Harmonics that are played on open strings are called natural harmonics. When harmonics are played on fretted strings, they are called artificial harmonics. Before starting this lesson on artificial harmonics, it is recommended to follow the natural harmonics lesson.
A string needs to be muted at a specific location in order to play a harmonic. For the artificial harmonics technique this is done with the right hand, as the left one already needs to fret the string. A number of exercises is presented on this page that can be used to develop this particular technique.
The tip of the right index finger should gently touch the string above the twelfth fret, without causing any displacement of the string. The string is played with the thumb.
It is also possible to play the string with the ring finger instead, which is demonstrated in one of the following exercises.
Note that this exercise is only meant to practice the right hand technique; these notes aren’t artificial harmonics, as the harmonics are played on open strings instead of fretted strings.
The left hand frets the A chord. The right hand starts with a natural harmonic on the fifth string, and thereafter artificial harmonics are played on the fourth, third and second string.
Harmonics are located twelve positions above the fretted position. As the strings are fretted on the second position, the harmonics of these strings can be played on the fourteenth position (2+12).
Like in the previous exercise, the right index finger needs to touch the string twelve positions above the position that is fretted with the left hand.
As harmonics could sustain for a long time, the fingers of the left hand should stay on the frets as long as possible.
The harmonics need to be played with the ring finger, as the thumb already needs to play the bass notes.
In order to develop this technique it is recommended to repeat the previous exercises, but now you should play the strings with the ring finger instead of the thumb.
In this exercise, the harmonics are played on the bass strings with the thumb, and after each of these harmonics a melody note is played with the ring finger.
The last note is played with the little finger.