Don’t assume I know much about music, I’m just an amateur.

I’ve come across the notation below (AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long). I know how it sounds. I do not know how it’s called and how to play it.

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1 Answer 1


The notation is a bit complicated right there. The transcription might be overly detailed for this note, but we can piece it together.

The 3 means to fret with your left hand at the third fret on the G string, as usual.

The PH above the tab indicates this note is a pinch harmonic, which means the harmonic formed by lightly touching the string and playing the string both with the right hand. When using a pick to play pinch harmonics, sometimes the pick is transferred to between the thumb and middle finger and the index finger is used to touch the string for the harmonic. The other option is more likely in this case, in my opinion. That other option is to pick as normal but stuck out the thumb knuckle a little bit to brush the string to create the harmonic.

The <6.2> is a bit extra but what it is trying to communicate is that the thumb knuckle should be touching the string about 3.2 "frets" away from the bridge. There are no frets at the bridge, so if you really wanted to calculate exactly where to touch, you would find the distance between the 3rd fret and 1/5 of the way between the 6th and 7th frets and then try to find that same distance from the bridge. Personally, I would not at all worry about getting the exact right distance for this, but if you want to perfectly re-create the original recording, this is what you would go for.

Finally, the arrow with 1/4 at the end of it means bend the note up a quarter tone. That is about half of a bend up one fret.

When I play these bent pinch harmonics, what I do is I play regularly with the pick and my knuckle stuck out and immediately bend the string so that the string brushes my thumb knuckle, instead of trying to brush the string with my knuckle. So it's the bend that causes the knuckle contact. That means you just barely hear the regular note for a millisecond before the harmonic happens. But that's just my personal style.

I think getting the vibe of the solo and a sound and feel similar to the AC/DC sound is more important than exactly re-creating the note as it is notated. A bend of some amount with a pinch harmonic is going to be close enough for 98% of audience members.

  • Well, this is way beyond my abilities. :0)
    – zdf
    Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 16:59
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    Are you sure the "6.2" is supposed to be "6.2" frets from the bridge? As frets get closer the closer you get to the bridge this would make no sense at all. Rather I’d say it is supposed to mean you should touch at fret 6.2, which would be equivalent to 3.2 on an open string (in fact it would be 3.156...), which would be equivalent to 1/6th of the string length = 6th harmonic = a fifth + 2 octaves.
    – Lazy
    Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 17:14
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    @Lazy String harmonics are symmetrical; theoretically, whatever pitch you get “6.2“ frets away from a nut would also be present 6.2 away from the bridge. There can be differences in timbre, and of course the context of where your left hand finds itself just before the note could matter to which you choose. Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 17:35
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    @zdf It’s a bit complicated. You can practice pinch harmonics like this by holding a note on the G string, muting the other strings with you left hand, and the picking the G string in an exaggerated way and letting your thumb hit the string lightly to see if you can get that harmonic sound. Just repeatedly playing the note with you thumb too close can help you experiment and find the harmonics on the string. Also some distortion or overdrive really helps, if you’re not already using it. Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 17:45
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    @AndyBonner The problem is that while harmonics are symmetrical (or more generally: if (k, l) = 1 then l/k produces the same harmonic as 1/k) we have that frets are not symmetrical. And while frets from above make sense, but frets from below do not. But then even if you’d take the distance from nut to 6.2nd fret and shifted it towards the bridge this would not be the same: Relative to the the string length at third fret (84%) the 6.2nd fret will be about 16.9% of the string, or 1/5.93. On the other hand the same distance not to 6.2nd fret would be 35.8% or 1/2.79.
    – Lazy
    Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 21:03

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