Portrait of tracy is a killer! Left wrist strain...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by HotTubesGrooves, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. So, I decided to learn portrait of tracy, its a beautiful track. Foolish me however didnt realise that my hands arent quite the span of Jaco's, and after several hours of practicing the first quarter of the song that darn 2nd fret/6th fret node harmonic has killed me.

    Of course if I had been clever I would've thought, "this hurts, i'll stop!" but no... Now I think I have strained my wrist. Its really aching when I try to play and just aching in general when i'm not playing. :crying:

    Let this be a lesson to you all! If it hurts, dont do it! A post injury search of talkbass unearthed threads relating to people trying this stretch, and there are other ways of voicing the harmonic by pinching it instead... without risking damage to your wrist. Damn, I wish I had looked beforehand - hopefully if I rest it, it will be okay... :(
  2. Joe Garage

    Joe Garage

    Mar 13, 2005
    I know what you mean. I try to have my fingers positioned right on the fret, like when you are playing a fretless bass. That's how Jaco did it and it makes it simpler to reach.
  3. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I personally have large enough hands for the stretch, but if it's really a problem you can pinch the harmonic with your right hand (thumb+plucking)
  4. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Yep, not all of our hands work the same.

    I tried that stretch for months before realising I just couldn't make it without contorting my arm into a strange and unnatural position.
  5. I can just about make the stretch, but its a definate strain. When my wrist stops aching I'm going to try fretting the Eb on the D and pinching the octave harmonic.

    Its not worth the risk of damaging my wrist I think!
  6. Eoghan


    Dec 5, 2004

    For that song, I have ickle handysies too, i just tap the 6th with my right hand. Its fast once you practice it, and you just pluck the E with your finger on the way back :cool:
  7. Do you mean actually "tap" the string where the 6th fret harmonic is? I guess that would be a tapped harmonic then... I dont understand how to make those sound without the fretted note sounding instead? :confused: Note that this piece is my first real dabble in harmonics.
  8. lopsy_lu


    Feb 15, 2005
    Scotland, UK.
    I also had real trouble learning this truly amazing tune, especially the 2nd/6th fret harmonic.

    I opted for the way Victor Wooten shows to get around it on his DVD, fret the 2nd fret then use your thumb to get the harmonic over the pickups (thumb placed on string, finger pluck)...its a bit fiddly at first but with practise its fine.
  9. jokke_v


    Aug 15, 2003
    Bergen, Norway
    That's the way I do it in my attempts of butchering it. :smug:

    The 2/6th fret is way too much of a stretch for my tiny hands.
  10. Eoghan


    Dec 5, 2004
    Yeah, thats what I mean.

    I fret the B (2nd fret, A string) and tap the 6th fret line for the perfect 4th harmonic. Easy. Sound is perfect too.
  11. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    When I "play" that song I only play it sitting down because the way I have the bass slung is way to low which could be part of some peoples problems.

    Also when playing that 2 / 6 harmonic my elbow is pointing in at my crotch and and my thumb is very low down on the neck (width wise that is not in the conventional sense of up and down the neck) and Im fretting as close the the fret wire as possible on the second fret. Always better not to be right on it.

    Not the best stance to be being in for extended periods but it works for me cause im only there for a second whilst playing the harmonic.
  12. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I have never played Portrait of Tracy (maybe one day I'll give it a try), but there is another way to get that harmonic. I don't think it was mentioned... You fret the A on the G string (2nd fret) and tap the 18th fret with your right hand. This is a little less risky than the pinch harmonic and louder/clearer (IMO) than tapping the 6th fret (although this does work).

    Please let me know how this works for you.

  13. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Don't you mean fret the second fret B on the A string and tap the 18th fret?

    The portrait of Tracey harmonic uses a fretted B on the A string and a sixth fret harmonic, producing a slightly flat D# a major 17th above the B.

    The one you suggested gives a C# an additional minor 7th up.
  14. chimp


    Dec 4, 2004
    South Africa
    ive only glanced over this song briefly, i dont have troubles with that stretch or most stretches, but i would say the easiest other way for me would be the thumb and pluck method. not only will it help you for this song but it is also very cool trick.

    i also recommend doing a small section of hand stretching before you play. this will increase your stretches over time and also reduce injury in the future. I do a hour everyday before i play and that is why i can make those stretches. you also need that 2(6) stretch for your A and D major scales so try work on being able to nail them.
  15. The scales arent a problem because I shift position to make the strech easier. I'm using the tap method now, I tried the thumb and pluck method but it didnt ring out as clearly. Thanks for everyones input! :D
  16. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Like I said, I never played it before. I was making the suggestion based on what I thought I read in above posts.

    Take everything I said and move it over to the A string. Different pitch / same concept.

  17. i gave this a bash today, all i can say is, with that 2nd fret and 6th fret harmonic, you really notice the difference using a 35" bass over a 34", its just into the area of HURTING LIKE HELL
  18. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    He thinks....(but may not be sure?)