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Pinch Harmonics


So, I got my Axe 3, still in the testing phase for me. One thing I can't nail down are pinch harmonics. What am I missing because I see others doing it? I have a Mustang III sitting on the floor and I can make that squeal until my ears bleed. Firmware 10. I'll grab 10.1 tonight.

Any tips? I set my i\o on my guitar pretty high, made no difference. I got PRS, LP, Strat, Tele, all of which I can typically make them do it.


There shouldn’t be any difference. Pinch harmonics can be done on an acoustic guitar.

What speaker is your axe playing through?


It's more of a technique thing in my experience. Agree with getting them to sound on an acoustic. Gain helps no doubt.....


upgraded to 10.1 last night, played a bunch. No issues with harmonics last night. No idea what was going on. 10.1 was only a bug fix or two. Ah well, guess I was doing something wrong.


Power User
what's the difference between artificial harmonics and pinch harmonics?
Pinch harmonics involves the thumb?
it was easier for me to learn artificial harmonics using the pointer finger, later on I started using the thumb for artificial harmonics.
generally I'm using greater force using thumb harmonics.. doing squealies on the third fret to get the horsey... uses a lot of force, a rake, and the thumb... rake being optional of course
pointer finger artificial harmonics are way easier..imo... but less efficient than thumb.. depends on your pick holding preference.. finger harmonics require you do some quick slight hand movements shifting the pick between fingers, but the hand is quicker than the eye, so its micro seconds


Pinch harmonics ("squealies") are easier to nail with higher gain settings, in my experience. You gotta find the right trade-off there, it can be challenging. Usually when I'm recording if I'm having trouble nailing one I'll punch it in with the gain juiced just for that take.

There are so many factors at play here that it's hard to recommend any one approach without knowing more about your setup. So yeah... posting a preset would help a ton :)


I've never learned how to do them properly in the lower registers (a la Zakk). Piece of cake up around the 12th fret

Karl Houseknecht

Power User
One thing is to check your pickup selection. Sometimes the pickup you're using is right under a node in the harmonic and you won't hear it because the string isn't vibrating over the pickup.

Oh, and pinch harmonics weren't introduced into the Axe-Fx III until firmware 10.2. So there's that. ;)
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