Quickie on Pinch harmonics


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10-13-2005, 10:01 AM
Hey all. Be easy as it's my first lesson posting. For any who don't know what a pinch harmonic is it shows up on tab as - P.H. - above a relevant fret number.
When you listen to slash, SRV, Richie Sambora, The Darkness and many others who favour this technique you can hear a high pitched squeal during the solo. This sounds very rock and roll and adds a real depth and flavour to any solo. It can even be used to spice up a simple scale progression by thowing it in anywhere but i find that it works particularly well when doubled up on a root note around the third and fourth strings.

Anyway on to the technique itself. What you are trying to do is to add the edge of your thumb or forefinger to the pick when you strike the note. This creates the desired 'Rock genius' squeal that we are aiming for.

For this i would recommend a pick no less than 1.00mm thick. I use 1.oomm ibanez sharps as they are sturdy and have a good point on the end which assists in accuracy and a better attack.

Fret the 7th fret of the 3rd string (the d string) as you normally would when playing. Now, brace youself, place your thumb close to the point of the pick and make a controlled but aggressive attack on the sting about 4-5 cm down from the end of the neck. When you do this try to get the edge of your thumb to brush past the vibrating string and away from it so as not to kill the sound.

This will not sound great the first few times you do it as it is a difficult skill to master.

Another way to employ this technique (this is the one i now use) is to fret the note as normal at the 7th fret of the D string and rotate your wrist slightly towards you so that your pick is at an angle of about 75 degrees from the norm. It will almost look as if the edge is facing the floor. Now try again making sure that when you brush past the string with you thumb you do nto linger as this will kill the vibration of the string and stop that killer sound.


This technique can be employed on any fret of the neck and the picking hand can be placed anywhere in the normal zone. I have chosen the 7th fret of the D and the distace of the pick as I along with others i have spoken with have found this to be the easiest starting point.

The best bit of advice i have ever been given was by my friend who inspired me to start playing again.....Practice practice practice.
Anyway, hope this has helped anyone who wa in need of it. Please contact me to review the lesson and give your thoughts and to let me know if this has helped.


10-13-2005, 10:10 AM
yees, nicely done. It would really help a learner on P.H.'s
I, however already knew but it would of helped.


im not mental
10-13-2005, 10:15 AM
i've been trying to do PH's forever. thanks for the advice.

10-13-2005, 10:20 AM
Good advice for begginners, it just takes practice once you get the technique.

Only one thing- I always, and though it was common that the 3rd string was G..... i.e. high e being the 1st and B being the 2nd and so forth.......I suppose it doent really matter since you put what string you meant in brackets.

10-14-2005, 04:31 AM
Just to clarify, I did mean the D string but meant to put 4th (sorry) It can be easier on this string as it has been wound the same as the 5th and 6th string and the harmonic is easier to hit.

Glad it's helped.

10-29-2005, 12:45 AM
It's difficult to achieve the pinch harmonic sound on an acoustic. I have a classical guitar (nylon strings) and can never get a decent sound from it. I guess will try the same with distortion on some other guitar.

Btw, there is a nice video in the features section : Steal This Video by PicknGrin, on Natural and Artificial Harmonics, for those interested in the physics of achieving this distinct sound.

Nice work speaky. I'm sure most of us appreciate. ;)