During my teenage years, I used to feel ecstasy every single time I heard an electric guitar scream (pun intended), but couldn't tell how that sound was being produced. When you think pinch harmonics you think Zakk Wylde, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai just to name a few. Listening to those guys on repeat made me so eager to learn the pinch harmonics technique. I'm pretty sure you can relate.
The frustrating part is that sometimes I was able to produce the sound unintentionally and it sounded amazing but I was never able to reproduce it on demand.
BUT I'm demystifying it for you in this quick and short lesson, so you won't have to discover it the hard way!
In this guitar lesson, you'll learn the technique for nailing pinch harmonics plus exercises to make them work every single time + tips about how to use them in your guitar solos.
Grab your guitar and let's get pinching!
1) Let's consider the strings to be the initial position of 0 degrees.
When picking, you would normally have your pick be parallel or close to parallel with the strings. Therefore, your pick is also adopting the 0-degree position described above.
2) When you want to perform a pinch harmonic, you need to change your pick direction to form a 45 degrees angle (facing the floor) with the string. This is achieved by twisting your picking hand a little bit (just like shown in the video lesson).
3) Pick the string with a downstroke.
Just as you pick the string, your picking hand thumb should slightly touch the vibrating string. In other words, this happens directly after picking the string.
Your thumb catching the string will cancel (silence) the fundamental frequency of the string, and only letting one of the overtones dominate.
For better representation, watch the video lesson.
Apply vibrato, using the fretting hand to give the note much more sustain and room for squealing.