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Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament and Harmonic Slides

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by FriscoBassAce, Oct 27, 2005.


  1. FriscoBassAce

    FriscoBassAce

    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    On the song "EvenFlo" (and others), Jeff Ament does this thing that sounds like a pinched harmonic played near the headstock, and then he slides up, making it sound like a pinched harmonic slide. I've never been able to figure out how he does this... He usually does it right before the chorus.

    Is it a fretless bass with some kind of cool effects?

    Does he use some type of slide on his bass strings?

    I saw a guy do it in Guitar Center once, but I was talking to a sales person and didn't want to interrupt him.

    So what is this cool little sound effect?
     
  2. Corwin

    Corwin

    May 8, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    What you want to do is this: Get a fretless bass. Play a harmonic. Press the string down to the fingerboard and slide. It's pretty sweet.
     
  3. Also, check out any recording by Mick Karn. One of Ament's influences and one of the originators of this technique.
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You don't need a fretless bass to do it, either. I do it all the time on fretted basses. However, you will end up getting the fundamental stronger the farther you go up the neck.
     
  5. adisu

    adisu I admit it, I'm a "user"

    Apr 8, 2005
    Israel
    I do think you must have a fretless bass in order to get jeff's sound!!!!
    You can't get the sliding sound of fretless (that is created because of the sliding through quarter tones) with a regular bass guitar that slide in intervals of semi-tones.
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well of course. I was just pointing out how you don't need a fretless to slide a harmonic.
     
  7. adisu

    adisu I admit it, I'm a "user"

    Apr 8, 2005
    Israel
    O.K. http://www.[malware url removed].com/smilies/sign/sign0156.gif
     
  8. How do you get the sound like Wooten on Amazing Grace where it sounds like he "bends" the harmonic? Like you bend the string.
     
  9. I don't know the particular song, but you can bend a harmonic by pressing the string behind the nut, thus pulling it more taut and raising the pitch. You can vibrato one this way as well.
     
  10. victor does the slide too...just hit the harmonic, put your finger down like corwin said, and slide up a few frets and then back down to the original note...you can see it on the video too.
     
  11. or ya can neck bend a la billy sheehan. Basically hit a natural harmonic then grab the neck at the headstock and the body of the bass and bend the crap out of it!
     
  12. FriscoBassAce

    FriscoBassAce

    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    Not recommended for El Cheapo basses!!!



    :D
     
  13. darkblack99

    darkblack99 Supporting Member

    Percy Jones was all over that 'sliding natural/artificial harmonics' technique with Brand X in the '70's.
     
  14. wooten also uses the tuning keys to get that effect sometimes... with natural harmonics tho not artificials, you just play the natural and tune up.. pretty simple and effective :)
     
  15. wait a sec were you guys talking about sliding NATURAL harmonics?? how the hell is that possible?
     
  16. middlebit

    middlebit

    Sep 10, 2005
    København
    As it says up there: just place your finger on the string where a natural harmonic, pick the string, press down and slide.
     
  17. FriscoBassAce

    FriscoBassAce

    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    I've never been able to get natural harmonics to "slide" with my finger. The moment I move my finger from the position where I started the harmonic, all of the overtones disappear.

    I have been able to get pinched or "artificial" harmonics to move with my fingers...but the tone doesn't stay solid and I lose most of the overtones when moving.

    So I still don't get it. Perhaps it's best done on a fretless bass.
     
  18. middlebit

    middlebit

    Sep 10, 2005
    København
    Make sure that you depress the string after you hear the harmonic ring out, then you slide with the finger on the fingerboard. The harmonic should still ring out after the finger touches the board, but make sure you do this hooked up to an amplifier to start with since you will have two tones at once, acoustically - one from either side of your finger. But only the note between your finger and the bridge will sound through the amp.If you do it this way, it's almost impossible not to slide the harmonic.
    Most definitely! But this also works, atleast well enough to get the technique down, on a fretted bass.
     
  19. ok great thanks a lot guys i managed it now :D finally!