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D# Harmonic?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Woody1999, Apr 29, 2018.

  1. Woody1999


    Dec 13, 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    Is there any way to get a harmonic for a note of D# on a 4 stringer? I'm trying to get the major 7th of a chord of E. So far I've only managed to do it artificially and I'm looking to free up my fingers a bit.

  2. D# does not occur naturally on the overtone series of any standard tuning bass strings.
    JRA likes this.
  3. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    False Harmonics is your only option. Jaco did it for the melody to Birdland, and Steve Bailey plays that way a LOT. Look it up and learn how. It takes some practice, but is quite effective.
    MonetBass likes this.
  4. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    This, also known as artificial harmonics. There are plenty of videos showing how. Once you get it down, it's a lot of fun.
    Lownote38 likes this.
  5. In the case of Zakk Wylde, it can form the basis for a career!
  6. This is just a small quote from the original post, which, apparently no responder has read:
    MonetBass, Oddly and LeeNunn like this.
  7. LeeNunn

    LeeNunn Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2012
    Charlottesville, VA
    When I think of artificial (aka false aka pinch) harmonics, I think of fretting with the left hand and using the right hand to both touch the node and pluck. There's another way to do this for a D#. Use the left hand to both fret and touch the node. Kind of like using your left index finger as a capo. For example, fret the G# at the first fret with your index and use your pinky to get the D# that is about the fourth fret. Or for a lower D#, fret the B at the second fret with your index and use your pinky to get the D# that is about the sixth fret. I don't have may bass handy, so I'm trying to visualize this. I think Jaco used the D# from the fretted B in measures 6, 7, and 8 of Portrait of Tracy. Most people use just the first node for artificial harmonics, but that doesn't have to be the case.
    gebass6 likes this.
  8. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    There are a few places in A Portrait of Tracy where Jaco uses the technique you describe. The last "chord" of that song is accomplished by playing 3 notes at the same time in this way. It's a stretch, too! It took me forever to get all 3 notes to sound.
    Randy Ward likes this.
  9. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I did in fact read that part. I was saying that the only way to do it is with false/artificial harmonics. There is no other way.
    BMGecko likes this.
  10. LeeNunn

    LeeNunn Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2012
    Charlottesville, VA
    I had forgotten that. Tough to play. Especially on fretless. I’ve never been able to play that tune at tempo.
    Lownote38 likes this.
  11. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    My hands are too small, so I play that last chord by hammering on to the harmonics with my right hand.
    LeeNunn and Lownote38 like this.
  12. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    That's okay. The original doesn't keep a steady tempo either. I agree that it's tough on a fretless! It's easier to get all the notes to sound, but impossible to keep them in tune!
  13. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    It does occur naturally.
    On a five or six string bass.
    The fourth and ninth fret harmonic on the "B" string is D#.
    Otherwise.Pinch harmonics.
    LeeNunn likes this.
  14. Actually, the best way is this:

    Tune down a half step.

    Your E string is now an Eb / D# string. Play harmonic. Crowd goes wild.
  15. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1 Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    Just add chorus. Gobs and gobs of chorus.
  16. Not sure if we are thinking of the same method, but the easiest way, is fret the D string first fret[D#], and pluck/chime at the 13th fret, which is the new halfway point. You both pluck with your thumb, extend and chime with the index finger. Thumb and index should be spread 2-3 inches apart. Works for any note, on any string btw. Just get your thumb/index technique down, and know where the new halfway point is to chime.
  17. LeeNunn

    LeeNunn Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2012
    Charlottesville, VA
    Yes, that's the usual method. My point was that the first node isn't the only choice for the node, and sometimes the "capo" method makes sense.
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