#1
Hello everyone I am quite fond of slide guitar but I have run into an issue-my band plays rock type songs mostly(think stuff like sunshine of your love, crosstown traffic and similar stuff), and I can play slide in standard but want to get into playing in open e. The problem is that there is another guitarist who I will need to be able to keep up with who plays in standard, I am used to writing songs while in standard(though I suspect maybe this one is the easiest to overcome), and also it would be pretty hard to take two guitars and my amp over to where we practice. Is it just a matter of getting good at transcribing over to open e? Or should I just continue with standard? And the other guitarist tends to use a digitech whammy pedal and a decent amount of distortion for most rhythm playing and a lot for soloing so I'm not sure the sound I am looking for is easy to get into that mix.

If it matters my slide heroes are people like derek trucks(like pretty much everyone), george harrison, johnny winter, warren haynes and rory gallagher(I'm sure I forgot a few there). So mostly pretty clean tones-I'd be playing a strat and les paul(I'm a lefty and broke so buying another guitar for slide is not an option). Thanks for any and all help
#2
Is it just a matter of getting good at transcribing over to open e?


I think that (or open G) is probably your best option, but if you can learn to play slide in E Standard, it will be another trick in your gig bag.
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Dec 3, 2014,
#3
yeah, too bad you can't get another guitar for open tuning, it's also nice to have the action set higher for slide.
#5
The Hipshot works, even the Tronical Tune works, but the Hipshot is $150 the Tronical Tune $325.

Joe Walsh was taught by Duane Allman, and he's managed to make slide part of the lexicon of rock both with his own music and with the Eagles. Open G is heaven, but standard is doable.

Don't think that because your other guitarist is in one tuning that you have to be in the same tuning to work with him. If you ever play in a band where instruments are natively Eb or Bb (horns), you'll learn quickly. Play keyboards in a band, and you're constantly transposing, though modern keyboards can often transpose all by themselves -- but beware that your keyboardist undoes the transposition when it's important. There's a YouTube of Van Halen where the keyboardist is in a completely different key. The GooGooDolls and a few Cah-Huntry and Westrin stars tune their guitars all over the place. Doesn't mean you have to (or CAN) tune your instrument to whatever wild hair they had tickling them when they wrote the song.

But with any band, the members have to make that transition from the bedroom to the band. In other words, you have to leave lots of spaces in your playing for other instruments. Playing by yourself usually has you filling in all the parts. Playing in the band means everyone has to learn that NOT everyone needs to be playing all the time, nor should you be playing the same thing.

And one last thing. I have three Variax guitars. Each and every one of them, including the ten-year-old 500 series electric, are able to use pitch replacement technology so that you can have the guitar tuned to standard, but rotate to a different model and alternate tuning instantly. Open G is one of the stock tunings (though you can substitute your own for the stock selection), and a couple of the models on the Variax are Resonators, so if you want to do an acoustic-sounding Dobro tuned to Open G with slide, you can. Rotate the dial (or stomp on the Pod XT if you have one) and you can instantly be in Les Paul tuned standard.
Last edited by dspellman at Dec 3, 2014,
#6
If you want to play in open E, go for it. Let your buddy play in standard. There's no conflict. Look at the most recent iteration of the Allman Brothers Band--Warren Haynes plays in standard, Derek Trucks plays in open E.
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#7
I learned slide in standard tuning too, switching to open tuning wasn't to hard. I started with open G, which I still use most, but have been concentrating on open D a lot recently. With D you can also capo 2 frets up and you're in open E. Playing on the first few frets is a bit tricky but doable.

Just practice with open E or Open D and a capo, it'll work with a guitar player in standard tuning with no problems. I've played in open G, D and E, and also with another guitar player who was tuned a full step down to D standard. Still no problem but I had to remember to transpose...

I strongly recommend a second guitar, one in standard, one in open tuning. I usually keep one in open G onstage, sometimes one in open D too. Then again I already have a half dozen guitars...for band practice you can take a couple of minutes to retune if you need, but I'd figure a way to do two guitars...I bring 3, two electrics and an acoustic and we practice in a small room. Other guitar player brings an electric and an acoustic. I retune as needed.

If I were in your shoes I would set the Les Paul up in open tuning and leave it that way, the Strat is a bear to retune due to the springs on back of the bridge. (been there done that) Set the action a little on the high side, it doesn't take much. Don't worry much about intonation, your slide bar is your intonation with slide. Most lap steels just have a fixed bridge.

