Video Review: Expanding Guitar’s Harmonic Vocabulary with Artificial Harmonics Part II by Genil Castro

Review by Az Samad

In Part II of this masterclass by Genil Castro, we go deeper into the finer details of how to use artificial harmonics to expand our harmonic vocabulary. If you own the first video, this video is a must have as it continues to show us how mastering the technique can help us sound better in a jazz guitar context.

Genil calls the style ‘electric lap piano’ and as I studied the material, I started seeing how deep the rabbit hole really goes. In a way, this class is really an exploration of harmony. Genil shares A LOT of examples from chord voicings, voiceled II-V-I examples and beautiful 3 to 6 note chord voicing examples that incorporate harmonics as part of the voicing. His playing is both delicate and textural, beautiful and haunting. It’s not just the vocabulary but also the touch and tone. So much of this is the elements surrounding the technique, not the actual notes by themselves.

Talking about using harmonics as part of voicings – this seems like a simple concept… But, when you start to realise that you have to think of the resulting voicings (because of the sounding harmonic up an octave from the original pitch), it’s worthwhile to be guided by Genil (who has done this already). I feel much more prepared to explore these sounds after watching the video. Along with the notated examples, I had a lot of great material to incorporate into my practice routines. I really look forward to using these sounds in my future solo guitar arrangements.

Pros: Immense amount of material compressed in 31 minutes. Great musical examples, lots of it.
Cons: You may have to become a J. D. Salinger style recluse for awhile or cut down on Netflix binges to find time to to internalise this material.
TLDR: If you want to get a wider harmonic vocabulary (i.e. know more colourful chords), this class by Genil will help you get there. If you’re thinking of getting this video, do get Part I as both work together hand in hand.

February 13, 2019

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