Jaco Pastorius Bass Harmonics



Self-proclaimed “World’s greatest bass player,” Jaco definitely had the goods to back up his boasting. Jaco’s innovations of using harmonics and the “singing” quality of his melodies on the fretless bass led him to be regarded as one of the most influential bass players of all time. The following is a list of songs that every Jaco fan or even any music lover should know.

Come On, Come Over

This is one sick groove off Jaco’s self-titled album released in 1976. One of those instances where the bass line drives the entire song. Arguably one of the best bass songs of all time. Most songs you grow to love after a few listens – this one will knock your socks off the first time you hear it.

I Can Dig It Baby

Another song that will blow you away the first time you hear it, although not quite as much as “Come On, Come Over.” What’s unbelievable is to hear Little Beaver, the artist of the song, describe how Jaco came in without hearing the song before and cranked out such an amazing bass line on the second take. Add on the set of harmonics he adds to the intro and this becomes one song you just do not want to miss.

Portrait of Tracy

Speaking of harmonics, this song is actually played almost exclusively with harmonics – something that was simply never done before. If you didn’t know any better you’d swear it was five people playing bass at once instead of just one. Jaco’s tone and choice of notes as well as timing of notes is incredible. Every time I hear it I feel myself dive deeper into its beauty and appreciate every note.

Donna Lee

Jaco’s performance of this jazz standard has not only become legendary among bass players but with musicians in general. It’s just a bass and some conga drums but features Jaco’s insane ability to play so fast that it almost sound like a piano. In Jaco’s own words, when you listen to this song, “look out.”


This song is all about Jaco’s amazing and beautiful tone along with his magical slides on the fretless bass. Add in some harmonics with an incredible melody and you got another must-hear.

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