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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Lewi_wilko, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. Lewi_wilko


    Mar 24, 2004
    Hey, could someone give me soem advice on how to improve my harmonics, at the moment i am just resting my finger over the fret i need to play and as soon as i pluck the string i take my finger off the string. I can get a very faint sound, but nothing meaty. I have also been told to make my amp as trebbley as possible (which i have done.)
    So is there anything im not doing right?
  2. turning your treble up wont help you hit your harmonics better, you should be able to eventually play harmonics as loud as your regular notes. work on keeping your left hand finger on the string and trying to get it to ring out. if it makes a "thump" noise and you cant hear the harmonic, you have to move your finger a little bit up or down. its all about just working on finding the perfect little spot. it gets harder the farther away from the 12th fret you go, so you might want to work from there down. you just pluck it like you would a regular note, just with your left hand barely touching the string rather than pushing it down. good luck!
  3. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I think it just takes a little practice. Its a different technique than normal playing and requires as much finesse as anything.

    I used to have the same problem with harmonics not coming out (so I got a compressor, thinking that would do the trick) but it was really my playing.

    Once you build up your basic technique, try aiming for the more precise harmonics, like the ones between 3rd-5th frets (or corresponding ones in different locations).

    I love harmonics on bass, they are probably one of my favorite things about the instrument.
  4. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

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

    Many people think that boosting highs will give louder and clearer harmonics, and, speaking of frequencies, that's not the key. IT'S ALL IN THE MIDS. My advice for getting loud harmonics:

    - Solo your bridge pickup.
    - Pluck the string near the bridge.
    - If your amp has a "mid scoop" button (most of the times named "contour"), TURN IT OFF. That mid scoop thing is great for fat, thumpy basslines and for slap and pop stuff, but not for harmonics.
    - Again, highs aren't needed for harmonics. Follow my guides above, don't be stingy with your mids and you'll hear the results.
  5. +1 :bassist:
  6. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

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

    That isn't necessary either. Let your finger touch the string in the right node (make sure your're touching the string in just one point = Only one fingertip should be touching it) and don't rush things. Take your time for listening the harmonic you want to hear.
  7. Bassosaurus


    Aug 27, 2005

    Yes, these things will help your harmonics ring out, but wont do squat if you're not hitting them in the first place. See what 'yourmomsbass' said.

    One thing i would clarify: when 'yourmomsbass' says "move your finger a little bit up or down", it is up or down the length of the string not pushing the string up or down.

    Harmonics isolate a note (node) of the overtone series of the string you are playing on. So you need to be at that exact spot on the string to isolate the harmonic.

    Easiest harmonic to hit is right above your 12th fret. G string - G harmonic. You need to be just barely touching the string here. Once you get a feel for that, the others will come along.
  8. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

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

    Of course. That's why I added my second post. I wanted to emphasize the aspects I mentioned first because as I said, many people seem to think that high frequencies play a vital role in harmonics, which is a true misconception.
  9. Soloing your bridge pickup will help with some of them, but makes no difference on others, so you should try that if you have one.