Bass educator Stuart
Clayton presents an
exclusive lesson for
Hamm fans.
hroughout his career, Stu
Hamm has continuously
pushed the technical
boundaries of the
instrument. In the late
80s he redefined the limits
of slapping and tapping
techniques, releasing popular
instructional DVDs such as
Slap, Pop & Tap For The Bass
Deeper Inside The Bass.
His innovative approach to
the instrument has continued
over the course of his last two
albums, 2012's
Just Outside
Of Normal,
and the recently
The Book Of Lies.
look at some of Hamm's most
recent ideas.
This is a technique which can
be heard on 'Windsor Mews'
Just Outside Of Normal
and involves sliding harmonics
around the neck to create new
pitches. To perform this line,
fret the harmonics at the 12th
fret of the A, D and G strings -
the beauty of harmonics is that
they will continue to ring after
you release your fingers. With
all three notes still ringing, use
the first finger of the picking
hand and the first finger of
the fretting hand to slide the
G harmonic up to the B at the
16th fret, and the A down to
the G at the 10th fret. Take
care to apply enough pressure
to move the pitch of the note,
without pressing down so hard
that you get fretted notes.
For the next chord repeat
the process, this time sliding
the A down to F# and the G up
to A. This will create a D major
chord in first inversion. For
the next chord, fret the 12th
fret harmonics as follows: the
E with the first finger, the D
with the second and the G with
the third. Slide the E down to C
and the G down to E. Keep the
D ringing: this will create a Cadd2 sound. Finally, touch the D harmonic with the first finger of the right
hand, and move it down to a C, resolving the tension. This is a tricky technique to get right, but sounds
great when you've mastered it.
One of Stu's frequent techniques is the use of open strings as 'jump points' to move around the neck.
You'll be able to hear examples of this on 'Dr Gradus Ad Parnassum' and 'Country Music' from his debut
Radio Free Albemuth:
'Open Note Aria' from his latest album
The Book Of Lies
uses the concept
This example demonstrates how to use the technique to perform a G major two-octave arpeggio across
the fingerboard. When playing this, move your fretting hand to the G at the 10th fret as soon you play
the open D.
The use of open strings allows the fretting hand time to move to the higher fret positions, meaning
that it's possible to play these arpeggios very quickly. Here are some further arpeggios that can be
played using the technique: See which arpeggios you can find to play using this technique.
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