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Portrait of Tracy

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Noobai, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. Noobai


    Aug 25, 2002
    Stanford, CA
    Is it really as hard as it seems? Or am I just doing something wrong?

    I can't seem to get my harmonics at the 3rd and 4th frets to ring, at all :\

    And I cant get any tone out of the harmonics on my E string either. Am I doing something wrong?
  2. Harmonics sound brighter when:

    - Using distortion
    - Using an active bass

    Try, if you use your fingers to play, using your fingernails to pluck the strings.
  3. Noobai


    Aug 25, 2002
    Stanford, CA
    Ahh, mixing it straight to the bridge pup did it. Thx a ton :)

    Now if only I didnt suck :D
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    adjust your mids and low highs....that shoudl help bring out harmonics.

    re:active bass....yes harmonics will sound clearer on an active bass, my fodera is active/passive, and believe it or not the harmonics sound more akin to Jaco when I play passive through the back pup only with mids at 70 and highs at 50(lows at 55)

    the song isn't THAT hard, its tricky at times,but its not impossibly difficult.
  5. Use a pedal for the harmonics...that would rule ;)
  6. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    I think harmonics are more about technique than anything. Try to get them as accurate and precise as possible. They will ring louder because you are not muffling them. Try to use as little finger as possible with both hands.
  7. Well Jaco didnt use an active bass either, being his time was before the alembic (I think) So its all really technique. Pluck closer to the bridge and try to find the exact position to place your finger to get the harmonic, its not always right above the fret.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Nah, Alembics were around.

    The rest is cool.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    But we do know that Jaco played this "clean" on a passive Jazz bass - no effects!!
  10. "am I doing something wrong?"
    -he was doing something right
    "use a pedal for the harmonics"
    - just sample them and trigger them from your midi controller...better yet,sample it and sequence it...better yet, just play the record and leave this in the "done right already" file.
    - hope I dont sound nasty...on second thought just delete this post. Have a nice day.
  11. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I'd say it's a pretty tricky tune, actually.

    I can hit the harmonics individually, but those chords down in the 3rd/4th fret area, along with the fretted bass notes, I found pretty tricky (but then, I only started trying to play it yesterday :) ).

    The intro is pretty easy, but I haven't got it up to speed yet. I suppose the thing about harmonics is that to play consecutive notes, you have to dart all over the fretboard.
  12. The thing i'm having trouble with is the artificial harmonics, getting that stretch to get the Eb and getting it fast. And i can't seem to get the last artaficial harmonic to speak at all. any advice for hitting those artaficials?
  13. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    From what I remember watching jaco play at the Santa Monica civic auditorium and the Roxy in L.A.,He always used that Acoustic 360,or 370 amp and he plucked pretty hard. I found that some basses sound better with a certain gauge of strings,and the bass has to be intonated to that gauge of strings.There was a book that came out back in the late 70's written on playing the open harmonics on bass.it mapped out all the open harmonics and chords that sounded good.They sound good,but you have to create around their fixed position.Email me ,and I'll go dig it out and get you the name,publisher.If it is out of print,I'll copy it for you.Someone on here must know the book,the author had all this referencing to a coyote and other stuff.New strings always give you the best harmonics(for a couple of minutes before they go dead) .I know a guy who has and still makes the best ,state of the art on board preamps with a sweep from 20hz to 20k and a plus or minus 20 db volume.It really does make that harmonic ring.
  14. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002

    Well there are 3 ways to hit that harmonic(there are more, but only 3 are practical)

    One is stretching from B to Eb on the A string

    the other is stretching from Eb to Ab on the A string

    and finally you can do what victor wooten does(cause he can't make that stretch either...or so he says on live at bass day '98)

    Fret the Eb, then place your right hand thumb lightly on the A string, where you place it affects what harmonic will be created, experiement with moving your thumb around and then plucking with your index finger BEHIND your thumb(to get the note)

    those are the three most practical ways...if you ask me.

    the last harmonic chord is tricky,
    there are two practical ways to do that one
    one is fretting Db(Gstring)Ab(Dsrting)and Eb(Astring) then stretching your pinky to bar over the 9th fret of those three strings.

    also you can get the same chord by Fretting the 9th fret of those three strings and then stretching to the 13th fret.

    I do it the first way, but its trickier because you have to be more accurate, but its an easier stretch.

    experiment!, thats half the fun in harmonics;)
    good luck
  15. thanks, Wrong Robot, that helps alot,
  16. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    It is really as hard as it seems,that piece to us is like a Chopin prelude to pianists,I remember lamenting to an ear-training prof.the difficulty I was having perfecting Bach cello suites,his reply was''my dear boy the Beethoven piano concertos have been on my bench for twenty years''...Jaco's music is in the same category...you have to listen,digest and find it within your ability to play it...you can't read his music for performance,there is'nt enough room on the page for dynamic markings:))
  17. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    Ok ,I found the book.It's "Harmonics for Electric Bass" by Adam Novick distributed by Music Sales corporation,33 West 60th st. N.Y. 10023. I bought this book in 1980,so who knows if it is still in print.This guy has laid out a harmonic chord book,with manu chords like E7#5,E7b9,Eb 7#5b9 etc.Dozens of chords and harmonic locations.All the Portait of Tracy chords.it has tricks like locating nodes and it's nearby normal note. it will answer all your open harmonic questions.The author acknowledges Patrick O' Heard and Jaco Pastoriush .He also lays out the harmonic scales.he also has a section on "False Harmonic" that way Jaco played "Birdland" in Harmonics.Also a great trick like hitting a harmonic,then sliding it up a string,and bending harmonics. This guy nailed this down years ago.a worthwhile book to have.
  18. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
  19. Also, in the lessons section of the Bass Lobster website there is a good lesson on harmonics. I'm sure it isn't as detailed as the book, but a good starting point...

  20. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    if you guys can't find it,or it is out of print,let me know-we'll figure out a way to get you a copy.

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