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  1. #1

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    Tal Farlow gets an amazing variety of sounds from his guitar in this great track, by changing picking style and picking position. But does anyone know how he gets that lovely, percussive sound that begins at 0:16 and then again at 0:44? It sounds like he's picking close to the bridge, but it also sounds like he damps the strings somehow, and there is also a hint of string harmonics in there. Does he change pickups too? I've tried to emulate this sound, but can't even come close.

    Any ideas?

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  3. #2

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    Sounds like false harmonics.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Sounds like false harmonics.
    I agree, but did jazz guitarists of the fifties really use that technique?

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor
    I agree, but did jazz guitarists of the fifties really use that technique?
    pretty much only Tal to my knowledge back then, and Lenny Breau after that, though now a lot of people use false harmonics

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor
    I agree, but did jazz guitarists of the fifties really use that technique?
    Tal Farlow definitely did on that recording, he was famous for it. (Pretty sure he used to switch to the bridge pickup when doing it, I think I saw him doing this on the one occasion that I saw him).

    Django Reinhardt was doing it in 1940 (at 1:20 here):


  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Tal Farlow definitely did, he was famous for it. (Pretty sure he used to switch to the bridge pickup when doing it, I think I saw him doing this the on one occasion that I saw him).

    Django Reinhardt was doing it in 1940 (at 1:20 here):
    Amazing! I had no idea. They were both way ahead of their time, obviously. Thank you for clearing this up!

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    pretty much only Tal to my knowledge back then, and Lenny Breau after that, though now a lot of people use false harmonics
    I had no idea anyone did it this early. I will have to practice this difficult technique ... I have only used it occasionally, and never in a jazz context.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor


    Tal Farlow gets an amazing variety of sounds from his guitar in this great track, by changing picking style and picking position. But does anyone know how he gets that lovely, percussive sound that begins at 0:16 and then again at 0:44? It sounds like he's picking close to the bridge, but it also sounds like he damps the strings somehow, and there is also a hint of string harmonics in there. Does he change pickups too? I've tried to emulate this sound, but can't even come close.

    Any ideas?


    Practice makes perfect, so they say.

  10. #9

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    Tal astounded his contemporaries by playing long, creative, complex solo lines in artificial harmonics. He was a master of this technique. I saw him live in the early 80s and he played at least four gorgeous, creative choruses on Body and Soul, all in harmonics, to a transfixed audience.

    While TAL known for his single note harmonics, Lenny Breau was more know for playing fingerstyle harmonic cascades using chord forms, often alternating harmonic notes with non-harmonic notes creating a kind of harmonic waterfall sound.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV
    Tal astounded his contemporaries by playing long, creative, complex solo lines in artificial harmonics. He was a master of this technique. I saw him live in the early 80s and he played at least four gorgeous, creative choruses on Body and Soul, all in harmonics, to a transfixed audience.
    How I wish I had seen him live ... I'm discovering Tal Farlow only now (I've rather recently become deeply interested in jazz), and I'm extremely impressed by his playing and his sound. Couldn't sleep last night, so I got up and practiced artificial harmonics for a couple of hours ...

    Thank you all for enlightening me on this great musician!

  12. #11

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    Having studiedwith/known Tal I can give you how I wad taught to do the harmonics by Tal.
    Happy Thanksgiving)))
    That harmonic solo on Isnt It IMHO is a great example not only of Tall’s harmonics playing but also his care in ‘composing’ a solo with clear references to the melody. Don’t forget he rarely if ever wrote those solos out! (He had a few ball-breaking chord melody charts for students.) I did once here but cant find the thread.

    First you need to know Tal was a visual artist before a musician. Literally he was doing commercial art prior to his playing. But… he extended that thought process of visual thinking to the guitar. Describing what most guitarists call positions, Tal called them ‘pictures’. For example at a particular fret he envisioned all the chord/scale possibilities in a four-fret ‘picture’. Got that? It’s important! (I really should write all that up once I feel up to it.)

    Standard Tal procedure would be flip the switch to the bridge pickup, shift his plain ol Fender Heavy from thumb/index to thumb /middle and extend the index out. I’ll show a photo later. (As Ive stated here many times… Gibson did not listen to Tal on our beloved TF model: Sticking the switch where he couldn’t get to it!!! It was a big reason why he stuck with prototype #2, with its switch in the bout.)

