Naming natural harmonics?


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04-12-2005, 12:03 AM
How do you know what note you play when you pick a natural harmonic at let's say 3rd string 5th fret?

04-12-2005, 01:39 AM
Third string, fifth fret is C... its natural harmonic is C.

04-12-2005, 02:09 AM
^ Couldn't be more wrong if you tried.

The note that's fingered, or the open string comprises the fundamental.

I won't get too far into the physics of vibrating strings, and sound, but basically your 'overtone series' goes Fundamental-octave-fifth-2nd octave-3rd-5th-...

Those are the notes, built up. More or less, as you divide the string, you isolate higher notes in the overtone series. Ie. when you play at the 12th fret, dividing it in half, you get the the first overtone, or the octave (the same as 12 frets above the note, in this case the open string)

To make it simple, from the open string:
12th fret: octave
7th fret: octave + 5th
5th: double octave
4th: double octave + 3rd
3rd: double octave + 5th

The harmonic at the 9th fret I don't remember the octave for, but it works out to be about a quarter tone sharp of the 4th.

Because of equal temper, and the way a guitar should be tuned, and accounting for intonation (string relief) the harmonics are NOT perfectly pitched as if you were playing the higher notes as fretted, but they're pretty close; and will vary slightly (a few cents) per guitar/person.

To answer the question you gave: Any harmonic at the 5th fret is two octaves higher than the open string.

04-12-2005, 08:07 AM