Hello everyone I posted a similarish question a while ago but I think this is different enough to warrant a new post(I hope). I am in a band but I really like playing slide and I think everyone is finally getting to where they can accept me playing slide more-thing is I really need to be able to follow the chords and melody lines that the other guitarist and the bassist are playing. So my question is, what tuning do you guys recommend? What finger should I put the slide on-I have some practice with it on my pinky and middle finger but have a hard time playing while standing with it on my pinky.

I pretty much need to be able to switch between playing licks and rhythm quickly so a slide holder isn't really an option. And like I said I have to be able to play melody lines and also major/minor chords and stuff easily. I have a decent amount of practice in standard tuning slide but that doesn't seem like it would work without all of my fingers. I mostly enjoy stuff like derek trucks, george harrison and a bit of johnny winter, rory gallagher and some muddy waters. Thanks for any and all help

Oh and using two guitars would be really tough as I already have to carry my amp and a guitar to every practice-also I am a lefty so getting another isn't an option right now anyway.
Usually slide guitarists play in open tunings, like Open C or Open D. I personally find playing slide (with my very limited experience doing so) in standard very difficult. What finger is up to you. I've seen slides put on every finger by different guitarists. Usual suspect is middle or ring, sometimes pinky.

Playing in open tunings you'll just have to relearn your scales, though it won't be terribly difficult. You may even find previously difficult, cool sounding scales are easier to play.
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But I am looking for a tuning and slide finger combo that lets me play major/minor chords with as much versatility as possible.
Open D or E, depending on string gauge, pinky. Using the pinky I can fret behind the slide and do three finger chords fairly comfortably, though in fact I only do that in standard tuning. I also occasionally use open G or A, but for the folkie type stuff I mostly play, D is more versatile. For major and minor you need one of the 6th/maj7 tunings, but they are better suited to country-style lap steel/dobro as they also depend on slants. I've never been able to get to grips with them, everything I try ends up sounding countrified. I imply minors buy playing the 5th and the major chord so Em = E5 to G or E5 to C. Eg the opening to Hotel California is, say B5 to D, F# rather than Bm, F#

You can also play in standard tuning, using slide for the melody/lead, and three finger chords for rhythm. A compromise between open and standard is drop D - Kirk Lorange uses that.
Study Derek Trucks and try to emulate his style and technique. If you get half way there you are already better than 90% of slide players. He uses open E tuning, ring finger glass slide and is a master at muting with both hands. After you have completely mastered Trucks style, sensitivity, tone and technique, then begin to add your own juice.

A primer:

"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Maybe I didn't phrase this properly-I am looking for a slide tuning and slide finger combination that will allow me to play rhythm easily while still being able to play a slide lick quickly without having to wait and put a slide on from a slide holder.
Quote by Tony Done
For major and minor you need one of the 6th/maj7 tunings, but they are better suited to country-style lap steel/dobro as they also depend on slants. I've never been able to get to grips with them, everything I try ends up sounding countrified.

Open C6 (CEGACE) is probably the most efficient 6 string tuning for playing slide though. You get all three inversions of a major chord and all three inversions of its relative minor at any fret.

The key to avoiding any cliched sounds is to avoid accidentally hitting the 6th chord (with both the 3rd and 4th strings), which actually sounds decided more Hawaiian or western swing than country, since the incidental use of the 6th chord in the steel playing of those genres is a major characteristic of those genres.

You really also don't need slants to get by on C6. In fact, Don Helms (steel guitar player for Hank Williams) according to legend never used slants and he got by just fine. Technically he used an 8 string E6 tuning (usually called E13, though that is a misnomer due to the absence of a 7th (D), and even Don himself referred to it as E6) which would be AC#EG#BC#EG#, but he never used the two low strings and so his tuning was effectively the standard C6 tuned up a third.

Basically it's pretty much the most versatile and complete slide tuning possible on a 6 string, though it does have a slight drawback in that it requires restringing a guitar. Scotty from Scotty's Music suggests:

1 - E 014
2 - C 018
3 - A 022
4 - G 024w
5 - E 030w
6 - C 036w

But that would be on a 22.5-24 inch lap steel, so figure for a 25.5" scale taking each of those down just a bit. Maybe something like:

1 - E 011
2 - C 014
3 - A 018
4 - G 020
5 - E 026w
6 - C 032w

could possibly work for playing slide on a conventional steel guitar.

Actually, come to think of it... Playing this on a regular guitar rather than on steel does remedy the biggest shortcoming of the tuning, which is the lack of a 7th chord. It is arguably easier to do behind-the-slide bends on bottleneck style than steel, so it would be very easy to bend either C up to C# to make an A7 or A up to Bb to make a C7.

It's definitely worth considering anyway. But maybe I'm just quick to advocate such tunings because I'm a steel player.
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OK...Back in your other thread I Posted a link to a decent open D chord chart. That's why, so you can get familiar with open D chords for rhythm parts. Open E shouldn't be much different, I think the tuning is the same just one step higher, or you can use a capo on the 2nd fret and you're in open E.

What finger to use is a matter pf personal preference. Most people advise using the slide bar on the pinkie, so you can fret with the other fingers. That's how Johnny Winter played, Tom Petty's guitar player Mike Campbell too, I think Derek Trucks but not positive, Eric Clapton, Van Wilks and I've seen others just can't remember who. Johnny Winter was probably the best I've ever seen or heard at mixing slide and chords, and he also used a lot of fretted notes during slide leads. Absolutely a monster player...

I use my ring finger, pinkie was never comfortable, and I cut the tendon to the ring finger in half when I was about 12 and it had to be surgically reconnected. Gave me loads of problems re learning guitar and playing in general for years, but it also affects the way the other fingers work so it made using the pinkie very difficult. I have to just live with it and use the ring finger.

I think Billy Gibbons and Joe Walsh both use their middle finger. Never very comfortable for me, but when I tried it I was already well into playing with the bar on my ring finger.

The best for playing and chording is to use the pinkie. You'll have to modify some chords here and there since it's not easy to get your fingers into the positions for some chords with a bar on the pinkie, but I've seen people do it. Van Wilks is very good at using slide and chords in open D. I think I also posted a link to a couple of his videos that give you a decent look at his technique.

Anyway the pinkie is your best bet, and lots of practice. You can also play slide in standard tuning, I do it all the time, but it's more difficult. Open G and D are the most common.

I strongly recommend a second guitar always tuned to open tuning...when I need it I keep one onstage in open G and one in open D. Plus a couple on standard tuning for when one goes out of tune or if I want the sound of a certain guitar for a specific song. I usually bring 3 to band practice acoustic in standard tuning, I retune it when needed for open G or drop D, and two electrics, one of which can be retuned to open tuning if I need it. The strats take too long, change one string and they all go out the window due to the springs in back so I bring a different one. Yeah it's a hassle, a lot of gear to lug around, but it's part of the territory...If you wanna be a lumberjack you gotta handle your end of the log...just the way it is...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Dec 18, 2014,
Minor correction to info posted in my last response. I saw Derek Trucks on the Clapton Crossroads show a couple of days ago, he uses a bottle on his ring finger, not his pinkie. Same for Warren Haynes, also with the Allman Brothers Band, and both finger pick for slide.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Personally I have found that I have better control, especially for vibrato, with the slide on the ring finger, but on the pinky leaves the ring finger free to fret, which in general is preferable.
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