    Of course you will be using that index finger to create the “false” harmonic. Picking while placing your index finger on the string. But where on the string?

    Tal measured out a ‘picture’ of the fingerboard overlaying the neck pickup corresponding to the fingerboard beginning at the twelfth fret. With practice its not that hard. If you absolutely know where the harmonic for the 12 fret falls in terms of your pickup then as you need to play notes it becomes no different than playing in the actual 12 position. You will be ‘playing’ in 12th position only really picking in the 12th pickup position. Or picture .

    Now he would play a line moving the right hand while looking at the ‘real’ twelfth fret. See? You are linking in your mind/ears the real 12 and the virtual 12. Even after all those years of playing he had his eyes focused on the pickup ‘fingerboard’ while doing this.

    I will come back and post some pics that might help. I tried to post a video once… nope… how do i do that?

    Hey once again Happy Thanksgiving. Aint this a great group to hide away from the world with?

    jk

  13. #12

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    Great post, jk! That’s how I do them, but rarely do, and certainly not as well as Tal.

    You really must tell us more about your time with the big man!

  14. #13

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    Rob, I really should stop saying I should and just do it. With the dictation ability on the iPad, well, there’s no excuse, is there.
    Or a jg.be Zoom meeting lol.

  15. #14

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    Long as i can put up someone else's pic lol

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    Having studiedwith/known Tal I can give you how I wad taught to do the harmonics by Tal.
    Happy Thanksgiving)))
    That harmonic solo on Isnt It IMHO is a great example not only of Tall’s harmonics playing but also his care in ‘composing’ a solo with clear references to the melody. Don’t forget he rarely if ever wrote those solos out! (He had a few ball-breaking chord melody charts for students.) I did once here but cant find the thread.

    First you need to know Tal was a visual artist before a musician. Literally he was doing commercial art prior to his playing. But… he extended that thought process of visual thinking to the guitar. Describing what most guitarists call positions, Tal called them ‘pictures’. For example at a particular fret he envisioned all the chord/scale possibilities in a four-fret ‘picture’. Got that? It’s important! (I really should write all that up once I feel up to it.)

    Standard Tal procedure would be flip the switch to the bridge pickup, shift his plain ol Fender Heavy from thumb/index to thumb /middle and extend the index out. I’ll show a photo later. (As Ive stated here many times… Gibson did not listen to Tal on our beloved TF model: Sticking the switch where he couldn’t get to it!!! It was a big reason why he stuck with prototype #2, with its switch in the bout.)

    Of course you will be using that index finger to create the “false” harmonic. Picking while placing your index finger on the string. But where on the string?

    Tal measured out a ‘picture’ of the fingerboard overlaying the neck pickup corresponding to the fingerboard beginning at the twelfth fret. With practice its not that hard. If you absolutely know where the harmonic for the 12 fret falls in terms of your pickup then as you need to play notes it becomes no different than playing in the actual 12 position. You will be ‘playing’ in 12th position only really picking in the 12th pickup position. Or picture .

    Now he would play a line moving the right hand while looking at the ‘real’ twelfth fret. See? You are linking in your mind/ears the real 12 and the virtual 12. Even after all those years of playing he had his eyes focused on the pickup ‘fingerboard’ while doing this.

    I will come back and post some pics that might help. I tried to post a video once… nope… how do i do that?

    Hey once again Happy Thanksgiving. Aint this a great group to hide away from the world with?

    jk
    Thank you so much for writing this up! Invaluable advice from a diciple of the master here, greatly appreciated. I will try to think of it in the way you described. I have been playing the guitar since I was a kid, both classical and various forms of pop and rock, but have only recently started venturing into the deep and difficult world of jazz guitar. Insights like these inspire and help tremendously. It would be lovely if you could post pics and/or videos. I think you have to upload video to Youtube (or any other video site) and link to it in a post here.

    As a Norwegian, I have only vague ideas of what Thanksgiving is, but nevertheless, happy Thanksgiving to you!

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    Aint this a great group to hide away from the world with?

    jk
    Indeed! I'm in several other guitar forums, and this is by far the friendliest and most knowledgeable. I've read and learnt so much here, truly an inspiring group.