May 20, 2008

Right Hand Assisted Harmonics

Its that time! already you say? yes, yes, but anybody can do harmonics with just a little bit of practice. After that, its really up to you to figure out all of the many, many things that can be done with them.

In a future article I will be releasing to you something that I have come to dub The Harmonic Spectrum. It is how I have come to understand harmonics. Its a little early for that, though.

I will simply say, that using the spectrum, I did a little math one day and figured out that on a 24 fret guitar, there are a possible 2,771 harmonics that can be achieved. Some of these are a piece of cake while others are not so kind.

Now most guitarists seem to have this outlook on harmonics, thinking, that harmonics just sort of happen in certain places on the fret board. Untrue I say and it is quite possible for a guitarist to have ultimate control over these little guys.

Before talking about Right Hand Assisted harmonics, let me first give you insight on natural harmonics, just in case you don't know about them.

Natural harmonics can technically be achieved anywhere, but using the basic technique to produce them can be limiting. A natural harmonic is achieved by resting your finger (anyone) on a fret, without actually fretting the note. Don't push down on the string, just let your finger touch the string above a certain fret.

Either pluck or pick the string, at the same time, pulling of your fretting finger. It may take some practice.

Here are some sweet spots: 5th fret, 7th fret, 12th fret.

The 7th and 12th frets are the easiest places to achieve this. Go ahead and experiment with that, before reading any further. It may take a few tries but once you get the coordination down, its very easy.

Right Hand Assisted Harmonics.

We can introduce ourselves to the basis of the harmonic spectrum by using this technique. This technique is used quite often by classical guitarists, however we can use it on any guitar, even electrics.

1. Take the index finger of your fretting hand and fret (literally push down)
the 3rd fret on your G string.

2. With your picking hand, take your index finger and rest it on the 15th fret of the G string. Your picking hand is going to do what the fretting hand normally does when playing a natural harmonic. So, your fretting is pushing down on the fret, but the index finger of your picking hand is only touching the 15th fret of the G string.

3. Keeping these two fingers as they are, take the pinkie of your picking hand and pluck the G string. As you pluck this string, simultaneously, your index finger lifts off of the string. The fretting hand finger stays where it is, anchoring the note.

Below are some photos for you to check out of the picking hand in action.

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge - notice the pinkie

This is a little tricky at first, but its not hard. I'm posting a video really soon that will show this in great detail.

What's happening though, is that the 15th fret is the octave of the 3rd fret. 12 frets = 1 octave. To find the octave of the 3rd fret you add 12 frets = 15th fret. 12+3, very simple.

Try this with the 4th fret of the G string. Remember to move your picking hand's index finger up to the 16th fret, maintaining the octave. So where you can go with this and have fun 'cause this really is cool stuff.

Guitar Goodies:::: Guitar Sites ::::Site Map:::: Privacy