#1
Ok, so I was listening to Even flow by Pearl Jam, and people were saying the bass player was doing harmonic slides. However, I'm not quite sure of what a harmonic is. I've looked on the inernet, but haven't found anything helpful, so I was hoping you guys could help with harmonics and harmonic slides.

Thanks!!!
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#2
a harmonic is something like witchcraft. lightly touch any string over teh 12th fret WIRE and play it, then take your finger off, you'll notice it still plays. that's a harmonic, they happen on the gutiar at frets 5,7,12,17,19 and 24 not sure about bass but i'd imagine it's the same.
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#3
Quote by Dempsey68
a harmonic is something like witchcraft. lightly touch any string over teh 12th fret WIRE and play it, then take your finger off, you'll notice it still plays. that's a harmonic, they happen on the gutiar at frets 5,7,12,17,19 and 24 not sure about bass but i'd imagine it's the same.


Thanks!!
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#4
I have no clue what a harmonic slide is, but a harmonic is made by, instead of properly fretting, you lightly touch the string above the fret.

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#5
Just throwing it out there, but this song by Rush has a great example of sliding a harmonic right at the end. I've never been able to slide harmonics, but I think Geddy Lee's smooth slide on this one is probably largely down to the fact he's playing a fretless.
#6
Quote by Ziphoblat
Just throwing it out there, but this song by Rush has a great example of sliding a harmonic right at the end. I've never been able to slide harmonics, but I think Geddy Lee's smooth slide on this one is probably largely down to the fact he's playing a fretless.


It is, and if i'm not mistaken so is Even Flow. Im sure almost all the songs off 10 are.
#7
I know that if you play a harmonic but then push down on the fret and slide up it'll slide the harmonic also, don't know if that's what you're looking for though.
#8
Indeed, for decent harmonic slides you'll need a fretless. As has been mentioned before, the Pearl Jam bassist used a fretless on some songs on Ten. The harmonics aren't just limited to the 5th, 7th, 9th, (and so on) frets - you have far more scope with artificial harmonics and the like (fretting and playing harmonics) not to mention the harmonics just past the 3rd fret and behind the 4th, etc.
#9
Quote by Pew-Pew
Indeed, for decent harmonic slides you'll need a fretless. As has been mentioned before, the Pearl Jam bassist used a fretless on some songs on Ten. The harmonics aren't just limited to the 5th, 7th, 9th, (and so on) frets - you have far more scope with artificial harmonics and the like (fretting and playing harmonics) not to mention the harmonics just past the 3rd fret and behind the 4th, etc.


I've always been able to get really good harmonics out of my (fretted) Fender Jazz on the 4th fret. They sound pretty bad on any of the other basses I've played, but on the Jazz I can get them pretty good.
#10
I need to learn to do better arificial harmonics.

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#11
Quote by Ziphoblat
I've always been able to get really good harmonics out of my (fretted) Fender Jazz on the 4th fret. They sound pretty bad on any of the other basses I've played, but on the Jazz I can get them pretty good.


I wasn't saying you can't get those harmonics on a fretted bass - of course you can! That harmonic just behind the 4th fretwire is fine on all the basses I've ever tried. I was talking about the slides. You can't slide harmonics on a fretted bass very well without the note dying out quickly.
#12
Quote by Pew-Pew
I wasn't saying you can't get those harmonics on a fretted bass - of course you can! That harmonic just behind the 4th fretwire is fine on all the basses I've ever tried. I was talking about the slides. You can't slide harmonics on a fretted bass very well without the note dying out quickly.


Yeah, I'm aware of the slides.

And every bass I've ever played has had pretty flat sounding harmonics on the 4th fret. They're okay, but they sound a lot more dull than the 5th/7th/9th/12th etc. Where-as on my Jazz they're just as good as the usual frets. Maybe I've just had bad luck with other basses, I don't know.
#13
Quote by Ziphoblat
Yeah, I'm aware of the slides.

And every bass I've ever played has had pretty flat sounding harmonics on the 4th fret. They're okay, but they sound a lot more dull than the 5th/7th/9th/12th etc. Where-as on my Jazz they're just as good as the usual frets. Maybe I've just had bad luck with other basses, I don't know.
It depends a lot on your amp/EQ as well. With proper settings you can get a lot of harmonics between the second and fourth frets (many of which are demonstrated in Jaco's Portrait of Tracy) that sound clear.
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#14
As a basic overview of harmonics-

All notes are made up of harmonics.
Let's say you play the note C. You'll get the C note playing, but you also have infinite amount of higher notes as well. As they go up they lose volume though, and it is these harmonics that change the sound of instruments and make a bass sound like a bass... and a sax sound like a sax.

By playing an artificial harmonic you are just muting the first (fundamental) harmonic, while keeping in the rest.

Check out Portrait of Tracy for the best example of harmonics (and the best example of playing bass).
#15
Thank you everyone for all the help!!! Much appreciated!!
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#16
Quote by Dempsey68
a harmonic is something like witchcraft. lightly touch any string over teh 12th fret WIRE and play it, then take your finger off, you'll notice it still plays. that's a harmonic, they happen on the gutiar at frets 5,7,12,17,19 and 24 not sure about bass but i'd imagine it's the same.


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#17
They actually happen at literally every point of the string, as there is infinite different harmonics, but the ones mentioned are the most prominent.

You shouldn't think of it in terms of frets though, but rather are how the string is divided up.
The 12th fret is the easiest harmonic to get and it is exactly half way along the neck.
The fifth fret is a quarter of the way along, it's the second easiest to get... and so on and so forth.