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Guitar Tapping & Pick Harmonics

Posted on January 28, 2012

This week I am answering a couple of readers that wanted to know about how to change
fretboard positions while tapping and another wondering how to produce pick harmonics
which are also called artificial harmonics. Send in your ideas and I will make some space to cover your questions too.

I have provided video and tabulature for the tapping part of the lesson, the pick harmonic segment you will have to watch the video to get a clear understanding of how it is done although I will attempt to explain in words below.

The pick harmonics are achieved by using the fleshy part of the thumb in conjunction with the pick to hit the string at the same time creating what is called an artificial harmonic. The pitches from these harmonics vary but if you do this technique correctly, you can find the places where they really pop out. It helps to have a lot of gain or distortion on your amp, the added overdrive really brings the harmonics out. There is mathematical reasoning behind where the harmonics lie and they have to do with the overtone series and how it presents itself. Since I don’t have space here to elaborate fully, I recommend doing some research on the overtone series to further your grasp of this phenomena.

Tapping – hide pick in crook of middle finger knuckle 2 and use your thumb on top of neck to provide stability. When you tap you actually do a pull off with the finger. After you tap, flick the finger downward toward the ground to get a strong note. I have included an exercise in A minor to get your taps moving around the neck. Play these single string scales on all strings in Am then start moving around the neck and branching out in different positions. A solid knowledge of the 5 positions of A natural minor scales helps before attempting this as well.

Below is the tab. Watch the video at the bottom of the page for a demo of this exercise. The symbols stand for the following:

T = right hand tap w index finger
P = pull off
H = hammer on
AH = artificial pick harmonic, the letter underneath
is the pitch produced by the harmonic

Click to enlarge the tab.

At the end of the video I demonstrate with a solo that uses the information I have shared with you in this lesson. If you want to learn that, I have included the tab below the video lesson.

Click to enlarge the tab.

Thanks for checking this out!


3 Responses to “Guitar Tapping & Pick Harmonics”

  1. JD
    Jan 28, 2012

    I’ve used pick harmonics, but never realized the variations in pitch that are possible in the different positions.
    Tapping is very new to me this is a good place for me to start.
    Thanks Ed, good stuff!

  2. Wheels
    Jan 31, 2012

    This one was also very cool for me .. I havent really made an attempt at finger tapping and likewise of JD a get place for me to start

  3. […] Anyway, the first part of the solo is blues based in Bb blues scale and Eddie uses what are called pick harmonics (pinch harmonics, artificial harmonics, squeals, just different names, same technique).  Below the pick harmonics I notated the pitches that they create so you will have to experiment and move the pick around to find them. If you don’t know what a pick harmonic is, please reference my lesson on this technique at […]

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