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Strange harmonic weirdness on Rick 4003...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by feckn_eejit, Apr 6, 2002.

  1. If I pluck the fifth fret harmonic on my 4003 with just the bass pickup selected, the sound doesn't come through my headphones! With both pickups, or just the treble pickups, it works perfectly...

    I wonder if this is because the bass pickup is placed exactly at the first quarter-length of the string from the bridge, exactly where this harmonic is at the other end, so it somehow cancels it out?

    Any detailed explanations of this weirdness?


    (I apologize for not being entirely sure which forum this post should go in, so I put it in Basses where it would get the most exposure :)... please move it if I've been a bad boy. Thanks!)
  2. ashton


    Jan 4, 2001
    yeah thats my guess or maybe your pickups dont work :D hehe.

    or, correct me if im wrong here, maybe your headphones cannot reproduce that freequency or note. just guessing here.
  3. My pickups are not screwed up, the bass practically brand new and sounds fantastic...

    Doesn't work with my speakers either, or anyone else's for that matter.
  4. ashton


    Jan 4, 2001
    well if its brand new then id guess that it pups are fine, so some weird harmonics thingy that happening here. maybe its a government conspiracy............
    MIB smiley :cool:
  5. geshel

    geshel Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2001
    Your theory is right: the neck pickup is placed at a node of that harmonic, just like the 5th fret.

    I have a harmonic (can't remember if it's the 9th or 10th) on my bass that I can't hear with both pickups selected, because at that harmonic the two pickups are exactly out of phase! If I switch to either pickup it jumps out - makes for a cool effect :)
  6. Ah, I thought it was something like that!

    Coolness. Your situation sounds even cooler...lol

    I'm sure there's a science to placing bass pickups... the treble pickup on my Rick doesn't seem to be under any harmonics... wonder why it is where it is...

  7. ashton


    Jan 4, 2001
    geshel- what bass does that? i want one :D

    well i got a theory that if you have 3 pups then you will eliminate all harmonic silent spots. ill bet a jazz with 3 pups will be killer.
  8. there is a jazz with 3 pups..the stu hamm model..it has a j-p-j config.looks like a pretty cool bass,I imagine it would be quite versatile
  9. catwig1


    Mar 4, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    The Trace T-Bass has three pickups. One is under the scratch plate and acts as a humcanceller. I couldn't find a picture online :(.

  10. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    That is hilarious. Sorry, but I really laughed when I heard it, the other harmonics are really nice, and I was expecting a little noise..but nothing. I haven't heard anything like it.

    As you know the harmonic is eliminating certain modes of vibration along the string. So I would say that you are basically right and the pickups is located in a spot where the string is not vibrating (node). You could try to see if this frequency is always missing from the sound on the open strings. That is indeed strange. Maybe it is supposed to do that to get that Rick sound.

  11. There is a bit of noise - if you crank the volume on that sample, you can hear it, it's like a delayed thing -

    Glad you found it funny, it certainly is weird.

    The neck-through body really does make the thing sustain forever, the harmonics sound wonderful with tons of body... when they actually get picked up :) It's a very lively sounding bass, I've found harmonics I never knew existed...

    Neck-through rules!

  12. We found a similar odd thing while recording this weekend - a fretted D on the A string (again, on the 5th fret) gave us a tone that had a certain amount of octave effect to it. Strange.

    Gotta love these quirky boutique instruments! :D
  13. Well I don't have any weird effects at all on fretted notes... the volume and tone is extremely even across the entire fretboard.

  14. Sounds weird. I know that the most audible harmonics are at the 5, 12, 19, and 24 fret. So I'm not surprised if its at one of those.
  15. JayAmel

    JayAmel Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    How funny... Played Rickenbackers for years and years (got my first 4001 in 1977...), and I had never noticed that. However I must acknowledge I almost never use harmonics and I always use both pickups when I play a Rick.

    Tried what you did, and I have _almost_ no sound. In fact, I have a low-level harmonic, but it stops very shortly and thus does not have the sustain harmonics generally have...

    One more Rickenbacker mystery... I really can't tell if it is a 4003-specific thing, or if it is the same with a 4001...

    All the best,
  16. slowburnaz


    Mar 27, 2002
    Tucson, AZ
    It all depends on pickup placement. If the pickup is directly under a node of the harmonic, the string isn't actually vibrating at that exact point, so the pickup doesn't get to do it's magic of translating variations in a magnetic field into sound.
  17. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Whenever i play open A on the school upright w/a PU through my 200 no matter where i place the amp that note sustains forever and goes up the octave. It's weird to me thats all
  18. slowburnaz


    Mar 27, 2002
    Tucson, AZ
    BTW, does anyone know where all the harmonics are? I know of 3.1, 3.9, 5, 7, 9, 12, etc...
  19. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

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