Arts & Entertainment, Music

The Beauty of Harmonics

Jake Shimabukuro

Lesson time 06:08 min

Explore Jake’s techniques for capturing harmonics.

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Topics include: The Beauty of Harmonics


[00:00:00.00] [HARMONICS PLAYING] [00:00:13.78] JAKE SHIMABUKURO: All right. Harmonics. It's one of my favorite sounds. I have a lot of favorites on the 'ukulele and in music. [00:00:24.55] But it's that Chinese sound that that you hear string players make. And it's that sound where it always looks like they're just lightly touching the string and then all of a sudden, like-- [00:00:34.45] [00:00:35.46] --some bell-like note comes out of nowhere. And you're, like, where did that come from. Right? [00:00:39.99] I don't know. It reminds me of when you go to the hotel. And they have that little bell there. And you're just, like, ding! Can someone help me, please? [00:00:48.48] But it's just that light chime. So basically, if you place your finger in the right spot-- now the most common is the 12th fret, the 7th, and the 5th fret. OK? So what you're going to do is you count all the way to the 12th fret. [00:01:04.29] So when I play that note-- [00:01:05.88] [00:01:07.55] --it is producing the perfect octave of the open string. So here-- [00:01:12.32] [00:01:13.01] --is the A. And here is the octave. [00:01:15.15] [00:01:15.64] Right? [00:01:16.34] [00:01:17.32] OK? [00:01:17.81] [00:01:18.30] Now we're also able to create a chime-like character by lightly touching that exact point there and plucking the string. And as we pluck the string, we have to remove our left hand so that the string can vibrate. OK? [00:01:39.27] So just like this. Watch this. [00:01:40.97] [00:01:42.74] Just like that. Lightly touch the string right at that point above the 12th fret. And then-- not in the middle, not like when we're putting our finger there to fret it. We're putting it directly over the fret. [00:01:55.93] OK. And then, let's try again. [00:01:57.65] [00:01:58.55] Sometimes if you use your smaller finger, you can get a better tone-- [00:02:02.71] [00:02:03.69] --like that. [00:02:05.17] [HARMONICS REPEATING] [00:02:06.64] But you should be able to get it with every finger. Now another thing that I like doing is, sometimes when I play harmonics this way-- [00:02:14.47] [HARMONICS REPEATING] [00:02:15.40] --because my thumb is so close to the bridge, which is where my microphone is when I'm plugged in, I get a little bit of that-- [00:02:26.19] [00:02:27.05] --that thump from my thumb. OK? So what I like to do sometimes is I like to take my thumb and put it on the other side of my finger. And that way, I don't get that thump. And I just get the clear-- [00:02:40.36] [00:02:40.80] --chime. See that? [00:02:42.81] [HARMONICS REPEATING] [00:02:45.13] As opposed to-- [00:02:46.44] [HARMONICS REPEATING] [00:02:48.78] --there's a big difference there. [00:02:51.42] [HARMONICS REPEATING] [00:02:55.40] And see if you can do that with every string. See that? It's a perfect octave of-- [00:03:02.42] [HARMONICS REP...

About the Instructor

Called the “Jimi Hendrix of the ʻukulele,” Jake Shimabukuro won worldwide acclaim for his fresh and fearless musical interpretations. Now he’s sharing his approach so anyone can experience the joys of the ʻukulele, from the simple chords that make up hundreds of songs to more complex fingerings and compositions. Learn how to adapt songs you love for ʻukulele or write your own. Stop worrying and start strumming.

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Jake Shimabukuro

Jake Shimabukuro teaches you how to take your ʻukulele from the shelf to center stage, with techniques for beginners and seasoned players alike.

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