In this article you’ll find a map that will show you the location of every natural harmonic on the fretboard. Natural harmonics are chime like sounds that can be produced on the guitar. Natural harmonics can be produced by lightly touching (but not pressing down) a string at certain points. The string is lightly touched by a finger from the fretting hand while that string is simultaneously picked.
Natural harmonics are extremely popular in the guitar world and music in general. They are incredibly versatile. They appear in a multitude of musical genres ranging from classical to heavy metal. Also, rock and metal lovers may or may not know that the natural harmonic is used in the process of playing those cool whammy bar sounds. Perhaps that’s why you’re here.
This lesson will be a rather short one when compared to other guitar lessons at Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. The only thing here is the natural harmonic map that you’ll see further down the page. This diagram will show you the location of every natural harmonic on the fretboard.
Every natural harmonic on the fretboard map – interval pairings
There are a couple of things to bear in mind. The sounds produced by natural harmonic aren’t random noises. They’re notes. They aren’t random notes and nor are they based on the notes of the frets at which they are found. As such, this may feel like learning the fretboard notes all over again but don’t worry. There’s an easy way of figuring these notes out.
The notes produced by natural harmonics are best thought of as interval pairings with the string being used. This is the method that is used in the map.
Let’s say you’re using the G string and you’re playing the natural harmonic found right above the 7th fret. That note as shown by the diagram is a 5th above the string in question. In our case, the string is G therefore, the natural harmonic note produced at that part of the string is a D. Get it?
Let’s look at another example just to be sure. Staying on the G string, we play the natural harmonic directly above the 9th fret which as you can see in the map is a third above G. This means that the natural harmonic note produced is a B.
The natural Harmonic and interval locations are the same on every string
That heading really speaks for itself but it’s important to understand this in order to know how to use the natural harmonic map correctly. To be clear, the locations of the natural harmonics and the intervals are exactly the same on every single string. The natural harmonic found just before the 3rd fret is a flat 7th no matter what string you’re using.
This obviously means that the notes will be different though as the flat 7th above B is different to flat 7th above a D.
It’s best to use this interval way of thinking because it’s much easier to learn one set of intervals and apply it to all strings than it is to learn and remember six sets of notes.
Every natural harmonic on the fretboard – not all natural harmonics are directly above a fret
As you can see from the natural harmonic map, some of the natural harmonics are directly above a fret. Some of them are, but not all of them. Some are found just before a fret, some are found just after a fret. That’s just where they are found. You’ll get a feel for it. Think of them as notes found on the string rather than the fretboard. The frets are just there to guide you.
Beyond the fretboard.
More harmonics can be found beyond the 24th fret (from fret 24 to the bridge). These can be played by pinching the open string in places where natural harmonics can be found (like a pinch harmonic). These work great while using the whammy bar with the fretting hand. The intervals you’ll find from fret 24 to the bridge in order are as follows.
Root 3 5 7b root 9 3 11# 5 13 7b 7 root 9.
Some of these intervals both on the fretboard and beyond are really tricky to pull off. Very tricky actually. Some from fret 24 to the bridge are barely recognisable but they’re there.
Every natural harmonic on the fretboard and beyond – you’ll find the ones you like
You’ll find certain natural harmonics that you like using the most. I personally like the root on the G string above the pickups as well as the root above the 5th fret, the 5th above the 7th fret, the root just after the 2nd fret and the flat 7 just before the 3rd fret.
I tend to play it rather safe with these harmonics as I’m not a particularly heavy user of them or of the arm either but they are fun to break out once in a while. Try them out for yourself. Try them out in both clean slow rhythm sections and also in rock/metal using the bar.
Anyway, here’s the map.
Every natural harmonic on the fretboard – the Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat natural harmonic map
Apologies for the crudeness of the image. I made it in Microsoft Word of all places. Couldn’t think of how else to create it.
As I mentioned earlier, the intervals are the same on each string and as such, there is no need to show a chart with all 6. Also remember that the interval refers to the notes above the open string for example performing a natural harmonic directly above the 7th fret of the B string will produce an F#. Performing a natural harmonic in the same place on the D string will produce an A.
Naturally a basic understanding of intervals is required here.
Well done for learning something new on guitar. As you may expect, Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat has many guitar lessons which teach techniques, tricks and composition concepts. Natural harmonics are more of an intermediate to advanced idea so I won’t recommend anything below that level. Take a look at the lessons below and see if there is anything that seems interesting.
Diminished 7th chords trick that every guitarist should know
How to change key on guitar the easy way
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.