I play clean, use an overdrive pedal or a distortion box depending on what the song needs. As already mentioned, with 2 guitar players you don't have to worry as much about keeping things filled in, just make sure the other guy knows when you're playing slide he needs to keep the rhythm part going strong. Ditto for you if he plays lead. Don't be afraid to not play when you need to.

Johnny Winter used open tunings, mostly open D I think but not positive, finger picks and a Supoer Reverb or the Music Man equivalent, and always on the neck pickup. Joe Walsh uses different open tunings, same for Rory Gallagher, I've heard him use open G and D and at least one other I didn't try to figure out. If you're into those guys you might also like Kim Simmonds with Savoy Brown, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, (he used several different tunings) and Tom Petty's Guitar player Mike Campbell has done some killer slide parts. He has a crazy vibrato...

All those guys can and do use clean and distortion where appropriate, except maybe Johnny Winter, not sure if I've ever heard him play anything but clean. I use my overdrive set so the gain level gives it just a little dirty, gain on the distortion pedal is fairly low but a definite distortion sound. From there I depend on the pickups to get the tone I'm after. For a clean sound I usually use the middle pickup on a strat and both on a Les Paul type guitar. The bridge pickup is usually too bright for me when playing clean. For overdrive or distortion it will work great. For clean you'll need the amp a bit on the loud side so a clean slide part can cut through the mix.

I highly recommend a volume pedal. A friend got me into that, I hated it at first but he told me to use one for a month and I'd never play without it...he was right. Two reasons...you don't lose treble when you play at lower volume, and you don't have to stop playing to change the volume level, your foot does it and you play right through.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Dec 3, 2014,
#8
1) you and your buddy can play in different tunings as long as you both know what you're supposed to be playing. Look at Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp in King Crimson: after Fripp came up with New Standard tuning (CGDAEG), they were NEVER in the same tuning again.

2) I know you say you're broke, but if you do find a way to budget for an axe dedicated for slide- which I'll join the chorus and advise you do- check out these retailers:

http://leftyfretz.com/
http://www.southpawguitars.com/
http://www.adirondackguitar.com/lefty/LHMenu.htm
http://www.jerrysleftyguitars.com/
http://leftyguitarsonly.com/
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#9
I play slide in a three piece punk band. I use open E with that band. I previously played in a band where I used both open E and open G. I have two slide guitars (both teles), one of them has a Hipshot Trilogy which is the guitar I was using in the previous band. It allows you to change tunings very easily.
Your problem isn't going to be the tunings, it will be the setup. You really need a higher action and heavier strings than you would use when playing standard guitar. But there is a solution. You don't need a great guitar to play slide. The guitar doesn't need a great neck or anything really apart from good pickups. So just go out and buy some cheap Tele knockoff, toss some heavy strings on it and a decent pickup, maybe tuners if they are crap, and you're set to go.
If possible try to get one with at least a 9" radius. I also use a 7.25" radius which is great for some songs but it takes a bit of getting used to. That's actually why I have two teles even though all I use now is open E.

But the point being - you don't need an expensive guitar to play slide. So go to ebay and score a cheap tele knock off and convert it.

Open E is a really cool tuning for rock because the bottom string is your root note. Open G is easier to play if you are coming from standard but E is a better rock tuning once you get your head around it. That's why Keef throws away the bottom string when he plays in open G. Wtf use is a 5th note as a bottom string? It just gets in the way. With open E the bottom string is the root - much better.
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Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
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#10
Thanks everyone who has helped, but part of the problem is that the other guitarist doesn't always know what he is playing-he finds chords that he doesn't really know what they are(he also is the main singer so he seems to kinda take charge). Also for the songs I write and sing on I can't be moving my hand all around the fretboard-how easy is it to get all the basic chords in one spot for when I am singing while in open e or open g?
#11
It is possible but not using the slide. You are running a high action and heavy strings too, so fretting actual chords is a bit irksome. I do a bit of singing while I'm playing and I'm moving all over the fretboard quite fast. How I do it, is to arrange my mic so I can see what I'm playing while I'm singing. It's not that hard, you just gotta practice a lot.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#12
It just takes a lot of practice. If you use your slide bar on your pinkie you can also chord some with the others. That was always totally uncomfortable for me so I use the ring finger, and have a slide keeper on my mic stand so I can grab it when needed. When using slide all the way through a song, I have to be able to depend on the other guitar player to keep the rhythm part going, that's a requirement. If the other guy can't keep up he needs a lot of practice. Period.

