I am transferring from classical guitar to electric. I am familiar with everything except the huge variety of effects that are available for electric.

I often hear guitarists performing an instant octave or more jump in the middle of a solo as exemplified in the following video. In this case, just the final note of the run is played this way.

I know all about harmonics etc. and I suspect that this might have something to do with it. However I can't catch what she is doing.


Do people do this by using harmonics? If so, what precisely do they do with right and left hands to achieve it? Can any note be "octavised" this way or is it only possible on certain frets where the harmonics hang out naturally?


P.S. I don't yet have many effects pedals. I haven't anything beyond a clean sound so far so I can't easily recognise how things are achieved just from the sound. I suspect that part of this effect requires fuzz or overdrive or something (?)

1 Answer 1


Pinch harmonics

In the example video, she is using a type of artificial harmonic known as a pinch harmonic, which involves simultaneously hitting the string with the pick (plectrum) and (usually the) thumb. You can achieve a variety of harmonics in this fashion by adjusting the attack point up or down the string. No distortion, or even amplification (though it will be easier to hear when amplified, and easier still with overdrive/distortion) is necessary to achieve this sound given practice.

In essence, you are picking the string with the pick and then instantly exciting a harmonic with the right hand rather than the left as you would do for a natural harmonic. Closer to the neck pickup will give the equivalent of the 7th (1/3) and 5th (1/4) fret harmonics, while closer to the bridge will give the 4th (1/5) fret, 3.2 (1/6) fret, 2.6 (1/7) fret, etc. higher order harmonics.

This video is a good starting point and you can see how different pitches in the harmonic series can be achieved by moving up or down the string.


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