#1
Hey guys do know any good tutorial online about pinch harmonics ive been working on this the last 3 days and still sound shit...any advice how to do it would great!
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#2
I can see you've been playing about a month - honestly there's no point worrying about pinch harmonics at this stage.

They're a fiddly technique, but crucually before you can even think about learning them you need to be able to pretty good at picking, and that's not going to be the case after such a short amount of time. Even once you get the hang of playing a pinch harmonic in isolation it still takes ages before you're able to throw one into the middle of a regular run of picked notes, they're perhaps not something you'd call an advanced technique but they're also well outside of beginner territory.

I understand you're excited about your new hobby but you really do need to learn to walk before you can run. Always bear in mind that the music that got you into playing the guitar wasn't written or played by people who'd been playing for a month - usually they've got years of experience and hard work under their belts. So it's no surprise that you're not able to play their stuff when you're only just starting out - they wouldn't have been able to either at the same stage in their musical development! You've got your whole life to learn how to play the guitar, and you'll need it - you can't learn everything at once.

Focus on the basics for the time being, work on getting your picking clean and accurate and simply getting comfortable with the instrument. When you start out a guitar feels like a stupid, uncomfortable lump of wood with nasty sharp wires on it. However after a few months it tends to click and start to feel like it's meant to be there. Once you hit that moment, and you WILL know when it happens, that's when you can start pushing on a bit further and it all gets a bit easier. Up until that point though it is going to feel a lot like hard work, and the most important thing to do is work on getting used to having the guitar there and get your hands used to moving around the fretboard and working together to keep things accurate and in time.
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#3
Quote by steven seagull
I can see you've been playing about a month - honestly there's no point worrying about pinch harmonics at this stage.

They're a fiddly technique, but crucually before you can even think about learning them you need to be able to pretty good at picking, and that's not going to be the case after such a short amount of time. Even once you get the hang of playing a pinch harmonic in isolation it still takes ages before you're able to throw one into the middle of a regular run of picked notes, they're perhaps not something you'd call an advanced technique but they're also well outside of beginner territory.

I understand you're excited about your new hobby but you really do need to learn to walk before you can run. Always bear in mind that the music that got you into playing the guitar wasn't written or played by people who'd been playing for a month - usually they've got years of experience and hard work under their belts. So it's no surprise that you're not able to play their stuff when you're only just starting out - they wouldn't have been able to either at the same stage in their musical development! You've got your whole life to learn how to play the guitar, and you'll need it - you can't learn everything at once.

Focus on the basics for the time being, work on getting your picking clean and accurate and simply getting comfortable with the instrument. When you start out a guitar feels like a stupid, uncomfortable lump of wood with nasty sharp wires on it. However after a few months it tends to click and start to feel like it's meant to be there. Once you hit that moment, and you WILL know when it happens, that's when you can start pushing on a bit further and it all gets a bit easier. Up until that point though it is going to feel a lot like hard work, and the most important thing to do is work on getting used to having the guitar there and get your hands used to moving around the fretboard and working together to keep things accurate and in time.


Exactly this. It is a perfect answer
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#4
While I won't take away from the message above, I shall add this to it. It is intended to be an explanation of how these pinch harmonics work, and how you can get it to work. Whether you'll be able to apply them properly, or even with good taste is another matter But as said above, true musicianship takes time. I won't however keep valuable information from someone motivated, and if you do not use it now, you can always use it later.

Well then...

A pinch harmonic is in essence little more than the latter of the word, the harmonic, created by a technique, the pinching. It can seem like quite a magic trick, and to apply it proper is a wholly different matter than following a guide, but it isn't truly all that difficult to understand.

What you must first know (and probably already do) is that we can produce a higher note by shortening the string, commonly known as fretting a note. This is one of several ways to produce a note, and the first step would be to learn natural harmonics.

Natural harmonics, you should understand, are always there. Granted, pickups don't always let them through, but when you play an A on the 7th fret on the D string, then immediately mute it, you'll still be able to hear that A. This is a harmonic-common, the A string (but in fact, every note you play) has several harmonics hidden in it, and when some overlap, they'll start vibrating with the common and continue doing so, even if the other one is muted. You can hear the same when you push down any note on a piano (but soft enough that it doesn't make a sound), followed by playing that same note an octave higher or lower, then muting it. The common harmonic from one note to the other will vibrate in sync and continue doing so while you hold down that note, even if you stop the first.

Harmonics are there in great number, some are simply more difficult to pull off than other due to how close together they eventually are. If you wish to play one, instead of fretting a note, just rest the finger above the fret (don't push down) rather than fretting it and actually shortening the string. Since where a fretted note shortens the string, a harmonic divides the string, letting both sides (in front and behind the finger) vibrate. So remember to immediately lift that finger, or you'll be dampening the string, making for a very short and fading harmonic. You'd be able to see this 'dividing-in-parts' with a camera fit for slow-motion capture and I've no doubt there have been a dozen programs dedicated to showing something like it in slow-motion.

