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Harmonics on a P-bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Alvaro Martín Gómez A., Sep 28, 2005.


  1. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

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

    Hi everybody and sorry if this has been talked before. A search didn't give me satisfying results (not sure if this is the right forum for this question).

    As all of us know (I think), harmonics ring best playing near the bridge and soloing the bridge pickup in a two-pups bass. So my question is: Is there a P-bass (single pickup) that handles harmonics as good? I'm asking because I'm trying to teach the basics of playing harmonics to one of my students, and I can't get'em to ring the way I expect (not even cranking the mids in the amp). He has a Yamaha P-bass and I think that's the cause of the problem. I have almost no experience playing P-basses (I'm not a fan of them) and I'd like to know if I'm right or if another factor may be causing the problem. Thank you in advance for your input.
     
  2. IMO...most harmonics do ring best on a bridge pup mostly because of they are positioned to pickup that node...the P position just doesn't do as well no matter what the P-bass...this is a big factor in that P-bass tone because that strong fundimental is P-bass.

    With that said, here are some suggestions
    -have your student try a bright zingy string like a Chrome or a stainless.
    -make sure that the tone knob is dialed completely up (full treble)...if you need to tweak the tone, use the amp.
    -pluck the string near the bridge (helps get the harmos out)
     
  3. dougjwray

    dougjwray

    Jul 20, 2005
    You can get them... you just have to work a bit harder. (Precise fingering, harder plucking.)
     
  4. Juniorkimbrough

    Juniorkimbrough

    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I can play harmonics just fine on my P-bass....there is just an exact spot I have to play.
     
  5. xshawnxearthx

    xshawnxearthx

    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    i can get harmonics on my p-bass. anywhere with the picking hand.
     
  6. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Ive run into this problem before showing a buddy harmonics on his 76 P. That thing was a dog, with 2 yr old round wounds on it, and very low output pups. I had to work very hard to get them to ring at all, and some, like the 2.8 and 3.2 ones just wouldnt come out no matter what I did. He bought a Marcus Miller Sig, and now can play em all day long hehe.
     
  7. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I got 'em outta my 78 no problem as long as the strings were fresh and I didn't roll off too much treble.
     
  8. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    I get insane harmonics on my MIM P bass strung with Fender flats. Honestly, it's the best bass for harmonics I've played, with the exception of a Stambaugh.
     
  9. John Coxtosen

    John Coxtosen Music Geek/Bass Nerd

    May 25, 2005
    Duluth, MN
    I've played alot of P basses. No problems.
     
  10. Aerolithe

    Aerolithe

    Jan 23, 2005
    Columbia, MO
    I started on an Ibanez P copy before moving to a nice Scheter a month or two ago. I tried playing portarit of tracy on my P, couldn't do it, my friend who's been playing a while and is a great bassist said its probably technique. Tried, failed. I know for a fact that my technique was good because if I turned off the amp in a very quiet room I could play the song fine acoustically. Without a bridge pickup you just won't get all the harmonics above the 4th fret unfortunately.
     
  11. I have no problem getting harmonics with my P. It helps to pluck or pick near the bridge to get the clearest tone. You also might watch your students fingering hand to make sure there's no slop there. That's usually where harmonic problems start.
     
  12. 64jazzbass

    64jazzbass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2002
    Chicago, Il
    I get screaming harmonics from my 76' P-bass either back by the bridge or right over the pickup. Billy Sheehan is a good example of a P-bass player who can squeeze great harmonics out of his bass. Attack has a lot to do with it though.
     
  13. i've never had any real problems with my fretless p ringing out some harmonics. flatwounds make any difference?
     
  14. mcgraham

    mcgraham

    Feb 21, 2004
    Coventry, UK
    I'm not going to disagree with much of what has been posted, however I found using Chromes on a Yamaha P-Bass gave me extremely smooth and long sustaining harmonics, obviously they lacked certain higher order harmonics just due to the stiffer nature of the flatwounds but I certainly had no problem with harmonics on a P. In other words I have very little help to offer other than perhaps just to try a different plucking position, personally I found just over or just behind the P pickup to be rather good for the more common harmonics.
     
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Everyone please repeat after me:

    It's never the bass.

    It's never the bass.

    It's never the bass.

    Sure, some basses will make certain things easier, but I've always believed that you should be able to find a way to make the sound you want come out of your bass and not make any excuses. Even a cheap POS bass sounds good when a good player uses it.
     
  16. dougjwray

    dougjwray

    Jul 20, 2005
    Right on.
    A lot of people seem to think that a bass should be able to play itself.
     
  17. god, theres nothing i hate more then the "hardcore" kids in my town who think they can play anything, going into GC, picking up a bongo and turning everything the way up. Its all in the players TECHNIQUE. i don't understand why people think by playing loud with everything up and effects up the wazoo magically covers their own technique faults.