So it took me years to work out how to play the things deliberately but I just recently experienced an irritating harmonic or possibly 2 ringing out during a song I have been tone hunting for for the next JGC open Mic.
I’ve recorded the song before and its pretty much a high tempo (163 bpm) PC work out around A D E. In the past I used the Mustang III and the Strat and did not hit any issues but I am now using the POD Go and one of the LP studios. Harmonics ringing out is certainly 5th string 5 fret but possibly 6th string as well.
Due to the speed and song style, palm muting is not an option and with quick changes, string damping with the fretting hand is also out of the question. I have tried both techniques and it either muddies the tone or chokes the flow.
Its possible when I add vocals, it will not be so obvious with the guitar lower in the mix but wondered if there is a way to stop the harmonic ringing out or if it could be a finger placement issue (something I’ll experiment with today).
Thoughts, comments welcome. Can’t name the song or it will be an OM spoiler !
Above my play-grade, Toby, oh to have such problems
Did you try dropping down the gain, would that help your issue? What settings you have on your PodGo as well since issue only arose when pluggin it in? Does it happen with a different guitar too? Juat a quick troubleshooting thoughts
Cheers Adi, not so noticeable with the Strat but dropping the gain is the next step.
Also trying the Washburns as their HBs are not as “hot” as the LP’s. It was across a range of different amp models on the POD, with the gain equivalent to around 5/10 in most cases, so not mega high. Can’t play at the moment but I plan to start with very little gain and see at what point it becomes noticeable and repeat that on the other Pre-sets I was trying. Then see if the Washburn’s are different but wanted to avoid the hollow bodies and mic bleed. But that may be an option. Trouble is the LPs are great for the other song and I was avoiding switching guitars mid set !
I was after a cleanish sound anyway to start (first 1/4 of song before it goes a bit mental) so maybe back to the drawing board. Plenty of time for this one.
What if you try to introduce some more compression into your signal, is that helping at all? I am not that much of an expert as to go to guitar construction and how that influences different sounds but perhaps distance between a pup and strings is closer/more distant comparing to other guitars? I will leave the last point to experts around here
If you’re getting pinch harmonics you could try a bit closer or away from the bridge for you picking.
Or try not to ‘dab’ the strings in between notes.
I’m in the trying to add them in phase
Dave its more a constant background harmonic, that builds after a few bars of high energy power chord strumming, which is pretty much the whole song. No finesse and note picking but oddly when doing that I am finding more pinch harmonic by accident. I’ll save those for later !
Are you playing open or barre chords and which chord are you getting the harmonic? Are you sure it’s not feed back. PM me with what you’re playing and maybe I can help knowing what you’re playing.
Its pretty much A D E power chords 6th and 5th string root and an open E here and there.
I think its the D Power Chord that’s the issue, as I can replicate the harmonic tone playing it at the 5th fret, when I touch the A string the harmonic stops. But would have thought changing from D to A would have muted it and also shifting to the E with the same root string but it just sustains throughout. I guess that may rule out feedback but not sure ?
I might switch to full barre chords for the song and see if there are is a difference.
Don’t know if this will help but I looked up sympathetic harmonics and found this
A vibration produced in one material by the vibrations of the same frequency, or a harmonic multiple of that frequency, from a sound wave in contact with the object, by means of the air or an intervening material. A common example of sympathetic vibration is to sound a tuning fork and bring it close to, but not touching, another fork of the same frequency. The second fork will then begin to vibrate sympathetically
That sounds plausible. Grabbing a bite to eat and will then be in a position to plug in and experiment. I’ve recorded this a couple of times in the past but both were done on the Strat from what I recall. So some experimentation required !
OK just to confirm after a quick test, the harmonic that rings out is an E equivalent to 6th string 5th fret and 5 string 7th fret. Not loud but noticeable. The investigation continues !
Oh dear, I believe this is a technique issue or sloppy technique if I am honest.
The problem occurred on both LPs and also on as close as possible set up, of a Vox AC30 on the POD and also on the Mustang III. The harmonic was audible on both amps and both LPs.
Checking my fretting hand I noticed, as I was moving from the A power chord to the D the tip of my index finger was muting the E string but had moved to slightly on top of the 5th fret while still in contact with the string and as a result triggered the harmonic. As I say not loud but enough to notice as a drone throughout the track. I suspect when vocals are added it won’t be audible (to anyone bar me !!).
Never encountered this before when playing power chords or never noticed it. Playing the song with full barre chords seemed to negate the harmonic possibly due to the frequencies of the thinner strings. Just love the appliance of science!
Now to try the Washburns for good measure, then spend some time working on technique.
Thanks for all the input and suggestions. As most things, human error by the look of things !
Thanks for clarification Toby, the issue do sound familiar as I sometimes do like to fiddle around with a song by RHCP called Can’t stop which you might be familiar with. Basically John is usually playing two strings but one at a time but strumming all of them and when he strums he mutes all others strings with his left and right hand and that’s the sound I was getting too. So muting technique might be an issue in your instance as well, I so far put the song down on a bench and hope to get back to it once but last time I tried I was getting lot of harmonics as well and tried all different amp settings etc but nothing seemed to be working. Sort of you asking those questions opened my eyes again on the issue
I’m just rethinking about it and perhaps not as aggressive strumming could have done the trick? Try to manipulate your strumming technique, start soft and step up your attach bit by bit until you reach harmonics again so you can back down a bit and perhaps play a bit softer. Although I get that emotions can take over during the play!
Glad its not just me Adi !!
Now interestingly enough, I have just been trying the HB32 and most of the time did not get the harmonic, just once in a while. Now that could be down to the fact that I am aware of the fretting issue but also the different scale lengths - Washburns long, Gibson short. So despite only being a little different in relative terms, my finger placement maybe be “better” on the Washburn. Which would also explain not getting the issue on previous recordings with the Strat.
So the question now is, do I switch to the HB for the OM and tweak the preset for the other song I am doing or use one of the LPs and work on more accurate fretting ? Keeping my options I might just do both…just in case !
BTW Can’t Stop is a great RHCP track, look forward to your cover in due course !
Is always the correct answer
I do as well, but that is few years away I think
Wish you luck with sorting your settings out Toby! I am sure you will get through it
Haha! I want harmonics! They usually sound pretty cool – and if they come organically it would be something to leverage in a new and interesting way. Try to reproduce them and then think about how to use them to your advantage.
Oh yes sirree they do sound cool. In a nice impro, lead or melody line. Not slap bang in the middle of a psuedo punk PC mash up. There they are like a fly staring up at you from that freshly served clam chowder. Not here not now.
Please share when you have a chance. We all have different ears and perceptions.