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  1. #1
    saifee's Avatar
    saifee is offline Newbie
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    Oct 2004

    Harmonic Guitar Tunning

    Ok, motivated by all the positive feedback I got from my “Reading Guitar Tablature II” article, I decided I should write more. Hopefully help some more people out there. Today I’m going to teach you what I have only just learnt, Harmonic Tuning. It is so cool.

    Ok, there are a few things you must have though, a good electric guitar, an amp and some form of distortion.

    A quick view on harmonics: Ok, harmonics are kinda hard to explain but I’ll try anyway. Harmonics are a different kind of sounds, which I believe are unique to guitars, the strongest harmonics are found on the twelve frets. You know what a fret is right? *considers writing an article on what frets are*

    I’m going to make you play your first ever harmonic sound!

    Ok, on the bottom string, put your finger very lightly above the twelth fret’s metal bar. It has to be directly above the metal bar and it has to be barely touching the string. Now, pluck the bottom string. You should hear a ringing sound, if you take your finger away from the fret the sound should still be there until the string stops vibrating. Try it. If I’ve explained it right and your guitar is decent and you’re doing it right then you’ve just made a harmonic.

    I believe, harmonics are shown on a tab like a normal note but in brackets. Say you were playing “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” by Metallica, then this is what the first three notes are like this:

    B|------------------------(12) ----------------------

    it really helps if you know the song though. Lol. Yeah, well anyway, that’s how harmonics are shown and yeah. The first few times you play them you’ll probably mess up and just hear a pluck. You just have to brush the string ontop of the fret slightly. It’s hard to explain. If you’ve got it right, you can take away your hand from the string and the note will still be sounding.

    Ok, so I’m trusting the top note is in tune? Tune it to another guitar, a keyboard, piano, or a song or something. Now, turn distortion on and perform a harmonic on the fifth fret of the top string and then, as it’s ringing play a harmonic on the second string, seventh fret. Both harmonics should be ringing and sound the excact same! This is the clever bit! If the second string isn’t tuned to the top string then you’ll hear a ripple! The faster the ripple, the worse the note is tuned! The slower the ripples, determines how good the notes are tuned.

    So in otherwords, you’re going to get two high pitched noises, if they ripple they are out so adjust the second string’s knob so the ripples are less often until they are finally gone.

    Did you ever play that game where someone hides something and you’re looking for it and they’ll say “Hot” if you’re closer or “Cold” if you’re not? Lol. Just me then! But yeah, it reminds me of that. If you’re close you don’t get many ripples. If you’re not close you get loads of ripples.

    So now, the A string is in tune with the Low E string!

    Ok, so now, you want to tune the D string, in other words, the third string down! You do this in the same way! Do a harmonic on the fifth fret of the second string and a harmonic on the seventh fret of the string below it, the ripple thing is the same, if it’s making weird sounds then it’s out of tune so adjust it so it’s in tune. Yup? It’s very precise and easy!

    Do the excact same with the third and forth string to tune the forth string (G)-Fifth harmonic on D, seventh on G, compare and change according to ripples.

    To tune B (the fifth string down) is a bit different and harder.

    You want to do a harmonic on the forth fret of the forth string, and a harmonic on the fifth fret of the fifth string. Compare and make any adjustments needed and then do the fifth fret harmonic on the fifth string and seventh fret harmonic on the sixth string and compare and adjust. Your guitar should now be in tune.

  2. #2
    zohaib's Avatar
    zohaib is offline Shredder
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    Jul 2004
    man wtf !!!!
    may be i didnt get it
    errrghh !!

  3. #3
    Mamasteen is offline <A-W-A-Y>
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    Nov 2004
    Good Work Saifee.
    And guys, if you still can't get the desired sound, switch on to the bridge pickup. Also, adding an unbroken delay to your pedal sustains the ringing sound much better.

    And Zohaib, maybe you should play the drums instead of the guitar.

  4. #4
    fictional_real's Avatar
    fictional_real is offline Pyaasi Jawani
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    Oct 2004
    i thought this procedure is called standard tuning....except u dont have to perform harmonics on any string...

    pluck a note on 6th string of 5 fret and then pluck 5th string....check if they sound alike and then if yes, its tuned and like wise wid other given above.
    I choose misery.

    Ibanez S470DX, Ibanez JEM 555, Digitech GNX1 :)

    When a poisoneous snake bites you; Do you try to chase him or do you try to remove the poison?

    Barkhat ali is better than Thai Twank! :p

  5. #5
    Bandbaaja's Avatar
    Bandbaaja is offline Pronounced Band Baaaa Ja
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    Jan 2005
    Matunga (CR), Mumbai
    BOTH WAYS meaning
    1) the 5th fret to open wala old funda (all except G 4th fret to B open)
    2) the 12th fret to 7th fret funda explained here (all except G 12th fret to B 8th fret)

    Generally when you buy a new guitar, or if you want to check if your guitar is fine you have to do both styles of tuning.
    For instance your guitar may be perfectly tuned in the FIRST method, but if you check the 12th fret method, the strings may be out of tune. OR VICE VERSA
    This means that the guitar has an INTONATION problem.

    This cannot be solved by you, you will ahve to take it to a guitar technician / repair guy and ask him to resolve this.

    Even if you do carry an electronic tuner, you MUST check open strings and 12th fret
    and if u want to stretch it, check the 5th fret also
    All Strings Attached...

  6. #6
    propellerhead is offline Banned
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    Jan 2005
    i have a peculiar problem.. i tune my guitar with tuner.. it sounds perfect...
    then when i play it it sounds besura... but when my friend plays it it sounds in tune..
    what could be the problem?

  7. #7
    fictional_real's Avatar
    fictional_real is offline Pyaasi Jawani
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    Oct 2004
    ^^^dude, its pretty simple dat u aint playing ur guitar technically precise. the most comman problem i believe in ur case that you aint putting your fingers on the string in a technically correct manner.

    i.e just before the fret.
    I choose misery.

    Ibanez S470DX, Ibanez JEM 555, Digitech GNX1 :)

    When a poisoneous snake bites you; Do you try to chase him or do you try to remove the poison?

    Barkhat ali is better than Thai Twank! :p

  8. #8
    Rey1970 is offline Guitarist
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    your friend's hand & fingers are better suited 4 your guitar.Play on.

  9. #9
    Liquid is offline Tabber
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    Jan 2004
    anyone know where u can get an audio clip of a correct sounding harmonic...i mean i htink it sounds right...but i dont know what a correct harmonic sounds like

  10. #10
    Yousuf_guitar is offline Beginner
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    hey guyz i tune through a pc tuner........
    the settings for standard tuning is set with
    e2 d2 etc....
    what i am i supposed to put for Harmonic
    --dhoondun kahan main apna NISHAAN--

  11. #11
    amit82cse's Avatar
    amit82cse is offline Silent observeR
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Redmond, WA
    Info on INTONATION was useful to me.



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