#1
Bought a guitar slide, because slide guitar seems fun, and it is, but I suck at it, granted I've only had it for a day, but I have no idea how I'm supposed to get better, so what are the basics for it? If you have a video, please link it.
#2
Are you looking at merely using the slide as a part of your everyday playing here and there, or are you looking at a lapsteel/dobro style playing that is completely based on the slide?

First of all, make sure that you have a properly tuned and intonated guitar. Play around with the pressure, so that the slide makes a strong, even note, but not too hard so that it detunes the sound or makes it too abrasive. When you can play a single note cleanly, try sliding it up two frets. That's pretty much the start, make that happen cleanly and you've taken the most important step towards slidy goodness.
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#3
There are basically two styles of playing. First, the open-tuning "Delta Blues" style that's essentially song accompaniment.
Then, single-note-single line playing that's like playing lead guitar lines with a slide.

For both, a dedicated guitar is not a bad idea as the action should be fairly high. Essential to both is damping, damping the strings "behind" the slide to prevent annoying overtones and noise. With Delta-style playing, this is normally handled by the index finger.

Accuracy of placement is vital, the slide must be placed directly over the fret for each note. Basic techniques include sliding up to and down to a particular note, playing single notes cleanly, and developing a strong vibrato.

There are all sorts of resources.....for traditional playing Bob Brozman, Johnny Winter, Roy Rodgers.... For rock playing you could do worse than listen to the Allman Brothers.

I've said that if you could master all the techniques Johnny Winters does in his recording of Dallas...You'd be well on your way.
#4
Try out different materials. I had a slide, looked like aluminum and it sounded terrible which discouraged me. I ended up using a glass slide because it was softer and easier to control excess noise, but as I got better I switched back to steel.


You can use any finger you want aside from index because you should be muting the strings a bit with that finger.
Last edited by esky15 at Aug 6, 2015,
#5
Youtube it. I did this a few months back. One in particular suggested you start with just doing slide on the bottom string (high e in standard tuning, though you'll want the guitar in open tuning). And you just use the 5th, 7th & 12 frets, and get comfortable sliding between them while muting the string behind the slide with your fretting hand. They also have videos comparing different slides, comparing which finger you use the slide on, etc.

When you can simultaneously slide & mute one string, and move somewhat smoothly between these fret positions, you then move on to the bottom two strings. As you try to slide on multiple strings, it is a lot harder to keep the slide making good, even contact with all strings, really have to focus on holding it parallel to fretboard, and it's harder to cleanly mute behind the slide.

Well, I dabbled with it a bit, have not progressed too far, but I think Youtube has good basic instructional videos on this.

I like high action and I also like open E tuning (E-B-E-G#-B-E).
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#6
I classify the styles into more than those given so far:

Spanish position, open tunings - often fingerpicked, country, folk and blues.

Lap style, open tunings - always (?) fingerpicked - as above, bluegrass. Makes much use of hammers and pulls.

Lap style, 6th/m7 and other closed tunings. Country, can end up all sounding the same.

Spanish position, standard tuning. Electric lead, ala Duane Allman, Mick Taylor.

What genres/styles interest you? I'm the first two, on both electric and acoustic, but not very good at lap style.

Brads page of steel is a good place to start.

It is a good idea for beginners to have the action set a little high, to avoid hammering and damaging the frets. I like just about any slide with a thick wall - genuine bottle necks (which a make and sometimes sell), heavy brass, ceramic. I find that brass, in spite of being soft is smoother sounding than hard things, like glass or chrome.
Last edited by Tony Done at Aug 6, 2015,
#7
Quote by krm27
One in particular suggested you start with just doing slide on the bottom string (high e in standard tuning, though you'll want the guitar in open tuning).


Actually I think the bottom string is the low E. It's a bit confusing as physically it is in the top position on the guitar but I believe it's referred to as bottom due to it being the lowest pitch.
#8
Quote by Tony Done
Lap style, 6th/m7 and other closed tunings. Country, can end up all sounding the same.


E7 and E9 are more country. A6 and C6 are a lot more Western swing and Hawaiian. Don Helms used E6 in his playing for Hank, but that's mostly it. Granted, you can certainly do country on C6, but it's not as common as E7 based tunings.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#9
Quote by Kevätuhri
Are you looking at merely using the slide as a part of your everyday playing here and there, or are you looking at a lapsteel/dobro style playing that is completely based on the slide?

First of all, make sure that you have a properly tuned and intonated guitar. Play around with the pressure, so that the slide makes a strong, even note, but not too hard so that it detunes the sound or makes it too abrasive. When you can play a single note cleanly, try sliding it up two frets. That's pretty much the start, make that happen cleanly and you've taken the most important step towards slidy goodness.


