Pinch Harmonics

Hello fellow Hackers! I hope you are all keeping safe, healthy and getting plenty of axe time :guitar::love_you_gesture:

What’s your tips for mastering pitch harmonics?

They sound brilliant but I’m am utter tonk at them and seek your guidance.

Many thanks for your help.

All the very best


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Do you mean Pinch harmonics? If so , it’s all in the picking hand action and kind of hard to describe. But you pluck the string with your pick and immediately roll your thumb down and back into the string to kind of pinch off the note and when you get it right it will sound awesome and you will over use it for ages!


Some time ago another fellow Havker asked about them as well, here’s what I wrote then:

"I use my thumb for that: I either twist my wrist a bit outwards or just hold the pick in a way that the very tip of my thumb hangs over the pick slightly and when I pick I let the string touch the tip of my thumb. Basically the same idea as with the 5th, 7th etc fret harmonics: you touch the vibrating string at half, quarter, eighth etc of it’s length thus producing the corresponding element of the overtone series. the only difference is that the harmonics come in a “mirror image” way: when produced with the left hand, the farther you move from the bridge towards the headstock , the further you go in the series, whereas doing it with the right hand above the pickup area, the closer you go to the bridge and farther away from the headstock, the further you go in the series.

You have to experiment with it though, as I found that I need to adjust the technique depending on what guitar/pickup I’m using. Some do well with the slightest of touch, some will sound better when I dig in, too much gain might make them sound quite unpleasant for me etc. Oh, and fresh strings always make it easier. :wink:"


Remember though, the technique itself is independent of the amp. You can get a pinch harmonic on an acoustic guitar or unplugged electric, it just won’t scream in the same way. Also , where it differentiates from natural harmonics is that you can kind of squeeze them out anywhere on the fretboard. Just wanted to make that clear for the beginners!


Agree with what you said about the amp, the “too much gain” part might’ve been misleading.

I think I understand what you mean by “anywhere on the freatboard”, but to be precise, you are creating the pinch/artificial harmonic with your right hand above the pickup area, not on the fretboard. But it is true - and I believe this is what you mean - that using the technique you can isolate the overtones of any note on the fretboard.

Don’t hate me, I know I am splitting hairs… :upside_down_face:


Many thanks for this guidance! Will get the practice started after work and see how I get on.

Have a great week all!!


I seem to have the sweet spot on my guitar to play a pinch harmonics.
Only seems to work over my centre pickup. Good fun though with shed loads of gain.


John :love_you_gesture::guitar::beers::beers:

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My tip, imagine frets on the pickups area. Look around for the specific pitch you want out of the harmonic.

Happy playing :smiley: .

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Keep looking, there are more. Selecting the bridge pickup seems to bring the sound of the harmonics more easy as well.

Pinched harmonics became part of my regular playing after learning to do them. When they are put at the right place with the right pitch, they really “sing” and improve expression (for the lack of better words :slight_smile: ).

Don’t forget finger vibrato, bending or whammy bar use with long pinched harmonics.

Pinch harmonic is one of the few things that your equipment (pickup, string and amp) could make quite the huge difference. For example can pinch on an acoustic guitar but you obv won’t hear much of it lol

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I find a compressor helps I use a boss CS3 . It can be tricky to get them just right every time I find right hand position is extremely important so you can hit the right spot with the pick (node) to get it to really squeal.

The song 18 and life has a few that drove me mad to get them to sound just how I want . Some are easier than others to repeat 100% every time .