Study

Exploring Harmonics: Natural, Pinch, Tap, Harp

Instructors: Richard Lundmark, Sean Conklin, Rick Graham Total lessons in study:
There are many different types of harmonics, and in this study we investigate all of them, both the techniques to play them and also the theory behind them.

1. An In-Depth Study on All Harmonic Types

1. All About Harmonics - Introduction
Theory
Any Style
Intermediate
Greetings Guitar Slingers! Welcome to yet another (long) tutorial from yours truly. This time we will dive deep into the wonderful world of Harmonics! The theory, concepts and practice of harmonics in all its various incarnations are more often than not VERY misunderstood, and can be a source of great confusion. I will do ...Read More
2. Natural Harmonics - Part 1
Theory
Any Style
Intermediate
Welcome to part 1 of the theoretical part of natural harmonics. The first thing we need to cover and understand is the physics of the string – String Theory. The first thing we need to acknowledge is that when you play a note (be it an open string of a fretted note), you are not only playing that chosen note, but a wh...Read More
3. Natural Harmonics - Part 2
Theory
Any Style
Intermediate
In this part you will have to keep a close eye on the Table of Harmonics as well. As you can see, the 1/3 division is always the perfect 5th up from the ½ (or the perfect 4th down from the ¼ division). That is, a harmonic on the 7th fret (1/3) of the D-string will be an A. The very same A as the 5th fret (1/4)...Read More
4. Natural Harmonics - Part 3
Theory
Any Style
Intermediate
Before going into this part, it would be wise to re-visit (or visit) my set-up tutorial where I discuss Intonation, and the equal temperament system of the guitar, as opposed to true temperament. You can find that part of the tutorial HERE. Then, you will also note in the video how I compare the 1/5 division of the D-strin...Read More
5. Natural Harmonics - Part 4
Theory
Any Style
Intermediate
In this part, I just reinforce the fact that the string's length is not relevant, only its pitch. Regardless if the string is divided by fretting a note, or elongated say on a bass, the positions of the harmonics will ALWAYS stay the same, that is ¼ of the string length and so on. Shortening the string will of course...Read More
6. Artificial/Pinch Harmonics - Part 1
Technique
Any Style
Intermediate
First off, we need to discuss the terms artificial and pinch harmonics. These are most often labeled as two different names for the same thing, that is, the harmonics produced using the thumb and pick in unison. In reality, Artificial Harmonics is an umbrella term for ALL non-natural open-string harmonics. HOWEVER, you sho...Read More
7. Pinch Harmonics - Part 2
Technique
Any Style
Intermediate
As I mentioned in the end of the last part, you can only produce the harmonics given to you by the divisions and nodes of the natural harmonics. You cannot produce something that is not there! I’ve seen instructional videos of guys playing an Amin Pentatonic scale, and stating that he will first play the A and then &l...Read More
8. Pinch Harmonics - Part 3
Technique
Any Style
Intermediate
This part re-emphasizes the difference between the natural over-tone series (with the harmonics) and the equal temperament (compromised) division of the fret board. For instance, you cannot produce a perfect major third interval, unless you use the 4/5 division where you can obtain the perfect major third. So, always keep t...Read More
9. Tap Harmonics - Part 1
Technique
Any Style
Intermediate
As explained in the video, Tap Harmonics is just another variation on the same theme. Let's say you fret a D on the 5th fret of the A-string. The ½ division of this new string length would then be situated at the 17th fret (this is also pretty much Tap Harm 101). You tap the harmonic node rapidly, with some force and...Read More
10. Tap Harmonics - Part 2
Technique
Any Style
Intermediate
Finally! Time for some actual examples huh?! Now, even though notating tap harmonics isn't as bad as trying to notate correct pinch harmonics, there is still no software that does it well I’m afraid. I can notate the octave taps, but as for notating other harmonic nodal points, no can do. You’ll just have to ex...Read More
11. Harp Harmonics
Technique
Any Style
Intermediate
Harp Harmonics is a technique mostly used by classical guitarists, and is also often used with a clean tone, not a distorted one. What you do here is let the tip of your index finger touch the harmonic node while your right thumb strikes the string behind, setting the string in motion. It is called Harp Harmonics simply be...Read More
12. Flick Harmonics
Technique
Any Style
Advanced
Okay then! Time for the cutting edge stuff! Before we go into this part, I must direct your attention to ALL the transcribed tabs for both the Flick and the Slap harmonic parts. As I have mentioned time and time again, there is currently no way in guitar notation software to notate natural (or other) harmonics correctly. ...Read More
13. Slap Harmonics - Part 1
Technique
Any Style
Advanced
On to the Slap/Spank/Left Hand Tap Harmonics! Same as with previous examples, the notated harmonics do not exactly match what is played. This is another technique to produce a similar result, and is my preferred weapon of choice for harmonics. This technique is nothing new, but has been quite underground until players lik...Read More
14. Slap Harmonics - Part 2
Technique
Any Style
Advanced
Okay, the next step is to add other whammy bar effects to the stew. First up is the regular “hitting the ol’ wang-bar”. As you release the whammy bar, you just hit it again, slightly depressing it in a rhythmical fashion. What note value you choose is up to you. Just take my examples for what they are, exa...Read More
15. Capo Harmonics
Technique
Any Style
Advanced
'Capo Harmonics' is maybe not the most imaginative name, but it was the best I could come up with. I have no idea if this particular technique has a specific name. To start out with, you’ve all tried and heard the Vai/Satriani licks, where you just make a drill on the neck and run your right hand finger lightly back a...Read More

2. Harp Harmonics

16. Harp Harmonics - Introduction
Technique
Any Style
Beginner
Welcome to the Harp Harmonics Tutorial! Here we will lean how to play harp harmonics as well as how to incorporate them into musical contexts. Harp harmonics are played when a finger on your picking hand gently touches a string 12 frets above the note you're playing. It doesn't always have to be 12 frets above the note, bu...Read More
17. Harp Harmonics - Soft Acoustic Harmonics
Technique
Acoustic
Intermediate
In this lesson, we're going to experiment with playing harp harmonics within a chord progression. The progression will be as follows: D, G5, Bm, G5. These chords are listed in the tab below if you don't know them already. And remember, no matter what note you're playing, whether on the fretboard or on an open string, make ...Read More
18. Harp Harmonics - Harp with Attitude!
Technique
Rock
Intermediate
Lastly, let's play some harps in a more rockin' context. I personally love incorporating harp harmonics into my rhythm or solo playing. They can really add a neat flavor to the notes you play. Go ahead and crank up some distortion for this one, and have fun with it! Once you finish this short tutorial on harp harmonics, g...Read More

3. Pinch Harmonics with Rick Graham

19. Pinch Harmonics
Technique
Rock
Intermediate
Hey there! Welcome to the wonderful world of Pinch Harmonics. If you listen to the playing of guitarists such as Zakk Wylde(Ozzy Osbourne), Billy Gibbons(ZZTop) or more recent players such as Thomas Blug, you will hear pinch harmonics in abundance. The technique of playing pinch harmonics is very similar to the technique ...Read More

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