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> Upstroke Pinch Harmonics - Wtf ?, How ? Let me show you
Ben Higgins
post Mar 19 2015, 12:12 PM
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You ever wondered how people like Joe Satriani get those really squealy pinch harmonics on high notes ? Have you tried to do it yourself using the normal pinch harmonic method and found it doesn't work so well on higher frets ?

Well, maybe you need to go 'the other way'.

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I'm talking about using upstrokes !

Using a downstroke, a pinch harmonic works by striking the string with your pick and then lightly touching it with a part of your thumb so that it produces that chiming effect. If you add vibrato it turns into more of a squeal. Depending on where along the string you pick, the tone changes from a lower, deeper harmonic near the neck end to a higher, thinner harmonic towards the bridge.

If you try this method using an upstroke you'll notice that you can't utilise your thumb to produce the harmonic effect after striking the string because the thumb is moving up and away from it. So, what other part of our hand can we use to produce that effect ? The answer is your index finger. It's holding the pick anyway so we just have to shift the grip somewhat so that part of the fingertip protrudes from the side of the pointed pick end. The ideal situation is that your fingertip touches the string just as your picking it.

If you grip your pick in the 'normal' way, with a bent index finger and the pick resting on the SIDE of your finger, then you'll have to straighten your index finger so that the pick is gripped between the pad of your finger and thumb. In other words, the way that we DON'T teach people to grip the pick is the way you want to hold it for this technique.

To help you get an upstroke pinch harmonic, you'll have to find the sweet spot along the string to pick. If you're fretting the 12th fret, E string, then you'll want to pick the string somewhere close to the end of the guitar neck. As you move upwards from the 12th fret (trying each fret in turn) you'll notice that you'll need to move the pick away from the neck towards the bridge to maintain that sweet spot. However, the movements are very small. You've got to imagine that the guitar neck is extended for another octave but of course the frets will be so much smaller by then.

If you look at the guitar neck, an octave on one string takes up a greater distance from the 1st fret to the 12th fret than it does from the 12th fret to the 24th fret (or 22nd). You've got to imagine that this trend continues off the neck along the string. So, you'll have to do a bit of trial and error to find the sweet spot for the upstroke pinch harmonics, ok ?

As an example of this technique in action, I'm using it around 1:50 - 2:00. Notice how I change my pick grip as I move from the riff to the lead lines. I don't normally hold the pick like this as most of you eagle eyed viewers will notice but for this technique you'll see I'm holding the pick between the rear pad of my index finger and thumb. This is key if you want the flesh of your finger to touch the string, producing the harmonic.



So, if you like your high notes to scream and squeal like a piggie, now you know what to do !

I'm so good to you, aren't I ? When do I get the knighthood ? Could somebody write to HRH for me ? Anyone.........?


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AdamB
post Mar 19 2015, 12:29 PM
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Never thought to try doing it the other way, will try this when I get home tonight!

Another thing I'd be interested in is how Satch does that harmonics where he reaches over with his left hand to control the vibrato arm. I haven't been able to figure out how he makes it sound the way he does.
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Sensible Jones
post Mar 19 2015, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE (AdamB @ Mar 19 2015, 12:29 PM) *
Never thought to try doing it the other way, will try this when I get home tonight!

Another thing I'd be interested in is how Satch does that harmonics where he reaches over with his left hand to control the vibrato arm. I haven't been able to figure out how he makes it sound the way he does.

Adam, all he's doing is hitting a Pinch Harmonic on an open string with his right hand whilst the left works the trem.

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AdamB
post Mar 20 2015, 09:22 PM
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ah I see. I can never quite seem to hit the harmonic right, though. I'll keep practising!
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