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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Getting volume with Harmonics (Chimes)

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BruceH - Posted - 02/08/2007:  10:41:28

I've been playing a Jay Buckey arrangement for "Bear Creek Hop" and having a lot of fun with it (thanks for providing it Jay!) One problem that I seem to struggle with is gettting volume out of the Harmonic's. I find that I play softly through the entire song so that the Harmoics don't sound so soft. Is this just the way it is, or should I be getting good volume? Even when I just sit there and try to hit a single string as loud as I can just barely touching it, I would say it's half volume at best. When I play the song at speed it's even tougher. To do this in a Jam I think everyone would have to stop playing to hear it! I've made sure my postion is good over the fret and even moved it up and down just to make sure I'm in that "sweet spot". You can hear the song on Jay Buckey's website if you curious.

Any thoughts? Thanks-


Trying to find more time to play!

jimbo78 - Posted - 02/08/2007:  11:20:10

To get that harmonic you MUST lightly touch the string. Then lift your finger UP at the same time you hit the string. It should sound a little louder and will ring out for longer.

If the harmonic doesnt ring out for very long then you may be deadening the string. Which will make the harmonic quiet.

The only way I can explain the way its done is to say, its kinda like a" pull off " with out pressing the string all the way to the fret.

Hope this helps


Danielg - Posted - 02/08/2007:  11:22:18

touch, pick, as the pick hits the string pull the finger off the string. That's how I've gotten chimes to be loud enough to hear up the stairs, anyway.

AD3AD3AD3 - Posted - 02/08/2007:  11:53:24

Bringing the instrument in close to the microphone will help get volume out of harmonics.


trapdoor2 - Posted - 02/08/2007:  11:59:18

Harmonics will always be softer than 'non-harmonic' notes; its just the physics of the thing. The advice above is spot on, though. You need to minimize the damping effect your finger has on the string. Higher order harmonics (5th fret, 4th and others) will be even less loud, as you can hear in Jay's mp3.

RH position also affects the volume of the harmonic, experiment with moving your RH position to optimize the sound. I find that harmonics in the 5th and 4th position tend to need a RH position closer to the bridge in order to get them to really ring out.

"If banjos needed tone rings, S.S. Stewart would have built 'em that way."


rwkuta - Posted - 02/08/2007:  12:05:34

On my banjers................. the harmonics ring a little brighter and louder as I move closer to the "Y" position away from the bridge. When I play the harmonics I try to pick them farther away from the bridge. Try that

"Obsession is a great subsitute for talent" Steve Martin

BruceH - Posted - 02/08/2007:  13:04:12

Great tips guys. I had not thought about moving my RH position, I was mainly trying to get my LH postion and timing worked out.

I'll practice practice practice! Thanks!


Trying to find more time to play!

knows pickin - Posted - 02/08/2007:  17:04:06

Check the location of your bridge. It must be precise if you want volume from your chimes!

Knows Pickin

Don't keep pickin it, You'l only make it sore! (mom)

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