dory wrote: ↑
Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:13 pm
I have found that my 5th fret harmonics are weaker than the others-- especially when I need to play more than one string. 7 th and 12 th fret harmonics are really easy and loud. Does anyone have good tips?
(edited to remove inadvertent excessive underlining that lingered for several hours)
As one gets into higher and higher sounding
harmonics (typically, but not necessarily located on lower and lower frets) one is actually dividing the string into vibrating sections. It's fairly intuitive that when one does a harmonic on the 12th fret, that the string is made to stand still at the 12 the fret, while the the string vibrates in two sections; from the nut to the 12th fret, and from the 12th fret to the bridge.
A seventh fret harmonic divides the string into three sections; from the nut to the 7th fret, from the 7th to the 19th fret, and from the 19th to the bridge. That the string is standing still at the 7th fret, where it is touched, is fairly obvious; it's something kinda interesting to have pointed out, when one is first essaying harmonics, that the string is also
standing still at the 19th
fret, where it is not
touched. And, of the same interest that if the string is touched at the 19th fret and not the 7th, the same harmonic is heard as a result.
The points at which the string is standing still are called nodes, and as harmonics get higher, the string is being divided into more sections, and there are more nodes along the string length where the string will be, or should be, standing still. These nodes are, by default, easily avoidable for 12th and 7th fret harmonics, but a 5th fret harmonic introduces a node right about in the area where one habitually locates the right hand for playing. This means that one is more likely to be inadvertently trying to energize the string at the node point, which defeats ones purpose, and mitigates against the success of sounding the harmonic. So, one has to anticipate where a node point may be in the right hand section of the string, and avoid playing there. Of course, the need for this care is exacerbated as higher and higher sounding harmonics are emp0loyed, for which the the number of nodes keeps increasing. That is the basis for the rationale behind the earlier suggestion that ponticello hand location helps.