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Harmonics difference?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by ArtisFallen, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. ArtisFallen


    Jul 21, 2004
    so i've been hacking around and trying new things, and i find that my DR Low Riders have the most defined harmonics i've ever heard. so i'm goofing around on the harmonics, when i come across a few references in tablature by sheer conincidence for harmonics.

    but there are two of them...

    the question is: what is the difference, between natural and pinch harmonic? and how do you play pinch, becuase i figure the one i know is natural.
  2. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    Well on a guitar, you play pinch harmonics by finding a harmonic spot after the end of the neck (So above the pickups) then placing your thumb on the harmonic spot as you pick. It takes practice, but it's not too hard once you've got the hang of it. I'm not an expert or anything, so don't take my word for it. I can do them on bass, but they're pretty hard and often don't sound properly.
  3. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Natural harmonics are overtones you can get from the string's full length, that is from bridge to nut. The technique for playing pinch harmonics is sometimes called the "movable nut" because that's what your left hand do. When you fret a note, say the C on the G string, 5th fret, the length of the string is shortened. Your left hand finger act as if you move the nut to that position, so the whole harmonics relationship along the string is transposed by that interval. But now your left hand is busy, so how do you touch the string in the different points (nodes) for getting the harmonics? Using your right thumb. How pluck the strings then? With your right index and/or middle fingers.

    If you don't know how harmonics work on a string, check this thread. I think it's well explained there.

    This one may also help.
  4. ArtisFallen


    Jul 21, 2004
    oh i know how the hamonics work, i just wasn't sure what a pinch harmonic was. it seemed contradictory.

    thanks guys this has been helpful
  5. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    Pinch harmonics, or false harmonics, are really fun. Jaco's line at the beginning of birdland is easy, fun and uses false harmonics. Start out playing the lick an octave lower than Jaco, then place your thumb halfway betweeen the fretted fret and the bridge, then place your thumb halfway between that and the bridge.
  6. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    To make it more obvious, put your finger down on Bb third fret and play the false harmonic an octave higher (15 fret). Play a scale like this on one string moving both hands together,you'll grab the concept.


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