Removing unwanted harmonic noise from Gilbert 4s

Hey everyone, first post on this forum and it’s good to be here.

So basically, I’ve been working on the infamous Paul Gilbert 4-note pattern (Intense Rock 1) for a VERY long time. It wasn’t until about 2 years ago when I completely reworked my picking technique that I could get it up to a good speed.

However, as I was watching Anti-Gravity I noticed a really annoying quirk in my own playing. I heard Troy playing the lick on the D and G strings, starting on the 6th fret of the D string (edit: actually the 7th fret, but nevermind), and was amazing how clean it sounded. When I played the lick myself I realized, at fast speeds, there was some kind of harmonic ringing out. After tons of ‘trouble-shooting’, slightly altering my hand movements, I realized what the problem is:

If you play the 6th fret of the G, and then half-press the 9th fret with the pinky, there’s a very prominent harmonic - this explains why I don’t have this problem on the B and E strings. As I play the lick faster and faster, my pinky seems to hit this harmonic and the whole thing sounds really messy (see audio example below.) I’ve tried altering my left hand position, but I actually play mostly with ‘classical’ technique anyway - thumb behind the neck. My fingers are quite arched, I don’t really think I can arch them any further. My next best solution is to try and ‘unfret’ the 6th fret of the G as soon as I play the 9th on the D, but this is really hard to do at high speeds and creates really big left hand movements.

I’ve never seen anyone talk about this problem before so it’s quite strange, and very frustrating… Any ideas how I can go about eliminating this? I can also put up a video if that would be helpful.

Thanks so much.

Edit: On the off-chance someone is stumbling across this years from now… I think I’ve found a solution. When hitting the upper string, I have to mentally force my pinky ‘upwards’ (towards the ceiling) while playing the lick at high-speeds. This gets it out the way of the harmonic but also doesn’t result in it flying off the fingerboard, a bit hard to explain but this seems to be working.

I have the same problem with the high note pinky clash, if I have my thumb in the center of the back of the fret board. I have to curl my fret hand around more (with my thumb more in the classic wrapped around the fretboard position).

Edit: for me this only happens with that riff on the top three strings (E,B & G), any other strings and the natural strech/curl avoids that.

I think you’ll have to strengthen the pinky in order to really press down. Just make regular hammer-ons on a daily basis to do that. Make them slow and really hard… It helped me a lot…

That can cause tendonitis and muscle fatigue, better to to practice trills. It should be a relaxed thing, not power fretting, it’s a finesse thing. Bending will help strengthen the pinky too.

Remember, fatigue and pain are your body telling you you’re doing it wrong.