I've only been playing guitar for 2 years, and that's just barely, I just think it seems interesting and, it's fun. I'm using a regular acoustic guitar, probably intonated but it's acoustic, and I'm afraid of ****ing it up trying to intonate it, and it's tuned to open A, because that's apparently really common in slide guitar. I so far am able to slide it up two frets, most of the time, bit more troubling on the lower frets.
#10
Quote by Bikewer
There are basically two styles of playing. First, the open-tuning "Delta Blues" style that's essentially song accompaniment.
Then, single-note-single line playing that's like playing lead guitar lines with a slide.

For both, a dedicated guitar is not a bad idea as the action should be fairly high. Essential to both is damping, damping the strings "behind" the slide to prevent annoying overtones and noise. With Delta-style playing, this is normally handled by the index finger.

Accuracy of placement is vital, the slide must be placed directly over the fret for each note. Basic techniques include sliding up to and down to a particular note, playing single notes cleanly, and developing a strong vibrato.

There are all sorts of resources.....for traditional playing Bob Brozman, Johnny Winter, Roy Rodgers.... For rock playing you could do worse than listen to the Allman Brothers.

I've said that if you could master all the techniques Johnny Winters does in his recording of Dallas...You'd be well on your way.

I wanna learn both of those styles, mainly lead guitar stuff, because you don't need to sing, and I don't have anyone who can sing for me. I have a dedicated guitar for it at the moment, I only own two guitars, the action isn't that high, but it's high enough IMO. Working on damping the strings, feels weird right now, but I'll get used to it, I suppose, also working on the vibrato, better than the damping though. And I'll check out the resources whenever I decide to train.
#11
Quote by esky15
Try out different materials. I had a slide, looked like aluminum and it sounded terrible which discouraged me. I ended up using a glass slide because it was softer and easier to control excess noise, but as I got better I switched back to steel.


You can use any finger you want aside from index because you should be muting the strings a bit with that finger.

Bought a glass slide, should've probably got someone to make one for me to be honest, but it works. Been using the ring and little finger so far.
#12
Quote by krm27
Youtube it. I did this a few months back. One in particular suggested you start with just doing slide on the bottom string (high e in standard tuning, though you'll want the guitar in open tuning). And you just use the 5th, 7th & 12 frets, and get comfortable sliding between them while muting the string behind the slide with your fretting hand. They also have videos comparing different slides, comparing which finger you use the slide on, etc.

When you can simultaneously slide & mute one string, and move somewhat smoothly between these fret positions, you then move on to the bottom two strings. As you try to slide on multiple strings, it is a lot harder to keep the slide making good, even contact with all strings, really have to focus on holding it parallel to fretboard, and it's harder to cleanly mute behind the slide.

Well, I dabbled with it a bit, have not progressed too far, but I think Youtube has good basic instructional videos on this.

I like high action and I also like open E tuning (E-B-E-G#-B-E).

I did YouTube it, and I didn't find anything that helped me personally which is why I came here, I will try out that 5/7/12 thing though. I don't find two strings that hard honestly, not the low e and a strings anyways.
#13
Quote by Tony Done
I classify the styles into more than those given so far:

Spanish position, open tunings - often fingerpicked, country, folk and blues.

Lap style, open tunings - always (?) fingerpicked - as above, bluegrass. Makes much use of hammers and pulls.

Lap style, 6th/m7 and other closed tunings. Country, can end up all sounding the same.

Spanish position, standard tuning. Electric lead, ala Duane Allman, Mick Taylor.

What genres/styles interest you? I'm the first two, on both electric and acoustic, but not very good at lap style.

Brads page of steel is a good place to start.

It is a good idea for beginners to have the action set a little high, to avoid hammering and damaging the frets. I like just about any slide with a thick wall - genuine bottle necks (which a make and sometimes sell), heavy brass, ceramic. I find that brass, in spite of being soft is smoother sounding than hard things, like glass or chrome.

I do want to try lapsteel guitar, but I'd want a lapsteel guitar to play on first, so I guess I'm interested in both spanish positions. I've only tried a glass slide so far, but I want to try other slides as well, thought that the glass slide would be better for beginners.
#15
OK...I've been playing slide for over 40 years, never damaged a fret with a heavy brass bar, and I've been using one since 1985 or so.

The strings are actually numbered, 1st string is high E, 6th string is low E.

A couple of things about slide...

Try different tunings. Open G and open D are the two I use most.

Intonation should not be an issue with an acoustic guitar, you can't change it. Minor changes can be made with an intonated bridge, I wouldn't worry about it. My lap steel is not intonated at all, just a straight bridge. This is because your intonation is determined by where you place the slide bar, even on a perfectly intonated electric, you can be way out of intonation on one note and perfect the next, just by slide bar placement.

Place the slide bar directly over the frets, not between them like you do when playing regular guitar.

Have a very light touch.

Mute the strings behind the slide bar by lightly letting your index finger lay on the strings.

For acoustic I prefer my brass slide bar, glass for electrics.

When I learned I practiced by trying to play with one finger, the one I intended to use with the slide bar. That gets you into the habit of "thinking" with one finger instead of all of them.

Finger pick.

Listen to Johnny Winter, Duanne Allman, Derek Trucks, Eric Clapton is no slouch, Billy Gibbons, Joe Walsh, David Gilmour...all play some very good slide.

