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False Harmonic Chords??

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by matty.donald, Mar 25, 2002.

  1. hey guys!!

    in Jaco's 'portrait of tracey' he uses false harmonics right?? SO... i understand the whole putting your right hand thumb on the harmonic point of whatever note you're playing in the left hand. BUT... Jaco seemed to play chords right??

    HOW ON EARTH DO YOU DO THAT?? - or is it just really fast playing like above??

    i've checked out all the other forums on false harmonics and they all say the whole technique that's above... but i was wondering, what about chords??


    Matt :cool:
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well - I think on PoT Jaco mostly uses natural harmonics with ordinary fretted notes as the roots of the chords - so he is using his thumb and first two fingers to pluck - thumb for the lower fretted notes and first two fingers to pluck the natural harmonics around 2 - 5th frets.

    I think from memory, there is one note in this piece where he uses an artificial harmonic, but mostly the chords are a combination of fretted (normal) notes and natural harmonics.

    You can play chords using artficial harmonics - so I would fret the chord you want with your left hand and then pluck each note quickly with right hand thumb and fingers to let all the notes ring - more of an arpeggio really, but if you do it fast enough it can sound like chord.
  3. I sometimes play chords made of artificial harmonics by fretting the chord with my left hand, and tapping all the harmonics over the fretboard simultaneously with the fingers of my right hand formed into the appropriate shape, but that only works when they're close together, and it yields a distinct tapping sound (which I like). Mostly I arpeggiate the harmonics and just tap them with my index finger, a-la Eddie Van Halen. Try this with a slap-back delay... sounds pretty cool.
  4. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Most of Portrait of Tracy is natural harmonics except there is a false/artificial harmonic played for the D# note (near the end of the main phrase), to get this (an' its a finger buster) use your fretting-hand index finger to stop the A-string at the 2nd fret and s--t--r--e--t--c--h your pinkie just before the 6th fret.

    All the info you need is here.

  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    That's what I said! ;) No problem - thanks for confiming this.
  6. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Hey your right, sorry Bruce (thats what I get for 'skimming' through posts) :D

    Mind you Jaco must've had some long fingers cos there are natural harmonics with fretted notes in P.O.T that are a nightmare to intonate properly because of the 'finger gymnastics' required to fret them.

    And that final high ringing harmonic is a whore to get right.

    genius...pure genius...
  7. you can play some chords my angling you RH thumb and plucking with three fingers. for example

    D 17th fret A
    F sharp 16th Fret D
    A 14th fret G

    can be done. This technique is limited to certain chord shapes but works well if executed properly. (It is also pretty hard to execute properly
  8. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Wait, how does that help, jacoproud? I don't get how that relates. :confused:

    Bruce covered it all, though. Few artificial harmonics, but IIRC the chords are just natural harmonics with fretted bass notes. Still cool though.
  9. Place your fingers LH in the position i said. Now place your RH thumb on the strings like you would do for a normal 'false' harmonic (a la Birdland etc) Now angle it so your thumb is covering the D F sharp and A 'false' harmonic places. Pluck all three strings behind your thumb using three fingers.

    There you go.. a false harmonic chord...

    I am assuming everyone knows there are two types of false harmonics.

    If not, this is just using the other way of producing false harmonics. :)

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