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Learn Bass Guitar Harmonics

Harmonics Give Bass Players 'Hidden' 

Simply put, harmonics are the hidden notes on your bass' fretboard. Another term for harmonic is "overtone." So what is an overtone?

Wikipedia defines a musical overtone as "any frequency higher than the fundamental frequency of a sound. The fundamental and the overtones together are called partials. Harmonics are partials whose frequencies are integer multiples of the fundamental (including the fundamental which is 1 times itself)."

So what does this mean to a bass player? It means that if you can learn to press the frets with a certain finesse, at just the right spot along the string, you'll hear a gentle ringing sound above the actual note you are playing! It's not easy to do, and you're going to have to practice, but if you can master the art of creating harmonics on your bass, it's going to open up a whole new world of tonal possibilities and make your music much more aurally diverse.

To create harmonics, you have to know the best places to hear them. Though they occur all over the strings, the best, clearest places to start with are on the 5th, 7th, 9th, and 12th frets (especially the 12th). Instead of pressing down firmly to close the fret completely, you just touch the string lightly, right overtop the fret, and then pluck with your other hand. The soft, almost bell-like chime of the harmonic should be heard. If you can't hear it very well, try lifting your fretting finger off the string immediately after plucking.

You can also improve the sound of your harmonics by changing the place at which you actually pluck the string. You're going to be amazed at the range of new sounds that are available to the bass player - those "hidden" notes!

You can even use harmonics to tune your bass!

Watch bass teacher Roy Vogt - the instructor behind the Teach Me Bass Guitar program - show you the fundamentals of learning to find and play harmonics on your bass. Wow!


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