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> How To Get Good Pinch Harmonics
buttmonk
post Sep 8 2007, 09:58 PM
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Hi forum,

Not sure if this is a gear question or technique question but here goes. My main guitar at the moment is a Carvin Bolt+ which I built from a kit. It has SS frets, humbuckers in bridge and neck and Wilkinson trem. The strings (9s) are fairly close to the pups, the coils are about 4mm away from the strings on both pups which is toward the lower limit of what Carvin recommends. The pups are Carvin C22J (7.6 Kohm) and C22B (13.6Kohm) with Alnico magnets. I have a Orange Tiny Terror amp and also Roland Micro Cube

The issue is that I can't seem to get a decent screaming pinch harmonic type sound. What I can get just seems to be a bit weak and does not sustain for very long, and frankly just sounds a bit weird and is not really useable. I am looking for something like what u hear in the rock and metal lessons on the site which is a bit gnarly and sustains for a while. It does not seem to make much difference what amp I use and how much distortion it is dialed into.

Notes plucked normally also don't seem to sustain that long, about 4-5s which I think is not much.

So, what is the cause of the problem? Do I just need new pups? Should they be much closer to strings? Is it the neck pup which should be easier to get pinch harmonics on?

I am in process of building a new guitar based on USA Custom Guitars neck, it will have fixed bridge and BareKnuckle Warpigs. Any guesses if this setup would be better for harmonics?

This post has been edited by buttmonk: Sep 9 2007, 12:02 AM


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erik
post Sep 9 2007, 02:06 AM
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You should use the bridge humbucker pickup and set everything to as much gain, volume and treeble as you can get. If you still can't do it, you might just need more practise.
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buttmonk
post Sep 9 2007, 04:25 AM
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Thanks Erik,

Yes, I am sure my technique is not great. But by way of example, sometimes when I get the harmonic it is really very weak and does not ring out much at all, but then also I can find the sweet spot sometimes and it is better but still not what I hear in the lessons. I have been trying this for a few months, trying different strings and frets, then trying to pick up and down between the neck and bridge pup, and as u know there are some points where it really works and some point where it does not. So I feel that I have at least managed to hit some good ones even if by chance, but it still is not the same. Is it essential to do some good vibrato to get "that sound" or should it come even with the normal straight note?

I can imagine that it would be easier with really hot pickups, but I have not way to tell. I mean, is it totally doable with a Squier strat and and some crappy solid state amp? If so then I must be doing something wrong.

cheers,


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Robin
post Sep 9 2007, 04:42 AM
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With practice, you can do pinch harmonics on a crappy nylon string acoustic guitar smile.gif


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Anomaly
post Sep 9 2007, 04:55 AM
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QUOTE (buttmonk @ Sep 9 2007, 05:25 AM) *
..But by way of example, sometimes when I get the harmonic it is really very weak and does not ring out much at all..


Are your strings very old by any chance? When was the last time you changed them?


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Muris Varajic
post Sep 9 2007, 06:18 AM
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QUOTE (buttmonk @ Sep 9 2007, 05:25 AM) *
Thanks Erik,

Yes, I am sure my technique is not great. But by way of example, sometimes when I get the harmonic it is really very weak and does not ring out much at all, but then also I can find the sweet spot sometimes and it is better but still not what I hear in the lessons. I have been trying this for a few months, trying different strings and frets, then trying to pick up and down between the neck and bridge pup, and as u know there are some points where it really works and some point where it does not. So I feel that I have at least managed to hit some good ones even if by chance, but it still is not the same. Is it essential to do some good vibrato to get "that sound" or should it come even with the normal straight note?

I can imagine that it would be easier with really hot pickups, but I have not way to tell. I mean, is it totally doable with a Squier strat and and some crappy solid state amp? If so then I must be doing something wrong.

cheers,


Vibrato gives it that wild sound,if that's what you need smile.gif
Also,these harmonics can't last as long as regular hit note so no need to worry about duration that much .
Just add more gain/distortion/treble,find a right spot on the string and pinch it...
Higher strings are harder to get them so use strings from G to low E until you get it fine. smile.gif


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buttmonk
post Sep 9 2007, 03:22 PM
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QUOTE
Are your strings very old by any chance? When was the last time you changed them?


They are about 20 hrs in at the moment, D'addario 9s (EXL120). I was thinking of changing to 10s to see if that would help.

QUOTE
With practice, you can do pinch harmonics on a crappy nylon string acoustic guitar


Yeps:) It not so much the doing of them, more what they sound like when amplified i.e. not really screaming and standing out.

