nailin pinch harmonic


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Washburnd Fretz
10-11-2007, 12:31 AM
Ok...Guys I have been seeing a lot of people that can only get
pinch harmonics on the 4 higher strings...so i hope this can help
you out......

This is not a lesson in P.H. Its to help people that are familiar with
it to get them on the 2 lower strings.. E* and A*
IF you're only having trouble with these strings...its good because
you already have the proper right hand technique.

We need as much distortion as possible for learning. It amplifies the
harmonics. Get some headphones if you need to...Crank that amp Up!!
IF I can do it on a 30 watt VOX...I Know u can too.


First of all... a favorite of Metal sounding artists is to use a drop D tuning.
The advantages are barred power chords..easier and faster chord progressions,
and a heartier sound...and also overlooked is the easier bends.

Most of you that can get pinch harmonics on the 4 higher strings probably
play really hard. I love that metal sound and we tend to get really into our
jams and pound our guitars. That is the first problem tho. Getting those
pinch harmonics on the two lower strings is actually BACKWARDS from
everything you've been doing.

First of all you need to know *Natural Harmonics. I know its boring but
you gotta crawl before you walk. This is how we are gonna nail this thing.

Hold your Pick in your best Pinch Harmonics position and pick the low-E string.
With your left hand..(or fretting hand) touch the string at the first fret..
Touch it very lightly. You are gonna have to touch different spots on the fret.
Start at the top of the fret and work your way down. You will eventually hear
that high-pitch ringing sensation... cool huh? now look for it on every fret.
Think of every fret as a ruler. It will be at a different measurement every time.
I will refer to this as the Harmonic* touch. (after you've found the spots)

Now that you are doing natural harmonics..its time to speed it up a bit.
This is where you are gonna start to play in REVERSE.
Normally you fret a note as you play it, BUT in the two lower strings it helps to
stagger the light touch on the string with your strum. You need to go for that
Harmonic* touch a spit second after you strum that string. Its gonna be a
little difficult at first. Too much pressure will smother the Harmonic* note.

Now that you Have got that down..It's time for some Black Label Society covers....
To get that *Zack Wylde* siren-like wail you need to bend the note..
Simple enough?..........think again...
This is were you are gonna have to retrain yourself again...
we're gonna go backwards again...lol

Once you get that *Harmonic Touch* you are gonna have to bend it.
The tricky part about bending *Harmonic notes on the two lower strings is that
you cant make contact with the fretboard like the other 4 higher strings.
So you have to touch the string as lightly as possible and then bend air.
It's gonna be very awkward at first but once you get a feel for it..you will be pulling
it off in no time. Its just very ironic that you are playing such aggressive music
and you have to be so gentle and precise. To me, I think it takes a lot of concentration, but others do it as second nature. In time you will have
the coordination to start the bend and then bring it down to the fretboard
to use some vibrato on them....or to bend them up as many steps as you can.

*PICKIN!!!*

I have two grips...the Paper* and the Pen*

I like to hold the pick in my standard position like a peice of paper.
thats what i call the *Paper position*
my fingers are pretty flat.

My Pinch Harmonic position is what i call my *Pen position*.
Thats when i pull my fingers in like I'm holding a pen.
My finger tips tend to look like they are trying to "kiss"

now by moving my fingers towards and away from my palm..i can
mix those Harmonic Pinches in to riffs for *Accented Notes*

I could easily tell you where the Harmonic spots are but I'm not...
I'm not trying to be a jerk but you really should get to know your guitar.
Some of you may find abnormalities. For instance, for some ungodly reason
I can get *Pinch Harmonics anywhere from the 8th to the 11 1/4 fret.
There are also different spots on the string that produce different
pitches. Sweet spots are usually symmetrical fashion. Something like
right before the pick-ups..in the center...right after ..etc...
These are reffered to *Sweet spots.* Most of you will have at least six.
So the average 23 frets times 6 sweet spots will equal 138 new notes...
Now you got a bunch more ammo in that clip.

Amplify those squealies!!!!

I like to use a few accessories to bring out my pinch harmonics to the fullest...



1) DRIVE!!!!! DISTORTION!!!!!

A good old fashioned overdrive pedal will work wonders. Metal pedals are great
for pushing the amp into ranges where the harmonics will ring more obviously.
Not much to say here...more power= more sound..more sound= more harmonics.


2) Compressor

Compressors are good because they can raise sound levels or lower sound
levels. A lot of you players out there will have your pinch harmonics sounding
a little faint. A compressor can raise the volume up to the same volume your
regular notes are sounding at. Compression can bring down your top end
just a bit..but it will be worth it....and you probably wont even be playing at
10..so it wont matter too much. Your natural harmonics will start to jump out.

WARNING: Compression may lead to unhappiness. lol...strings that you have
been clipping by accident will now have enough presence to ruin
your day. You will hear more mistakes ..which can make better practice.
Feedback will also change...take time to experiment.

3) Noise gate

With all of that amplification of the Overdrive or distortion and the Compressor...
you will be sure to have some unwanted buzz in the background. Your amp is
gonna be humming like a V8. A noise gate will destroy all of that unwanted
background noise. No matter how good your harmonics sound..that buzz behind
the music will kill any mood..or chase off any crowd. The noise gate acts as a filter.
Any noise created before the noise gate will be not be allowed to pass through.
You have to set the noise gate at a desired level and nothing below that sound
level will come through. If you set it too high..you will have to pick your strings
at a certain amount of force before they will ring out. They can also help you to
cover mistakes such as clipping strings on bends...as we mentioned before.
For example...if you take the pressure you normally use to pluck a string for a note
and set the noise gate at barely below that sound level...the noise gate will not
allow sound to travel through if it was created with less force than it took you to
pluck that string. If you bump a string by accident it wont matter. You can set it to
a point were it will not allow any sound to pass through it unless it is created by
enough force. The pedals are creating the buzz...so you just set it at a level were
as long as you don't touch a string...sound will not pass. Fuzz Busted!!

Warning: Some noise gates can cause a delay in your sound..so try out a few before
you decide. They can also effect your hammer-ons and pull-offs if set too
high. Look at the l.e.d light on them as you play. Seeing the light fade is
not really a good sign.


4) Humbuckers...Rails...Minis ...Pickups!!!

Upgrading hardware is usually the most common thing to do to achieve desired
sounds. Some people do...some dont. It's up to you. Sometimes the right pickups
can create a world of difference...like noticing a change when you hit the selector
switch...lol...
If your amp sounds like you have a towel lying over it...pickups can eliminate that
problem and provide some clarity.



I really hope this helps you guys out. I've always loved dramatic bends,
so my style includes a lot of that. Just remember that *Zack Wylde* speaks
a lot in interviews about making his own sound, and not using techniques
that are directly associated with other artists as his main techniques for
his riffs. So have fun and even do some covers...but don't use this to rip off
his sound. I'm sure you are all creative enough to add this to your own
arsenals and make it your own..

Havok19
10-11-2007, 12:42 AM
This is a really helpful post man damn, i dident know that
thanks

Burning_Angel
10-12-2007, 05:44 PM
Good article... But Drop D is a much more /core tuning.

MOST metal is in a various standard tuning, sometimes a Drop.