Start simple. You won't be able to nail Layla after a week.

First work with using 3 strings for a simple chord, slide it up or down a couple of frets, and practice placing the bar right so it's actually the note you want, not a quarter tone high or low. Again, directly over the frets. Worry about leads a little later.

Also work on muting unwanted notes with the fingers of the picking hand. I've been working with it over 40 years, but I can mute individual notes, and often don't mute with the index finger.

Start on the upper frets, closer to the nut is harder to get a good clean note.

A fairly high action helps, many acoustics should be OK right off the rack. It doesn't have to be extremely high, just a little on the high side so you don't bang on the frets a lot. My action on electrics is about 1/8 inch at the octave fret. Not that high.

For vibrato, move the slide bar slightly left and right of the note you're playing. Learn to use the wrist for this and move the entire arm slightly. It varies with position.

Most people use either pinkie or ring finger. Joe Walsh and Billy Gibbons use the middle finger, Derek Trucks uses ring finger, Johnny Winter used his pinkie. I use my ring finger. Whatever is most comfortable for you.

It takes time. You won't see much progress the first couple of weeks. Keep at it. Playing by fretting with one finger is what helped me the most. Take your time and be patient. Try a brass bar for acoustic. I find it gets better volume and sustain than glass, a glass bar works great for electric. I use antique medicine bottles, I look for them at resale and antique shops every time I get the chance.

I can't think of anything else...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Aug 13, 2015,
#16
Quote by Paleo Pete
OK...I've been playing slide for over 40 years, never damaged a fret with a heavy brass bar, and I've been using one since 1985 or so.



I have. My OLP bari has notches in the frets. - Heavy slide, low action, a heavy gig and a few beers can be a destructive combination.
#17
Quote by Paleo Pete
OK...I've been playing slide for over 40 years


Wow, aren't you tired?
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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#18
Quote by Dave_Mc
Wow, aren't you tired?


He's retired. He was tired this morning and he's tired again now.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#19
ah
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#20
Quote by Paleo Pete
OK...I've been playing slide for over 40 years, never damaged a fret with a heavy brass bar, and I've been using one since 1985 or so.

The strings are actually numbered, 1st string is high E, 6th string is low E.

A couple of things about slide...

Try different tunings. Open G and open D are the two I use most.

Intonation should not be an issue with an acoustic guitar, you can't change it. Minor changes can be made with an intonated bridge, I wouldn't worry about it. My lap steel is not intonated at all, just a straight bridge. This is because your intonation is determined by where you place the slide bar, even on a perfectly intonated electric, you can be way out of intonation on one note and perfect the next, just by slide bar placement.

Place the slide bar directly over the frets, not between them like you do when playing regular guitar.

Have a very light touch.

Mute the strings behind the slide bar by lightly letting your index finger lay on the strings.

For acoustic I prefer my brass slide bar, glass for electrics.

When I learned I practiced by trying to play with one finger, the one I intended to use with the slide bar. That gets you into the habit of "thinking" with one finger instead of all of them.

Finger pick.

Listen to Johnny Winter, Duanne Allman, Derek Trucks, Eric Clapton is no slouch, Billy Gibbons, Joe Walsh, David Gilmour...all play some very good slide.

Start simple. You won't be able to nail Layla after a week.

First work with using 3 strings for a simple chord, slide it up or down a couple of frets, and practice placing the bar right so it's actually the note you want, not a quarter tone high or low. Again, directly over the frets. Worry about leads a little later.

Also work on muting unwanted notes with the fingers of the picking hand. I've been working with it over 40 years, but I can mute individual notes, and often don't mute with the index finger.

Start on the upper frets, closer to the nut is harder to get a good clean note.

A fairly high action helps, many acoustics should be OK right off the rack. It doesn't have to be extremely high, just a little on the high side so you don't bang on the frets a lot. My action on electrics is about 1/8 inch at the octave fret. Not that high.

For vibrato, move the slide bar slightly left and right of the note you're playing. Learn to use the wrist for this and move the entire arm slightly. It varies with position.

Most people use either pinkie or ring finger. Joe Walsh and Billy Gibbons use the middle finger, Derek Trucks uses ring finger, Johnny Winter used his pinkie. I use my ring finger. Whatever is most comfortable for you.

It takes time. You won't see much progress the first couple of weeks. Keep at it. Playing by fretting with one finger is what helped me the most. Take your time and be patient. Try a brass bar for acoustic. I find it gets better volume and sustain than glass, a glass bar works great for electric. I use antique medicine bottles, I look for them at resale and antique shops every time I get the chance.

I can't think of anything else...

Thanks for all the great tips! And you said I wouldn't see much progress the first weeks, that's wrong, gotten pretty good after one week. Can't play any songs, because I've been playing loads of different songs in order to get better, gonna start actually learning some now though.
#21
Wow, aren't you tired?


He's retired. He was tired this morning and he's tired again now.


Buncha clowns...

damn kids these days...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#22
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?