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Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Holly Wright, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. Hi, I recently received the sheets for "Romance and Rondo" by Keyper for double bass and piano. Measure eight is this:

    The problem is the lower high G is the highest harmonic i know of... :help:

    Can anyone explain to me how I can locate the harmonics on my bass. Or if that crazy high G is a harmonic? What about the D that is found between the Gs (not pictured, but it is in measure 20)

    Thank you

    Holly Wright
  2. jazzbassnerd


    Aug 26, 2002
    Those harmonics will just be above your fingerboard. From the highest G that you know of, divide the distance between that G and the bridge and you'll find the higher G. In between the two Gs will be the D you speak about.

    Hope this answers your question.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Is this the one that happens over C on the G string? Both on the first C on the G and second.
  4. jazzbassnerd


    Aug 26, 2002
    That's the first of those harmonics. The second is an octave higher.
  5. Thank you both for the replies, this makes it easier.

    Could someone explain how to locate any/all harmonics? I think learning them will greatly help me with bass.
  6. Anonymous75966


    Jun 29, 2004
    If you can find a copy of Bert Turetzky's "The Contemporary Contrabass" it's got a lot of material on harmonics, including a cool fold-out chart of the whole fingerboard.

    Depending on the register of the rest of the passage, you could also play those in a lower position on the G string - i.e. you can get the G above middle C from the C above open G (is that what you meant, Ray?). The G an octave higher lies over a (slightly flat) Bb above open G. (I think ... don't have the instrument out at the moment.)
  7. Nobody ever really showed me where all the harmonics are on my bass. I just fooled around a bit and found them. All you have to do is slide your finger up and down the string without pushing down.
  8. Try this. Play a one octave scale starting on the first G harmonic on the G string (the octave harmonic.) If you play the scale in tune, then you will end up on a third octave G, which happens to be the first note on the above passage. Put your thumb there, then find the next clear harmonic with your 1st finger, which should be a B. Then the next harmonic is a D with your 2nd finger. Then you have to stretch a bit for the G with 3. See if that works.
  9. Sorry for not replying, I will try all of your suggestions :D

    @ the_other: The part of the peice containing that note is all up in high treble clef range.

    Thank you once again, hopefully soon I can get a teacher to teach me what I do not know :)

  10. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    The Turetzky book is great, Mark Dresser has a chart, unfortunately unpublished that lines up every harmonic with with every stopped pitch.
    for example on the g string, over the G# you get a G# over the A you get and A, Bb you get a D and so on. The uses are amazing. everythign from grounding your intonation to practicing shift to having more control over extended techniques.
    You could also try using a chromatic tuner.
  11. jazzbassnerd


    Aug 26, 2002
    I was lucky enough to have a lesson with Dresser over my x-mas break (I hope to get some over the summer too) and he was kind enough to give me that chart. It might be worth sending him an e-mail to ask. Looks like either a Finale or Sibelius file, and I'm sure he could save it as a pdf if you didn't have those.

    PS. FWIW, Mark Dresser it such a virtuoso it's scary.
  12. If you really need to locate all of your harmonics do what I did (my teacher gave me a piece along time ago and I didn't what to look stupid at the next lesson). Break out your tuner. Put your finger barely on your strings and just go up and don't your strings from the bridge to the nut. You'll find alot of the harmonics are the same by the nut as by the bridge.
  13. Anonymous75966


    Jun 29, 2004
    Dresser's essay in the book "Arcana: Musicians on Music" has quite a lot of information about extended-range techniques, although - IIRC - without the chart of all the harmonics. I got a chance to work with him last year; he is truly The Man.

    One thing Mark really emphasized was the importance of bow placement, pressure and speed in playing harmonics (as well as his other techniques). Impossible to quantify here ... but Holly, you may have to fiddle with that stuff -- distance from the bridge, bow speed, etc -- to get those high harmonics to really come out.

    [mild thread hijack] Speaking of harmonics, anyone know anything about Fernando Grillo's solo bass suite? Apparently it's inspired by Baroque material but incorporates a lot of contemporary extended technique. He's another really scary virtuoso, though in quite a different sense from Dresser ... I'm quite curious about his approach to more tonal music.[/hijack]

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