Introduction to Pinch Harmonics – Lesson 47

About Introduction to Pinch Harmonics – Lesson 47

Level: Intermediate

Introduction to Pinch Harmonics – Lesson 47

In this lesson we teach you how to play “pinch harmonics” with precision and ease.

Syn’s Tips

The only part of the mechanics of this technique I have to add is this- right after you hit the string with the pick, you want the fleshy part of the thumb to follow right after. You have to time it just right otherwise you’ll just mute the note or it may just sound “clunky”.

This unfortunately is a very vague technique that takes a lot of experimenting with. It’s all about the timing and position of the pick and thumb.

Don’t Get Frustrated! You are now about to embark on some really interesting but difficult material but if it was easy, anyone would do it! Be proud of the work you put in and know that it gets easier to learn tough tasks the more you practice learning tough tasks ;)

As always, Help Your Fellow Brother and Sister Out! Upload videos of yourself demonstrating how it works for you. Also, if your struggling, upload a video of yourself to the "Lesson Comments" section below trying to play it so we can see exactly what your doing wrong. This helps us to identify the problem and better guide you to proper technique! Don’t Be Shy!

Lesson Comments

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Dan Shipway
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Dan Shipway I find it helps if your pick is slightly slanted or to dig in quite hard. I have recently changed to 2mm picks and that has made it easier so if you can't get them try using different pick thicknesses. Hope this helps anyone! \m/
Jeff McPherson
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Jeff McPherson If you're having a lot of trouble moving your thumb (due to your pick grip, mechanical skills, etc.) you can also try your index or middle finger, depending on your pick grip. I find pinches with my finger to be much easier than with my thumb.
Steven Bellah
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Steven Bellah Is there an extra secret to nailing a good PH on the sixth string?
Steven Bellah
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Steven Bellah Awesome, I'll work on it. Thanks!
Brian Haner Sr.
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Brian Haner Sr. That's the tough one. Right hand placement is everything. It's a moving target. So pick a note - and then move your right hand forward & backwards until you find the sweet spot. It also helps to play through your bridge pickups. They pick up the harmonics better than neck pickups.
Nate Stranieri
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Nate Stranieri There is so much to cover and I’ve just been going in order but it seems that I’m my perfecting everything. Any tips on how to attack all these techniques and perfect them?
Jack Luoma
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Jack Luoma A good way to practice is playing the beginning of To End the Rapture (Sounding the Seventh Trumpet).
Zé Marques
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Zé Marques I fuckin love this technique.
Thomas Bosworth
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Thomas Bosworth I only have an acoustic guitar with nylon 1st 2nd and 3rd strings. Is it possible to get the same sorta sound from hitting a pinch harmonic or am I doing it wrong?
Trevor Greenen
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Trevor Greenen I think It's possible, but its going to be harder to hear than if you had an electric guitar cranked up with a lot of gain. Electric guitarists will notice their pinch harmonics are harder to hear when they aren't plugged in or they switch to the clean channel.
Charlie Jandura
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Charlie Jandura i got the actual positioning of my thumb right and can hit the harmonic just fine, but my problem is getting my thumb into position in the middle of playing. should i have my thumb by the spot at all times or should i be moving it while playing?
Chris Robertson
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Chris Robertson Hey - that's a great question. Over the years, I've found some techniques that have worked well for me. These might not work as well for anyone else, but give them a shot. With my pick, I can now play regular (non-harmonic) notes at speed and immediately pinch one for a false harmonic without much change in my right hand. I will say I hold more of the pick "up" in my fingers (with maybe 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch) showing to hit the strings. I also hold my fingers spaced a little away from my palm - enough to maybe fit a tightly balled up piece of paper into the gap between my palm and fingers. So when I need to pinch a harmonic, I will close my fingers a little closer into my palm. This has the effect of rolling more of the pick into my fingers, exposing even less (and getting my thumb down on the pick more to get that pinch). Then I'll relax my fingers a little more away from my palm to expose more of the pick to play regular notes. Think of it like landing gear going up into a plane and then back out of the plane (by way of a bad example to explain what I'm doing). This method let's me pretty much keep the same position of my finger and thumb on the pick, but changes how much of the pick is exposed to play pinch harmonics or regular notes. Maybe this can help you, too! Cheers.
Batuhan Aysubar
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Batuhan Aysubar So useful, thank you !
Soren A
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