#1
Hi people,

I got myself a bass many months ago with the intention of learning, however I got sidetracked after my best mate wrangled me into drumming for his band. Now I've settled into the band I'm back at the bass, starting from scratch.

Anyway, I was practising tonight and I noticed that when I play my open A string I am hearing a harmonic tone as well as the normal note. There is nothing interfering with the string as far as I can see and I'm not touching the string or the neck with my hand.

I experimented a bit it seems that it is the same harmonic frequency/tone as is produced at the 5th fret because when I touch the string over the 5th fret the harmonic tone continues to ring out while the natural note stops.

Is this a common thing and can it be stopped?

Thanks for your time
#2
could it be that the string is 'fret buzzing' (for want of a better description) at the 5th fret causing the harmonic? therefore when you use the harmonic on the 5th it would sound the same as the other harmonic?
#3
Thanks for that,

That was one of the first things I checked and the string doesn't appear to touch the fret or buzz at all. In fact the string doesn't appear to be interfered with at all. It's a mystery =) a very irritating mystery.

I'll have to keep messing round and see if anything fixes it, while I wait to see if anyone else has any idea's what might be causing it.
#4
Well, the string does ring out in a wash of all of the natural harmonics found on that string, but the likelihood that you're picking one out that specifically is pretty low. Any harmonic you put your finger on (i.e. 12th, 7th, 5th, 4.9, 4.3 etc.) will ring out past the note you play on your open string because you're cutting off all other frequencies than the harmonic node you're playing. I honestly can't help you much other than that, because I'm as baffled as you are. Perhaps you're just hearing it and it's not really there?
#5
That sometimes happen to me, but it's when I play the harmonic and the play the open string. If you have any musician buddies, ask them if they here a harmonic when you play. If not, it's just you. If so, it could be a possibility of where your plucking, perhaps? The 5th fret harmonic is the same as where the 24th fret harmonic would be, so maybe you're there? I have no idea, otherwise.
#7
Did you play guitar or another non-percussion instrument before picking up bass?
If you're already an active musician and just new to bass, you might just have a good ear for the complexity of the timbre. The harmonic overtones are a lot more pronounced in a bass than in a guitar and in a lot of other instruments.

I think we've likely all heard this happen on pianos before. Sometimes, due to whatever acoustic properties of a given piano, certain notes have really strong harmonic response. that gets further accentuated if for whatever acoustic reason the other harmonic frequencies are dampened.
#9
Quote by dullsilver_mike
Did you play guitar or another non-percussion instrument before picking up bass?
If you're already an active musician and just new to bass, you might just have a good ear for the complexity of the timbre. The harmonic overtones are a lot more pronounced in a bass than in a guitar and in a lot of other instruments.

I think we've likely all heard this happen on pianos before. Sometimes, due to whatever acoustic properties of a given piano, certain notes have really strong harmonic response. that gets further accentuated if for whatever acoustic reason the other harmonic frequencies are dampened.



I've only really dabbled in guitar and keyboard, but having spent my entire life around music and musicians so perhaps your right and I'm hearing something that's not apparent to others.

I think I might take my bass along to our next rehearsal and get my bands bassist (and the other and members) to have a listen to see if its really there or I'm just losing my freakin mind =)

Thanks for everyones imput.
#10
It could be where you're plucking the string. I noticed once that when I played in a certain spot, harmonics would naturally come out more. Easily fixed by changing where I plucked. One thing, though, was the harmonic that you heard in a different octave than the one at the fifth fret?
#11
EDIT: Halakar you bastard!!!

how many frets does your bass have, and where do you put your plucking finger when you play?
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Last edited by the humanity at Nov 22, 2009,
#15
Quote by Halakar
Does plucking somewhere else help?


I'll definately test this out when I get home.
#16
Yeah, if it works, it'll probably be the easiest/cheapest fix you'll ever do in your life. If not, well, good luck and happy bassing, sir.
#17
Well,

I took my bass to rehearsal last night to have my band have a listen. I wasn’t going crazy everyone heard it =)

My bands bassists tells me that because the strings have been on the bass for so long (I bought it 12 months ago and only got around to start learning now after getting caught up drumming in the band) that the string had been magnetised by the pick up and when ever I plucked it, it was essentially doing an automatic semi-pinch harmonic. So I’ve bought new strings today, hopefully that fixes the problem =)

On a related note, the strings I bought, Ernie Ball Regular Slinky, do not have the tapered red material wrapped bit at the end of the string like my current strings do. Is this going to be a problem?
#18
Quote by Jaksar
Well,

I took my bass to rehearsal last night to have my band have a listen. I wasn’t going crazy everyone heard it =)

My bands bassists tells me that because the strings have been on the bass for so long (I bought it 12 months ago and only got around to start learning now after getting caught up drumming in the band) that the string had been magnetised by the pick up and when ever I plucked it, it was essentially doing an automatic semi-pinch harmonic. So I’ve bought new strings today, hopefully that fixes the problem =)

On a related note, the strings I bought, Ernie Ball Regular Slinky, do not have the tapered red material wrapped bit at the end of the string like my current strings do. Is this going to be a problem?


Magnetized?!?!?! There are some people who keep there strings on for several years at a time. To me this explanation seems a little out there - not saying it might be true - but it sounds out there.


And the strings not having the wrapping should be no problem.
Last edited by Captain Insano at Dec 3, 2009,
#20
Quote by Micehorns
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1227127

I made this thread a few weeks ago, does it sound anything like my videos?


No, nothing like that.

In fact I'd say it's the exact opposite. While your video's show a buzzing noise, what I'm getting is the 'clear bell like' harmonic noise coupled with the regular string noise.
#21
Well, strings changed and the chime is gone, guess it was something to do with the strings.

Thanks everyone for your input. Crisis Averted! =)