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Lyle Ronglien >> Guitar Essentials >>

Guitar Essentials

Part 4 - Harmonics

Lyle: This lesson is about harmonics, those cool chime sounds that you can make on your guitar, whether it's on acoustic or electric. If you're going to use an electric for this lesson, use the bridge pickup. It works better for picking up the harmonics.  The "natural" harmonic is simple to make.

Lyle: Strike the note while the fret-hand lightly touches the string directly over the fret indicated.

Lyle: You can use harmonics to help you tune.

wes: yeah I find harmonic tuning really helpful. Especially on electric

Lyle: I find it helps you hear the notes a little better.

wes: exactly

Lyle: All the metal heads love to do "pinched" harmonics.

wes: :) :) :)

Lyle: The note is fretted normally and a harmonic is produced by adding the edge of the thumb or the tip of the index finger of the pick hand to the normal pick attack.

Lyle: You can also tap the strings with your picking hand to produced...."tapped" harmonics:

wes: I find them very hard to do consistantly.

wes: Like sometimes they sound good, but sometimes they are very dull sounding

Steve: when tuning with harmonics, it sometimes make a vibrating sound on my guitar

Lyle: Right. Slow down the vibrations by tuning one of the strings.

Steve: does that mean my intonation is off?

Lyle: Once the sound waves come to a stop, you're in tune

Lyle: Could be, or you're just out of tune.

Steve: ok

wes: I like that tapping harmonics video. I could never understand how to do it until now

Lyle: There are basic points along each string that hold harmonics. The 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 12 frets of each string have harmonics that stand out easily.

Lyle: Here's these harmonics on the 6th string:

zz: hard to do on an acoustic

Lyle: When you produce these harmonics, the resulting pitch is noted above the TABs.

wes: haha yes. The 12 fret one is easy on acoustic

Lyle: Use the bridge pickup if you're using an electric guitar.

Lyle: Here's the resulting pitches for all the same harmonic points on the 5th string:

Lyle: Here's the pitches off these same points on the 4th string:

zz: do you typically play that much using these?

Lyle: I do!

Lyle: In just a minute I'll show you how to play an Em pentatonic scale all with harmonics.

Lyle: Here's the G string harmonics:

Lyle: Here's the pitches on the 2nd string:

Lyle: And here's the 1st string:

Lyle: There are many notes that can be played by making harmonics all over the string, not just on these frets. Here's a video to expain it:

Lyle: You can also make a couple simple chords using open string harmonics:

Lyle: Here's a cool exercise using harmonics. This makes the notes of an Em pentatonic scale:

Lyle: There are more harmonic tricks out there. A vibrato arm is a good tool to make it easier and to prevent ugly sounds from the pick. Push the vibrato bar down and hit/touch the string at one of it's harmonic points while it's slack. Then pull it back to normal position.

zz: cool.......really like that

Lyle: Here comes a video of the whammy bar in use:

Lyle: Well, that's about enough for this lesson about harmonics.

Steve: great, thanks Lyle

Lyle: I'm sure I didn't cover everything there is about harmonics, but it's a good start for the student that wasn't aware of these cool sounds.

Lyle: Have a good night and see you next week!


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