Harmonics - Basics and Open Tunings (Guitar Lesson)

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Erik Mongrain

Harmonics - Basics and Open Tunings

Erik expounds on the many possibilities of open tunings and the new harmonics that you can use in them. He explains what harmonics are and the basics of playing them. This is the first in a series of five lessons detailing harmonics.

Taught by Erik Mongrain in Erik Mongrain Artist Series seriesLength: 10:39Difficulty: 2.0 of 5

Video Subtitles / Captions

Supplemental Learning Material


Member Comments about this Lesson

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nickgomnickgom replied on February 17th, 2013

Erik thanks for improving my entire style in literally one day. I thought I knew how to play guitar till now but just realised I don't know crap. I always played under standard tuning and changed to open tunings for the first time after seeing your lessons. I'm self taught and thought I was so good that I didn't need lessons. Well I was wrong. I will be going through all your lessons. Thank you very much for your insights. I'm looking forward to learning more. Cheers mate.

thyzelthyzel replied on October 19th, 2011

cool... i like this a lot

mike bmike b replied on July 5th, 2009

could not get this lesson. no sound or picture

gone workingone workin replied on July 3rd, 2009

I was intrigued by that sample played at the end and hope to see lessons on the music itself too. Guitar as solo instrument played this way has a real introspective quality. Harmonic flourishes are intriguing when moved to work as alternatives to regular notes. Fascinating quality to the sound. Really stretches the palette.

Erik Mongrain Artist Series

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Self-taught acoustic guitarist Erik Mongrain shows off some of his innovations and moves in this Phase 2 Artist Series.

Lesson 1

Interview & History of Erik Mongrain

Take 18 minutes to get to know Erik, and discover his unique path to becoming a composer and artist.

Length: 18:25 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

About Erik's Guitar: Setup, Action, and Materials

Erik discusses his guitar in detail and how it is setup.

Length: 39:41 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

About Erik's Electronics, Insets, and Pickups

In this lesson Erik explains the electronic components of his gear.

Length: 5:04 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Warmups and Fingering Exercises

Erik demonstrates how he gets warmed up. He also shows some exercises that build muscle and dexterity.

Length: 23:06 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Harmonics - Basics and Open Tunings

Erik expounds on the many possibilities of open tunings and the new harmonics that you can use in them.

Length: 10:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Harmonics - Picked and the Waterfall Technique

Erik explains picked harmonics and something he calls the "Waterfall Technique".

Length: 7:05 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Harmonics - Strummed, Clawed, & Flicked

Erik shows you some more of his moves in this installment of the harmonics mini-series.

Length: 9:58 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Erik Mongrain: Harmonics - Slapped, Tapped, & Popped

Erik demonstrates some more of his harmonic moves. He covers slapping, tapping, and popping harmonics.

Length: 7:29 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Harmonics - Held & The Millimeter

This is the last lesson in the harmonics mini series by Erik. In this lesson he covers some of the harder to play harmonics.

Length: 10:06 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Right Hand Flick, Strums, and Thumb Pops

Erik Mongrain returns with more "Moves". In this lesson he shows you his right hand flick, strum, and thumb pop techniques.

Length: 17:09 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Percussion: Instrument Setup and Amplification

Erik shows how his guitar is set up and customized for his percussive moves.

Length: 9:24 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Percussion: Using the Body for Sounds and Resonance

Erik teaches the basics of percussive techniques on acoustic guitar.

Length: 13:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Percussion: Sweeping Methods and Techniques

In this lesson Erik explains what he calls "sweeping." This is not a neoclassical shred-fest.

Length: 12:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Lap Tapping: Posture, Amplification, and Instrumentation

Erik covers the basics of lap tapping. This lesson will get you acquainted with the posture and setup for this style of playing.

Length: 4:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Lap Tapping: Harmonics, Chords and Tunings

Erik explains the basics of the lap tapping style in this lesson.

Length: 12:17 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Dialogue And Discussion: Composition

This is a three part lesson on music composition. In the first part, Erik talks about how he composes his music. In parts two and three, he answers questions posed to him about how he writes.

Length: 44:47 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Dialogue And Discussion: Performance

Erik discusses the various aspects of performing live. He shares many tips and useful info for novices and veterans alike.

Length: 21:17 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only

About Erik Mongrain View Full Biography Erik Mongrain was born in Montreal on April 12, 1980. When he was young, he was more into sports than music. Growing up to the sounds of Metallica, Jimi Hendrix and mostly Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, Erik discovered an interest in guitar. At 14, he received a classical guitar as a gift and learnt by ear his favorite songs. A year later, he bought his very first electric guitar which allowed him to learn and play Nirvana songs to his delight.

Over the following four years, he learned guitar on his own, composed his own music and discovered Jean-Sebastian Bach classical guitar melodies, which he learned by heart. Around the age of 18, he discovered a Canadian guitar giant who goes by the name of Don Ross.

It was during this period in his life that Erik chose acoustic guitar as his favorite musical instrument through which he wished to share his passion with others around him. He made another major discovery with the contemporary music of a Californian named Michael Hedges. "It was a true revelation tome, I had finally found my niche" stated Erik. He is still a great fan of Michael Hedges to this day.

During that time, he discovered and experimented a technique, which was unknown to him until then, "lap tapping" "I immediately adopted that technique." With the guitar on his lap, he tapped the chords as if it were a piano. The effect was spectacular! People passing by on the streets were his first "fans". Over those years, Erik played in streets and subway stations in Montreal, in the U.S. as well as in Europe.

In Granada, Spain, a journalist came across this young Montrealer, who was then 21, sitting on the sidewalk and playing his guitar. Impressed by his talent, he wrote an article in the "Granada" newspaper and made the following prediction:

"As another great guitar tapping player, Stanley Jordan, Mongrain started out in the streets of Granada, he will continue on in the Barcelona subway and will probably end up recording on world class major labels"
  - Jesus Arias, Granada

Erik is a musician who is constantly researching and exploring the world of music. For almost two years now, Erik has resumed standard guitar posture and has been writing at tremendous speed songs in which the harmonies and melodies are profoundly inspired.

It is often said that one cannot fight fate. From streets to T.V. sets, this young self-taught guitar player has not betrayed the old saying. 2007, Erik Mongrain launches his first CD entitled "Fates" and now "Equilibrium" to the delight of music lovers.

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