Tone Chops

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Posted by Fred B. Stewart on December 24, 2002 at 12:17:06:

Hello again bassists,
Happy Festivus to all! Part of my research includes string fundamental and overtone properties. This guides the way to patterns and sequences that provides information to not only locate where these frequencies are, but where they are not too. To excite the positive fundamentals there are four primary locations along the string path. This is important in hearing the difference between their tonal timbre. The first is at 17", second at 25.5", third at 28.333", and fourth at 29.75". You'll notice that the rear coil of a P-Bass pickup is placed between the 3rd and 4th positively charged intervals. What's not apparent is that it is also in a negative location where non-musical overtones exist. That's how this pickup works. If a player wants to be an innovator it is possible to mark off harmony locations where the overtones are excited relative to the note being played. The key is to get a feel for how these location move in the passage being played. Yes it's subtle, these overtones don't have near the energy level the fundamental has, but with a light touch "a la Billy Gibbons" they can be powerful and add to your chops.

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