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Natural Harmonics


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I just spent the better part of 2 1/2 hours working on nothing but harmonics on one of my basses. I don't think I've ever really sat down and spent that much time on harmonics alone and I'm extremely glad I did. I *finally* wrote out a diagram of where all the natural harmonics are on the first 12 frets so I could stare at their relationships to one another. Why didn't I do this before??? Very interesting to look at how everything lines up and where the patterns repeat; and I mean cross strings, not the obvious every time you divide the string in half relationship.

 

I highly suggest doing this. Even if it's just to look at it and say, "wow, neat" and then never think about it again. It's definately given me some idears to work into my bag o' tricks.

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Originally posted by Bartolini:

like to share it? :D

Sitting down with a tuner and finding all the notes is half the fun. :thu:

 

Although, here is a handy "where to look fer them notes" guide:

 

12th fret

9th fret

7th fret

6th fret

5th fret

4th fret - there are two between 4th and 3rd

3rd fret - there are three between 3rd and 2nd

 

I only managed to accurately find one of the harmonics between the 2nd and 1st fret reliably; and actually get it to ring out and not sound like yuck. It's another full step higher than the last harmonic between the 3rd and 2nd fret.

 

The 9th fret and the first harmonic set on the 4th fret are the same notes, so are the 6th fret and the first set on the 3rd fret.

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i saw vic wooten play amazing grace in all harmonics at a clinic a few years back. i went directly home and learned how to do that.

 

when i play guitar, i like to use natural harmonics a lot. of course they translate directly bass. and even though i'm not into the 80s guitar olympics, i've become a slut for pinch harmonics, too. they're ridiculously fun to play. but that's beside the point.

 

robb.

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Years ago, maybe '85 (I'm showing my age here), Guitar Player ran an amazing piece on natural harmonics. Perhaps as part of a Patrick O'Hearn interview.

 

Memory is sketchy but that was the era. Charts, notation and discussions of the tuning issues. Really good meaty stuff.

 

If the archives go back that far it's worth a gawk. Lord knows my issue is long gone.

 

D.

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Natural Harmonics are based on fractions of the string length. If you know the overtone series you can figure out what the harmonics are on any string tuned to any pitch.

 

1/2 string Octave (12th fret)

1/3 string Fifth (7th and 19th frets)(1/3 and 2/3)

1/4 string Octave (5th and 24th frets)(1/4 and 3/4)

1/5 string Third (slightly flat) (4th, 9th, 16th, and one more past the end of the fingerboard)(1/5, 2/5, 3/5, and 4/5)

1/6 string Fifth (between 3rd and 4th fret, past the end)(1/6 and 5/6)

1/7 string Flatted Seventh (pretty flat) (six locations)(1/7,2/7,3/7,4/7,5/7,6/7)

1/8 string Octave (4 locations)(1/8,3/8,5/8,7/8)

1/9 string Second (9 locations)

1/10 string Third (4 locations)

1/11 string Sharped Fourth (out of tune)(10 locations)

1/12 string Fifth (4 locations)

1/13 string Sixth (very flat) (12 locations)

1/14 string Sixth (very sharp) (6 locations)

1/15 string Seventh (14 locations)

1/16 string Octave (8 locations)

 

Have fun!

 

Write your own damn chart! :evil:

 

;) Actually you'll learn more that way. When you are looking for the harmonics past the end of the fingerboard you 'll probably use your pickup locations as a rough guide--and that's not the same on all basses.

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Artificial harmonics are sweet to use as well, especially if you get good at moving in and out of them fludily with scales (ie: Play a scale all the way to the top of the fingerboard, then switch to artificial harmonics to keep going up, then when you get to the top of the fingerboard again, switch to the second octave. See how far you can take it...) On slow ballads it's a fun way to expand your range for solos.

 

You've got to keep that thumb moving to keep 'em clean, though. I don't need no stinkin' 6 string! :D

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Artificial harmonics are the hardest thing to master, ever! I think you have to be a virtuoso, a prodigy or a genius to get them right.

 

I've tried and tried for years and still can't get it right. It seems like it requires really extraordinary two handed coordination to fret with the left hand while picking the harmonic with the right hand.

 

Natural harmonics are so much easier when you only need the left hand.

 

;)

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; one lick and you suck forever.
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You can certainly do it, it just requires practice.

 

Start with major scales starting on C through the 12 keys. Do it sloooow. It's just a matter of subdivision, and you can usually miss a little bit with your right thumb and still get the 8va harmonic to come out.

 

It's a lot of work for a technique you might pull out once on every 20th gig or so...but it's a workout.

