Ground   Techniques   Scales   Chords   Theory & Mapping   Reading   Systems   Nucleus  

Strumming Harmonic Blocks

Core Location: Chords

This is also in Techniques/Strumming.

A harmonic is a bell-like sound created by lightly touching a string at a specific point and picking the string.

Creating the Harmonic Block

For frets 1-12, the strongest harmonics [they exist all along the string plane] are at frets 12, 9, 7, 5, & 4. When we lay a finger over multiple strings, lightly, and strum it, this is what we are calling a harmonic block.

Any finger can be used [directly over the fret, not in the fret space], but it can only be a single finger [more than one will create a mute].

When we use the 1 finger, the 2, 3, and 4 are free. These can mute the strings. Or, they can 'slap' or 'beat' the strings to create a thump.

It can beat or mute the strings at any point. And, any finger can be the harmonic block, while the others act as a beater/blocker. Yet, the 1 works best in our view [with 2-3-4 as beater]. Try the pinky too, with 1-2-3 as beater.

Harmonic blocks are also good 'pre-chord sounds' which can help us synchronize events to our steady strumming motor.

Harmonic Blocks on Beats 2 & 4

Synchronize the muting and lifting exactly with the strumming motor.

harmonic blocks on beats two and four

Harmonic Blocks on Down-Beats, Then Up-Beats

Try both the index and the pinky as the harmonic block. Watch the videos for exactly how to synchronize this. The up-beat isn't shown rhythmically below (we simply switch the HB and M positions).

harmonic blocks on down beats then up beats

Following these exercises, experiment with harmonics and blocking. And the beater can land in between strums to create more complex rhythms.