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Octave higher when playing near bridge?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Transverz, May 18, 2005.


  1. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Okay, that thread title was confusing haha...

    What I mean is, it feels much more comfortable to me playing nearer the bridge than it does above the pickup, closer to the neck. It's just that I like the lows playing nearer the neck gives me. I recently noticed that the sound is an octave higher when I do play much closer to the bridge.

    So what do I do? Compensate on my amp to make up for the lows? I'm still hearing the higher octave so I guess that doesn't really make up for it. I also sometimes like the growl I get from playing near the bridge, but yeah, all the lows get sucked out.

    Is this all about the right technique?

    Any help or insight would be appreciated... :)
     
  2. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    No, the sound is not an octave higher when you play near the bridge. The fundamental pitch does not change, The tone is, however, more trebly. If you like playing near the bridge, but want more lows, just do your best to compensate with EQ, either on your bass or on your amp.Remember, though, that if you set your rig up so that you have a lot of lows when you play near the bridge, you may have *too much* low end if you ever decide you want to play closer to the neck.
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You CAN move your hand and play in different spots according to the sound you want.
     
  4. 7flat5

    7flat5

    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    You know, in a way, he is right, actually. Even on a Fender P, if you have ever seen a spectral analysis of the tone, the second harmonic, which is an octave above the fundamental, is actually stronger than the fundamental. When you play down by the bridge, the higher harmonics are even more emphasized. So, the fundamental is subsumed for the most part. It can actually sound as if it is an octave higher, because the fundamantal tone is not the loudest tone there, even though it is just a change in the balance of the harmonics.
     
  5. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Therein lies the difference between playing an octave higher and sounding one
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you're playing by the bridge and you're making the string sound like it's an octave higher, you need to rethink your technique. Put some meat on the string! While all that spectrograph stuff may be true, it doesn't mean that it shouldn't sound like the fundamental.
     
  7. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Well, in a limited sense, yeah, but not really in terms of the actual sound. I know about the structure of harmonics and all, and I have in fact seen such spectral analyses, but IMHO it's simply wrong to say that it sounds an octave higher when plucked at the bridge. In my 35+ years of playing and listening, I have never once heard a sound, from any bassist, that could reasonably be described that way. Play the same riff twice, once near the end of the FB and once near the bridge. It simply does not sound an octave higher at the latter location. Diferent, yes; a different octave, no.
     
  8. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sorry for the confusion. I'm no spectral analyzer nor have I ever seen any graphs, charts, or diagrams, but the other night when I finally plucked E, an inch or so below the neck, then compared the sound to the same pluck a couple inches above the bridge, I heard what sounded like an octave above. Hence my question.

    Now yeah, it probably isn't an octave technically speaking, but that is what I *heard*. And the pluck near the bridge was no light pluck.

    I guess the answer is just as was said, that the bridge pluck kills the lows, so it just sounds higher, kinda. I'll just take note not to play way far down there unless I want a more agressive sound.