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Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by Claypool_Fan, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. Claypool_Fan


    Dec 27, 2004
    Garfield, AR
    I don't understand harmonics. I Need Help! PLEASE!
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Natural Harmonics - these are created by lightly resting your finger over the harmonic node and plucking. These positions don't rely on fret position, though many happen to occur over frets. 5th, 7th, and 12th fret harmonics seem to be the loudest naturally, but with practice you should be able to get every one to ring properly.

    Some recommended examples of natural harmonics:

    Jaco - Portrait of Tracy intro
    Victor Wooten - Amazing Grace

    Artificial Harmonics (i.e. Pinch) - these are harder to produce; only try these after you can get all your natural harmonics to ring properly. Basically, you fret a note and with your plucking hand touch the same string at a different harmonic node and then pluck and release your finger from the second harmonic node.

    Tapping Harmonics - fret a note and then tap (without freting) the string over a different harmonic node. Ex. Fret the fifth fret C on the G string and then tap the 17th fret C of the G string.

    Sliding Harmonics - produce a natural harmonic and then lightly fret that string and slide up or down the string. Makes a sort of a zip noise.

    If you want to learn more about different techniques it is a good idea to scour the Technique and General Instruction forums.

    Good luck with all that,
    Adam Barkley
  3. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member


    good spiel, thanks for helping out here. much respect for handing some knowledge down. I've used from time to time and they can be a neat garnish in your bass vocab.

    on bass, watt
  4. FUNKonthewall

    FUNKonthewall Nailing The Groove

    Sep 29, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Endorsing: Fodera Guitars, Aguilar Amps, Dunlop/MXR Accessories
    Make sure to pluck near the bridge, too.
  5. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Glad I could help. I have heard alot about your playing, but I can't say I have actually heard any of your music.

    Where is a good place to start?

  6. slinkp


    Aug 29, 2003
    brooklyn, NY, USA
    abark, I like the two most recent, "The Secondman's Middle Stand" and "Contemplating the Engine Room". Really inventive music with great ensemble playing. Going back 20 years, there's the Minutemen's "Double Nickels On the Dime" which everybody oughta hear at least once in their life.

    Then you should get all the other albums :)
  7. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member


    thanks, this makes sense. all those are w/my fingers. to hear some of my pick work, check the minutemen's "what makes a man start fires?" or the "buzz or howl..." ep. in between now and the minutemen, there's fIREHOSE's "ragin'-full on" or "flyin' the flannel" maybe. hard for me to tell people what they should listen to by me.

    on bass, watt
  8. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS

    I checked out Secondmans Middle Stand today at a local Border's and I liked what I heard. Groovy, well thought music with a little dose of weird. I only wish the sample would play more than the first 30 seconds of a song. I probably pick it up when I get paid on Tuesday.

    Take it easy,