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Louder Harmonics?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by groveofbass, Dec 26, 2004.

  1. How can i get my harmonics ring out louder? Generally when i play live i can never hear it when i pluck any harmonics and when i was recording my bands demo last week, i had to do a separate over-dub of the harmonics so that they were audible.

    Would the solution involve EQ or different technique?
    I play a spector Euro 5 with a Hartke 3500 head and 4x10 cab

    help me!
  2. Possu jam

    Possu jam

    May 16, 2004
    It really depends of your tone, and where you play the harmonics you know.

    So try to play them near the bridge, and put more maid and (or) treble on your amp or bass EQ.
  3. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I would think that rasing the mids would give the harmonic more umph.
  4. Play near the bridge. Good strings. Good compressor. Good cabs.
  5. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    A compressor will help too.
  6. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    on a two pickup bass favoring the brige pickup will cause harmonics to ring out louder.
  8. bill_banwell

    bill_banwell Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2002
    Yeah, near the bridge is the main one.. and more treble up.

    Should'nt this be in the technique section?
  9. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
  10. You can put the side of your hand on the bridge to brace it, then pluck with vigor near the bridge. It's good for harmonics, although you'll wear your fingers down to little nubs.
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yup. Compressor and increase UPPER-mids.

  12. Near the bridge, but if you're doing artificial harmonics you can get them a lot louder.
  13. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Most bass amps have a "mid contour" button that raises lows-highs and cuts middle frequencies, giving the amp the classic "V" shape EQ characteristics. That's great for slap and for a fat, bassy tone, but it's harmonics' #1 enemy. In fact, if you're into melodic, jazz bass style, you should leave the mid contour button of your amp alone. Also, as IvanMike said, soloing the bridge pickup will make harmonics ring louder.
  14. mnadelin


    Apr 6, 2003
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Like they said, play them near the bridge. I don't know what kind of bass you have, but if you have a jazz bass style bass, soloing the bridge pickup helps a lot. Also make sure the tone knob is all the way up.
  15. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    At one point I grew out my righthand thumbnail in order to really nail (no pun intended) the harmonics.
  16. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yes, yes, yes.

    Preach it!

    Those who've only been running 'scooped' had better watch out, though - start replacing those mids, and everybody will hear every mistake; I also run with my 'high-mids' boosted (4-band EQ on a Hartke), and if I even make a poor choice of a quick passing note in a little run, it's like 'ouch!'.

    I suppose there could be some players running enough scoop that they've never even heard their mistakes themselves! When I used to 'use' the conture button on my Hartky head, if I was playing near low-E or lower, I actually couldn't even tell if a note was consonant or dissonant; I mean I could intentionally (or not..) play a half-step off on a chord root, and not be able to tell for-sure; "there's a nice on-time click, followed by a rumble.. perfect!"

    I still use the conture sometimes - if there's a song I'm almost sure I'm going to screw-up something in!

    I guess the reason I've recently been kind of 'preachy' with my ideas about mids is that even with the great players that have graced us in the last few decades, bassists are still often viewed as 'second-rate guitarists' or a 'background instrument' or something of the sort, and Soundmen and producers are still tending to make basses sound mushy and un-distinct.


  17. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Someone even told me once: "Bass is not an instrument. It's a thing that accompanies instruments" :rollno:

    I used to be a "contour" player because that's the kind of tone most musicians here look in a tropical music band's bassist. When I got into effects (well, my Zoom BFX-708. Not a great thing, but useful) I started to look into the presets and the "Blues" one made me notice that harmonics rang louder and every note I played could be heard. Since then I started to get more and more unhappy with the fact that, in a band situation, when playing harmonics, they couldn't be heard. When playing a short fill in the upper register, I could hear the fingers' attack (thump-thump-thump) but not the actual notes. Then I took the risk of playing a tune with the "blues" preset (risk because my bandmates would start to complain about the bass' lack of balls). In fact, the bass wasn't that fat, but I was happy because every little nuance could be heard, so for compensating this, now I turn up the bass frequencies even more, same with highs and don't cut mids that much. Since there's no "contouring", details can be heard clearly. The only drawback is that the slap tone is OK, but not the best and I'm not the kind of player who likes to change the amp's settings during a gig. I try to find a tone that works for everything, maybe sacrifying little things to favor others. I only like to try my bass' own possibilities like playing with the neck pickup only for getting kinda Precision tone or playing with the bridge pickup soloed to get sort of a Jaco tone.

    Some musicians here still look at me like a weirdo (A trombonist: "You know what I don't like? Your playing is great but sometimes your bass sounds like a cello" :eek: :scowl:. A bassist: "Look! Use the contour!!! Why don't you use it???" -I'm not going to waste my time arguing with a closed minded musician-). I don't know if I should take the cello thing as a criticism or as a compliment :rolleyes: , but in general terms, I think my bandmates like my job.

    I hope that my slap tone will improve with my new MM Bongo. Four months waiting. That's not so much time. Isn't it? AAARRRGGGHHH!!! :help: :hyper: :bassist:
  18. Bassist519

    Bassist519 Guest

    Feb 6, 2003
    Albany,New York
    ITS ALL IN THE MIDS crank em! :bassist:
  19. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    I love my mids! Crank 'em and your harmonics will ring out like nothin' else.

    PS: Take the cello thing as a compliment! I love the sound of cellos, so much.
  20. Jazzbasslover


    Dec 8, 2004
    Everything that you need to know has already been touched on but I will say that in my experience harmonics ring out the best with single coil pickups. Maybe it's just me but I find it easier to play hamonics on Jazz basses and Ric's. But they are playable on any bass and I've just found that on any given bass you really just have to find it's sweet spot where they just sing. And yes, mids are a wonderful thing for us bass players.