I haven't looked, but you might be able to find some info online on chords in open tunings, I didn't have that option when I learned in the early 70's, the internet didn't exist. I figured out the chords for open G one note at a time trying to copy various songs like Zeppelin's "That's the Way" and "Bron Y Aur Stomp", Peter Frampton's "Penny For Your Thoughts" and so forth. The only way to do it was listen a couple of dozen times and figure out by ear what notes were there and try to find where they could be played at the same time...

A guitar player I really like named Van Wilks has done several excellent songs in open D, "Tempted", "Stilletto Blues" and a couple of others, he's figured out many of the chords in open D, I'm not sure how, he may have done it the same way I did, he's been using open D since long before the internet existed too. So I know some chords can be used in other open tunings, but I've never tried to figure them out since I normally use open G most, and just do some slide in open D.

Here's Van doing Texas Jukin, which is in open G. I've been working on this one but don't have it down yet...this is also not the same as the album version, he improvised a bit toward the end and speeded it up a lot. it also shows how he uses the pinkie for slide and other fingers for picking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9d_qvBnu5c

Here's the studio version of Stiletto Blues, I can't find a video of it, but this is done in open D, Van's favorite tuning. Al the chords are done by just barring the strings on one fret, I've seen this one live several times, including before it was recorded. Can't find a good vid of Tempted, he was playing both onstage for 2 years before the Koko's Hideaway CD was recorded. I was really glad to see them included, both great songs. He does a lot of the fills the same way as he did in the first vid, slide bar (bottle) on his pinkie, other fingers to play the fills. He keeps a Scotchtone single pickup guitar tuned to open D for slide, the guitar was a gift from Billy Gibbons, they've been good friends for many years. That's the guitar used in this recording...Gibbons had Van's name inlaid in the neck.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G2iWngLH98


Went ahead and did a bit of googling, here's a list of open D chords...

http://chordlist.brian-amberg.de/en/guitar/open_d/

Have fun...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#13
Quote by Paleo Pete
It just takes a lot of practice. If you use your slide bar on your pinkie you can also chord some with the others. That was always totally uncomfortable for me so I use the ring finger, and have a slide keeper on my mic stand so I can grab it when needed. When using slide all the way through a song, I have to be able to depend on the other guitar player to keep the rhythm part going, that's a requirement. If the other guy can't keep up he needs a lot of practice. Period.

I haven't looked, but you might be able to find some info online on chords in open tunings, I didn't have that option when I learned in the early 70's, the internet didn't exist. I figured out the chords for open G one note at a time trying to copy various songs like Zeppelin's "That's the Way" and "Bron Y Aur Stomp", Peter Frampton's "Penny For Your Thoughts" and so forth. The only way to do it was listen a couple of dozen times and figure out by ear what notes were there and try to find where they could be played at the same time...

A guitar player I really like named Van Wilks has done several excellent songs in open D, "Tempted", "Stilletto Blues" and a couple of others, he's figured out many of the chords in open D, I'm not sure how, he may have done it the same way I did, he's been using open D since long before the internet existed too. So I know some chords can be used in other open tunings, but I've never tried to figure them out since I normally use open G most, and just do some slide in open D.

Here's Van doing Texas Jukin, which is in open G. I've been working on this one but don't have it down yet...this is also not the same as the album version, he improvised a bit toward the end and speeded it up a lot. it also shows how he uses the pinkie for slide and other fingers for picking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9d_qvBnu5c

Here's the studio version of Stiletto Blues, I can't find a video of it, but this is done in open D, Van's favorite tuning. Al the chords are done by just barring the strings on one fret, I've seen this one live several times, including before it was recorded. Can't find a good vid of Tempted, he was playing both onstage for 2 years before the Koko's Hideaway CD was recorded. I was really glad to see them included, both great songs. He does a lot of the fills the same way as he did in the first vid, slide bar (bottle) on his pinkie, other fingers to play the fills. He keeps a Scotchtone single pickup guitar tuned to open D for slide, the guitar was a gift from Billy Gibbons, they've been good friends for many years. That's the guitar used in this recording...Gibbons had Van's name inlaid in the neck.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G2iWngLH98


Went ahead and did a bit of googling, here's a list of open D chords...

http://chordlist.brian-amberg.de/en/guitar/open_d/

Have fun...


Thank you so much
#14
You're welcome, just wanted to show you what can be done with open tunings. I'm not good with open D but have worked with open G a lot for 30 years, and know some of the chords.

The one thing you really need to do is get the other guitar player up to speed with the rhythm parts. If he's going to play rhythm, that's his job, period, he needs to know the songs same as everyone else. Otherwise he needs to put the damn thing down and stop calling himself a guitar player. If you wanna be a lumberjack you have to handle your end of the log.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...