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i still don't understand harmonics

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Jimbo, Dec 4, 2003.

  1. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    hey everyone

    ok, harmonics are one technique that i have always wanted to incorporate into my playing. i've searched dozens of times here on TB and read countless threads on harmonics. but despite the vast quantity of quality information, i still don't get it.

    here's what i know how to do:
    1.) play a natural harmonic at various positions

    and here's what i want to know:
    1.) what note is associated with each harmonic in relationship to the string? (i.e. 12th fret harmonic is an octave above)
    2.) tips on playing artifical harmonics
    3.) what note is associated when paying artificial harmonics

    yeah i know there are many threads on harmonics. i was sitting back waiting to find some answers but i decided to take things in my own hands :D

    thanks a bunch for any help!

  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Here is a good reference that shows where all of the natural harmonics are on a five string bass, and two additional charts that show you how to tell which harmonic is which note.


    Artificial harmonics are created by subdividing the string between the fretted note and the bridge. The easiest one to get you started is the octave. Fret your G string at the fifth fret. Now use your thumb to stop the string an octave up, at the 17th fret. 1 octave = 12 frets. While you have the string fretted and stopped, pluck the G string with one of your fingers. Presto Artificial 2nd harmonic of the fretted C on the G string.

    Does that help?

    Also, do a search for artificial harmonics. There are a lot of threads on this.
  3. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    thanks for the link

    let me just get this straight, the notes are color coordinated? so if i was looking at the chart way on the left, say 4th fret where it's green, does that mean i'm playing the major 3rd as shown on the chart all the way to the right?

    and that's all for artifical harmonics? that's a lot easier then i was thinking :D

  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    You have the color coding correct. But those are natural harmonics. As I said in my other post, artificial harmonics are produced by fretting a note, and then subdividing the remaining string between the fretted note and the bridge.
  5. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    awesome. thanks a bunch