Harmonics... Or lack thereof.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eric Perry, May 26, 2007.

  1. Why is it that, in using the same rig, effects, EQ, strings, cables, underpants, and toothpaste that the harmonics FLY off my SX Jazz like mad, and on my custom Conklin they are... Basically.... Crappy? The harmonic notes actually ring out louder than fretted. On the Conklin, it's not even close.

    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Conklin and wouldn't sell it for anything, but I wish it had better harmonic response.

    Both have Ash bodies. That's where the similarities end.
  2. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    That's very interesting. I just plugged in my old P bass (Fender '76) for the first time in years. First thing I noticed is how loud the harmonics are compared to all my other basses. But it is the only bass I have that's strung with rounds...
  3. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

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


    Harmonics' response depends on the amount of mid frequencies in your tone. My guess is that your Conklin's electronics are voiced with a scooped mids curve, which is great for a hi-fi tone, but it's harmonics' worst enemy. You should favor the bridge pickup in your Conklin and boost mid frequencies from your bass' onboard EQ.

    Of course, experimenting doesn't hurt. I remember that I was a bit disappointed at first after playing my Rickenbacker because I had to solo the bridge pickup to get loud harmonics, and I didn't want that because the instrument's overall tone is too much on the thin side for my taste with the bridge pickup soloed. Another fellow talkbasser suggested me to roll off the neck pickup's volume a little bit and voilà! Loud harmonics with neck pickup presence. :)
  4. Thanks Alvaro! I've tried all the EQ'ing, and pickup balance adjustments I could think of. No luck. It's depressing. :(
  5. Is your bridge properly intonated? I once had a guitar with crappy harmonics, but that's because the bridge was all screwed up and the harmonic point had been shifted.
  6. Yep, the bass just had a full setup maybe 6 months ago.
  7. Have the harmonics always been like this? Damn, this thread is confusing the crap out of me.
  8. puff father

    puff father Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Endicott, NY
    Some basses seem to do harmonics better, or even much better, than others. Aside from the bassic resonance of the instrument itself, I think that the position of the pickup relative to where the "nodes" of the harmonics are has a big effect on how well they come through. The PU's only respond the part of the string that is directly over them, so if the string isn't doing anything (like at the node where there is no movement) you don't hear any output. I have found that backing off the neck PU is the way to get better harmonics on my basses. The neck PU is right where I find I have to play many of the harmonics that I fool around with, so if I have to stop the string right over the neck PU to produce a desired harmonic, that is where the node is and there's nothing for the PU to amplify. On the other hand, the bridge PU is positioned where there is less likely to be a node so they seem to be more pronounced through that PU.

    Make sense to anyone else?