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harmonics

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by travatron4000, Nov 30, 2001.


  1. travatron4000

    travatron4000

    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    hey, does anyone know a site where i can find a diagram or explination of what harmonics are where.
    I know 1/2 and 1/4 are octaves and the pitch is determined by the fraction of the string length where you touch it and divide the vibration but i'm to lazy to sit around and figure it out on my own.
    thanks

    trav
     
  2. travatron4000

    travatron4000

    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    dude you kick ass
    thanks
    trav
     
  3. Gopher Bob

    Gopher Bob

    Nov 24, 2001
    Florida
    Hey Dave, sorry but how do you read that harmonics diagram??? :( . Oh P.S. i have been to your Daves resource page and i have a diagram of the note letter names stapled on my wall for the 5 srtring from your site for whenever i want to downtune w/o too much thinking.. great site keep it up.
     
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Gopher Bob, it's pretty straightforward. Just press down lightly on the string where indicated and pluck the string hard with a finger or a plectrum.

    For example, to get the E harmonic on the B string indicated by a yellow dot directly over the fifth fret, press the string lightly over the fifth fret(do not press it down hard enought to make contact with the fret) and pluck the string hard. As you can see, most of the nodes do not fall directly over a fret, but between them.
     
  5. Gopher Bob

    Gopher Bob

    Nov 24, 2001
    Florida
    thanks, all those colored dots befudled me, sorry about that :) .
     
  6. BassFreak216

    BassFreak216

    Oct 10, 2001
    Maybe I'm just stupid, but I still cant read that diagram. Embellisher, that was a great explanation of how to play a harmonic, but what you didnt say was how you knew that the yellow dot was an E. If I knew that, it would make perfect sense.
    Dave
     
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    The only reason that I knew that particular harmonic was because I know the easiest harmonics to get on the bass, such as the 5th fret, 7th, 12th, 17th, 19th and 24th. I agree that a chart that tells what note is where would be helpful.
     
  8. The colored dots in the first diagram represent 'nodes' that divide the string into equal lengths. Each one of these nodes is also a point where you can generate a harmonic by lightly touching the string when you pluck it.

    When you pluck an open string you are really getting not only the fundamental note but many many other harmonics. It is partially these harmonics that define the tone of an instrument.

    By touching the string at a node, you are essentially cutting out all the harmonics ( plus the fundamental ) except for those that have nodes at that point. It's not 100% the case but close enough. That is, you can touch the string really lightly and still get some other lower-order harmonics.

    So, you have the nodes. How do you know what note they are? That is where the colors come in. Let's start with the red harmonic nodes at the 12th fret. As we all know, those notes are the same as fretting the notes at that fret. So, the red notes in the 2nd diagram show what those notes would be if you transposed them down one octave. Similarly for the orange and yellow notes in the same diagram.

    The third diagram shows what notes the higher order harmonics are transposed down two octaves.

    The notes that are associated with these harmonics are not exact. At least not in the tuning method we use that gives even intervals between notes. They're close enough though.

    Hope this helps.

    - Dave