Atificial Harmonics Pinch Hamonics Lesson

A guitar harmonic is a musical note played by preventing or amplifying vibration of certain overtones of a guitar string.

Music using harmonics can contain very high pitch notes difficult or impossible to reach by fretting. Guitar harmonics also produce a different sound quality than fretted notes, and are one of many techniques used to create musical variety.


Harmonics are mainly generated manually by different playing techniques. Another method is sound wave feedback of a guitar amplifier at high volume, which causes an "infinite" vibration of certain string harmonics. A third method, magnetic string drivers like the EBow, can generate string harmonics.

Harmonics are most often played by lightly placing a finger on a string at a nodal point of one of the overtones at the moment when the string is driven. The finger immediately damps all overtones that do not have a node near the location touched. The lowest-pitch overtone dominates the resulting sound.



The fundamental and the double- and triple-frequency overtones of a guitar string.

When a guitar string is plucked, the string vibrates most prominently at its fundamental frequency, but at the same time also vibrates at all integer multiples of that frequency. The vibration along the entire length of the string is known as the fundamental, while vibrations occurring between points along the string (known as nodes) are referred to as overtones. The fundamental and overtones, when sounded together, are perceived by the listener as a single tone, though the relative prominence of the frequencies varies among instruments, and contribute to its timbre.


Atificial harmonics Pinch harmonics


A pinch harmonic is produced by lightly touching the thumb of the picking hand against the string immediately after it is picked. This action is sufficient to silence the fundamental and all overtones except those that have a nodes at that location. This is generally accomplished by holding the plectrum so very little of its tip protrudes between the thumb and forefinger (roughly 3–5 mm), allowing the thumb to brush the string immediately after it is picked.

The technique must be performed at one of the appropriate harmonic nodes for the note to sound. For example, to produce a pinch harmonic one octave higher than the fundamental of a string that is stopped at the third fret of a guitar, the string must be plucked halfway between the third fret and the bridge (the 15th fret, as the neck is logarithmic). Other overtones of the same fundamental note may be produced in the same way at other nodes along the string. The point where the string is plucked therefore varies depending on the desired note. Most pinch harmonics have several accessible nodes evenly spaced on the string, so the nodes used in practice are normally around where the string is normally picked (around the pickups on an electric guitar), rather than those above the neck as these are the easiest to access with the picking hand from normal playing.

Overtones with a frequency of a multiple of the intended overtone (i.e., the same note in a higher octave) will share the nodes of the lower overtones, so won't be muted. They will, however, be at a much lower volume and since they are the same note in a higher octave, don't detract from the sound of the note. If the string is pinched at the antinode of the intended overtone, no higher overtones will sound.

A single artificial harmonic overtone is quieter than a normal note, which contains many overtones. For this reason, guitar players often increase the guitar volume to play artificial harmonics. Thicker strings, stronger pickups and adjustment to amplifier settings (increasing gain) are some ways of doing this. Note that when the string vibrates primarily at a single fundamental, it has different volumes through different pickups, depending on the proximity of nodes or antinodes to the pickup. The different overtone volumes are why neck and bridge pickups sound different. If a node is directly over a pickup, little or no sound is heard.