Can't get harmonic on the 5th fret?

chiefnoobie

Well-Known Member
#1
Hi there I recently got a Squire Affinity strat, I set the tremolo system up and it works pretty well. I have noticed however that I can't seem to get any harmonics on the 5th fret. &th and 12 17 work fine but none on the 5th any idea why this is?

#OK this only seems to happen when I have the strat pick up selector at the top position the when the guitar is in the others I get harmonics
 
#2
Can you take some pictures displaying the action and pickup heigths?
Could you confirm the tuning? Do you use standard or extremely low ones?
 

Voodoorider

Can spot a twat a mile away.
#3
The 5th - 7th - 9th and 12th frets should ring fairly well, 5th fret doesn't ring as easily as say the 12th, but is still a fairly strong harmonic, compared to some. If there is nothing killing the string, it can only be technique you need to adjust I think mate?
 

digitalscream

Well-Known Member
#4
I had somebody come to me with a similar problem once - I even talked it through with him in detail on the phone, and still couldn't figure out what the hell was going on.

Turned out he was counting the nut as fret 1. Quite how he managed to get the harmonic at the 12th fret without realising something was amiss is beyond me.
 

chiefnoobie

Well-Known Member
#5
I've got the action low using Eb tuning with 8 gauge strings. I've read other posts that say it could be something to do with the neck pick up. When the guitar is unplugged I can get a harmonic the only way to get the harmonic on the neck pick-up is by using massive amounts of gain which I don't like anyway. All the other harmonics are perfect, can't seem to upload any photo's that's annoying
 
#6
This sounds like poor technique, the unplugged harmonic must also sound less compared to the others I guess. A pickup pulls unplugged and plugged, it's got a regular magnet in it which pulls metal even without current passing through.

Perhaps you could try to lower the neck pickup a bit? I wouldn't know what heigth it is at now.

This said the 5th fret harmonic is a pain in the ass to nail sometimes, although I like it the most. High E tends to be the hardest to nail when you're not fully experienced.

You could also try raising the saddle on the high E if you can on your bridge ofcourse. The strings will gain some movement compensating for the problem caused by you finger, the touching too much(no ACDC pun intended just lack of a better word ;))
 

imalone

Well-Known Member
#7
Depending on pickup position some harmonics can miss the pickup. If the 5th fret is the same distance from the nut as the neck pickup from the saddle then there's a node over the neck pickup and it will get very little of the 5th fret harmonic.
 

BLPAlpha

Math Rock... rocker?
#8
It's all really about technique. You can essentially get a harmonic from a majority of your neck given that you place your fingers properly at the exact harmonic.

It also helps to let go of the string as soon as you strum and to add a little bit of gain.
 

chiefnoobie

Well-Known Member
#9
I have no trouble getting the harmonic when it's unplugged it's fine. Its only when I have it plugged in and am using the neck pick up it's almost inaudible. I was reading other posts on the Fender forum and they were talking about nodes on the guitar I have no idea what that is. I can't afford to pay £40 to have it set up in the guitar shop as I only paid £50 for it and it's nice to play it's just rather strange. I can turn the volume right down get the harmonic then turn the volume up and you just can't hear it.
http://www.tdpri.com/forum/telecaster-discussion-forum/364294-muffled-harmonics-5th-fret.html
 

imalone

Well-Known Member
#10
See the picture right at the top of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonic, any harmonic has a whole number of half-wavelengths (hills and valleys in the picture) evenly along the string. The nodes are the places where it stays still, when you play a harmonic you force the node (effectively shutting off the harmonics that don't have a node at that point, that's the short version at least). The pickups detect the string movement above them, if a pickup happens to be underneath a node for a particular harmonic then there's nothing for it to pick up of that harmonic, though of course you can still hear the string directly. Not a flaw in the guitar.
 

BLPAlpha

Math Rock... rocker?
#11
I have no trouble getting the harmonic when it's unplugged it's fine. Its only when I have it plugged in and am using the neck pick up it's almost inaudible. I was reading other posts on the Fender forum and they were talking about nodes on the guitar I have no idea what that is. I can't afford to pay £40 to have it set up in the guitar shop as I only paid £50 for it and it's nice to play it's just rather strange. I can turn the volume right down get the harmonic then turn the volume up and you just can't hear it.
http://www.tdpri.com/forum/telecaster-discussion-forum/364294-muffled-harmonics-5th-fret.html
The neck pick up is harder to get the harmonic from on 4th, 5th, 6th, and other places other than 7th, 9th and 12th.
The bridge pickup is easier to nail those harmonics. You could just simply lower the neck pick up. Doesn't really need to be set up to do that.
 

chiefnoobie

Well-Known Member
#12
I suppose I could lower the neck pick up a bit it shouldn't do any harm to the guitar not like messing around with the intonation or anything like that. I don't use the neck pick that much only when I'm playing some blues stuff which is when it sounds cool. According to the internet I don't seem to be the only person having this problem
 

chiefnoobie

Well-Known Member
#13
I just tried out an old Strat copy I have and strangely enough it's the same as the Squire no harmonic on the 5th fret with the neck pick up that is quite odd.
 

David R Ferguson

Stratoholic Blues Noodler
#16
5th fret harmonics tend to be less pronounced when using the neck pickup. From my experience.
Flip to the middle or bridge when you 5th fret harmonic and they should come out more clear. Then flip back to the neck when you want it to move on.

Thats what I do on my Strats.
But God knows my technique is not that great. So, you will probably get better help then what I can give.
Also setup can make harmonics sound better, or worse.
 

chiefnoobie

Well-Known Member
#17
Thanks yeah I thought it was a bit strange not being able to get the harmonic on the other Strat copy as well. I'll Just have to remember to flip pickup positions when I want to get one.
 
Top