Jaco and Birdland

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Nancy-Boy, Sep 17, 2001.

  1. Nancy-Boy


    Sep 16, 2001
    Hey Up, I was playing away the other day and picked up Heavy Weather because even tho ive had the album for a while i'd never tried to learn nething of it.I start with Teen Town and quickly decided i needed more practice at that :D.I learnt Birdland in about two hours, making sure everything was in the right place.I was reading an article and it says that Jaco uses "Fake Harmonic's at the start.I 4t it was a guitar...:confused: but i know wot natural Harmonic's are and can play them..so What are "Fake Harmonic's"?? please..


  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    They're usually called false or artificial harmonics and the way that Jaco played them, is by resting his thumb on the string while playing the note with his first or second finger and fretting normally. So to get a harmonic an octave higher you rest your thumb 12 frets above where you are fretting - what you are actually doing is subdividing the usable string length to get the harmonics. So Jaco plays the first part by moving his thumb so it's always the equivalentof 12 frets above where he's fretting and then he goes up another octave by moving his thumb closer to the bridge.

    There are no guitars on any of the Weather Report albums that Jaco appears on, so if it sounds a bit guitar-like it either Jaco or possibly Joe Zawinul, but I think it's pretty easy to tell the difference.
  3. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    'Nother way to look at this is that the thumb has to lie at the spot where the note would be fretted if there were fretboard that high. So you're constantly moving your plucking hand back and forth every note like a trombone player.

    Like many other Jaco stunts, trickier than it sounds.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I was trying to avoid references to frets as I thought somebody would be bound to come back and say - but Jaco played fretless! :rolleyes:

    I think this type of thing is actually easier on fretted basses and I quite often throw in artificial harmonics a la Jaco to spice up solos.

    It is a hard technique if you're aiming for precision; but I find that it works well in an improvised solo over chords - often your mistakes will still be in the key/scale as you are fretting the same notes and you have a harmonic relationship - so when you actually miss the harmonic you were aiming for it doesn't necessarily sound "bad" - well that's what I've found in practice.

    If you listen to Jaco playing the second time through the harmonics of Birdland on the live album 8:30 - he is all over the place and it is nothing like as precise as on the studio album - but it still sounds alright.