and you have the next octave above ....etc.

    The thing is to forget about frets and think string length!!
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's right - I misread what hamder was saying :p - left hand stays in position and right hand thumb halves the distance to the bridge and goes up an octave.
  16. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    The Intro to Birdland was a synth -- specifically the ARP Quadra. It was a hybrid version of the ARP Omni and the Odyssey synths; it's a four-section synthesizer consisting of a Bass synth, Poly synth, Lead synth, and String synth. Obviously, it was the bass voice that was used on that intro. Zawinul used the ARP on the recording, and for touring. I saw them in Cedar Rapids in 1978, and Zawinul was using an ARP for the intro (I presume the Quadra, which is pretty distinctive with rows of red green and blue square presets).
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It depends what you mean by "Intro" - so, obviously it starts with Zawinul on synth playing the bass line - but then Jaco comes in with a section where he plays a semi-improvised melody using artificial harmonics over the top of that bass line, on BG - I would say that this is still part of the "intro" and that the tune itself starts when the horn section/synth sound comes in...?
  18. Haha. Im glad someone wrote this finally. I always assumed it was a piccalo bass. Im glad that now I know I can play it on a regularly stringed 4 string fretless!
  19. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    Sure, I'm thinking of Zawinul on his ARP.
  20. Classical_Thump


    Jan 26, 2005
    I believe along with the artificial harmonics, Jaco employed some type of octave effect.