Artificial Harmonics

(This lesson assumes that you can already play Harmonics on your bass. If not, you should read that page first before continuing on this one).

Artificial Harmonics are the art of manually dividing and creating nodes on the bass with fretted notes in order to create new nodes and places to play Harmonics.

These are very similar to typical harmonics in that you divide the string with one finger and pluck with the other. However, with artificial harmonics, you actually change the area where the Harmonics typically occur by playing them along with fretted notes.

I know this all sounds crazy and confusing, but bear with me :)

Ok. You know with a normal, everyday harmonic, how you play the harmonic with an open string? Well, this is very similar, except that you change the length of the string with a fretted note, thus changing the places where the harmonics naturally occur.

In order to play one, you fret a note on any string with your fretting hand as you would if you were playing a normal note. This both cuts off the string at a point and shortens the overall length of the string, thus creating different areas where the harmonics ring.

Then, you divide the string for the harmonic with the same hand that you pluck with. You do this by playing a note with either your index finger, using your thumb to divide the string where the harmonic would be, or using your middle finger to pluck the string, using your index finger to cut off the string where the harmonic would be.

Because you can change the notes more readily, it takes a bit more practice to get accurate and accomplished with this technique.

A great way to practice this is to fret a note with like you would play it normally and then try to play an artificial harmonic where the note would be, an octave higher.

Since this technique is confusing on paper, I've put together a bit more of an explanation in a video. I would suggest watching the video to get and idea of what I'm talking about since it will all make much more sense that way :)

Return to the Various Techniques page from the Artificial Harmonics page

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