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Watch the Cascading Harp Harmonics: 2 online guitar lesson by TrueFire from Play Acoustic Guitar 8: Advanced Techniques

Cascading Harp Harmonics: 2 - Concept 16 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide.


During part 2 of the Harp Harmonic concept we will build upon the foundation we set in part 1. Now that you've got the fundamentals of playing the harmonic with the index finger and thumb, (hopefully you are feeling comfortable outlining various chord forms with the harmonics too) it's time to incorporate the remaining fingers of the picking hand. Adding in the additional fingers playing notes will give you the opportunity to play more intricate, syncopated and complex patterns. Adding in the paired or isolated fingers really gives you the cascading flowing sound that is characteristic of this style and technique.

Pay close attention to the shape, placement and form of the right hand. As you watch the videos pause periodically and check your own technique and be sure you have the proper form and positioning. As you pluck strings with your ring finger, be sure to keep your thumb tucked back (spaced as far as possible from the index finger) and the index finger as straight as possible. The ring finger (middle and little finger too) will be positioned to the right of the thumb when looking down from your own perspective (if you're a right handed player).

With the right hand being able to clearly produce the harmonic is essential, what type of chord and how you play it with your left hand can have a grand difference on what sounds you can create with this technique. Notice the difference between what a harp harmonic pattern played in combination with a triad sound vs. the sound when the same pattern is played with a richer, more harmonized chord like a major 6th, major 11th, dominant7#11, etc. for example. Try chord forms on the lower sets of strings first, then progressively try chords played on the middle and top groups of strings. Try playing through the changes of a progression while only using the harp harmonic technique throughout.

Remember you should be trying the patterns first at a very slow tempo, one piece at a time. Focus on accuracy and getting good clean tone. Once you can play the patterns with accuracy and smoothness then you should incrementally speed them up to the desired tempo.