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  • Fretting hand toolbox–Harmonics

    Posted by BarbaraM on March 29, 2024 at 12:22 pm

    I decided that the 5-day challenges are too advanced for me (I’ve been at this 3 months), so instead of giving up I decided (duh) to spend some time with the skills courses. So most of the fretting hand skills are pretty easy to understand, even if some of them are tricky to get clear and consistent; that will come with practice. But the Harmonics one, I can’t even figure out what is supposed to be going on. The videos are useless–they stop and start (and I don’t have issues with Youtube videos, though the TAC Family hangout thing yesterday was a disaster). The audio part of the video lessons is good, but he goes too fast for me to locate the string and fret he is referring to in time.

    So what ARE harmonics? Is it just a type of scale run over one fret, or picking each string of a chord? What are the little diamond-shaped notes in the tab? What are the little brackets for, around each fret number in the tab?

    This is the first time I have not at least understood a lesson, even if I couldn’t play it.

    Barbara M

    TerriG replied 2 months, 3 weeks ago 3 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • albert_d

    Member
    March 30, 2024 at 6:36 am

    @BarbaraM it has been a while since I’ve reviewed the skills course battery of lessons. I am having trouble understanding your question. Do you have a specific lesson name I can find and see to what you are referring? Is it in “Knowing the Fretboard”? I think by harmonics you may mean playing the root and the third or fifth of a scale together, but you might also mean tapping the string at say the 12th fret and getting a resonating sound.

    • BarbaraM

      Member
      March 30, 2024 at 9:08 am

      It’s in the Skills Courses > Fretting Hand Skills Toolbox > Harmonics (the last lesson in that course).

  • TerriG

    Member
    March 30, 2024 at 7:59 am

    Confusing, I know. When you make a chord (G, C, or D), keep your fingers on the chord. Then below the 12th fret, you will pick (finger or flat pick) the corresponding chord location on the string. So let me explain…let’s do a G chord. Your fretted fingers are on the 3rd fret of the low E, 2nd fret on the A string, D & G are open, and the 3rd fret of the B & high 3. Then, you will pick/play the notes at these fret locations above the 12th fret…. 15th fret of low E, 14th fret of A, 12th fret of D & G, and the 15th fret of B & High E. You’ll find you will get a pleasing sound coming from those notes. Do the same with the other chords. C chord location should be 15th fret of the A, 14th fret of the D, 12th fret of the G, and 13th fret of the B and 12th fret of the High E. And the D chord should be 12th fret of D, 14th fret of G, 15th fret of B, and 14th fret of high E.
    Remember you are just making the chord shape with your fretting hand, and picking the corresponding “shape” below the 12th fret. They are the harmonics. And fun to do once you get the hang of it. Good luck!

    (p.s I wrote the above in the lesson as well. Also, thank you I never knew what harmonics were until you wrote this. I had to check it out. Don’t give up with the Daily lessons…do what you can and move on. Each week you’ll get a little stronger. I couldn’t do certain lessons a month ago and now I am improving – slowly, but improving.)

    • BarbaraM

      Member
      March 30, 2024 at 9:15 am

      I still don’t understand it. I understand what you described, but it sounds no different than picking individual strings anywhere above my fretting hand, aside from the fact you’re picking over the fretboard and not over the sound hole. So there’s less resonance. What am I missing, if anything?

      • TerriG

        Member
        March 30, 2024 at 3:20 pm

        It is the resonances of the sound that is different and it is very subtle, but you can definitely hear it. The best way to try this is on the Low E string with the G chord. First, make the G chord and then strike the E note normally over the sound hole. Then keeping with the G chord, strike the Low E on the 15th fret. Listen for the difference. Then compare the other notes in the G chord, first with the sound hole and then with the harmonics location. What you will find out is that harmonics have a richer tone to them compare to playing the chord over the sound hole. It is very subtle, so you definitely need to listen carefully. I don’t know how much Tony uses harmonics. I haven’t seen them yet in the Weekly challenges, so I wouldn’t get to hung up on this if you can’t get it at first. It is very, very subtle differences so it might be not obvious at first, but keep at it. Good luck!

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  TerriG.
      • BarbaraM

        Member
        March 30, 2024 at 4:44 pm

        OK, I think I get that. It did sound a bit different, with less resonance playing over the frets as opposed to the sound hole, kinda like if it were further away, maybe. All right then, for the artificial harmonics. But then there is the other thing, the natural harmonics. Where the issue is between the 12th, 7th, and 5th frets. I don’t understand the tab, and I don’t know where Tony is placing his fretting hand–as I said before, the video stops and starts. Is he fretting, say, a G chord, at the 12th fret?? Ain’t happenin’, I’d need a ball joint in my wrist! Or the 7th and 5th?

        Barbara M

      • TerriG

        Member
        March 30, 2024 at 5:47 pm

        The 5th, 7th & 12th frets are natural harmonics. The 5th & 12th fret are in the Key of C and the 7th fret is in the Key of G. So for the first part, play each note in the fret starting with the 12th from the low E to the high E and back again. Then move onto the 7th fret and finally the 5th fret. For the artificial harmonics, pay attention to the chord shape to play on the lower part of the 12th fret (& below). Tony is pressing down on the note with his index finger and ringing the string with his thumb. He is striking individual notes. You definitely need to listen to the sound – it resonates differently. Hopefully someone will weigh in more for a better explanation. Keep at it and definitely listen to the tones being created.

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  TerriG.

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