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Harmonic clarity

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Ezmar, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    So I'm working on my harmonics, and I've been using them for years, but recently I'm working out Excuse Me, Mr. Manring, and He uses a lot of barred harmonics, and they're behind the "usual" 3rd, 4th, and 5th fret harmonics, and When I play the higher harmonics, they don't ring out nearly as much as they do in This video:

    I know that a huge part is just practice, and knowing where they are precisely, especially with those higher ones that are so narrow, but are there any tips on how to get those harmonics to ring like Mr. Manring does? The bass probably plays a role, although I know I should be able to get them to ring without having a Zon.

    So basically, as I see it, the reason they don't ring for me I attribute to the following:

    -I need to practice more to know EXACTLY where the sweet spot is for those harmonics,

    -Maybe some technique stuff that I'm doing less than optimally,

    -Perhaps the fact that my strings are a little dead. Not terribly OLD, but I've been playing for several hours every day for a few months, so I'd expect them to go dead faster. In any case, I imagine that Fresh Steels would help?

    But anyway, That's my situation. Is there anything anyone can offer that would help with the clarity and volume of those higher harmonics?
  2. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    It's hard to make any recommendations on your technique with out seeing exactly what you're doing.
    I've found that I can even get great harmonics all over the place with flats on a p bass.
    I'd recommend a good setup first.
    New strings only make you sound brighter. Harmonics are accentuated more with midrange than highs. They will ring a bit longer with rounds though.
    That said, some basses are just more resonante than others. Zon basses are VERY resonante. They have some of the loudest harmonics of any bass that I have played.
  3. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    If it makes any difference, I'm using an MIA Fender Jazz. I can't imagine that They're particularly bad for Harmonics, since Jaco used harmonics all over the place. I suppose it might make them pop more if I rolled off the Neck pickup some more, but the tone I use for most of my playing has the Neck pickup rolled back just slightly, to get some of that mid edge, but still pretty round and full.

    It's not imperative that I get those harmonics sounding perfect, but if I can learn to play them well, I want to.
  4. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Wow I got get more into Manring from watching the video

    To get your harmonics better the more treble the better, Jaco was all bridge pickup, you will always want your gain cranked up, again referring to Jaco's style.

    Another major help is just getting all the perfect spots for the harmonics mapped out, there are spots it will work much better than others and you will have to be close if you want any kind of sustain out of them.

    If your strings have been played on for hours, for months, they are most definitely dead, unless they are flatwounds. In that case, get roundwounds as well, another big help in harmonics. With the amount you play those strings will be pretty well toast after a month, two tops.
  5. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    I agree that harmonics are accentuated more with midrange as well. It may well have nothing to do with your technique. I have noticed on my Stingray HH with pup soloed on neck or all pup coils on the tone is to scooped to ring the harmonic,( it rings but you can't hear it ). When I solo my bridge pup the harmonics ring quite well due to the increased midrange of the bridge pup. Unfortunately I am not familiar with the jazz bass. I do have a P-bass and of course with the focused midrange of a P I have no problem hearing the harmonics. Try bumping midrange at the bass.
  6. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    I already like a bit of midrange in my tone; the sound that really got me into playing bass as my Primary over guitar was Geddy's sound on Power Windows (1985) and Hold Your Fire (1987). I do roll the neck pup back a little more on that song than usual, And the "Common" harmonics sound fine. But the higher ones don't pop as much as they do when Manring plays them. Although the Bass he's using there looks to have a 3 octave board, leaving just enough room for two pickups before the bridge, so that's going to pick up a lot of harmonic sound, I suppose. I guess I'll just need to not use those really high harmonics as much.

    It's a really fun song to play. :hyper: