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#1
This thread is for anybody who has any issues, questions, experiences, etc. about how to perform pinch harmonics or how they work.
If a thread is made about pinch harmonics, I will let them know that they should have posted it in this thread.

What is a pinch harmonic?
A pinch harmonic is an "unnatural harmonic" created by the picking hand, which usually creates a high pitched "squealing" sound. Pinch harmonics are usually accomplished using the thumb or index finger, although are sometimes created using other fingers.

Actually, a pinch harmonic is an artificial harmonic. Artificial harmonics are any other than natural and include such types as harp harmonics, tapped harmonics, and pinch harmonics.

How do I do it?
It's easy! When you pluck a string with your pick, make sure that your thumb touches the string you're hitting (just barely), but make sure you take your thumb off the string along with your pick. Every fret has possible harmonic areas (also called nodes/node points), so you'll have to paly spelling around with it a bit. I suggest starting with your fretting hand on the 7th fret of the D string, and pinching (creating pinch harmonic) near the middle of where your neck ends, and your bridge is (more towards the neck).

How does it work?
When you pluck a string with your pick, it vibrates the string. But when you perform a pinch harmonic, your thumb (or other finger) cuts the vibration into 2 sections This is only true if you create a node point directly at the midpoint between the fret and the bridge. At other points it divides the vibration into smaller fractions (just like with natural harmonics--in natural harmonics, the 12th fret harmonic divides the string into two sections, but the 5th fret divides it into 4. 7th fret divides it into thirds. etc): One section in front of your thumb, and one section behind it. This creates the harmonic. The smaller the sections, the higher pitched the sound.

WARNING: These are not technical explinations or vocabulary. I've tried to make it simple for everyone! Ask if you want a more technical explination.

Also:
When beginning to do pinch harmonics, try it with high gain. High gain makes the harmonic much more noticeable and easier to perform.

It is possible to create pinch harmonics on clean tones, or even acoustic and classical guitars, but it takes a little more practice.

This thread is open to correction and comments, as well as questions and experiences.
Plays:
Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 FR Limited
Parker Mojo Fly
Ibanez SZR 720
Tanglewood Evolution
LaPatrie Etude DEMO
'66 Hagstrom Viking I (customized)
SGR C-7 (defretted)
Agile Intrepid 828

Amp, Pedals:
Laney LV300
BOSS RC-20XL
Last edited by Fryer Mike at Jul 25, 2008,
#3
Quote by Woozye
Cool thread

Thanks!
Plays:
Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 FR Limited
Parker Mojo Fly
Ibanez SZR 720
Tanglewood Evolution
LaPatrie Etude DEMO
'66 Hagstrom Viking I (customized)
SGR C-7 (defretted)
Agile Intrepid 828

Amp, Pedals:
Laney LV300
BOSS RC-20XL
#5
good idea, I wish they had this thread when I was learning how to do squealies
#7
Quote by Metaphysics
Remember that once you hit the harmonic, you need to bend the piss out of it.

Lol, you don't NEED to. Sounds cool though!
Plays:
Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 FR Limited
Parker Mojo Fly
Ibanez SZR 720
Tanglewood Evolution
LaPatrie Etude DEMO
'66 Hagstrom Viking I (customized)
SGR C-7 (defretted)
Agile Intrepid 828

Amp, Pedals:
Laney LV300
BOSS RC-20XL
#8
Quote by Metaphysics
Remember that once you hit the harmonic, you need to bend the piss out of it.


+1

it just doest feel right to not bned the jizz out of a harmonic
"Swim in a lake of death, eaten by crocodiles!"

Gear:
Jackson RR3
Epiphone Les Paul Custom
Stagg C 442
Randall RG100G3 plus combo
Roland Cube 30X
TS9 Tubescreamer
#9
I learned how to make a pinch harmonic on my acoustic by accident.
Also, when using Pinch Harmonics, try to not pull a Zakk Wylde, unless that's what you're going for. I find it kind of hard not to abuse Pinch Harmonics. They're just too fun.

Also, TS, you might wanna clarify the difference between Artificial Harmonics and Pinch Harmonics, since some people confuse the two.
#10
My consistency on getting pinch harmonics sucks, but I can tell once I get them consistently, I will ***** them more than Zakk Wylde.
#11
MANY people use the terms pinch harmonic and artificial harmonic interchangeably. Whether you think it's correct or not, that's the reality. I think it's worth mentioning.
ESP KH-2
Washburn X50 Pro FE
ESP LTD M-107
Yamaha Pacifica 112
Marshall 8100 "Valvestate" Head
Mashall 1960A 4x12 cab
Line6 POD X3


Please check out my guitar cover videos on YouTube:
www.youtube.com/killrbuckeye
#13
Yuck. Look at that nasty guitar!:O

He doesn't desurve this forum, he has raped the pinch harmonic of it's dignity!
Plays:
Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 FR Limited
Parker Mojo Fly
Ibanez SZR 720
Tanglewood Evolution
LaPatrie Etude DEMO
'66 Hagstrom Viking I (customized)
SGR C-7 (defretted)
Agile Intrepid 828

Amp, Pedals:
Laney LV300
BOSS RC-20XL
#14
Good idea for a thread, I dunno why none of us thought of this before! All the damn pinch harmonic threads piss me off so much.
Gear:
Schecter C-1 Hellraiser
Ibanez GRG170DX
Peavey Vypyr 75
Fender Princeton 650 DSP w/ Celestion 80w speaker
#15
Quote by Eric 666


This thread needs Zakk Wylde.


And also Roy Buchanan (He pioneered Pinch Harmonics, if you didn't know (according to wiki) )

#16
Quote by Fryer Mike
This thread is for anybody who has any issues, questions, experiences, etc. about how to perform pinch harmonics or how they work.
If a thread is made about pinch harmonics, I will let them know that they should have posted it in this thread.

What is a pinch harmonic?
A pinch harmonic is an "unnatural harmonic" created by the picking hand, which usually creates a high pitched "squealing" sound. Pinch harmonics are usually accomplished using the thumb or index finger, although are sometimes created using other fingers.

WARNING: This is not an "artificial harmonic"!
For clarification, an artificial harmonic is when you hold down a fret, and hit a harmonic that wouldn't be acceable naturally. For example, If I fret the 2nd fret on the E string, and with the same hand, lightly touch the 7th fret. This will create the same harmonic as if you hit a natural harmonic on the 5th fret, only 2 notes higher.
Actually, a pinch harmonic IS an artificial harmonic. Artificial harmonics are any other than natural and include such types as harp harmonics, tapped harmonics, and pinch harmonics.

How do I do it?
It's easy! When you pluck a string with your pick, make sure that your thumb touches the string you're hitting (just barely), but make sure you take your thumb off the string along with your pick. Every fret has possible harmonic areas (also called nodes/node points), so you'll have to paly spelling around with it a bit. I suggest starting with your fretting hand on the 7th fret of the D string, and pinching (creating pinch harmonic) near the middle of where your neck ends, and your bridge is (more towards the neck).

How does it work?
When you pluck a string with your pick, it vibrates the string. But when you perform a pinch harmonic, your thumb (or other finger) cuts the vibration into 2 sections This is only true if you create a node point directly at the midpoint between the fret and the bridge. At other points it divides the vibration into smaller fractions (just like with natural harmonics--in natural harmonics, the 12th fret harmonic divides the string into two sections, but the 5th fret divides it into 4. 7th fret divides it into thirds. etc): One section in front of your thumb, and one section behind it. This creates the harmonic. The smaller the sections, the higher pitched the sound.

WARNING: These are not technical explinations or vocabulary. I've tried to make it simple for everyone! Ask if you want a more technical explination.

Also:
When beginning to do pinch harmonics, try it with high gain. High gain makes the harmonic much more noticeable and easier to perform.

It is possible to create pinch harmonics on clean tones, or even acoustic and classical guitars, but it takes a little more practice.

This thread is open to correction and comments, as well as questions and experiences.


Look at the bolded areas, I tried to add some additional information you could change in the original post.
#21
Quote by TheShred201
Look at the bolded areas, I tried to add some additional information you could change in the original post.

Thank you, I have changed the original post.
Plays:
Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 FR Limited
Parker Mojo Fly
Ibanez SZR 720
Tanglewood Evolution
LaPatrie Etude DEMO
'66 Hagstrom Viking I (customized)
SGR C-7 (defretted)
Agile Intrepid 828

Amp, Pedals:
Laney LV300
BOSS RC-20XL
#22
It took me ages to practice getting mine down. I could do them about 6 months ago but only recently have they been sounding anywhere near as good as what you hear on records.
#23
OK i can do pinch harmonics, but now out of nowhere I'm having a problem, I'm tuned Drop C, learning My Curse, and there's a pinch harmonic on the low C string (E if your in standard) on the third fret, if i turn the gain up the rest of the song sounds like ****, is there any specific way to do it other than high gain, any other special technique im missing!!!
Quote by andy_thomas
Were you by any chance, exposing your scrotum to an open flame?
#25
ok ill i need is practice, its just i put to much gain and bam the song sounds way to fuzzy, whatever atleast now I know all it takes is practice, and i not missing some secret little tip!
Quote by andy_thomas
Were you by any chance, exposing your scrotum to an open flame?
Last edited by Imalius at Jul 25, 2008,
#26
Ahh yes. It seems a little harder to pull of distinctive pinch harmonics with alot of fuzz. They just seem quieter for some reason.
Plays:
Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 FR Limited
Parker Mojo Fly
Ibanez SZR 720
Tanglewood Evolution
LaPatrie Etude DEMO
'66 Hagstrom Viking I (customized)
SGR C-7 (defretted)
Agile Intrepid 828

Amp, Pedals:
Laney LV300
BOSS RC-20XL
#27
I just learned Pinch Harmonics a few days ago and it seems that it is only possible to do them on the G, B, and e strings for me. Is it possible for any of the other strings?
#28
I can do it on all strings.
I have always wondered how Satch does his harmonic squeals when he uses the whammy with his left hand. Saw a video but couldnt understand it ><
Gear: ESP Horizon
#30
So this looks pretty awesome so far. I think to really add to the topic you should discuss how to target specific pitches using pinch harmonics. Actually, I recently started lurking here again, but when I first started coming here (somewhere around 2004 or 2005) the best advice I could locate would be to experiment to find a "sweet spot", which isn't very useful. So anyway, you've already gone above that by talking about nodes, but if you further add the pitch that each node will produce it'd make this thread an exceptional tool. To clarify the article, you should state that harmonics occur at the integer divisions of the string (1/2, 1/3, ...) and the interval from the original note that will sound if you produce a harmonic.

Another thing to add would be that harmonics of the same pitch may be achieved at different spots on the string. For an integer division n, there are n-1 spots to play that harmonic, unless they overlap with a lower numbered division. Example: The 1/4 harmonic, which produces a pitch two octaves higher than the parent note, may be produced by lightly touching the string at the 1/4 (5th fret) and the 3/4 (24th fret) divisions of the string, but the pitch is not achieved at the 2/4 (12th fret) division of the string because this is the 1/2 (pitch one octave higher than the parent note) division. Here is a helpful image.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/Table_of_Harmonics.jpg
Also check this article, the section "Harmonics on stringed instruments" for the exact pitches produced.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_harmonic

One more idea to mess around with, that can help, is the concept that all types of harmonics (natural, pinch, etc.) differ by only one variable. The technique used to achieve the harmonic. The actual result is the same regardless of the technique used. Sure, a pinch harmonic may sound more dramatic than a natural since you can throw in bends, vibrato and usually apply more force in picking, but it's still the same phenomenon as a natural harmonic.

I'll probably get some flame action for this, BUT, I find "artificial harmonic" to be a poor choice as a name. When you fret a string, you're changing the length of the string. For all intents and purposes, the string ends where it contacts the fret, and is now shorter and produces a higher pitch when struck. The harmonics you can achieve will still only occur at integer divisions of the string, but because the string is smaller these divisions will be at other locations along the scale length. An easy way to convince yourself of this is to capo the guitar at the 1st fret. Using the natural harmonic technique play the 1/4 division of the string (the 6th fret, but keeping the capo in mind it can be considered the 5th fret, w/e).

So how does this typically affect pinch harmonics? Since the node points can be hit all around the string for any integer division, many occur around the pickup area (i.e. where you're pick hand is most of the time). While the node places change due to varying string length while fretting, they don't change by much and the odds are you'll hit one. However, understanding exactly where they occur will help you from avoiding that ugly clunking sound we're all familiar with. Another note, pinch harmonics don't need to be played over the pickups. If for instance, you're doing some tapping lick and wanted to have a pinch harmonic, you could say, use the technique at the 1/2 division of the string so you don't have to move your pick hand all the way back to the standard position. Anyway, this is totally a tl;dr, but I figure it's helpful to include info on how to target various pitches.
Last edited by El_Ghostly at Sep 16, 2008,
#31
God bless you. Now I can actually shred and do pinch harmonics. Heavy Metal here I come!
#32
Quote by Imme94
I just learned Pinch Harmonics a few days ago and it seems that it is only possible to do them on the G, B, and e strings for me. Is it possible for any of the other strings?



It's possible on all of the strings, it may take a little more practice on the thicker strings though, but once you're good at doing those, you can sound really metal if you throw them in the correct spots.
#33
Pinch Harmonics add spice to my solos. While my guitar squeals, the ladies squeal <_<

In seriousness tough, I find that people in my school's guitar club having trouble with this, so this topic was very useful.

My Rig ;D
Ibanez RG550XX 20th Anniversary
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Crate V50-112 (Modded)
Roland Micro Cube
Lovepedal Purple Plexi 800
Lovepedal Pickle Vibe
Ibanez TS-9
Boss DD-3
Dunlop Crybaby
#34
dude that guitar is teh sex what r u guys talking about?
Gear:
Aria lawsuit V
epiphone E-310 strat copy
peavey vypyr 15
boss blues driver II
Kramer striker 100st (invader pickup)
Randall RG50tc

EHX Metal Muff
#35
Great idea for a thread! : D
I'd say if a lot of people use it this should be stickied
because it would stop from people always asking the same question
Gear:
Fender CP Jazzmaster
Schecter PT Custom w/ Dimarzio crunch lab/liquifire
Marshall JCM2000 DSL+Orange 4x12
Orange Tiny Terror+Mesa Electra Dyne 2x12
Boss TU-2/NS-2/DD-6
Maxon OD808



MY BAND!
#37
Quote by Imme94
I just learned Pinch Harmonics a few days ago and it seems that it is only possible to do them on the G, B, and e strings for me. Is it possible for any of the other strings?

It does take a good amount of practise depending on the individual. When you find a good spot on a high string, move down string by string, keeping your pinching(?) area in the same spot and your fretting the same. You'll get it.
Plays:
Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 FR Limited
Parker Mojo Fly
Ibanez SZR 720
Tanglewood Evolution
LaPatrie Etude DEMO
'66 Hagstrom Viking I (customized)
SGR C-7 (defretted)
Agile Intrepid 828

Amp, Pedals:
Laney LV300
BOSS RC-20XL
#38
Quote by TheShred201
Pinch harmonic on the open string with the left hand on the whammy.

Doesn't he use natural harmonics usually? The ones above the pickups?
#40
Quote by Faded Grey
Is it possible to do PHs with out a pick?

(I don't use one)

Yes.
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