plucking an octave above a note on the fretboard

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by JesusMetalFunk, May 18, 2012.

  1. JesusMetalFunk


    Aug 11, 2011
    EDIT: Okay, going to try and fix this so everyone understands what I am trying to explain.

    Say I am playing my bass, well I play a G, and instead of playing closer to the fingerboard, over a pickup, right next to the bridge etc.... I pluck the note 12 frets higher than the original note so my right hand plucks this note on the 15th fret.

    If I move to an A on the fifth fret I would move my right hand up a whole step as well to the seventeenth fret.

    This effect gives it a much deeper sound than plucking where I normally pluck.

    I am not talking about playing octaves or harmonics.

    If you don't know what I am talking about, try plucking a G on the 15th fret and then over a pickup. It may be my bass but it produces a different sound
  2. hleach


    Apr 10, 2008
    I think you are hitting a harmonic. I'm not sure that I would personally describe it as "rounder" though.
  3. I use this to fill in for a weak guitar part. It makes the bass seem larger and it also fills some more range where the guitar could be at the same time, but isn't.
  4. JesusMetalFunk


    Aug 11, 2011
    Rounder may be the wrong word for it, if I play a bass line over a pickup plucking like I normally do, and then pluck all the notes exactly an octave over it is way different.
  5. speeves


    Apr 18, 2008
    I use harmonics extensively (in practice), so that I can extend my scales to the third octave on my Jazz bass (20 frets). I don't do it well yet, but it's a good skill to work on. (I use my right-hand thumb to hit the harmonic, ala Jaco).
  6. parmezans


    Nov 25, 2011
    He's not talking about harmonics...
    They're just called octaves, OP. They're the octaves (8 tones from the original tone) of the tone you originally plucked. is a nice start to understand some basic principles better.
  7. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
  8. JesusMetalFunk


    Aug 11, 2011
    No not at 8:15, I mean the right hand. If the right hand is plucking exactly an octave above where the left hand is fretting.
  9. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    The way I read this, the OP is not talking about playing octaves or harmonics, he is talking about where he is plucking the notes relative to the bridge and the fingered note. Normally, most players pluck closer to the bridge than to the midpoint of the vibrating portion of the string. By plucking a string an octave's distance from the fingered note, you are basically plucking near the vibrational midpoint of the string, thus producing a much rounder tone.

    I've been doing this off and on for 32 years. Often I will anchor my thumb at the neck/body joint and play over the end of the fingerboard. An added bonus is that the fingerboard stops your plucking fingers (I pluck fairly hard) so playing faster is facilitated.
  10. JesusMetalFunk


    Aug 11, 2011
    Fretless has the idea, It may not have to be an octave, but that's where I generally get the best results, most of the time if I am closer to the body of the bass it sounds closer a normal plucked note. I have a wick $$ 5string. so it has a slightly longer scale

    I didn't know if this had any special name, but it sounds like it is producing tone with much more depth.
  11. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Playing an octave in the right hand? I'm completely confuzzled. You may be confused about some terms here.

    EDIT: Ah, I think I get it. How is that an octave though? It's just a different pluck position.
  12. JesusMetalFunk


    Aug 11, 2011
    It is a different plucking position, but it gives a much different sound, and I thought it would have a specific name for this technique

    If I fret a g on the third fret of my e- string, then I pluck this note right over the 15th fret of the e-string it gives a deeper, maybe almost dubby kinda sound.

    I know how to play octaves....
  13. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Ooooh, now I get it. You could have been a teeny bit clearer. That's very interesting though, I never though of trying that before. I wonder if there's some sonic reason doing that sounds unique.
  14. JesusMetalFunk


    Aug 11, 2011
    Thanks Tupac, sorry for the slightly grumpy response, I tried to clear it up by changing the original post and the title. If you happen to try this out, can you give any suggestions for communications
  15. David1234


    Jun 1, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Endorsing Artist: SWR Amplifiers
    Yes and yes.

    In music/physics two notes are an octave apart when the frequency of one is exactly double the frequency of the other. On a guitar or bass the way to play a note an octave higher is to exactly halve the length of string that is vibrating. So the 12th fret is half way from the nut to the bridge, and the 24th fret is half way from the 12th to the bridge .... which is why the frets get closer together for high notes, too.

    Saying that the original poster plucks "an octave above the note" is no different to saying that he plucks exactly at the midpoint of the string's length.

    So why a rounder tone? Well ... most of the 'bassy' power of a note on a bass guitar is the fundamental and 2nd harmonic. When you play exactly in the midpoint, you put more energy into the fundamental and hardly any into the 2nd harmonic (the 2nd harmonic requires the two halves of the string to move opposite to each other, but you've made them move together).
  16. parmezans


    Nov 25, 2011
    I'm glad we resolved this.
    Try it on an acoustic guitar, it sounds so reggae. :)
  17. JPBourdier


    Jan 2, 2011
    Texas - DFW
    This is a cool technique. I like to use this in lighter music which allows for long, sustained bass. The octave pluck does give the fundamental more energy and really helps the bass ride the wave. The difference in tone allows a more subtle onset of the sound as well; not as much "clank" as when the pluck is done near the bridge.
  18. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Great post! I've always wondered why the frets got scrunched together.
  19. hleach


    Apr 10, 2008
    So you're just plucking over the neck. You get that effect without specifically plucking over the octave.

    Or... are you saying that you get a different result at exactly the octave point? I'll have to check it out.

    Edit: So yeah, it gives a brief little zing to the attack. I didn't notice any change in the sustained note.
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