For a normal harmonic to work, try the following positions. They generally work on every string, but the high-e and b-string can be a bit tricky, so I'd advise starting on the lower one.

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12


The coloured numbers are quite easy to play, simply rest your finger (remember, no pushing down) exactly above the fret, pick the note and lift your fretting finger from the string. A neat trick as well, is to rest your finger on the string as you'd play a normal harmonic (such as above the 12th fret), and slide down the while picking constant notes. You'll be able to hear your finger passing a great number and variant of harmonics on the way down to the 1st fret.

If you'd do this, you'll realize that there are more than just the three I named above. Aside from the 12th fret (which divides the string in 2 vibrating parts), the 7th fret (3 vibrating parts) and the 5th (4 vibrating parts) you'll find there is one just before the 9th fret, the same one just before the 4th fret, just past the 3rd fret, and two more between the 2nd and 3rd fret. As you can see, they're getting closer and closer together, thus making them more difficult to play.

Before we can apply this principle to fretted notes, a slight detour just to be sure we're both on the same page. Our western music, and with it most music systems in the world as well, revolve around a 12, 24 or at times even 36-note system. They do however also apply the principle of the octave. Which means that an unfretted A-string is called an A, but the 12th fretted note on that A-string is also an A. It's just an octave higher. So long as we're not getting involved in Bohlen-Pierce tonal systems (dreadful sound, but give it a listen, it's good for you), you'll find this octave trick keeps coming back.

What it affects on your guitar, is that all those harmonics between the 1st and the 12th fret, repeat themselves almost entirely an octave further up. There are a few exceptions, but try playing those same harmonics an octave higher. Especially the 12th fret octave 12 frets further (so the 24th fret). It's there as well, even if you don't have a 24th fret. Which is the great thing about harmonics, they're not reliant on your number of frets. So long as there is a string, there will be a number of harmonics on it since they're in every note you play, whether you hear them or not. If you single them out by dividing the string, playing natural harmonics, they won't be pushed into the background by the rest of the sound you produce.

Now, so far we've played natural harmonics with your fretting hand, and picked them with your picking hand. But on a pinched harmonic, what you're essentially doing is playing both the picking part and the fretting part, with your picking hand. To be specific, the thumb. This is where the so-called pinching comes in play.

This still works on every string in principle, but some lend themselves better to it than others. On electric guitars, particularly the g-string has a great harmonic presence, so I advise starting there.

As you've already learned, easy natural harmonics are present in the 5th, 7th and 12th fret. And repeat themselves in the same manner 12 frets further, in the 17th, 19th and 24th fret. And this repetition - keeps - going. It doesn't stop. That's how strings work, and that's what is leading to what is most important about pinched-harmonics and what is often forgotten or not realized at all. Pinched harmonics don't have an absolute sweet-spot. They are in essence simply natural harmonics, created by using the picking hand instead, and depending on where you fret the note this 'sweet-spot' moves along with it!

It is relative to the note you're playing, not absolute, and it means that if you're playing a pinch harmonic, 2 octaves above the fretted note (so 24 frets), you will need to strike the note exactly 24 frets further up the next, while the right hand to create a natural harmonic at the same time. It means that if you are fretting at the 7th fret, your (24 fretted) pinched harmonic will need to be struck at (where on your guitar) the 31st fret would be. If you'd prefer a different harmonic, strike elsewhere accordingly to the sum.

The technique itself most often involves using the side of the thumb holding the pick creating the actual harmonic, and actually dividing the string. For it, you'll generally wind up holding the larger part of the pick and only striking the string with a very small part of it, hence the 'pinching'.

What should also be noted, is that while it is essentially the same note, a lot ought be said for technique. Common in classical guitar is to play a fretted harmonic with a free finger of the picking hand. This is also possible, but it does not sound the same. In the same manner that different techniques for vibrato don't sound the same. They can all be explained, but they do all involve different techniques to create different sounds.

Good luck, if you do not or cannot use it now, I hope you'll be able to use it later, as well anyone else who might gain some insights from the above.

Cheers
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#5
in addition to what's been said, wide vibrato will make them really scream.
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#6
Hey thanks guys!!! awesome answer you gave me there! ill continue to pratice and forget about them for the moment! And thanks again for the harmonic theorie its always great to learn something new!
-Esp Ltd Ec-1000 blk (EMG 60/81)
-Peavey vypyr vip 1
#7
Just to put it in context, I didn't even know what a pinch harmonic was until I'd been playing about three years! And even then it still took me weeks, if not months, to get the hang of them.

FretboardToAsh has some really good info there though, knowing the mechanics behind everything really does help when you finalyl get round to tackling them - it's amazing how many guitarists still refer to harmonics in terms of "sweet spots and "feeling around" when they're totally governed by physics and science!
Actually called Mark!

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