1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

pinch harmonics

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by fivesevenoh, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. is it possible to do those "squeels" on basses?
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Yes. Using a compressor or distortion will help. But they can be done without effects as well, just takes the right technique and a lot of practice.
  3. could you please explain how to do it without distortion?
  4. ?
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    You have to stop the string in the correct places and pluck really hard. Plucking near the bridge and using the bridge pickup will help bring them out as well. Practice will make it easier.
  6. sunburstbasser


    Oct 18, 2003
    Pinch harmonics on bass are not as easy. I assume you don't mean open-string harmonics. To do pinches on a bass, there are a couple styles. Jaco used his thumb to stop the string, then plucked hard with one of his fingers. Steve Harris does a similar technique, but stops the string with his index finger and uses his ring finger to pluck. If you use a pick, you can pinch the string just like a guitarist.
  7. I have found to get very easy pinch harmonics on the bass using a very weird technique I experimented with one day.

    I find it doesn't matter much where your right hand positioning is as long as it's in between the bridge & neck pickup.

    Take your thumb rest it on the string you want to *pinch*, and using your index finger to pull a medium-hard pluck (as adjacent to the string as possible) while releasing your thumb seems to work. Think of it as spinning a top (violently) clockwise with your right hand and that's what i'm doing in a nutshell.

    Although with this way of doing it you really have to setup the pinch harmonic to be at the right spot as they can't be done nearly as quick enough as if you were to use a pick.
  8. sunburstbasser


    Oct 18, 2003
    Actually, Minimonk, that sounds a lot like the Jaco method of pinch harmonics. It takes practice to where you can do it quickly, but it can be done.

    I also forgot to mention Van Halen style-tapping the fret 12 up from where you are playing and letting your finger bounce off like a slap. Check out Van Halen's "Dance the Night Away" to see what its like on guitar, its pretty easy on bass though.
  9. That is called a tap-harmonic. As you said you simply tap note 12 frets away from whatever note your fretting with your left hand(assuming you are right handed).
  10. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    You can also tap at other harmonic notes - eg. 17 and 19 frets higher than the fretted note.

  11. funkyfraz


    Dec 14, 2003
    without effects, i find by "pinching" the string between ur thumb and 1st finer really really hard, bring out a harmonic quite nicely, dosnt really cut thru while gigging tho.

    for a "dying elepahnt noise": put distortion, lots of reverb, and a flange on ur eeects, then turn the volume down, pinch a harmnic on the 2nd fret on the G string, and while turning the volume up bend the string, then while turnin the sound down, bend the string back!

    sounds well funny!
  12. Demon


    Mar 17, 2006
    Sweden, Stockholm
    Since when did Steve Harris start doing pinch harmonics=S? Im thinking you mean Steve Bailey, he uses that technique. Atleastwhat it looks like.
  13. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006

    That's exactly how my bass teacher taught me, and I can do them really well, just not fast and in context of a song, lol.

Share This Page