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Dobro Lessons: Harmonics

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So here, we're gonna
talk about harmonics.
One cool thing about this instrument is it
can create a lot of really
interesting sounds, and we wanna learn to
use all of those if we can.
So, [COUGH] one really neat way to do that
is with harmonics.
So what a harmonic is, is, [SOUND] it's
basically just a note
that's higher up from the root note that
you're playing.
So, [SOUND] there's a few places you can
get these harmonics.
And you don't even need to use the bar for
these at all, I just use my pinkie of my
left hand.
And so
the fifth fret is one place where you can
get harmonics.
And those are all the notes of G,
although I know it's on the fifth fret,
when you just use your finger like this,
you're getting all the notes in G right
And that is G chord.
You can also do it on the seventh fret.
This one, they are D notes so
you're playing on the seventh fret, and
you're getting all these D notes.
So those sound really nice.
And once again, on the twelfth fret,
you get your G notes [SOUND] in a lower
octave [SOUND] than you did before.
So what I like to do,
if I'm just playing one, [SOUND] I'll
pluck it, and
then I'll lift my pinky off of the note,
[SOUND] just like that.
So you can get all kinds
of cool sounds this way.
You could strum them or
just pluck one at a time.
[SOUND] You could do little chords.
That's all there is to it,
there's really not much to it.
One thing you can do to sort of enhance
the sound is if you get a nice clean
[SOUND] you can actually then use the bar
to move that note.
So, if you play a harmonic like this,
and you can set your bar down and move it,
and it'll stay in that high register.
So, you, if I pluck this harmonic here on
the highest string of the twelfth
and then,
quickly place my bar on the twelfth fret,
and slide it to the fourteenth,
I can move that harmonic around.
So it can create a really nice sound,
it's kinda quiet so this is better used
softer song, songs or ambient type songs.
And then maybe you could add, you know,
some notes some pluck notes on top of it.
So you can start to
incorporate harmonics along
with your regular playing.
So just experiment with that a little bit.
Once again, to use the bar to help you,
you can just pluck a harmonic, [SOUND]
place your bar right where
that harmonic was hit and then move it,
[SOUND] just like that.
Sort of a gentle thing.
So those are natural harmonics,
they just occur naturally.
Now you can create your own.
This is a little bit more challenging,
and, to do it,
I, I need sort of both hands in action
So I, I unhook my arm from the strap
because I need to have my hand up here
more away from the resonator where it
normally sits.
So, basically, you wanna create [SOUND] an
artificial harmonic, like that.
[SOUND] And what you need to do, is you
need to place the palm of
your right hand, 12 frets above the note
that your bar is on.
So if my bar is on this fifth fret, on the
highest string,
[SOUND] just play at, that's a G note.
Well I want my palm to be resting right on
the seventeenth fret which is 12 frets
above the fifth.
So, and then, I use my thumb to pluck in
between the two, [SOUND] and
I just lift my palm off of there, [SOUND]
and I can also move the bar with those.
Now the nice thing about that is I can
move my palm and move the bar and get a
harmonic on any note.
That's in B right there.
So you can move that palm.
Now this is a, it's a little tricky
because you have to keep that palm 12
frets above where the bar is.
And also,
you gotta get that thumb to strike the
note, sometimes you do it and
[SOUND] you just don't get much out of it
So that's how you do what's called
an artificial harmonic,
and you can practice those.
the trick with that is just keep this palm
12 frets above,
as soon as you pluck the note, lift your
hand off, [SOUND] just like that.
you can use these harmonics in a variety
of ways,
as I say, usually they sound best on slow
And you can hear a lot of old country
playing with either steel or Dobro and you
can hear these harmonics happening
like as backup underneath the singing
Very cool thing, check it out.