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Pinch Harmonics

Make it squeal. Pinch harmonics can add another dimension to you lead guitar lines. In order to understand pinch harmonics, you will want to have at least a basic understanding of natural harmonics.

Before we dive into how to play pinch harmonics, take a look at this video. It is my right hand as I am coaxing some pinch harmonics out of my guitar. This will give you an idea of the sound, and a quick look at the right hand technique used to create them.

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The first thing to consider with pinch harmonics, is the amp and distortion that you are using. I just bought a Line 6 POD and it is just effortless to get pinch harmonics everywhere. The little 15-watt amp, with the built in distortion that I have in my teaching studio, takes quite a bit of effort to produce pinch harmonics. When trying to play pinch harmonics, crank the amp up and use as much distortion as possible.

Finding a strong natural harmonic

The best way to start, is to find a strong natural harmonic somewhere up around the area of your pickups. I would say that the 3rd string is the easiest to do a pinch harmonic on, so start there. Just touch the third string with a left hand finger at some different points close to the area of your pickups until you find a strong natural harmonic. This really will just take some experimenting, since there are not any fret bars to guide you.

Touch harmonics

After you have found a strong natural harmonic in the area of the pickups. Pick the open 3rd string, then lightly touch the point of that harmonic with your right hand 2nd finger. Be sure to pay attention to the exact point on the string where the harmonic will sound. This is called a touch harmonic.

Touch harmonic with right hand 2nd finger
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Page 2, from touch to pinch harmonics

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