Have you ever listened to an awesome guitar solo that had these high pitched squeals? Those are pinch harmonics. Pinch harmonics are very useful to spice up a riff or solo and are plain fun to play. Pinch harmonics are like natural harmonics but with one major difference. With natural harmonics the harmonic is produced with the fretting hand while pinch harmonics are created with the picking hand. Before we actually discuss how to produce a pinch harmonic, here are some tips. Pinch harmonics are easier to play and hear if you...
- - Use an electric guitar with an amplifier
- - Use a guitar with humbuckers
- - Use the bridge pickup
- - Play with distortion or overdrive
If you don't have the above setup, that does not mean you wont be able to produce pinch harmonics. You can produce pinch harmonics on almost any guitar (including acoustics) but the above setup will certainly makes it easier, especially for a beginner.
How to produce pinch harmonics
Pinch harmonics start with a simple downstroke (upstrokes do not work). Strike any string with your pick, as you follow through with your downstroke you want the side of your thumb to graze the string you just picked. This is all done in one constant motion. To ensure your thumb comes in contact with your string, you need to hold your pick so that the side of your thumb is in and around the edge of your pick. Some prefer to have the thumb protrude slightly over the pick, some like to have it right at the edge of the pick and others like some of the pick to stick past thumb. Experiment with all 3 of these options and see which works best for you.
Experiment on the guitar where on each string to play pinch harmonics. While pinch harmonics can be played anywhere’s on a string, certain areas on a guitar will give a better 'squeal' then others. As well, the type of 'squeal' you achieve will be different depending on what fret you are fretting.