Courses  Instructors  How It Works Plans & Pricing Blog Resources 
x

Log In

Log In 
Don't have an account? Sign Up

Reset Password

Submit 
An email has been sent with instructions on how to reset your password.

Sign Up For Free

Then join a course

Continue 
Already have an account? Log In

Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons with Martin Taylor: Harmonics

In this sample video from Martin Taylor's online guitar lessons we'll get into a topic that Martin also mentions in his guitar lesson about tuning: harmonics.  Martin talks in-depth here about playing harmonics and also covers sound waves, arpeggios, and how to combine natural and false harmonics.  

Harmonics come from basic physics by modifying sound waves.  Plucking a guitar string naturally oscillates at not one, but several frequencies (which are known as partials).  Since the guitar string is long and thin, many of the partials are multiples of the frequencies which are called harmonics.  These sounds made by long, thin oscillators are considered musically pleasing and are also fun to play.  So let’s get started! 

We'll begin on the twelfth fret where you can get a natural harmonic sound fairly easily.  Go above the fret and let go so you can hear the harmonic but also keep in mind that you can get natural harmonics in different areas of the guitar.  Keep in mind, we are just disturbing sound waves here.  You can mix harmonics starting from the 2nd string, 7th fret, first string and the 10th fret.  You can work your way down or up the fretboard and get a natural harmonic sound without pressing any strings down.

We can also do false harmonics by making the sound wave different.  A harmonic on the 12th fret is half-way.  If you press the F there will be a natural harmonic.  You can also use a pick to follow up with a left sharp and 12th fret to get a false harmonic.  All you do now is follow the pattern that you are playing 12 frets up.  Now you can make music out of this by combining natural and false harmonics, and also the natural notes.

Watch Martin's Free Guitar Lessons

Here's an example: try playing an open D string and then play the harmonic on the 6th string. Then move up to the third string open, fifth string harmonic, second string open, fourth string harmonic, first string open, and then third string harmonic.  You'll start to get nice arpeggios and a harp effect. 

You can experiment and play around with harmonics for ages.  Martin recommends that you check out Lenny Breau and Tommy Emmanuel who are masters at playing harmonics.  One word of advice is that you should use it kind of sparingly and not all the time...  Find a good spot to add harmonics so that you don't give away all your secrets at once.  When you are playing your solo it's a good idea to not go straight into playing harmonics but rather save it for the end or in a place where it will be effective by using it in a musical context.  That is how you can use it best.  Otherwise it can sound disjointed and will not have the same depth or meaning to express yourself.  

Have some fun finding your own different shapes and enjoy experiementing with these harmonics!

 

Online Fingerstyle Guitar School with Martin Taylor

Want to get even better at playing guitar?  Visit the Online Fingerstyle Guitar School with Martin Taylor.  You'll be able to watch more online guitar lessons and submit your practice videos for direct feedback from Martin himself.  Your personalized feedback will give you the edge and tools you need to learn how to play the guitar from a master. Sign up at the form for more sample guitar lessons and arpeggio away!
 
X

Affordable Plans

Each subscription is for a single school. Pricing and features can vary slightly per school.

$35
1 Month membership
renews monthly
Unlimited Access to Lessons
Unlimited Video Exchanges
Exclusive Content
Forums
$35/month (prepaid)
$90
3 Month membership
renews every 3 months
Unlimited Access to Lessons
Unlimited Video Exchanges
Exclusive Content
Forums
$30/month (prepaid)
$240
12 Month membership
renews every 12 months
Unlimited Access to Lessons
Unlimited Video Exchanges
Exclusive Content
Forums
$20/month (prepaid)
X