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Old 06-17-2013, 08:57 PM   #1
MetalTapper
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pinch harmonic noob

Hey guys! Any help for a newbie taking his first steps into pinch harmonics ?

I'm no Zakk Wylde, obviously, but any help would be greatly appreciated!

I've heard that higher gain and/or a heavier pick will help. Is this true?
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:07 PM   #2
Junior#1
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Higher gain will help you learn how to do them, but once you get used to them, you won't need any gain at all. What pick you use doesn't matter. Just use whatever is most comfortable. The easiest places to learn are the 5th and 7th fret of the D and G string. Start there and try to find the "sweet spot". Then just practice and work on different strings and frets and then try to find multiple pitches for each fret.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:54 PM   #3
bloodandempire
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I just recently got this down well, after sucking at it for over a year. The best advice I can give you is get an overdrive pedal, and just find a song that you like that has a bunch of pinch harmonics and keep playing it. I don't think there's any way anyone can tell you how to do it, you just have to experiment and see what works...atleast I couldn't find anyone that could tell me. I watched a bunch of videos and asked around and read articles, but the only thing that worked was learning to play pray for plagues and working hard.

Here's a couple tips though:

-Seriously find a song with a bunch and keep playing...it's alot more fun than sitting there hearing a bunch of squeaking and scraping.

-Make sure you're holding your pick right. You aren't trying to hit the string with the tip of your thumb, your thumb and index finger should be at a 90 degree(i think...im bad with degrees) angle and you wanna graze the string with the joint in your thumb...right on the left side in the middle

-What the other guy said...practice on the easier ones first.

-Short fast vibrato if you want it sounding really squealy like on most albums.

-Where you graze the string with your right thumb matters too. There's little nodes along the string, and you need to find the right one for the fret that you're on. This is different for every guitar, but I find the pickup likely marked "treble" on your guitar(or down) is the best for pinch harmonics.

-I don't know if this is true or not, but in my experience I had more success on a guitar with active pickups.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by bloodandempire : 06-17-2013 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:41 AM   #4
triface
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Take note of how you're holding your pick. I used to hold my pick such that basically half of it was sticking out, and that was not conducive for switching between alternate picking and pinch harmonics at all, because I had to contort my hand so much just to get a pinch harmonic out. I switched to holding very little of my pick out and it's been working well since.

You can picture the section of your guitar between the bridge and the neck (basically where you're picking) as a mini fretboard. As you move up the frets, you generally want to be moving a bit more towards the bridge as well if you're looking to do pinch harmonics. This sounds like total bull, but I've found that it works okay generally. Notice I use the word "generally", because it doesn't mean you should be trying to do pinch harmonics right at the bridge if you're on the higher frets.
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:38 AM   #5
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google how to do a pinch harmonic and there is a bunch of videos out there that will show you how to hold the pick.

i found it easier to get them playing out of the neck pick-up and giving it a fair bit of treble and all the gain you've got.

once you have got them and can hear them keep practicing them and you will slowly get them sounding good, im currently trying to perfect them myself.

im playing the solo in floods has a whole heap up and down the neck.

just keep at it mate one day you will get it, i think it help to hit the string hard with the pick and a soft touch of the thumb you don;t want to mute the string

good luck
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:10 AM   #6
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Remember that pinch harmonics can only be executed at certain points on the string. Experiment picking in different places on the guitar string.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:21 AM   #7
HowlerMonkey
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I have my thumb hanging over the pick pointed toward the headstock so most everything I strum has the thumb only a millimeter from the string.

That way the change in position is extremely small and doesn't affect the rest of my picking.

I also play with it grazing lightly to subtly bring out the harmonic overtones I desire by doing that at the position of the string where it will work best for the tone I want to step forward.

I do it without a pick as well the exact same way except my index finger is the pick.

The further your thumb grazing the string is from the pick, the better chance you have of getting it to ring out.
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Old 06-22-2013, 02:38 AM   #8
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Like advised yeah look at some tutorials.

The thing is even you see and hear them explain how to do it, you probably won't get it at first. You can literally go on and pinch for half an hour trying all sorts of angles but getting nothing.
It's once you get one, you should try and do the exact movement/placement again.
Try changing the pickup switch if you're not getting anything, most recommend bridge but I've never had problems using neck. When you start getting the technique, try other spots on the string or moving up and down some frets - there are many pitches you can produce depending on where you fret - and PHs by professional bands in recordings aren't gonna be random, they'll usually emphasize the note up 1-2 octaves or be like the 5th or the 3rd (as often tabs on here will have completely random PH pitch).
Hope you start getting them, they are fun
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Old 06-22-2013, 04:32 AM   #9
harmony_melody_
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetalTapper
Hey guys! Any help for a newbie taking his first steps into pinch harmonics ?

I'm no Zakk Wylde, obviously, but any help would be greatly appreciated!

I've heard that higher gain and/or a heavier pick will help. Is this true?


nothing makes harmonics stand out more than a tube amp. If you are using a transistor or digital modeller, harmonics will always come out very dull and dead compared to a tube amp.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:04 AM   #10
HowlerMonkey
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Nothing makes harmonics stand out more than a lot of compression.
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Old 06-24-2013, 04:46 PM   #11
MetalTapper
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Thanks for all the help, guys! Even more reason to get a decent tube amp now...
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Old 06-28-2013, 05:54 PM   #12
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Believe it or not, when I first started learning how to do it I used very little gain. I figured the better they sounded on a lower gain meant that I was starting to do them better. Now I can even hit them on an acoustic.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harmony_melody_
nothing makes harmonics stand out more than a tube amp. If you are using a transistor or digital modeller, harmonics will always come out very dull and dead compared to a tube amp.


I disagree. Why would this be?
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:35 PM   #14
Spectre13
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Pick angle is subjective.
as long as the plectrum hits the string at a slight angle and your thumb just grazes the string.
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