Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by kornchild_17, Oct 22, 2001.

  1. kornchild_17


    Mar 31, 2001
    Hey, I was wondering what harmonics are and how do I do them on my bass guitar?? explain in detaill please..
  2. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    this needs to be moved to... technique!!

    this is how you do harmonics: You put your finger right over a fret, say the 12th fret. Dont press down, just rest it exactly over the fret itself. pluck the string and release your finger on the fret. You will hear a harmonic.

    They can be done at the 12th, 7th, 5th, and all over the place in like the first 4 frets. There is probably more that I dont know about. Experiment!

    The easiest one is at the 12th fret. Its the same note as the open string, one octave higher.
  3. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    by the way, these are called natural harmonics or N.H. and you can use them to tune your bass very accurately.
  4. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Well, actually you'll be two cents off! :) (flat going up, sharp going down). And it accumulates, so on a six, if you tuned the B exactly and used 3rd/2nd harmonics from there, the C would be 10 cents flat. (there are 100 cents in a semitone (half-step)). Nothing extraordinary but something you don't hear often.
  5. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I must say, I was not aware of those facts. Good think I'm learning this now!

    Once you get the basics of harmonics down, you can also begin to slide them around on the fretboard some some really cool (if used tastefully) effects. After playing the harmonic, press down on the string to the fretboard, and then slide up or down. Steve Bailey is probably the best I've ever seen at doing this. It works particularly well on a fretless, but can be done on a fretted.
  6. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Wrong forum.

    Good bye. You are off to "Technique".
  7. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Eek, I don't think I've ever been able to slide harmonics on a fretted. :)

    Using the 2nd (7th fret, 3 times the open-string frequency) and 3rd (5th fret, 4 times the open-string frequency) harmonics to cross-tune strings creates a perfect 4/3 ratio. This is a "classic" fourth interval. Thing is, guitars are tuned (well, in theory, anyway, nevermind intonation!) with equal temperment, where a perfect fourth is 2^(5/12) times the root. This value is set as 500 cents (five frets). A 4/3 ratio works out to be about 498 cents. Of all the equal-tempered intervals, fourths and fifths (700 cents v. 702) are the closest to the "classical" values. Some of them are way off, unfortunately (major thirds: 400 cents v. 386!). I never really noticed this until I got my Hanewinckel. There are some major thirds up high that sound really warbly, but if I stretch the low string (making the interval smaller, down towards 386 cents), they sound really sweet. Not that I could ever do this while playing with any speed. Another reason to play fretless! :D
  8. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
  9. Jaco Pastorious: Portrait of Tracy

    EXCELLENT use of natural and artificial harmonics on an electric bass!!