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Quick question about notation

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by fretless_freak, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. I was reading an interview and the musician was talking about ghost notes. What are ghost notes? Also, when reading tablature, when you see a number(meaning fret) what does (7) mean? That is the 7th fret in parenthesis. I don't quite understand a fret number in parenthesis. I majored in music for two years and was a percussionist for 6 years is school. Any info is greatly appreciated.
  2. ghost notes, i'm not too sure, but the paranthesis usually means its the harmonic over that fret.
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    A ghost note is a note that's played, but the pitch is nonspecific. If you deaden the string (don't press down all the way) and pluck so you get a "thunk" out of the amp, that's a ghost note.
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    As an addendum to what Pacman said, ghost notes are normally notated with an x attached to the appropriate note stem.

    As an additional note, make sure you don't relax your finger over a harmonic node - I'll often have all my lefthand fingers relaxed on the string before plucking it to get a ghost note.

  5. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Guitarist magazine notate harmonics with a diamond shaped note above the 'normal' note.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Ha - guitarists!!! ;)
  7. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Guitarist now incorporates Bassist and if you look hard you can find half a page of bass content.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I've given up looking, since Bass Guitar magazine became available - well actually it was long before that! ;)

    But I certainly won't be buying Guitarist ever again!
  9. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    When notating harmonics there are 2 methods, each with a different meaning. A small circle over the note means to play a harmonic equal to the note depicted using an artificial harmonic (1st). A diamond shaped notehead means play a natural harmonic (1st), i.e., if you see a C above the bar with a diamond shape (it should have a string designation below as well, but not always), fret lightly at the fifth fret G string and let the harmonic sound (actually a G). The artificial harmonics are frequently notated in treble clef. To confuse things, some publishers reverse the meaning of the small circle and diamond, so be careful when reading pieces that have the harmonics notated. I've never seen anything but the first harmonics in notation, although I've encountered and used 2nd and 3rd etc, as well. There are probably other methods of notating these as well - a good source of info. on this can be obtained from classical bassists as they can encounter a lot of these.
  10. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    That is the usual designation of a ghost note in standard notation. But most tablature doesn't have note stems, unless, of course it is the type of tablature that appears undeneath standard notation, then the standard notation would have the note stem. I've seen ghost notes in tab just notated as an x on the line of the indicated string. I have also seen them in parentheses which must indicate a difference in style of tabbing.

    I'm going to back up a minute here. There is a hybrid type of tab which does have stems and the note part has a number in place of the oval. Those who advocate this hybrid tab say that it has the advantages of both tab and standard noataion at the same time. I, myself. find the hybrid tab harder to read than either standard notation or traditional style tab. For me, if you go that far with tab, why not go the whole way and just read standard notation?

    I have seen the parenthesis used in guitar tab in a variety of ways:

    A compound bend and release or a single bend and release where the plucked note has a fret number with no parenthesis but the bent and released fret numbers are in parentheses.

    A ghost note with the number of the fret in parenthesis.

    A trill where the first two fret numbers are in parentheses, but the end of the trill, the fret number has no parentheses.

    While this is guitar tab, the above techniques can be used on a bass guitar.

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