How to Do Harmonics on Guitar? A Clear Guide for Beginners

You are probably always looking for new ways to add more flavor to your playing…right? One technique that can help you achieve this is using harmonics. In this article, I will discuss how to do harmonics on guitar, including the different types of harmonics and the techniques you need to play them. By the end of this article, you will understand exactly how to do harmonics on guitar!

Key Takeaways

  • Harmonics are a unique sound that can add an ethereal quality to your music.
  • There are different types of harmonics, including natural, artificial, pinched, and tapped harmonics.
  • Learning how to do harmonics on guitar requires practice and experimentation, but it can add a new dimension to your playing.

How to Do Harmonics on Guitar?

There are four types of harmonics: natural, artificial, pinch, and tap harmonics.

Natural Harmonics

Natural harmonics are produced by lightly touching the string above the fret with your fretting hand while picking the string with your other hand. The resulting sound is a bell-like tone that is an octave higher than the fundamental note. Natural harmonics can be played on any fret, but the most common locations are the 5th, 7th, and 12th frets (it’s easier to get harmonics out of these frets).

Artificial Harmonics

Artificial harmonics, also known as false harmonics, are produced by fretting a note with your fretting hand and then lightly touching the string 12 frets above the fretted note with your other hand while picking the string with your other hand. The resulting sound is a bell-like tone that is two octaves higher than the fundamental note.

Pinch Harmonics

Pinch harmonics, also known as squealies, are produced by picking the string with your guitar pick while simultaneously touching the string with your thumb or finger. The resulting sound is a high-pitched, squealing tone that is often used in rock and metal guitar playing. Pinch harmonics are typically played on the lower strings of the guitar and require a lot of practice to master.

Tap Harmonics

Tap harmonics, also known as touch harmonics, are produced by tapping the string with your fretting hand while simultaneously picking the string with your other hand. The resulting sound is a bell-like tone that is an octave higher than the fundamental note. Tap harmonics can be played on any fret and are often used in intermediate and advanced guitar playing.


FAQ

What causes guitar harmonics?

Guitar harmonics are produced by dividing a vibrating string into equal segments or parts, which generate specific, bell-like tones that sound higher in pitch than the fundamental note of the string.

Why am I having trouble playing harmonics on my guitar?

If you’re having trouble playing harmonics on your guitar, there could be several reasons. One reason could be that you’re not pressing down hard enough on the string when you’re plucking it. Another reason could be that you’re not touching the string at the right spot to produce the harmonic.

It’s also possible that your guitar’s intonation is off, which can make it difficult to produce harmonics. If this is the case, you may need to adjust the intonation of your guitar. Additionally, if your guitar’s strings are old or worn, they may not produce clear harmonics. In this case, you may need to replace your strings.

Lastly, playing harmonics requires a lot of practice. You won’t master them in 5 or 15 minutes. But keep practicing and you will eventually master them!

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