OK, thanks all for ur constructive feedback:) I will just stick at it and see if I can get some improvement in the tone of the harmonics, tho I still think this may be partly a gear thing. I will try moving the bridge pup closer to the strings as well. The next lesson I will be doing is Garbriel's latest which has a few nice harmonics at the end if I am not mistaken.

Rgds sustain, can anyone comment if 4-5s is about right for a normally fretted note (not talking about harmonics anymore)?

This post has been edited by buttmonk: Sep 9 2007, 03:37 PM


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fkalich
post Sep 9 2007, 05:32 PM
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QUOTE (Robin @ Sep 8 2007, 10:42 PM) *
With practice, you can do pinch harmonics on a crappy nylon string acoustic guitar smile.gif



Correct. People learning these can be mislead when they here someone demonstrating these. Invariably the demonstrating guitarist has the tone settings like fingernails over a blackboard, which makes them very easy to hit. At first I thought it about impossible to get them with gibson 490R/498T pickups (come on SG, Studio, Classic LP). Over time though, I found I could get them.

I don't agree that you should necessarily do them with the bridge pickup. I find that it is just about as easy with the neck pickup, and the tone is often better to my ears. What I have found though is that if you use both pickups, they tend to disappear, something about that cancels them out.

As indicated, you have to be a bit accurate to get them with normal settings, to get them easily, you have to set the tone that will make your cats go into a frenzy.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Sep 9 2007, 05:53 PM
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Goliath
post Sep 12 2007, 03:54 AM
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My adventure with pinch harmonics:

I play mostly Ibanez guitars w/ HSH pickup configurations, which is nice because you have a ton of places to use as reference points.

First thing I found made it a LOT easier for me was using a harder pick, and the best pick I found to do them (playing in CGCFAD tuning) was a Dunlop Jazz III. They made it much easier for me to hit em.

I turn the plectrum pretty much sideways so I'm hitting it with the side of the pick and my thumb and the pick hit at the same time. On the top 3 strings the sweet spot where I get the highest noise is just on the bridge side of my neck humbucker and the bottom 3 (strings 1 2 3) it's on the neck side of my middle single coil (just on that edge). On both IBZs those are the sweet spots.

A great riff to practice using the 3rd fret on your low E string is the "crunch riff" from "Laid to Rest" by Lamb of God, it starts with the "duh duh duh WEEOW duh duh duh WEEEOW" if you can play it on the 3rd fret of your low E, you can play it just about anywhere because that's where the technique seemed most critical to me .

Synopsis: Use a Jazz 3 / fatter pick. Experiment with picking the string in different areas until you find it.

Another great riff to practice pulling out pinches on the fly is the break down after the solo in "Cowboys from Hell" by Pantera.

The intro to "Rainbow in the Dark" is good to build you up if you have trouble getting them at faster speeds.


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Pavel
post Sep 12 2007, 04:54 AM
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Gear is not important! It's how and where you hit it that matters when playing artificial harmonics. Fkalich is right. You can hit 'em anywhere.


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buttmonk
post Sep 12 2007, 02:31 PM
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QUOTE (Goliath @ Sep 12 2007, 05:54 AM) *
My adventure with pinch harmonics:
...


Thanks dude, I will try out some of ur suggestions. By coincidence LoG is a favourite band of mine at the mo, just not really up to playin their stuff yet:) I am using Dunlop tortex 1mm pick.


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Goliath
post Sep 12 2007, 08:36 PM
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Keep at it man, you might give that riff I'm talking about a shot, LtR is not that difficult a song to play overall, you might surprise yourself!


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buttmonk
post Sep 16 2007, 03:56 AM
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QUOTE (Pavel @ Sep 12 2007, 06:54 AM) *
Gear is not important! It's how and where you hit it that matters when playing artificial harmonics. Fkalich is right. You can hit 'em anywhere.


As an update, I today re-wired my H-H Carvin Bolt+ and have removed the tone control and associated electrical components, this leaves only the vol pot and 5-way swtch in the path of the signal (apart form the pups of course:) ). This seems to have freed up the sound a surprising amount, and it seems to have improved sustain quite alot too, more lively. I wired it so that I can have both the humbuckers in series with each other which adds a bit more drive. Anyway, the result of this seems to be that it drives the amp harder and the guitar seems to pick up more of the harmonics than before, now I am much near getting that screaming harmonic sound I was after.

In short, I certainly agree that getting the harmonic in the first place is all about technique, but, to get that classic overdriven scream, it is at least partly to do with gear....


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