5 Pinch Harmonics

Pinch Harmonics

This is one for all you Metal heads out there! If you’ve ever wanted to do a sweet dive bomb or start your own break down, this is the way to do it!

The iconic sound of a squeelie sounds like this:

[insert sound clip of a squeelie]

Whilst this effect sounds crazy and awesome, it is a little tricky to pull off. I’d strongly recommend you are confident with alternate picking and harmonics [link both] before you go further. The technique is unique, but uses parts from both of them.

So how do we do it?

It’s all in the picking hand. If we take a note (in the example i’ll be using a G (12th fret on the G string)) and play it normally, we get the whole note, but we only want to hear the harmonics of that note. Because of this, we need to dampen that string somehow without letting go of the note. This is where the picking hand comes in to play.

We need to play the note as we normally would, but then lightly touch the string with our thumb just after we pick it. The best way to understand this is with a video of it:

[insert video]

As you can hear, this creates a high pitched note rather than the G we’re expecting. When your thumb touches the string, it is absorbing the main sounds of the G note and leaving all the higher harmonics which gives you the squeelie sound. The reason this technique is harder than most is because we need to touch the string for a small amount of time. Too short and we just get the sound of the G note, any longer and we absorb too much of the sound. 

As well as this, we need to pick in a certain position of the string. For the notes on the 12th fret we will need to pick around this area:

[insert pick of picking zones]

This is the best place to practice as it is half way between the bridge and the fret and is the most lenient with this technique. 

Once you have the technique down, you can try it on other frets too! I’d suggest looking at the 5th and the 7th frets because they are lenient with this technique also! When practicing on other strings, start with the D and G string first as they tend to be a little easier, then move on to the A and E, and finally the B and e.