The Tone is in your Fingers Man

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Tez, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    Ok Now that I have your attention and your probably irritated By the Title.
    Im not going to criticise anyones style or tecnique( wish there was a spell checker in this program)
    I Just want to discuss how tone can be manipulated.
    In order for a string to produce sound it must vibrate , so the energy of the finger is transfered to the string how much energy that is put into the string will effect the Resultant Tone, A light pluck will mostly excite the Fundemental Harmonic (or first partial)and possibily the second Harmonic ie the octave . this will produce a clean sound very suited to blending with other sounds ie piano chords, guitar chords.
    this is because the string is vibrating from fret to bridge or stopped finger to bridge. the second harmonic will be excited if there is enough energy to make the string divide into a fig 8 pattern ( This can be heavily influenced by the Guage, Brand and type of string ).and where on the neck you are playing. as you increase the energy transfer to the string ie pluck or pick harder the harmonics produced by the string increase,which have an immediate effect on the Tone ( and Volume) this will increase satifactorly untill INHARMONICTY starts to creep in ( what the F is that you ask) whilst a string can vibrate into a harmonic lenght governed by the harmonic nodes that the string can create ( Dont forget "String Variables Factor" ,guage ,Brand etc) and dont try to think that this is totaly undisirable coz that will make the string take on a new characteristic you might want, ie Growl . ( hell this is a big subject I think I need to break it down . because the way you play the string and which piont you pluck all have influence on the outcome or "Resultant Tone" as I call it I will close this post and r :hyper: epost later on these factors that influence what you hear come out of your Bass Regards tez
  2. That read about as clearly as the liner notes to Cecil Taylor's Unit Structures.
  3. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    sorry should I repost it broken down a bit more ( unfortunatly tone generation is Complex) Tez :meh:
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    So, basically you're saying that plucking harder gives you a cooler sound? :confused:

    No, I disagree. Cf. Gary Willis
  5. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    No I am not say that! im just discussing the principles that change Tone. it up to you to dicide what Tone you Like. :confused:
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Fundamental and first partial are an octave apart, not the same note.

    "inharmonicity" is not a word.

    all the harmonics of a string ring anytime the string vibrates. (Meaning the string is vibrating along its fundamental, and the entire overtone series simultaneously - that's what give you the timbre)

    nice idea, your research is suspect.
  7. zilla04


    Feb 11, 2000
    I get what it is you're saying.... You just went aboot it in an odd way. Let me try to explain something else. I'm not quite sure what you're getting at with the light pluck & fundemental harmonics and what not.... But I know that where you pluck has A LOT to do with tone.

    Try this Bass Players........ :rolleyes:

    Pluck/Pick (Whatever) an open A wherever you normally pluck at.

    Ok.... now pluck the same A from the 12th fret.

    Do you hear the difference? :)

    Try playing harmonics where you normally pluck.

    Now play them way down by the bridge.

    Sound better or perhaps "cleaner"?

    Tez, please explain what you're getting at.... I'm interested.

  8. pedroferreira


    Feb 10, 2003
    All the harmonics ring but depending on the way you pluck a string (Hard/soft/closer to the bridge/closer to the neck) you alter the volume of each partial (harmonic), thus altering the timbre.
  9. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    Refering to the fundimental vibration as the firt pastial occurs quite often and can be confusing (Ref Tuning Musical Instruments) when I find the book again I will post the author and publisher, to keep it simple and concistant I will refer to the full lenght vibration as the fundimental and the fist octave as the first partial Inharmonicity is a word it is used in the research of Tone generation with regards to the string vibration , by most Piano designers or manufacturers , and it it a measurable entity( do a search on PTTA web site)or go here you may have to copy and paste this link)if not working try or do a search using the word Inharmonicity.The inharmonicity Factor can be the greatest in the Bass Stings which do somewhat resemble wound electric Bass strings and no, all the partials do not vibrate unless there has been enough energy imparted to the string to set them in motion thats why a soft note has little attack ( less overtones) so in summary
    please do your own research on Inharmonicity before you jump on me Kind Regards Tez :p
  10. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    Futher to your reference that the first partial is the octave see File attachments ( Hope they uploaded ok the source of this isthe Piano - its Acoustics by W V Mc Ferrin if not I can e mail them
    Hope this clarifiys things for you I dont mean to be offencive but dont jump on me for having suspect research Regards Tez(Terry) :meh:
  11. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    How do I get the attachments to show there is 2 if you scan the thumnail bar the second one will open but not the first (Help!) Regards Tez
  12. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    Zilla04 Iwill try to continue what I was originaly Talking about which is basicaly Tone generation and getting the most out of your bass but at the moment my credibilty is under review and once that is sorted out I will continue Thanks for your Interest Terry
  13. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    There must be some of that hard-hitting weed making it down to Aussieland :D
  14. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I understand what you are saying Tez, believe it or not!

