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So close! So very close.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by alx564, Oct 24, 2002.

  1. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    Hey Everyone,

    For the past month or so my teacher and I have been going over "Portrait of Tracy" by Jaco. Now this is one of my favorite songs and has helped my technique incredibly. I play harmonics five times better and in lots of spots I didn't know I could play harmonics in and overall my left hand technique has gotten much better. But now on the very last section I got stuck. I have everything else except for that last chord done and now I'm stuck.

    Does anyone have any advice on playing this last chord. I don't know the name of the harmonics but what I'm supposed to be playing is the I bar the 9th fret on the G D and A string and then play the harmonic on the 13th fret of the G D and A. Is this the right chord at the end? If so does anyone have any tips on playing this?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. liran


    Dec 18, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    Hey, yes portrait of tracy is a great peace and I'm actually playing it at a talent show soon. You can achieve pretty much the exact same sound if you just bar the 9th fret and pluck the harmonic at the 13th fret on just the G and D. Sounds exact to the record, have fun!!
  3. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    That is the one part of that damn song that I have HUGE problems with. My hands just aren't big enough to play it properly. About 80% of the time, when I try to play that last chord, it just goes "thud" and nothing rings.. or it rings and sounds muy-horribla.

    You could always cheat and play the notes individually as harp harmonics and arpeggiate the chord. :D
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    wow...thats weird reading this....maybe 8 months ago I was in your exact same position, learning portrait of tracy...getting really good with harmonics and then getting stuck on the last harmonic.

    check it: jaco used massive compression filters to bring the harmonics out....thats why that last harmonic is so hauntingly clear, the harmonic itself; there are two ways to play(like most harmonics)
    there is the 9th(fret) 13th(harmonic) way
    and there is also(this is the way I do it)
    6th(fret) 9th(harmonic)
    its a little harder in that you need to be more precise, but the stretch is easier.

    now thats the harmonic that Jaco plays on his self titled recording, but that doesn't mean you can't get creative with all that you've learned about harmonics...often times when I am playing that song I create an equally haunting harmonic by fretting the 7th(on G,D,A strings) and then harmonic on the 10th
    one fret up from jacos chord
    and that is powerful and haunting as well.

    also you can hit just two of the notes in the three note chord....it produces a similar effect, and is much easier.

    btw, I have a fodera bass, with a coil tap switch that seriously improves harmonic sounds...note harmonics are not all in the bass, I have hit all the portrait of tracy harmonics on cheapo jazz basses, but I would make sure to get your eqaulization correct(I find raising mids improves harmonic performance)

    you know what I love about Portrait of tracy?
    its that, though I've learned the song through and through, every time I listen to it it always sounds different.

    hey I'm also performing it for a talent show soon...fancy that.
  5. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    Yeah I really boost the mids up for the song because it really helps the harmonics cut through parts of the song where you are playing both harmonics and fret notes. Of course I'm not exactly playing a Fodera so I'm sure you have a lot more versatility with your bass ;)

    Thanks for the help everyone.
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Move your thumb to the bottom edge of the fingerboard and streeeetch. I don't have particularly large hands, either, but it works for me.

    Rome wasn't built in a day.
  7. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    beyond the fretboard harmonics are generally trickier, but it is another way to get the ending PoT harmonic chord.
    there are some really cool harmonics way up there though.

    I love my fodera :)

    rome may not have been built in a day, but it was sacked in about a day :p(relatively)

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