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Pinch Harmonics?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Petary791, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    What are Pinch Harmonics and how do I play them? I know one part in the Master of Puppets guitar solo Kirk Omelette does some pinch harmonics but that's guitar ( :eyebrow: ). I saw Cliff Burton do some wierd like tapping harmonic kind of things at the end of Anestesia (the really high part,) and I was wondering if that's what they are. How do I play these?
  2. It's very hard to explain and very hard to do on a bass, but what I do is I lay my thumb on the top of my string and use my fingernail to "pinch" the string. Move it up and down the areas because you can get different harmonics from differnet areas.
  3. Pinch harmonics are artificial harmonics played where regular harmonics cannot be played. It has a similar sound.

    What you do is find the fret you want to play the harmonic on, press down on it like you are playing a normal note. Then, find the approximent half way point from the fret you're playing to the bridge. Place your thumb laying there on it's side. Then pluck the string LEAVING YOUR THUMB ON THE STRING. It takes some practice to get it right, so don't get frusturated.

    Hope that helps.
  4. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I tried to explain how natural harmonics work in this thread (and there are great explanations by other TB members also):


    You should understand that first to get confidence with pinch harmonics. Assuming you read and understood the explanations in the above thread, so pinch harmonics work like this:

    Natural harmonics are based on the full length of the string (from bridge to nut). If you want to play them using your right hand alone, you can use your thumb for locating the nodes (by touching the string, not pressing it) and use your index and/or middle finger to pluck the string. Your right thumb becomes the left hand finger you use for getting the nodes, so your left hand is now free and you can use it to "trick the string": If you fret a C on the G string, 5th fret, for instance, the "harmonic nodes' relationship" is transposed by that interval, because the string length has been shortened. On open strings, the middle point (2nd harmonic) is on the 12th fret. By fretting on the 5th fret you are transposing the whole harmonics' layout by five frets. So, when you play artificial (pinch) harmonics, you right hand must follow your left hand's movements (position shifts). Playing a major scale with pinch harmonics is a good way to start getting used to the technique.
  5. xpcapox


    Nov 19, 2004
    so pinch harmonics=false harmonics?
  6. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Oh, i'm so silly! I figured this out because of me just being ADD or something a while ago; I just didn't know it was called pinch harmonics!

  7. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

  8. Yes, pinch harmonics is just another way of saying "artificial harmonics"
  9. thats not really true, there is a big difference between pinched harmonics and artificial harmonics. you can play a pinched harmonic in the same place as a real harmonic, just without your left hand down. a false harmonic doesnt have to be pinched, for instance you can press a fret down with your index finger on your left hand, then touch the string 5 frets up with your pinkie, and if you pluck it, itll sound a harmonic 2 octaves higher than where you placed your index finger. dont just always assume that a pinched harmonic has to be false.