This unique technique uses the edge of the thumb combined with the guitar pick to produce a harmonic overtone (pick squeal /pick harmonic). The sound is often used in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, but it can be found in many different styles of guitar playing. This lesson explains how to produce the sound on electric guitar…
Q: How Can I Learn Pinch Harmonics?
Hey there, just wondering if you could, (if you dont have 1 already), make a short video on how to do pinch harmonics. : )
A: The Pinch Harmonic technique is a relatively easy technique to do on guitar. However, there is a learning curve to actually being able to achieve it successfully.
To get started, it is a good idea to own an electric guitar with a high output hum-bucker pickup in the bridge position.
NOTE: The bridge position pickup is easier in the very beginning for initially getting the pick squeals.
Next up would be your tone. You’ll want a high-gain super crunchy distortion /over-driven guitar sound from your amp.
Then focus on getting a brighter tonal sound generated from the guitar, (greater presence, higher tone, along with higher volume).
When starting practice of pinch harmonics, shoot for the 3rd, 4th and 5th string sets. I usually find that the 3rd string is a very good one for beginners to initially get the squeals from off the start!
The playing hand is the focus of the technique. Choke up on the pick so that only a couple of millimeters of pick sticks out. Hit the string and very lightly brush the side of the thumb across the string to generate the pick squeal.
Remember that it is a harmonic, so you will have to move your hand away quickly after brushing the edge of the thumb across the string. This way the harmonic, or the overtone will have a chance to resonate.
You can generate other pitches as you apply the pinch harmonic to various places along the string.