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Silly dispute with guitarist

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Davidoc, Apr 20, 2003.

  1. Alright, I was explaining a little bit around harmonics and their application an a guitar to a guitarist I know. He's claiming that when you do a "pick squeal" where you just put your thumb down on the string before the pick to mute the string, you're actually playing a harmonic regardless of where you do this. He says that this is a harmonic because of "high gain"

    He wants me to post this to uh prove himself right. :rolleyes:

    Can someone help me explain this better to him? Thanks!
  2. it sounds to me as if your guitarist is describing artificial harmonics in which case he is correct.
  3. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yeah, I'm not sure exactly what you mean there - but I think the guitarist might be right. You can do high squeals on guitar using harmonics.
  4. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    combine them with insane distortion and a wah and you've got yerself some crazy stuff.
  5. But don't harmonics only occur on specific places? He's saying it doens't matter where you put the thumb down, just putting it down anywhere produces a harmonic. Is this right?
  6. BassWizard55

    BassWizard55 Guest

    Dec 21, 2002
    Rome, Ga
    Davy, just end the arguement by kicking him in the balls. That'll teach them guitarist.
  7. Pick squealing and insane distortion. . . Are you kids shredding '80s hair-metal again?

    For shame.
  8. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Well, yes they are specific places, but there are a lot of them. So if you don't care what note you get, then to an extent, he's right. But it's clearer in some places than others.
  9. No. You can play them anywhere. Look into Portrait of Tracy.

    It's just that harmonics sound BEST at 4, 7, 9, 12, 19th frets, etc.
  10. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Once again Garrett saves the day with a large blast of ignorance.
  11. to paraphrase...

    arguing with a guitarist is like running in the special olympics. even if you win you're still....


    let's leave it at that for the sake of political correctness.
  12. you're talking about two different things: natural and artificial, or "pinch," harmonics.
  13. :D

    I laughed out loud because of this one.
  14. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    Natural harmonics: The harmonics that everyone is familiar with like 5th, 7th, 12th, etc. You place your finger lightly over the desired fret and pluck the string.

    Artificial Harmonics: Fret a note and then play a corresponding harmonic. i.e. Fret the second fret and then play a harmonic over the fourteenth. Since it is 12 frets up, it is an octave above the fretted note. If you played the seventh fret then it would correspond to a fifth fret natural harmonic in that it would sound two octaves above the fretted note.

    Pinch Harmonics: Get an amp with too much gain and a guitar. Play a note and then immediately touch the string, deadening the main note, but letting the overtones ring out, thus making an annoying high pitch squeal.
  15. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
  16. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    So did I. :D

    This is my new favorite phrase. :p
  17. Get out a physics book and read about nodes on a wave.
  18. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I'm pretty sure that 'pinch harmonics' are produced in the same way as 'artificial harmonics', by touching the string at one of the harmonic nodes.

    However, whereas a bassist using an artificial harmonic is usually aiming for a definite pitch, the hair metal guitarist just wants a squeally sound. The solution is to add lots of distortion to the sound, which will emphasise the harmonic content while at the same time obscuring the clarity of the sound. Now touch the string lightly and wail.....

    Get the guitarist to fret a note and then pluck at various points along the string - he'll find that he'll get a range of effects from a clear harmonic to a deadened note (with plenty of squeal in between) depending on where the string is touched.

    In answer to the original question, you can't get a 'harmonic' at any point on the string but a 'high gain' sound will make it much easier to hear the multiple nodes that do exist.

  19. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Naah, man, get out a jazz mag and scratch yoda behind the ears...

    Anyway, your guitarist is right, but he is a guitarist, so just give in. They're always right because they play the coolest instrument in the world.... just look at the guy in the "Perfect Pitch" adverts, he's bound to be playing a pinch harmonic in that photo.
  20. dan0connor


    Nov 29, 2002
    I always like winning arguments with bassists
    -the guitarist
    *plays high gain pinch harmonic*