How to Play Guitar Pinch Harmonics

A pinch harmonic (or pick harmonic, squealy harmonic or squelch harmonic – call it what you want!) is a guitar technique that literally makes your guitar scream. In my opinion it’s one of the coolest techniques you can incorporate into your playing. It’s a very cool expression technique.

To generate a pinch harmonic you strike the string with the pick and a part of the flesh of the thumb. What is technically happening is the thumb is cancelling out the note struck by the pick and only allowing the harmonic overtone to sound.

Get started with pinch harmonics by doing this:

  1. Crank up the gain – you need some distortion
  2. Choose one note to practice on – 7th fret on the G string (3rd string) is perfect
  3. Pick as close to the bridge pickup as possible without picking over the top of it
  4. Use the bridge pickup

Think of the pinch harmonic as the icing on the cake. Like the high pitched scream the singer does when he just can’t hold his emotions in any longer.


About the author

Craig Kelley

Hi, I'm Craig and I write most of the stuff on this website. Feel free to catch up with me on Twitter. You can learn more about me on my site here and listen to my music here.