Skip to content
unwanted harmonics ...
 
Notifications
Clear all

unwanted harmonics while left hand muting

4 Posts
3 Users
0 Likes
4,636 Views
(@patrick)
Reputable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 138
Topic starter  

I came across a curiosity while learning a new song by tab: While muting the strings by lightly touching them with my fretting hand fingers (an 'X' on the tab...I think this is called chucking), I accidentally produced harmonics. But if I moved my muting fingers a little farther up or down the neck, the harmonics are reduced or disappear.

My book says that string(s) muted with the fretting hand don't produce a specific pitch - so perhaps this is suggesting that it doesn't matter exactly where the string is muted. But my experience seems to suggest it can sometimes make a difference. For some songs, is it important to chuck in the right place in order to get it to sound right?


   
Quote
(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Harmonics occur at "nodes" - those are exact string divisions. So if you touch a string at any exact 1/x point you get a harmonic... and the string can't tell which hand you're using, so it happily gives you a fretting hand harmonic. As you discovered, moving it slightly makes the harmonic go away, because you're no longer touching it at 1/x of the string length.

The exact string divisions get closer together as you approach the end points - that's what makes pinch harmonics possible. So you want to avoid fretting hand muting in the first four frets or so (where 1/x spots are close together). 1/5 of the string length is just shy of the fourth fret; 1/4 of the string is above the 5th fretwire, 1/3 is above the 7th fretwire, and 1/ is above the 12th. So anywhere between frets 5-7 or between frets 7-12 is safe.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
ReplyQuote
(@bentunessence)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 4
 

If you're getting harmonics that you don't want, you can try muting the strings with at least a couple fingers. Since the harmonic only happens when touching the string at specific locations, touching the string at multiple places at once (i.e. using multiple fingers) prevents that effect from happening.

http://tunessence.com


   
ReplyQuote
(@patrick)
Reputable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 138
Topic starter  

Thanks...I never realized that nodes occur closer together near the ends of the string...but thinking about it, it makes sense. Although my usual remedy is to move my fingers a bit, touching the string in more than one location seems to be a viable solution...which seems good when you'd rather keep the fingers in the same position the whole time (i.e. the same chord before and after the chucks).

I've noticed that when chucking barre chords, I can get some unusual tones at higher distortion levels...I have to wonder if some players purposely adjust the chucking (fretting hand) location specifically to take advantage of harmonics to make 'cool' tones.


   
ReplyQuote