    To put it order for a string to develop it's full sound...the fundamental, harmonics, etc. the string must be plucked to a certain degree, which sets in motion all of the sound waves associated with that string.

    If plucked lightly, the string does not vibrate enough to put those sounds in motion. If plucked harder, not only is the note louder, but the string vibrates more fully and the total sound is put in motion.

    Try it on a piano once. Touch a key so that it is just enough to develop a quiet note. Not only is the volume affected but the piano string will not vibrate sufficiently to develop the fundamental as well as the associated harmonics, etc.

    But hit a piano key with authority and you can hear the difference (beyond volume). Of course, how lightly or heavily you pluck a bass string has more of an effect because the heavier the string the more this effect comes into play.
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999

    That's awesome, Pete!
    Keep up the ggod work...
  16. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    . <---- This is a period. It is your friend.
  17. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    First of all, as Pacman said, any note produced will vibrate the fundamental and ALL harmonic overtones, of which there are an infinite number. Tone is dependent on timbre, which is a function of these overtones. If you don't believe me, plug your bass into a scope, Fourier analyze the waveform and see what comes out.

    Since the fundamental is of a lower frequency than its harmonic overtones, it will thus require MORE energy to produce it, not less!

    By "fig 8" you are referring to harmonic nodes. These are always present in a standing wave system; how much energy is in the system is irrelevant as long as it is not zero.

    Different string brands produce different tones because of the variation in mass, density and tension. I'm not exactly sure how this affects tone, but it has nothing to do with how many harmonic nodes are on the string and where they are produced (this is a function of string length).

    I do really like this topic... but your physics is a bit off...
  18. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    They are not my Phycics they come from w v McFerrin or at least a Book written By Him, refering to harmonics produced by a vibrating srting .
    Sundoque ! futher to what you replied to find a sound you want you have to now look at where on the string lengh you play it and just how you pluck, even to change the angle of the finger as you play the note will effect the Tone, It can take a long time to find the right string to use on a particular Bass that eventually cracks the sound you are looking for .I find if you favour flats or Tape Wound you will spend a lot more money because they are so inconsistant in thier manufacture ( whith the exception of Pyrimid) that many new sets you will try can be unbalanced tonaly .
    Since Tone prodution is so complex no one can tell you what strings will give the right sound for you on your Bass because they way in which you play hass a major influence over the final sound , you have to do the hard yards for yourself, I been experimenting in this area for 15 years and im getting closer the sound I seek. an Interesting experiment is to give someone your Bass to play On your sytem with your settings and have a lisen you will be amazed at the difference ( Good or Bad ) that a different Tecnique will make to the sound , provided the bass tone is not wound up making the sound Muddy then every one will sound muddy Tez
  19. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I agree.

    I have been altering my fingering style and my equipment (strings, etc.) for over twenty years in search of MY perfect sound.

    After all of this time, it is a combination of my tapewounds, playing almost over the neck (most times, directly over it) and alternating between a light and heavy touch in my playing...which is not to be confused with just trying to alter my volume. In addition, how I pluck the strings is just as important as how hard or soft I pluck them.

    All other things being equal, tone really is in your hands. I can get almost (but not quite) the same tone I've found...on nearly all basses and all amps/cabs. I've seemed to have found my groove. Obviously I don't to have to experiment with it to find it on my own setup...but on other gear I can eventually find the right way to get MY sound just by the way I play.

    Granted, different amps and cabs give distinctly different sounds...but the ideal is to find the right equipment to work with in the first place, to make it easier to find that sound. Then there is the issue of volume and the rooms we play in. That is more a function of the equipment than in how you play.

    More than any other thing, how one plays affects the sound more than any other thing, including ALL equipment. I like your point about putting two different players on the same gear with the same settings, will still result in two completely different sounds.
  20. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    To Pacman still think Inharmonicity is not a word??