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"Side of the pick" or "pinch harmonics"

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by soulgeezer, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 5, 2006
    Sinatra's World
    I can do both on pretty much any guitar, electric or acoustic, clean or dirty, and have the notes stand out as equal to the plucked/strummed notes that I play. I used to think it was a common ability, until recently another guitarist pointed out that he needed distortion to do it. I started wondering and asking around, and it seems like doing the "pinch harmonics" thing is harder than I thought. It's always come easy to me on whatever guitar I play. How about you?
     

  2. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    I do it automatically and too much. It's become my default. Sometimes I have to remind myself to stop doing it. So I guess I'm the other end of the spectrum. Not sure why I started, just fooling around with getting the high harmonics doing it I guess. It seems to be the combo of the pick and a touch of my thumb.
     
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  3. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 5, 2006
    Sinatra's World
    Can you do it without a pick? I really confuse people when I do it on acoustic while fingerpicking! (Thumb and forefinger together, using the nail on my forefinger in place of the pick.)
     
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  4. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    Yes I can, but fingerpicking only I dont tend to. I just tried it though and can. For me it's thumb and middle finger.
     
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  5. Chud

    Chud Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Dec 30, 2010
    New York City
    Huh, never tried it without a pick. I guess that's on the docket for testing today. Lol
     
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  6. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Doctor of Teleocity

    Apr 28, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Billy Gibbons first got me into it, and people freaked out when I would nail all of the outro solo on LaGrange. I didn't know that it was hard for others to do.

    Then Zakk Wylde joined Ozzy's band, and the song Crazy Babies mesmerized me. For the next few years I got into a Zakk Wylde phase and was WAY over playing the harmonics (but it was cool at the time).

    Like you, I can do it with/without a pick, clean or OD, and on acoustic. I rarely have a call for it any more, unless I'm covering a song that specifically has that part. I think Zakk sort of ruined that "trick" for everyone who came after him.

    Oh... and I learned how to do Joe Satriani's dive-bomb harmonic, where he plunks on an open string for the harmonic and reaches over the neck with his left hand to make it bomb with the trem arm.
     
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  7. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    May 9, 2005
    CHICAGO, IL.
    I can do it, but not since switching to a thumb pick several years ago. That’s okay with me, as I rarely did it anyway. If I join a ZZ Top cover band I can go back to using a regular pick. Or a peso or whatever the dude uses.
     

  8. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Doctor of Teleocity

    Apr 28, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Here’s what I’ve been using for a while now:

    915D1DD2-581C-406B-8816-C5D052081544.jpeg
     

  9. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    56
    Oct 22, 2007
    Tamworth, 'straya.
    I can do it also. I can clearly remember being at my guitarist's place (I was a bass player at the time) and fooling around on a guitar and doing it. Peter the guitarist turned to his wife and said "He's getting harmonics on any fret." I don't think the wife quite knew what he was talking about. :lol:
     
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  10. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    Very difficult for me. I cannot do it on the low strings, or on a downstroke.
     

  11. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Been doing it for years. It's kind of like learning to do a taxi whistle with fingers in your mouth. Once you know how there's nothing to it,
    but there's a lot of flubs and misses until somehow you get it right. You can generally explain how it's done to someone, but then they need to just
    keep messing with it until they can do it.
     

  12. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    I've never played anything that had it...although I definitely thought some distortion or OD was required to get the effect.
     

  13. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    May 9, 2005
    CHICAGO, IL.
    Hey, I have one of those!

    Don’t have it in front of me, so can’t be sure it’s the same, but a co-worker bought it as a gift last year.

    Very nice of him, and a thoughtful gift for a guitar player, but unfortunately I don’t like the way coins sound as picks.
     

  14. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Doctor of Teleocity

    Apr 28, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    I can't use a quarter, or anything with a "coin edge"... but this one, since it is shaped like a pick, and rounded over at the point... it works really well for me. I've been using it for about 5 years. I even use it on acoustic some, when I really need to stand out rather than blend in. I've got two others as well, a 1971 Peso, and something else... can't remember. But the British penny (pictured above) is the best.

    The down side - it eats up strings.
     

  15. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Yes, you can do it on an acoustic guitar or an unplugged electric guitar.
     
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  16. ScribbleSomething

    ScribbleSomething Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    443
    Mar 12, 2016
    San Antonio
    This was one of the first “advanced” skills I got it the late 80s. It was very necessary to the music of the day. I got it from an article in Guitar for the Practicing Musician.

    Back when I used a pick i would make it happen instinctually and there were frets that it I couldn’t do it.

    Besides the mechanics of the trick, I think the biggest problem people have is that it has to be executed at a different place on he string depending on what it fretted.

    Now that I mostly play with my fingers I’m not always doing the pick-hold strumming finger position. So I worked out a way that I lightly touch/hit the string with my thumb knuckle while plucking the string with my index. It works out well from the slide player right hand thumb string mute thing.

    That’s when it really sunk in that placement in relation to fretting matters a lot.
     

  17. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

    Nov 5, 2013
    NJ
    I do it. I do use my fingernail with the pick, but I wouldn;t want to try it without. I have enough nail problems.
     

  18. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Doctor of Teleocity

    Apr 28, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Also, I learned harp harmonics a few years ago, from watching Phil Keaggy videos. That's a really cool thing to do when you're arpeggiating a chord in a higher register, with a Hendrixy cleanish tone.
     

  19. Vlad McManwich

    Vlad McManwich TDPRI Member

    Age:
    30
    43
    May 19, 2010
    Winnipeg
    When I played a Les Paul I couldn't stop the pinch harmonics because of the way may hand rested on the saddles. With a Tele I have to work a little harder to get them going.
     

  20. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    I havr guitars thst I can do it on and others its a challenge.
    Don't know whats up with thst put expect its the pups
    In any case I can't say it comes naturally.
     

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