weather report - birdland

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Groove_Master, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. Groove_Master

    Groove_Master Guest

    Feb 29, 2004
    :help: some1 plz explain me how can i play that song?
    i saw that jaco puts his playing hand's thumb on the strings an plays but i couldnt figure it out completely.. whats he doing with his left hand? playing harmonic? and i cant find the right place for my thumb i guess.. cuz i can get no sound :meh:

    plz explain
  2. supermonkey


    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    The technique is known as artificial or "pinch" harmonics, and as executed by Jaco has something in common w/ a guitar technique as used by whatshisface from ZZTop, Randy Rhoads, E. Van Halen among many others.
    If you're familiar with the accoustical idea behind natural harmonics, the theory behind this maneuver should become apparent.

    With your left hand, you're just fretting the notes of the melody as normal. It's all in the right-hand technique:

    1) Lightly place the fleshy part of the thumb on the string a short distance in front of (read: towards the nut) the picking fingers. Try this on the G-string, towards the 12th-14th fret, where that melody is played. Note: You may need to move your picking hand out of ordinary position, up onto the neck or down towards the bridge to get audible harmonics.

    2) The trick is keeping the thumb positioned correctly while picking hard enough to get the note out. If you're doing it right, you should get a harmonic note of some sort, relative to the note you are fretting w/ the left-hand. If not, you're muting the string too much w/ your thumb; lighten up, Francis.

    3) Keep at it until you can get some sort of harmonic content. Once you can hear the distinctive call of the artifical harmonic in its natural habitat, you can use your Super-Hearing to find the sweet spot where your thumb illicits the actual octave harmonic note, which is what Jaco's doing.

    4) Move your entire picking hand somewhat in sync w/ your fretting hand, adjusting your thumb placement appropriately to maintain the octave harmonic with the notes in the melody. The accent trickery and weirder sounding notes he gets involve subtly moving the thumb to evoke more complex harmonic content.

    Voila. Pinch harmonics a la Jaco.
    That's a groovy technique -- hard to hear sometimes in a busy band setting, but pretty cool to have in the bag o' tricks.
    And a great chart to learn -- his part so defines that song, lots' of good Jaco style to be picked up there. We played this in jazz band in high school, and when I brought in my fretless and played the Jaco part, our band director nearly had a stroke....
  3. Groove_Master

    Groove_Master Guest

    Feb 29, 2004
    thx man i got it.. i'll keep studying on that. if i have problems about later i'll ask agen :)
  4. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    One thing left out by supermonkey:

    When doing the double octave false harmonic (that's the term we use here for pinch harmonic) keep your left hand in the same place and do the same thing with it. Instead of doing the right hand thing 12 frets in front of the fret that your left hand is fretting, move it 24 frets ahead.

    Edit: Remember, as you move farther and farther down the neck, the interval between one false harmonic and another decreases like the distances between frets.

    If your finger is on fret 12, you should do a single-octave false harmonic on fret 24 or where the 24th fret would be if your bass had 24 frets. For a double-octave false harmonic, you should do the pinch where the 36th fret would be if your bass had 36 frets. Ordinarily, this is a little in front of the bridge pickup.