How to get Pinch harmonics to really squeal on lower strings?

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KVRist
222 posts since 27 May, 2003

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:23 pm

With all due respect, some of the replies may be over complicating the matter.

You can literary get artificial harmonics with your picking hand in any place on any string. It's all about touching a string with a part of a thumb for a very short moment after you have picked a note. It has to be a very rapid movement, so guitar pick touches the string, then your thumb then you make a move so there is no contact, so you don't kill the harmonic. If you are doing it right, it can be made without any distortion so, amount of gain has nothing to do with it. You can make it be heard on unplugged guitar, it is just not loud as it is with distortion. Also it is a bit easier to make if you pick at certain places on the string, but it is not needed at all if you are doing it right. Try to learn how to do it by making sort of "flanger" effect by making every successive note on a low E string a pinch harmonic. Pick and touch with thumb one note and keep doing it until you start to get harmonics. It just has to kind of click for you what kind of hand movement works best. One thing that may make it harder for you is if you are using big soft plectrum (pick). I do feel it is a bit easier to make if you are using something like Jazz III pick because thumb is really close to the string when picking and it is bit easier to pick string and successively to mute it. But again, people are doing it with all kind of picks all the time.

Rad Grandad
33182 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:06 am

correction...it isnt the volume that is lacking without distortion, it is the sustain which is very important to the dynamics of the harmonic imho

KVRer

Topic Starter

29 posts since 28 Jul, 2020

Post Tue May 04, 2021 9:38 am

Vervil wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:23 pm
With all due respect, some of the replies may be over complicating the matter.

You can literary get artificial harmonics with your picking hand in any place on any string. It's all about touching a string with a part of a thumb for a very short moment after you have picked a note. It has to be a very rapid movement, so guitar pick touches the string, then your thumb then you make a move so there is no contact, so you don't kill the harmonic. If you are doing it right, it can be made without any distortion so, amount of gain has nothing to do with it. You can make it be heard on unplugged guitar, it is just not loud as it is with distortion. Also it is a bit easier to make if you pick at certain places on the string, but it is not needed at all if you are doing it right. Try to learn how to do it by making sort of "flanger" effect by making every successive note on a low E string a pinch harmonic. Pick and touch with thumb one note and keep doing it until you start to get harmonics. It just has to kind of click for you what kind of hand movement works best. One thing that may make it harder for you is if you are using big soft plectrum (pick). I do feel it is a bit easier to make if you are using something like Jazz III pick because thumb is really close to the string when picking and it is bit easier to pick string and successively to mute it. But again, people are doing it with all kind of picks all the time.
Thanks this is good advise!, I've actually improved (I think) and am getting some good results since I originally posted. I've actually been experimenting with different locations and positions and now can get fairly decent squealies at will on all three guitars I have access to. I have a lot of room for improvement though. I think I stumbled on the "flanger effect" trick you mentioned and that actually helped me learn the positions on the low E where I can get a good pinch harmonic. Jazz IIIs also helped since the shape and firmness is perfect, I feel my picking is more precise with these.

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