Play acoustic like Gordon Giltrap

We show you how to use harp harmonics in this Gordon Giltrap-style piece

Gordon Giltrap is one of the UK's most enduring pioneers of instrumental acoustic guitar music with his best known piece, Heartsong, even gaining chart success.

His influences are broad, drawing from the fire of Pete Townshend to the finesse of Bert Jansch, resulting in his music ranging from break-neck strumming to the most delicate of harmonics.

This piece reflects Gordon's sensitive side, using a technique known as 'harping'. It involves alternating conventional notes with picking-hand created harmonics. Standard notes are plucked with the third finger while harmonics are achieved by lightly touching the string with the picking hand's first finger 12 frets higher than where fretted, and plucked with the thumb. Ensure you lightly touch directly above the fretwire otherwise the harmonics won't be crisp enough. If you hold down the chord shapes as per the chord boxes, you will have the correct fingerings ready. The picking hand traces the chord shapes 12 frets higher. Begin slowly to gain accuracy, and good luck!

Gordon's gear

Gordon uses several guitars, including a Fylde Gordon Giltrap signature, and various instruments by UK-based guitar maker Rob Armstrong. We used a Guild CO-1C here.

Click 'see all pictures' in the picture box for full-sized tab.

Audio - Tutorial track


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