Open strings exciting harmonics on other strings...

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
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Beowulf
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Open strings exciting harmonics on other strings...

Post by Beowulf » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:31 pm

I am sure that others have noticed this: when playing an open G it excites the 5th fret natural harmonic on the D string; playing an open D excites the 5th fret natural harmonic on the A string; playing an open A excites the 5th fret natural harmonic on the 6th string; playing an open E string excites the 7th fret natural harmonic on the A string, etc. Now I have been using natural harmonics for tuning for years now but I now seem to hear these harmonics quite noticeably during playing.

It is possible that the intonation of my guitar is more accurate after adjusting the action by lowering the saddle and thus the sympathetic harmonics are stronger...as I do not recall noticing this as much previously.

Any thoughts on this phenomenon and its contribution to the music? Of course playing apoyando strokes will minimize the effect, but at times I am inclined to damp the string under harmonic excitation as it produces a higher level of the harmonic than produced by the open string itself and thus the harmonic balance is "out of balance."
1971 Yamaha GC-10

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Open strings exciting harmonics on other strings...

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:50 pm

Being in tune generally, helps bring this out - not sure whether an action adjustment would make a noticeable effect or not.

Its one of the (many!) things to bear in mind in terms of the sound we make. Quite often we are too busy to deal with sympathetic harmonics, but when the sound is more exposed we might either damp, to avoid inappropriate dissonances, or encourage, to bring out more sustain ... or just to make an interesting sound!
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Open strings exciting harmonics on other strings...

Post by Adrian Allan » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:55 pm

The guitar player Narcisio Yepes recognised that the six string classical guitar was unbalanced in the way that it produces overtones, and some notes were noticeably weaker.

He claimed to have solved this issue by his 10-string guitar with so-called Yepes tuning, which reinforced all of the harmonic series more evenly, even if the lower strings were never actually struck by the right hand. So this is an important issue to some people, but as Stephen says, there is so much to think about in just mastering the guitar, it is an issue that is rarely given much attention.
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Beowulf
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Re: Open strings exciting harmonics on other strings...

Post by Beowulf » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:41 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:Being in tune generally, helps bring this out - not sure whether an action adjustment would make a noticeable effect or not.

Its one of the (many!) things to bear in mind in terms of the sound we make. Quite often we are too busy to deal with sympathetic harmonics, but when the sound is more exposed we might either damp, to avoid inappropriate dissonances, or encourage, to bring out more sustain ... or just to make an interesting sound!
Quite so...and when the music is "busy", it moves on so quickly that this effect usually goes by unnoticed; not to mention I may have no fingers available to damp the sympathetic harmonic. A helpful point about damping when the notes are more exposed which is also used when damping a bass note in a passage to allow the next phrase to speak separately. I will explore using the effect to support the music.
1971 Yamaha GC-10

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Beowulf
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Re: Open strings exciting harmonics on other strings...

Post by Beowulf » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:The guitar player Narcisio Yepes recognised that the six string classical guitar was unbalanced in the way that it produces overtones, and some notes were noticeably weaker.

He claimed to have solved this issue by his 10-string guitar with so-called Yepes tuning, which reinforced all of the harmonic series more evenly, even if the lower strings were never actually struck by the right hand. So this is an important issue to some people, but as Stephen says, there is so much to think about in just mastering the guitar, it is an issue that is rarely given much attention.
Thanks for reminding me of Narciso Yepes and his 10 string: it did have a very rich sound when I heard him perform Concierto de Aranjuez in Montréal back in the 70s.
1971 Yamaha GC-10

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