Harmonics (natural harmonics) are a type of sound you can get out of the banjo by strategic placement of your fretting fingers lightly touching over the strings in certain key locations. They have a very unique glassy sound and will add a nice extra option for tone and note choice as you learn to integrate this into your playing.
- Harmonics are kind of a fun thing to add to your repertoire of things you can do. Sometimes they're called chimes and they sound like this. (peppy banjo music) You can find them in various parts of the neck. They're various tunes like Bugle Call Rag that people use the harmonics on. I wanna add these just to get you started on The Old Cat Died.
Instead of going (peppy banjo music) you can go. (peppy banjo music) Gives you the same notes and where we're gonna find these notes are right here at the twelfth fret, and when I say the twelfth fret I don't mean just behind the fret where you would ordinarily fret the note but right actually on top of the fret. The twelfth fret is the dividing line of the string between the bridge down here and the nut up here. It's the halfway point. (peppy banjo music) You get this really nice as I said chiming sound there.
What we're doing, since we're dealing with quarter notes here, in An Old Cat Died. (peppy banjo music) When we hit the harmonic I use the middle finger sometimes, sometimes I use the ring finger. (peppy banjo music) Here I'm using the ring finger actually in this case. The important thing is when you're doing quarter notes let go soon as you hit the note. (banjo string chimes) You'll get a better chime sound.
If you keep the finger down (banjo string chimes) It sounds okay but it's a little more damped so. (banjo string chimes) This is in the sense another example of separation of notes. (peppy banjo music) I'm using the middle finger on the first string and the index on the second string. So I'll play the whole thing twice through and add the harmonics the second time so you can get the feel of how it sounds in context.
(peppy banjo music) There are other places to find harmonics also at the fifth fret.
(banjo string chimes) You could do it there also. It's up an octave. A whole scale higher. (peppy banjo music) There are also harmonics at the seventh fret. (peppy banjo music) Then you can find other harmonics besides that. At the ninth fret they're not as strong. (banjo string chimes) Gives you a B chord.
But here at the twelfth fret it's G. (peppy banjo music) At the seventh fret it's D. (peppy banjo music) Back to G here. Then there are other harmonics. You can just explore on your own. Here at the fourth fret. (banjo string chimes) Just kind of touch your finger along the way. This has to do with the overtone series which I'm not gonna get into but you could check that out at some point if you're interested. You can also find harmonics up here. (banjo string chimes) I'm just hitting on the third string right now.
(banjo string chimes) Another thing harmonics are useful for is tuning. If you have one of these tuners here sometimes when you hit the string they're not always as sensitive, the tuners are not always as sensitive as they might be. Sometimes you'll hit a note and you really won't get it to read on the screen here. But if you hit the harmonic (banjo string chimes) Often times you'll get a better reading then you will the actual note. I just do this at the twelfth fret. It's another thing to think about. Harmonics.
Note: This course was recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Playing intermediate banjo tunes
- Adding natural harmonics
- Placing your bridge
- Playing backup banjo
- Playing intermediate banjo tunes
- Expanding your playing style