Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

No harmonic on the fith fret ??

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by robt57, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    No harmonic on the fifth fret ??

    I changed out PUPs in my Home Spun Nashville Tele. I originally built it 5 years ago, it was my first. [build, not Tele] ;)


    Last night I put in a different Neck PUP, a MIJ 1990ish [7.6k.]
    I did other stuff too, moved the Middle to the Bridge and put in a different Middle. [pulled the Fralins for one on the bench]

    I tune sometimes with the 5th / 7th fret harmonics, well a lot really. I went to do it this morning and there is no harmonic on the 5th fret with the neck PUP, it is there with the other PUPs or a combination of the neck and either the mid of bridge [5 way has bridge in the middle/3 position]. And also it is there with it unplugged, the intonation is set well.

    The neck cover is grounded to the back of the POT just like before, as is the black wire.

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008

  2. esteban

    esteban Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 4, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    The location of the neck pickup on a Tele is right below a node on the wave made by a 5th fret harmonic. Theoretically, there should be no vibration of the string at a node, so the neck pickup won't pick anything up. You can unplug the guitar, or put it on the bridge pickup, play a harmonic right above the neck pickup, and it will be the same as a 5th fret harmonic.

  3. bradpdx

    bradpdx Friend of Leo's

    Jul 16, 2006
    Portland, OR
    It was ALWAYS like this, my friend. And it always shall be.

    The pickup does not matter, it has to do with placement. By definition, the neck PUP is placed where the 24th fret would be, or 1/4 the scale length of the strings from the bridge. The 5th fret is also at a point 1/4 the scale length of the strings, only measured from the nut.

    When you do a 5th fret harmonic, your finger STOPS the vibration of the strings at the 1/4 length point. This in turn causes vibration at the OTHER 1/4 length position to cease as well, due to symmetry.

    That point, as indicated above, it right where the neck PUP sits. So by definition, there is no output on a neck PUP when doing a 5th fret harmonic. The only exception would be for neck PUPs that are placed elsewhere and not at the 24th fret.


  4. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    1st, thanks for the reply.

    Same pickguard, different pickup. I tend to be on the neck PUP mostly on most of my guitars. I can't believe I never caught this before. ;)

    You know I am going to go plug in all my other guitars and see, right? :eek:

  5. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    OK, Not Strats, but both Teles. I guess I have been playing my Teles a lot more and other guitars less. This place has that effect I guess.

    And of course you are right, the other 1/4 point [harmonic] is directly over the Tele neck PU pole pieces. So if you have a mini or otherwise bucker in the neck position...

    My one Strat is H/S/H. It was S/S/H but I put a HBer at the neck too.
    I did the mod on the route and pick guard myself, so I know the neck coil of the HB on that one is in the same place as the SC was. I didn't bother taking the other one with S/S/S out of the gig bag.

  6. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    BTW, anyone ever see a Tung Oil burst before. That was all by hand, by yours truely. [good thing it is a little picture ;)]

    [I mean the picture of the Nashville Tele in my first post.]

  7. bo

    bo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    One of my favorite "dumb guitar tricks" is (with reasonable amount of OD) to hit a harmonic on the 5th fret and bend it behind the nut while flipping the pickup selector to get a rising and falling high pitched note. :oops:

  8. Tele-evangelist

    Tele-evangelist TDPRI Member

    Dec 31, 2007
    Vancouver Canada
    making it work for you

    I love it when someone takes something that can easily be thought of as something to avoid or is at fault and puts a spin on it and uses it in a creative way... that technique is the first thing I'm going to do when I next plug in and power up. Thanks bo.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008