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Playing artificial harmonics is just a technique, it requires some practice. You need the ability to move one finger on your right hand (the plucking finger) and to leave one finger perfectly still (the finger which touches the node).

 

I touch the node with my right thumb and pluck with my first finger.

 

You could also try touching the node with your first finger and plucking with your thumb, most classical guitarists do it this way.

 

The two hand coordination is the easy part...you just keep your two hands twelve frets apart at all times. The higher you go on the neck the less you have to move your hands.

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Originally posted by jeremyc:

Playing artificial harmonics is just a technique, it requires some practice. You need the ability to move one finger on your right hand (the plucking finger) and to leave one finger perfectly still (the finger which touches the node).

 

I touch the node with my right thumb and pluck with my first finger.

 

You could also try touching the node with your first finger and plucking with your thumb, most classical guitarists do it this way.

 

The two hand coordination is the easy part...you just keep your two hands twelve frets apart at all times. The higher you go on the neck the less you have to move your hands.

The way I started using Artificial Harmonics was tapping 7 frets apart. ending to a song I was(kinda still am) learning
"Cliff Burton (the "Major rager of the 4-string mother f***er", from Metallica)" Direct quote from Wikipedia (censored out of respect for the forum)
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The way I started using Artificial Harmonics was tapping 7 frets apart. ending to a song I was(kinda still am) learning
Eddie Van Halen does it that way, but he uses lots of overdrive on his amp, which helps bring out the note with tapping. It works on the bass and is a nice effect though. Keep it in your bag.

 

The thumb+index finger technique works better with the clean sound and heavy strings of the electric bass for playing a full-sounding note, though.

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A Fender Rhodes is an electric piano.

 

It's what Chick Corea and almost everybody else used in the 70's and has a very distinctive chimy sort of tone.

 

It has hammers like a regular piano which hit little metal tuning fork thingies.

 

Nearly every keyboard on the market these days has a patch which replicates the sound of the Fender Rhodes.

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The two hand coordination is the easy part...you just keep your two hands twelve frets apart at all times. The higher you go on the neck the less you have to move your hands.
Yea, that's THE hardest part for some reason. I just can't get the coordination happening to make it work.

 

I've got to keep an eye on either the left hand or the right hand but I can't watch both at the same time, so it always messes up.

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; one lick and you suck forever.
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i will try to get a link of an amazing grace recording i have up on a message sometime (obviously all n.h.)

 

i believe it was jaco, but i have no proof, just the tags i have with it on the burnt cd my fellow bassist lent me of bass crap (also, the same "jaco" file is on kazaa, but only 2-5 users have it, so it is hard to find)

 

peaceOUT

.~.
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The Amazing Grace you have could be Victor Wooten. He's been playing it in all his live shows lately and it's on one the Bass Day '98 cd that he played on.

 

And then again it could be Jaco. I just found tab for Jaco's version here.

 

Marcus Miller plays the song, too, but not in harmonics.

 

I learned it from the Joan Baez version. :D

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I do artificial harmonics with thumb and finger one.

 

By the way, they work the same way as regular harmonics, with the fractional thing.

 

So you can place your thumb at half the remaining string length, or a third, fourth and etc.

 

That's how Jaco gets the different pitches on "Birdland;" he chooses a different thumb placement.

 

By the way, instead of thinking "12 frets up" you should think "half the string." Then, practice a whole step, like Bb-C on the D string, grabbing the harmonic for each by moving your hand 'til it sounds right. You'll get it pretty easily.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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That's how Jaco gets the different pitches on "Birdland;" he chooses a different thumb placement.
Like I said, you gotta be some kind of virtuoso/prodigy/genius to be able to pull it off!

 

As far as the left/right hand thing goes, sometimes I'm about as coordinated as a one handed drunk on a pogo stick. Growing up, I know I should've been a lefty because I had a natural tendency for it. But you know how it is, being forced by well meaning parents and school teachers into abandoning the left handed world in favor of the right handed world.

 

My coordination hasn't been good since. Now I'm too stuck and set in my ways to go back and start all over again from scratch, learning the lefty way, (which would probably have worked better for me if I could've stuck with it).

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; one lick and you suck forever.
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just a newbie-ish question about sliding harmonics. I've seen people who can slide between various harmonics, i've tried and i just can't do it. (I'm using a musicman stingray 4 by the way)
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Keep trying. It's much easier on a fretless than a fretted, though.

 

Once you learn how to do sliding harmonics, avoid using the technique for the sake of impressing people...most of the time you'll just sound like a slide whistle or Curly taking a pratfall.

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