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harmonic hum

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by elimelech, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. When i play certin notes, i get a harmonic hum on other strings. Is my bass set up correctly or just cheap. Example would be "D" or "E" on the "A" string :bawl:
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Are you muting the strings that are humming, or just letting them ring out?
  3. I guess in the process of holding my left hand correctly I am letting it ring out.
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    You need to incorporate some muting, either with your left hand or right hand.
  5. right after I realized that sympathetic vibration is a normal thing, and muting is needed, realized another harmonic humming problem again.

    While playing say the 5th Fret of any string, and right after I release my left fretting hand, a harmonic hum will be audible, it only happens as those frets where I can create harmonics, eg 3th, 5th, 7th, 12th.

    I have tried to leave my fretting fingers lying on the string, but it did not work. Do I really have to mute it with my right hand then?
  6. Goldsac


    Mar 15, 2004
    The 'Hill
    If the left hand isn't working out for muting then I'm afraid you'll have to bring some right hand muting into your playing. As far as I'm concerned, the floating thumb is the best way to go about it. Don't give up left hand muting either though, cause its usually best to have a combination of both. I try and lie my index finger across the strings I'm playing as often as I can (on my fretting hand). You can also try Vic's method - putting a hair band around your neck to dampen the strings. If you do this on the middle of the first fret, all you have to give up is the ability to play sustained open strings, which I barely ever use anyway ;)
  7. I assume you are talking about Victor Wooten? Damn, for one moment, I thought you asked me to put a hair band around *my* neck! Haha, after reading the open string, then only I realise that you asked to put it around my bass's neck, not mine!

    I once thought of slightly out-tune the strings to get rid of sympathetic humming, since the strings will never be in perfect turning anyway.
  8. I use the 'floating thumb' technique mentioned above for the most part. Rather than anchoring my thumb on the pickup, I rest it on the string above the one I am playing (although when I am playing the G string I usually don't bring my thumb all the way down to the D). It takes a little practice, but it helps with a lot of muting problems.
  9. Goldsac


    Mar 15, 2004
    The 'Hill
    Hehe yeah I just figure the name Vic speaks for itself around these parts ;)
    I'm not totally clear on what will happen when you detune the strings though. I guess the less tension in the strings, the weaker the harmonic tone? Yeah, if you could just go ahead and ummmm...elaborate on that one, it would be great. [/Lumburg voice]

  10. Let say playing a E on the D string makes the low E string hum, because the low open E string is in tune with the E on the D string, so just detune the E string by a very small margin, to make both of them slightly out of tune, so that it won't hum...
    :meh: guess that would not work.... :crying:
  11. bassnewb


    Apr 15, 2003
    I encountered that problem, too.

    I use the floating thumb technique, but that doesn't really help when you play from the D string to the A string, right (like on the tab below)? The thumb goes on E next, so I don't really know how I can use my right hand to mute the D string.

    D --12----
    A ----12--

    Instead, I just use a finger on my left hand, that won't press on a harmonic (usually the pinky), to mute it. It took me quite awhile to get it right, and I don't even know if it's proper to do it that way.
  12. I have something like this also
    The timing is like funk style, ripped it off the Bass for Dummies book.

    When I move from 5th Fret of A-string to 5th Fret of E-string, using only my left pinky, the A-string will hum out, so what I do is to damp the A-string with my left index finger at 2nd Fret, which I will play later.

    Will be experimenting with using my right hand though...
  13. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    In the writing that follows, below means toward the floor, and above means toward the ceiling.

    The fingers on the fretting hand damp the strings below the fretted/played string.

    The thumb of the plucking hand rests on and damps the strings above the fretted/played string.

    As you move up and down the strings the thumb rides the strings above the fretted/played string.

    As I move quickly, the thumb brushes the strings, but if I continue to play on one string for a length of time, my thumb will actually rest on the string or pickup above the fretted/played string.

    I never rest my thumb on the pickup and pluck on a string two or three strings away. My thumb stays a fixed distance from my plucking fingers.
  14. bassnewb


    Apr 15, 2003
    Tim99, when you say:

    "The fingers on the fretting hand damp the strings below the fretted/played string."

    you mean you lean against all the lower strings using the lower joints of your fingers, right? Isn't it important to fret with your fingertips, rather than the flat area, though?
  15. Hehe, I thought the normal way of describing is as such
    1. higher means produces higher pitch, can be used in "higher string", or "higher frets", or "higher up the neck".

    2. lower means lower pitch, can be used in ....

    Anyway, good that you point out ur standard ;)

    Do u employ muting on the played string? Eg, pressing and releasing the 5th fret, will cause a harmonic hum after you release it. Since its the same string, you couldn't mute it with your thumb, right?
  16. It's funny that we try to avoid sympathetic tones at all cost on electric bass and on upright that's exactly what we want to hear! Just work on our muting.