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Old 15th April 2004, 07:37 AM   #1
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Default Artificial Harmonics

Well.. just the other day i had a guitar lesson and was taught artificial harmonics. For those that dont know, it's when you have your thumb right near the edge of the pick, so right after you pluck the string your thumb hits it. I guess it produces a note either one or 2 octaves above the original (good guitarists can control this somehow). Anyone have a half-simple explanation of why this is... or what harmonics are?
Thanks..

Mike
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Old 15th April 2004, 07:53 AM   #2
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Harmonics of a string are always there.

However when you just touch the string at say the 12th fret,
(don't press it down) all the harmonics are damped except
the one that has a null at the point, the second.

(Strictly speaking all the odd harmonics are damped and all the
even ones are not at the 12th fret but lets not get too technical,
unless someone wants me to ..... )

See if you can find the 3rd harmonic by touching above the 7th
fret, the 4th by touching above the 5th fret, and the higher ones
which don't really correspond to a fret.

Once you got the hang of open string harmonics try finding
the same harmonics by using the same distance from the
bridge as the are from the nut.

Once you've got the hang of these you nearly there. Try to play
the 4th harmonic near the bridge just using your right (or left
in my case) hand by touching the point with the edge of your
thumb and plucking behind it.

Artificial harmonics are simply doing the above whilst fretting
the string with the other hand, so you can now produce
harmonics of any note, not just the open strings.
Of course as you change frets the position of the harmonics
move as well so its not an easy thing to do at will.

You can also play harmonics by plucking the note and
then touching the string later for the effect you describe.

sreten.
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