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Electric Bass Lesson: Creating Harmonic Chords


One of the interesting and unique qualities of stringed instruments is that their construction allows players to quickly access a wide range of harmonic tones with relative ease. The easy access to harmonics allows players of nearly all stringed instruments to implement these unique sonic textures into their playing in limitless creative and boundary-pushing ways.


Many of you may be wondering, “what are harmonics?” When you play a note on any instrument, it is comprised of a vast array of pitches. The pitch that one generally hears and associates most with each note is referred to as the note’s “fundamental pitch.” However, every note has a series of harmonic overtones (or higher pitches) that accompany and are derived from the note’s fundamental pitch. On stringed instruments, players can isolate those overtones by lightly plucking specific locations on each string that divides the string into even intervals. We refer to these isolated overtones as harmonics.


In this online bass guitar lesson, world-renowned powerhouse of the low-end and legendary bassist for Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and more, Stu Hamm teaches how to find and isolate harmonics on the electric bass guitar and use them in unique ways to create various chords and harmonies when combined with fretted notes on the instrument.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play rock bass from a master musician like Stu Hamm? Try some free online bass guitar lessons now!


“Harmonics can be used in so many different ways, especially when used in conjunction with fretted notes,” Stu explains. “When combined with fretted notes, harmonics can create wonderfully beautiful, yet richly complex-sounding chords.”


Learning to play harmonics comfortably and consistently takes patience. To get a harmonic to sound properly with a beautiful, bell-like tone requires immensely accurate finger position and precision. Therefore, as you’re learning this technique and beginning to incorporate it into your playing, remember to cut yourself some slack. Learning to play harmonics is generally frustrating for everyone at first, but it quickly becomes second nature.


“Learning to create and play these harmonic chords is just the entry point into some amazing sonic capabilities on the bass,” explains Stu. “Once we get these more basic chords under our fingers and get comfortable with this technique, we’ll start exploring other methods like artificial and sliding harmonics.”


To learn more about harmonics, how to implement them into your playing, and how you can use them to create chords on the bass, dive into this online bass guitar lesson from Stu Hamm:


Creating Harmonic Chords with Stu Hamm:




Have you always wanted to learn how to play bass guitar? Through our comprehensive bass guitar lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Stu Hamm, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Stu’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner bass guitar to advanced performance techniques, improvisation methods, two-hand tapping, slapping, sliding harmonics, and beyond. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as bassists and musicians.


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



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