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I’ll repeat what I’ve already said in the last few posts of mine: I am a complete beginner in the fingerstyle guitar technique, and have absolutely no experience or any skills in this field. I am just starting out.

Well, if you look at my last post you will notice that I am having some problems with the right hand position. So in the meanwhile I tried playing artificial harmonics. The problem is that, when I lift my index finger (which is touching the string on the required fret) after picking the string with my right middle finger, the index finger is unable to move without disturbing the sound.

More specifically, take an example. Suppose I play C4, i.e. hold second string first fret and place index on 13th fret, then while removing the index finger while the string is still vibrating (to keep the sound sustained for a little bit longer and prevent muting the sound), the index finger produces a C4 sound in addition to the sound of the artificial harmonic.

Could you please suggest some exercises/technical changes to counter this?

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  • Why the dv and especially the close reason?
    – Tim
    Jul 5 at 14:38
  • 4
    Maybe someone was just in a really bad mood. The close vote reason is not even playing the same gig, or the same town, or the same day as the question.
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 5 at 14:44

2 Answers 2

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Firstly, there's no need to remove the finger that's over the 13th fret (in this case). The string isn't moving at that point - it's a node. In fact, I show students that they can put a finger back on the string at the node, and it makes no difference at all to the sound.

It may be you have sticky fingers, or inadvertently pull the string slightly as you lift off. Try leaving it there, if that solves the problem, you know what to do!

Or - try playing with other digits. I tend to play (pluck) artificial harmonics with a finger - often the middle, and use thumb to touch the node point. That way, I can get a good deal of 'pull' on the string, so the harmonic can be sounded as loud as I want. Others will prefer the other way round, or even use two fingers - one to touch, another to pluck. But mine works well (for me at least), due to the extra leverage it can produce. And don't temporarily release the fretted note with the other hand at the same time, keep it solid on the fret.

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  • +1 for thumb on the node. Your thumb is already better-placed to do that anyway, I've always thought. To get your finger on it you've to 'reach over'.
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 5 at 14:42
  • “Inadvertently pull the string” yes this is exactly what I wanted to communicate! +1 and I’ll update and accept if it works. Jul 5 at 14:53
  • Thank you so much! That thumb technique is A.W.E.S.O.M.E. . Jul 6 at 9:26
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One can't tell without observing you, but one thing that beginners often don't realize about harmonics is just how light a touch is needed. We're used to depressing the string, but that's not necessary here. More touch can be needed (and tolerated) the thicker the string is (so, for instance, harmonics on bass can need more of the fleshy part of the finger), but especially for high strings, the slightest feather-weight is enough. I demonstrate to my violin students by having them bow an open string, and while they do, I simply touch a piece of paper to a node and it produces a harmonic.

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