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Discussion Starter #1
earlier today i was theorizing about how to perform "exclusively" guitar techniques on sax

well first off, is anyone here also familiar with the technical workings of natural/artificial harmonics on guitar?

basically, you have a node with no vibration, one part of the string vibrating at one frequency, and the remainder at another frequency. the most predominant is at the 12th fret where the 2 frequencies are the same.

i was wondering that theoretically you could make the reed do the same thing. growling is just vibrating the reed at 2 frequencies but if you sing a specific relative interval my theory is that the guitar's natural harmonics would manifest on a saxophone.

i havent gotten around to testing this hypothesis or comparing recordings but as soon as i can i will.

until then, does anyone have any insight or opinions on how this may work out? i know the whole idea sounds abstract and ridiculous, but thats how i spend my time.
 

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Just to point out, you're not in fact getting the guitar string to vibrate at two different frequencies, but just dividing the wavelength at different harmonic nodes. So 12th fret is 1/2 wavelength (octave 1), 7th (OR 19th fret) is 1/3 (5th above octave 1), 5th fret is 1/4 (octave 2), 4th (or 9th, 16th) fret 1/5 (4th above octave 2) etc.

This is equivalent to blowing overtones on a closed sax tube (low Bb), which is done as per Pete's article.

On a guitar, of course, you can fret normally with the left hand, and contrive to play a new set of harmonics, eg by touching the node with R index and plucking with R thumb (harping). Essentially you've set up a new standing wave to split up.

On a sax, the same is done by playing harmonics on fingered notes (ie shortened tube), but you can also use various keys as vents, effectively forcing the creation of a node at that level, and so setting up a whole new standing wave system. This is the basis of both altissimo and all the alternative fingerings.

Come to think of it it's the basis of the octave key, too.

And it's the basis of tone production, on both instruments - where you hit the string in relation to the nodes affects, on the grand scale, treble or bass response (by emphasising different harmonics). On the small scale, your exact picking position and technique dictates whether you're just another guitarist, or a Carlos Santana or Peter Green.

Harmonics, in other words, are nearly everything - to quote Robert Fripp: "As one fundamental note contains within it other notes in the octave, two fundamentals produce a remarkable array of harmonics, and the number of possible combinations between all the notes increases phenomenally. With a triad, affairs stand a good chance of getting seriously out of hand." And guitars have SIX strings remember, if not 12. Saxophones, fortunately, don't - but they tend to come along in gangs!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
hmm, i knew about overtones and altissimo on sax but i guess i had the wrong technical understanding of exactly whats happening or completely over-thought that. thanks for the correction

i should have realized the difference in timbre between regular notes vs. overtones and regular notes vs. natural harmonics on guitar. if im not mistaken these comparisons are... well... comparable. it should have given it away even though if you work on it enough the timbre difference on sax overtones are much less evident.

well now the thing to do would be learn the pitches of the harmonics on guitar and apply them to real playing as i would/do with sax.
 
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