Here is a song theme for today even though I wrote this riff some time ago already. Natural harmonics are pretty nice effects to boost your acoustic guitar playing and make music with. I composed this riff using standard EADGBE – tuning and it found it’s shape quite easily after just playing around with natural harmonics.
In my opinion natural harmonics usually give a nice etheric feeling for the melody which is one of the main reason I like to use these so often. I most likely found out about guitar harmonics when I listened some late 90’s heavy metal. That time metal music was coming back after grunge almost killed it completely and the new wave was really guitar and riff driven.
In 90’s metal there were lots of artificial harmonics used in the songs. Artificial harmonics and natural harmonics used in this riff are a bit different but still same kind of thing. Artificial harmonics are made using a guitar pick which creates squeezing high notes. Suits pretty well for metal music.
If you want to know some examples just listen few minutes playing of Zakk Wylde and you’ll get the point. Natural harmonics are more softer way of using harmonics than artificial ones. They’re most often used with acoustic guitar but obviously there are no rules here.
Many electric guitar players like to use them as well. In my opinion natural harmonics are a nice way to expand the capability and sound palette of acoustic guitar. A good effect to boost your playing just like the percussive elements are as well.
But as with every effect these things can be easily overused so I personally try to keep these stuff pretty minimal. Expect for this tune of course since there are no any other stuff used than natural harmonics.