#1
I'm trying to improve my slide playing, and one of the major problems I have is excess noise from strings ringing when they aren't supposed to.
The solution I've been trying to use is only putting the slide up to the first knuckle, not all the way up my finger, and muting using my middle or index finger.
Is this good technique? If not, what should I do to improve it?
#2
Pick hand muting. Much more pick hand muting.

Also if you don't already, consider using finger picking when you're playing slide material, many of the big names never use a pick when they're playing slide.
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#3
I do plan to use a thumbpick when I'm playing slide so I can fingerpick actually, whilst retaining some single string speed.
I've never had much experience with picking hand muting deliberately. The way I pick generally means with a plectrum I have no problems. Is there any specific resource you'd recommend for practice?
Last edited by AeonOptic at Feb 4, 2014,
#4
Noise gate. It gets rid of unwanted hizzz, hummmm or ringing you dont want.
The niose goes away quicker if you barely mute it or release it
Without the gate even if you mute it, you're still going to get unwanted hummm.

I get cleaner tones and notes all the way around with a noise gate no matter what I play.
Especailly if Im using a tube driver or pre amps to get tones or drive. I want drive not
more distrotions.
It just makes it still feels soft playing cleaner tones as if it's still driven with
a lot of over drive. So I dont strum or pick harder, The softer I pick or pluck,
the cleaner it sounds. Hopes that makes sense.

Cords. Im very particular about guitar cords. If you find cords that's clean. it's like gold.lol
Last edited by smc818 at Feb 4, 2014,
#5
not just pick hand muting but mute with your fretting hand as well-- mute behind the slide so any open strings don't ring out. joe walsh is a master at this
#6
^ Forget the noise gate and work on your technique. If you start to depend on that noise gate and one day it's not available, you're gonna wish you had perfected your technique so that you didn't need it. Zaphod had the right answer.
#7
Quote by KG6_Steven
^ Forget the noise gate and work on your technique. If you start to depend on that noise gate and one day it's not available, you're gonna wish you had perfected your technique so that you didn't need it. Zaphod had the right answer.

I agree, I just want to make sure I do it right.
@Dreid: That's what I'm attempting to do currently, I was wondering if it was proper technique or if I need to do more.
#8
Sure dudes, that's like playing tennis wearing cleeks with a bat mitten
#9
Quote by smc818
Sure dudes, that's like playing tennis wearing cleeks with a bat mitten


Noise gates are not for this problem. If you have your gate set so harsh that it actually mutes strings for you then frankly you're doing something wrong; they're made to mute hum from pickups and the amp, not clean up your playing.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#10
I play steel, and so most of the right hand techniques should in theory transfer over, though the left hand techniques for muting won't because of the limitations of the way that 6 string guitar players (your kind of six string, not mine) hold the little piece of metal in their hand.

The main types of muting we do on steel are palm muting and pick muting. Both of them require the use of finger picks. You mentioned wanting to be able to keep single string speed. Correct me if I'm wrong, but to me it sounds like you want to use it like a flat pick. Honestly, with slide, it's pretty tricky to play anything particularly fast since all your notes slur a bit and because it is quite difficult to play three notes per string the way you would with your fingers since you have to move the slide back and forth a lot.

For steel we don't have this probably since we have such closely tuned string intervals, which allows us to play one note, slide to the next, play the next note on the next string at the same "fret", slide a note on that string, etc.

And that's for those lap steel guys, with their primitive little thing (though it doesn't weight 70 lbs so I guess that's a reason to use one). For use real steelers, we play scales with our picking hand and feet, with the left hand just holding the slide in place.

But anyway... muting.

For palm muting, the heel of the hand rests on the strings over the pickup (which is placed where the bridge pickup is on a guitar) which is similar to guitar palm muting. When you pick, you lift the hand just enough to get it off the strings, and then when you want to kill the note, you put it back down. It creates a very subtle bouncing sort of motion.

Pick muting is similar, but, as the name cleverly suggests, you put the pick to the string to stop it. I don't really do this much, and so I can't say too much on it.

Of course, this doesn't help much with the noise of the slide. For us, we hold the bar so that it only touches the strings we are playing and the left hand heel and little fingers block the other notes. You guys can't really do that since your slide is kind of mostly flat against the strings, so our wonderful left hand techniques simply don't apply.

I would suggest that you consider learning lap steel, since it does slide a million times better (though you can't half finger/half slide like you can on guitar). They are fairly affordable and the basic tunings are very accessible. That's really my recommendation to anyone that is really serious about extensive slide playing.

If you don't really want to go for that, I would at least suggest trying open tunings, since they are all around better for slide playing do to the increased number of usable voicings. In standard tuning, you have one voicing for a major chord (DGB) and two voicings for its relative minor (low E, G, B or G, B, high E). For diad harmonies, you can do a major six (G and high E or D and B) and a major third (G and B), and I guess a rather wide space minor third, but that's about it. Plus you have far less (read: no practical) ability to play slants like on a steel guitar. You also get a fairly useless Em7/G6 voicing.

In comparison, open major chord tunings allow you to at least have most of, if not all of your basic inversions of your major, and afford you a fairly usable number of thirds, sixths, and octaves, so for playing harmonies it should get you what you need, although it does not allow full minor chords or extended chords, particularly the dominant 7th, which is real nice to have readily available. I always miss that particular chord when playing in C6 on lap steel, but that's another story.

In addition to harmony, a major advantage of open tunings is that due to the larger presence of thirds, particularly in the higher range, you don't have to play three notes per string in scales, and in fact if you use open notes, you can get away with only having to use one "fretted" note on several strings. With slide playing, the less you have to move the little piece of metal, the better.
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#11
Thanks Theo, that's really useful.
I did forget to mention that I am in fact trying to use open tunings, but the highest I can currently go is open D without a capo, as the strings need replacing and I'd rather they didn't break.
Also, I intend to use thumbpicks since it makes arpeggiating chords a lot easier and doesn't have as harsh an attack as a plectrum, but if you angle it right you can still ride a single string, for instance during As The Crow Flies by Rory Gallagher, where he rides the 1st string going up and down the scale, though I'm sure he uses a plectrum.
#12
So like DADF#AD? Also consider open G. There are a few options. I would say the classic Dobro GBDGBD is the best, but those low notes might be a bit too tight, so DGDGBD is a good choice. At the very least, I would take that over DBDGBD. It's a very different sound than open D either way, though several of the intervals are the same, and so if you learn one open tuning you can generally do something in another.

Though of course no open major tuning can compare to an open 6 tuning, particularly C6 (CEGACE), though it is probably not worth it to restring your guitar for that one.

As far as being able to do fast picking, you might be surprised at how fast you can go with a thumb and one finger (index or middle, getting them both on one string at the same time as the thumb is a bit too tight to be practical, and so nobody really does that). I play banjo, and can do single string (a la Don Reno) 8th notes up into the low mid 300s bpm, which should likely be more than fast enough for what you want to be doing.
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#13
I'll bear that in mind with Open G-I'll probably have a go with it when I get some new strings.
It may seem like a cop-out, but I have very slow fingers, and find it very difficult to play at speed with my thumb without absolutely terrible attack, which is more percussive than tonal. The thumbpick rectifies this. It's not the sort of thing I've been able to noticeably improve either, as it affects most thing to do with fingers/wrists, meaning my writing speed is awfully slow as well without causing pain to my wrist.