  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX

    Side note: The 7th fret harmonic is impure and the guitar cannot be accurately tuned in this manner. IF one's guitar is well-intonated, it can be proven by comparison with three other methods.
    For experimentation, tune the 6th string 5th fret harmonic to the 5th string 7th fret harmonic.
    Then, hit the 6thh string, 12th fret harmonic and compare this note to the
    5th string, 7th fret fretted note. Play the 6th string, 5th fret A and compare it to the 5th string open. HIt the open 6th string E and compare it to the 5th string 7th fret fretted E. All of the 5th string notes will be flat to the to the
    6th string notes.
    Now, tune the guitar using any of those 3 methods that you used for comparison or with an electronic tuner if you want. Those 3 methods will each yield notes that match in any of the other methods. Then, if you compare the 6th string, 5th fret harmonic to the 5th string 7th fret harmonic, the 5th string harmonic will be sharp to the 6th string.
    The reason for this is that when the scale is divided into when you hit the 7th fret harmonic, the note is not accurate. Dividing the scale into
    1/4(5th fret harmonic) or 1/2(12th fret harmonic) yields a pure or accurate frequency.
    I know that a lot of people use the two harmonics to 'tune'. IT is an easy and hands-free way to have the notes sounding simultaneously. Too bad that it doesn't work due to the laws of physics. When I first tried this method in about 1973 after reading about it in Guitar Player, I was not impressed. IT didn't work for me. About 8 years ago I read an article by a physicist about tuning in a steel guitar magazine. This was the first time I had read/heard an explanation of why I didn't like the method.
    IF your guitar is well-set-up and intonated properly with fresh strings, the experiments outlined above are ear-opening. IF the gutiar is not well-set-up and intonated with fresh strings, it doesn' matter anyway, then does it?

  10. bradpdx

    bradpdx Friend of Leo's

    Jul 16, 2006
    Portland, OR
    A stock Strat neck PUP is located identically to the Tele neck PUP and exhibits the same behavior. If you are using humbuckers, they detect a longer length of string (because of the 2 side-by-side coils) and may overcome this problem a bit. That is why you can hear the 5th fret harmonic on your particular Strat. On my Strat with a regular single coil neck PUP, the 5th fret harmonic is equally non-existent on both guitars as it should be.

  11. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    Well, I assumed and was wrong. The Strat I put the HB at the neck is a Schecter. The one HB coil is exactly where the SC was.

    BUT, I just went down and took out my WD Alder Strat which has a Fender 21 fret neck and a Fender PG. That one is in fact exactly as you say.

    I guess on this model, the VS. Schecter was more concerned with the space between the neck a the pickup looking correct even though it has a 22 fret neck. Which is why the PUP is not exactly there.

  12. bradpdx

    bradpdx Friend of Leo's

    Jul 16, 2006
    Portland, OR
    I don't tune with harmonics, but I use them when I play.

    For the higher harmonics, I use a Jim Campilongo trick. If I am on the neck PUP, I quickly shift to the bridge PUP (or both PUPs) for the harmonics then switch back to the neck PUP when I am done. This creates some exciting dynamic changes and works very well; you just have to act quickly.

  13. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Bakersfield Ca.
    Teles dont do 5th fret harmonics on the neck pickup except for 1 model of Tele and thats the JD Tele. JD had the neck pickup moved just a tad closer to the bridge taking it out of the 24th fret area and it makes the harmonics work again.

    But other than the JD none of the other Tele will do a harmonic at the 5th fret while on the neck pickup.

  14. bo

    bo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    That's true of the Custom Shop Jerry Donahue and the later JDs (the MIJ version of the Jerry Donahue). The early JD's neck pickup is under the node and there are no harmonics to be found.

  15. Flannel Pat

    Flannel Pat Tele-Holic

    Jul 25, 2007
    So is it possible to, if you have a Telecaster routed for a neck humbucker, to cut an Esquire pickguard out so the neck pickup is closer to the heel? Or is there more to it on the JD guitar?

  16. marsopilami

    marsopilami Tele-Meister

    Mar 13, 2008
    surrey,bc canada
    just move the pickup back youll have to buy a or cut your own pickguard with the pickup slightly back. i dont have this problem with my barden tele but its a custom and i actually think the builder moved the neck pickup back a bit im not sure it looks the same. my g&l asat z-3 picks up the 5th fret harmonic so its definatly where you place the neck pickup.

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