Tommy Emmanuel Cascading Harmonics

Cascading Harmonics

Cascading harmonics are a technique that combines alternatively plucking harmonics and open strings to create a harp-like effect. It’s a great technique that provides another shade of color to your playing palette.

I was inspired to practice this technique by a Tommy Emmanuel video YouTube. There’s a series of videos from his 2013 Master Class in San Francisco, click here for the series. One of the videos focuses specifically on this technique:

He demos the cascading harmonics technique, and illustrates it’s use in the Chet Atkins rendition of “Over the Rainbow” but, unfortunately, doesn’t explain how to do it very well. And even his slowed down version is too quick to catch the nuances of what he’s doing!

So, for a better explanation, I turned to Douglas Niedt’s site. This site provides a pdf with notation and commentary breaking down exactly how to do Cascading Harmonics.

You can go to his site here, or download the pdf directly here.

A quick walk through Douglas’s pdf will give you the basic technique for cascading harmonics.  From there, it’s a matter of practice.

Still not sure what cascading harmonics are?

Check out this video for more inspiration (and less explanation):