Artificial (Tapped) Harmonics

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  kanae926 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #12602

    rockmyuke
    Participant

    I have begun to learn Mr. Sandman and find I am having a really difficult time with the tapped harmonics. I am not a beginner and I do understand the concept and technique, but producing the harmonics has been frustrating, especially in comparison to the clear ringing bell-like sound you produce. I’m certainly willing to take responsibility for the weak sound, but is some of my difficulty due to the instrument itself? My strings are new so I don’t think that is the problem, and when I brought the instrument to a tech to see if the action should be lowered, I was told the action was just fine. HELP!

    #12603

    Andrew
    Keymaster

    As Dennis said, this technique is used in our arrangement for Mr. Sandman. Here is a short video to help you out, ignore the first few seconds, as they’re quite silly. Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

    #14955

    mayaqatsi
    Participant

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m also struggling with getting the artificial harmonics to ring out clear and loud…I do get some semblance of harmonics-sounding like something, but it’s all a bit soft and muted and nowhere close to the clear popping sound you get. I’m tapping in a way so that I don’t hit the frets, but even so the impact of my taps are louder than anything else. What am I doing wrong?? (THANKS for the awesome lessons!)

    #14957

    Andrew
    Keymaster

    Hi Maya, here is a video explaining the attack. And watching back I realize tapping on my computer wasn’t the greatest analogy, lol. Let me know if you have questions.

    #15146

    charlene
    Participant

    I’ve been working on Mr. Sandman for weeks and am still having trouble with the harmonics. The sound doesn’t project the way it does when Andrew plays them. Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong? Advice would be much appreciated.

    #15149

    Andrew
    Keymaster

    Hi Charlene, it looks like the video you tried to upload is too big. Please upload it to YouTube and I’ll be happy to take a look at it. In the meantime, this question comes up quite a bit and I’ve addressed it in this forum post. Perhaps this will give you some more insight and help.

    #15151

    charlene
    Participant

    I posted it on YouTube. I hope I’m giving you the correct link so you can access it. Thanks.

    #15155

    Andrew
    Keymaster

    Hi Charlene, I went ahead and merged this post with the other. Great playing! The issue you have with the Taps is the same as Dennis in that you are lingering. The tap needs to be quick, light, and precise. Watch the 2 videos above as that advice will help you correct your execution of the technique. Let me know how it goes 🙂

    #15159

    charlene
    Participant

    Thank you Andrew. I’ll take your advice and keep working on it. BTW, you are the best teacher ever. And your lessons are fun.

    #18177

    lisadmh
    Participant

    Andrew, is it possible that tapped harmonics don’t ring out acoustically? You’re plugged in, most of us are not.

    I’m working on Allegro and there’s one 12th fret a string harmonic. I get almost nothing out of it. I’ve watched all your videos and read all your tips. So pretty on your recording…

    #18178

    mayaqatsi
    Participant

    Hi Lisa,

    I’m far from the ring quality Andrew gets with artificial harmonics, but I do see that I am improving a little (and I have a cheapie acoustic concert) — so in case it helps to hear what I’ve tried…even though I keep thinking that I’m hitting lightly and quickly and following Andrew’s tips as best I can, I think I didn’t (and still don’t) tap just that much lightly and quickly enough (my point of attack and how I release).

    attack: I do notice that when I start imagining light things while trying to tap harmonics — dunno..like Tinker Bell tiptoeing over jello and trying to set off minimal wobble — I actually do get cleaner and louder artificial harmonics

    release: My friend said he could hear me mute the string when it probably would have rung out, which made me think that I must be also dragging my finger a bit, too, along the string for that split second before releasing. This made me practice a bit using the tip/top edge of my nail, which I guess is also maybe imagining that I only have a needlepoint surface to contact the string. So when I went back to tapping properly with the fleshy bit of my finger, I felt my touch was also a bit more nimble?

    I might be just making everything up in my head (and it def cannot be the whole story because I’m still not very consistent at it :-PP but just in case it helps somewhat in some way….

    #18179

    lisadmh
    Participant

    Hahaha, Tinkerbell tiptoeing over jello is the best image ever. I’m literally sitting here tapping the fret as thinking of Tinkerbell and jello wobbles. Thanks!

    Actually, Tinkerbell is giving me a bit of ring on the other three strings but still not much on the A. Hmmmm….

    #18181

    Andrew
    Keymaster

    Lisa, I think due to the size of the ukulele, they don’t ring as pronounced as they would on acoustic guitar. But, they should be audible. And yes, plugged in helps to amplify the effect.

    #18189

    kanae926
    Participant

    Okay, so after watching the videos and reading the posts in this thread, I can happily say my harmonics are sounding better! I’m so grateful I can learn from others experiencing similar difficulties.

    Thank you, Andrew! Your video reponses are so helpful in seeing what we aren’t doing quite right. I think it also may have something to do with recently getting a ukulele with a better setup and different strings, but I’m definitely noticing that I can’t get the same sound out of my cheaper concert ukulele.

    Hooray for the little wins!

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