#1
Seeking knowledgeable musicians and physics enthusiasts -

I'm seeking information on exactly what and how makes a pinch harmonic work. I have a loose understanding of how it silences the fundamental (the open note, essentially) and all the overtone nodes behind where you're fretting, however, much of this is eluding my understanding.

For example, if I play a pinch harmonic on the 5th fret of the A string, therefore playing a D note, is that pinch harmonic *still*, at its very core, still a D note, or is it altered in frequency somehow? Does this possible difference become even more complex as your thumb hits different places of the string when you do your pinch?

Wikipedia has what seems to be a good article over it, but it's not quite answering what I'm looking for.

To surmise -

If I play a pinch harmonic, then play the note without doing a pinch, am I still playing the same note, or are they different in a fundamental way?

Thanks for any help and articles that anyone can dig up.

Regards,

MadTaco
#2
they are different. a pinch harmonic breaks the wavelengths of the string into much smaller segments therefore producing a higher pitch. Pinch harmonics (i think) are different notes usually. a normal note will have a longer wavelength
#3
No, it can be any note or frequency. See for yourself, fret the seventh fret on the G-string and play pinch harmonics moving up and down the string. You'll get a variety of different notes (most of which are very ugly if you hear them in a lower octave).

From a physics standpoint, it relates to where your thumb (or index finger depending on your technique) is striking the string. Beyond that, my string theory (ok, crappy physics joke) is limited.
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#4
pinch harmonics change the octave, different octaves come out when u hit ur thumb at different palces.
im pretty sure its always the same note though
#5
Say if I use my earlier example and play a pinch harmonic on the 5th fret of the A to a play D note, but with my right hand, I do the pinch at different places over the pickups. Will all of these different sounds be a D note, with no real difference between them besides timbre?

MadTaco
#6
Quote by stariv
pinch harmonics change the octave, different octaves come out when u hit ur thumb at different palces.
im pretty sure its always the same note though

Quote by MadTaco
Say if I use my earlier example and play a pinch harmonic on the 5th fret of the A to a play D note, but with my right hand, I do the pinch at different places over the pickups. Will all of these different sounds be a D note, with no real difference between them besides timbre?

MadTaco
No, the notes are different depending on where you pinch. There are a couple main nodes though, one of them being an octave, another an octave + a fifth, and another which I cannot remember.
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#7
i would imagine the note would change. because you are changing the scale of the neck in a way. kind of like when you mute your with your picking hand higher up away from the bridge the pitch changes. if you get what i mean. i dont know its just a logical guess.
#8
Quote by stariv

im pretty sure its always the same note though

Nope. Its only the same note if u split the string into 1/2, 1/4 or 1/8.
#9
Quote by ramm_ty
No, the notes are different depending on where you pinch. There are a couple main nodes though, one of them being an octave, another an octave + a fifth, and another which I cannot remember.


This answer and GoWithTheFlow's answer is absolutely what I'm going for. Kudos to everyone for the replies so far.

I'm wondering if there might be an informative, accessible guide somewhere that can explain it all. I'd better start Google hunting in a bit.

Regards,

MadTaco
#10
You're creating standing waves at different ratios. Pitch will depend on where you create the node.

You can create every normal note (though not always in tempered tuning) and plenty in between as you go higher and higher.

It's interesting to note that the natural overtone series (which is what these are, overtones, you're just isolating them when you play an harmonic) creates the #4 and the b7 before the "natural" equivalents, making them, well, more natural.
#11
Quote by MadTaco
Say if I use my earlier example and play a pinch harmonic on the 5th fret of the A to a play D note, but with my right hand, I do the pinch at different places over the pickups. Will all of these different sounds be a D note, with no real difference between them besides timbre?

MadTaco

no they wont still be the same note. you would have to hit the thumb in the place on the string where an octave of D would be. anywhere else is another note. but it will sort of harmonize with the D you are fretting. so they note you play wont just sound out of key.
#12
Quote by Nick_
You're creating standing waves at different ratios. Pitch will depend on where you create the node.

You can create every normal note (though not always in tempered tuning) and plenty in between as you go higher and higher.

It's interesting to note that the natural overtone series (which is what these are, overtones, you're just isolating them when you play an harmonic) creates the #4 and the b7 before the "natural" equivalents, making them, well, more natural.


Could you maybe elaborate on this a bit, if you don't mind? Such as what you mean by standing waves, nodes, and such. Thanks for the input...sounds like you know your stuff.

MadTaco
#13
You've essentially got the right idea, but to find the note values you must learn/look up the harmonic series. I can't remember exactly how it goes, but when you do a harmonic at 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc. of the way down the string, you are increasing the note by +1 8ve. I remember that some of the notes between are slightly out of key in equal temperament tuning.

EdiT: just realised Wikipedia tells you this anyway But a more direct answer would be : In most cases yes, but it depends exactly where you play the PH. Treat them just like natural harmonics but starting at the fretted note.
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#14
Lol

Just use ur ears, play a pinch harmonic and then find the note with ur ears in the higher regions.

They are not always the same note in a higher ranger.

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#15
Quote by stariv
pinch harmonics change the octave, different octaves come out when u hit ur thumb at different palces.
im pretty sure its always the same note though

No they don't. They could but not everytime. An octave is the same note at a higher or lower frequency. Like A 220 or A 440. A pinch harmonic could be a variety of frequencys from the original note not just the octave of the note played.
#16


^from wikipedia article on standing waves. A standing wave is what you create when you pluck a string and also what you create when you play an harmonic. A node is a "dead spot", a section of the wave that doesn't move.



^from dolmetsch.com's excellent article on pitch and temperament. The bracketed notes are "out of tune" to us.


as mentioned above, you'll get the same pitch when you create a node at 1/2^n. Fifths at 1/3*2^n. etc.


really with pinches, use your ears, or do them over the fretboard at the first or second node so you know the pitch (if you're doing Lenny Breau style harp-harmonics). If you just want the squeal, well, make it squeal.