Artificial Harmonics Add A Sparkle To Your Sound

This Free Acoustic Guitar Lesson Shows How to Play Artificial Harmonics

Learning to use guitar harmonics is one way to add interest to a fingerstyle guitar arrangement. This free acoustic guitar lesson shows you how to play guitar harmonics, both natural and artificial.

Two guitarists who regularly used them were Lenny Breau and Chet Atkins

While similar, there are a couple of differences between natural and artificial harmonics.

To play a natural,lightly touch a fingertip on your fretting hand to the string at the 5th, 7th, or 12th frets and pluck the string. This should produce a clear, bell-like tone.

The artificial works on the same general way. The difference is in the right hand technique. Fret the 1st fret on the 1st string. Go to the 13th fret of the 1st string and lightly touch it with the fingertip of the 1st finger on your right hand.

Now we get to the tricky part.You have to pluck the 1st string to make the note "chime". It looks like you need a third hand. Instead of getting a hand transplant try this.

Pluck the note with either your right hand thumb or the 4th finger. Learning to use the 4th finger will allow you to play a "regular" note with a harmonic.

Now that you've gotten the basic technique down let's look at some exercises that will help you put it into use. For starters, we'll work on developing the right hand. You may want to use a thumbpick.

Lightly touch the 12th fret of the 6th string with your right hands 1st finger. Now pluck the string with your thumb. You should hear a harmonic. If not, keep working on it until you get a clear bell like sound.

When you can produce a one-handed harmonic on the 6th string, work on doing it with the remaining 5 strings.

When you can get a clear note on all of the open strings you're ready to try it with chords. Let's start with an easy CMajor7 chord.

Fret the 5th strings 3rd fret and the 4th strings 2nd fret. Touch your right hand fingertip to the string 12 frets above the fretted note and pluck it.

Play both the artificial harmonics and the natural harmonics from the 5th string to the 1st like this. It's a pretty sound, isn't it?

To hear what this technique sounds like when done by a master check out this clip of Tal Farlow and Lenny Breau.

Artificial Harmonics are easy to learn and sound beautiful. Give it a try!

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