Sliding Technique

In this lesson I will try to explain as easily as possible how to slide, effects of sliding, and more.

Ultimate Guitar
If you have ever seen a tab that looked like this:
/-slide up
\-slide down

*Vacant Skies [Intro] by Sparta
But had no idea what sliding was or how to do it, like all of us wondered once, then today is your lucky day because I am going to teach you how to slide. First of all, you need a slide. Slides are either glass or metal, so they are pretty cheap unless you want the fancy ones. You can buy these for anywhere from 3 to 15 dollars, or if you have a friend who is an experienced guitarist and has a slide he/she doesnt need, then maybe he/she will be generous and give you one. Frankly, it does not matter how you get one, so long as you do. The slide, which may look slightly painful if you do not know how to use it, fits on your forefinger. You can think of a slide as a moveable fret. Instead of trying to slide by sliding your fingers across your neck and hitting every fret loudly, this wonderful invention called a slide produces the same sound without all the fret-hitting. After you have put the slide on your finger, you place the finger that the slide is on onto the fretboard. You can play multiple frets later, right now lets focus on playing one string at a time. To start, lets place the finger with the slide on it on the seventh fret. All of the strings should be pushed down, but lets play D (with standard tuning, not dropped D). After plucking the D string, especially if you have an acoustic guitar, quickly move the slide from the seventh fret to the ninth fret before the sound diminishes. A tab for this would look like:
Using this process you can eventually play songs that look like this:





Repeat this 12 times





      |- 6 times --|
That was a Stairway To Heaven [Solo] by Page Jimmy. Good luck and check out the other lessons for more information.

53 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i still don't get what a slide is...i thought we slide with our fingers, not with some sort of a device you put on your finger...?
    3rdEyeBlinded wrote: i still don't get what a slide is...i thought we slide with our fingers, not with some sort of a device you put on your finger...?
    you do not a need a slide its just a tool that helps. sliding with ur fingers is just fine.
    Four Wheels
    Pretty good. If you are serious about playing slide guitar I have heard it is worth buying another guitar set up by a music shop for slide guitar. Without high action the slide catches on the fretboard which gets annoying after a while.
    I agree with some of those guys up there, not to diss the lesson, but it didn't do justice to "slide guitar"! And slide guitar is usually used for Blues...
    Well, it's just an brief introduction into slide, sort of clearing up what it is. You couldn't put a whole A-Z of slide guitar up for newbies to play, that would just freak your mind, I know it freaks my mind. At least some people have now heard about it. So I say a fair attempt at (briefly) explaining Slide Guitar.
    K, if it asks you to do something like this, where you're sliding on 2 strings? ---3/5/3---- ---2/4/2---- can you do this wiith a slide on?
    u.n.t.a.m.e.d. wrote: K, if it asks you to do something like this, where you're sliding on 2 strings? ---3/5/3---- ---2/4/2---- can you do this wiith a slide on?
    yes if you press it down diagonally b/c ure 1st string frets are all 1 higher but if ther is a difference like this : ---8/1/5---- ---2/4/2---- but you can do it like this ---2/5/2---- ---2/4/2---- then you have to hold it straight across the neck the diagonaly then straight its hard to make it sound rlly good but not many with many songs u can use the slide
    if you look at the lessons page where you select the difficulty or whatever, there's a pic of a guy with a slide on his PINKY and i think when i learn to use a slide for the (longer?) slides then ill probably do that
    Well you guys know that having a slide isn't necessary. I've been playing for 5 years and I have never bought one or used one, because I find that my fingers can make slides sound fine as they are. Plus your strings can get a different tone depending on what you press down on them with. So really, I don't think it is really important to go get one. I suggest that everyone practice sliding with their plain fingers for now. That way, you'll get used to it. Plus it will make your fingers get calused and stronger, which makes them hurt less and be able to play better. Plus, you never know when you'll be without a slide. You have to know how to do things using just your plain hands (well using a pick is pretty much the only really necessary thing, if you learned that way). Someday, you might just be caught without all your little gadgets, so you gotta know how to play without them.
    i agree to what segar says to an extint...but like some songs like without you by the crue need a slide because it's just like that..but some songs dont actaully need a slide like when you slide down to get that...falling sound i guess you could say...but who knows
    very nice and detailed. i thought u just slide with your fingers.. i never knew there was such a thing. anyways, thanks.
    i didnt know what a slide was before i started playing but i knew like 2 days after..... of course i know a guy who had been playing guitar for something like 2 years and he was pretty good but i had to tell him what a distortion pedal was and i had only been playing like 6 months so yeah
    normal sliding is not the same thing as slide guitar, thats a whole different thing. and since when is the solo from stairway played with a slide? it isnt. thats when. newbies dont listen to this article, but id suggest learning the intro to stairway, its a good starting song.
    If you really wanna play some songs that require using a slide try playing FREEBIRD or NO MORE TEARS
    a good song to practice or to improve ur sliding skils is turn the page of metallica. kirk uses a slid to play the solos there's only one solo that he uses the othe three fingrs to play it u'll notice wich one is...and this song is good to beginers to practice some chords with the slid on the finger ( on the pinkie finger) and its easy to play so it is good to get u people motivated.
    This lesson gets you started with the basic information, but not much to the lesson overall though. Kinda dissapointed
    ok, i read this lesson because i thought it was about the sliding technique, I understand eg 7/12 u simply slide your finger from the 7th fret to the 12th but im finding ones like /12 where the hell do u slide them???
    jst use finger... unless its a reaalli long slide... then u'll prob cut ur finger trying to do it too fast
    Newbie Rocker
    Wow I always use my fingers and once you slide and bend enough you get caluses which make it easier I hate this article
    so a slide is a thingie u put on ur finger?? maybe u guys should put pictures in ur lessons so ppl understand what ur talking about..... the lesson was very informative on how to use one, but exactly what is it and if we dunno what it is, how will we go get one... hmmm..... *sits and thinks for a minute*....
    ok ppl, come on. i knew what a slide was, before i even picked up a guitar. here is an easy way to acquire a slide. if you have any empty beer bottles (with a neck), cut the neck off about 4 inches from the top, and insert your finger in it, and you have a slide. either that or go to and look for slides on there. there are pretty cheap, and very convenient.
    if you have any empty beer bottles (with a neck), cut the neck off about 4 inches from the top, and insert your finger in it,
    yeah i know its called bottleneck, but at least heat the bottle to smooth off the edges. Otherwise you will cut your finger off.
    guys he's right.... i also knew what a slide was b4 i could even play....slide is what you do and also a can do it w/ your fingers and sound like crap, or you can get/make a slide and sound better.
    ok...i didn't even know they existed! so thanks...great, now there's SOMETHING ELSE i've gotta bloody buy now! lol cheers x
    um.. How do you play the songs with a slider on your forfinger?? do you not use that figer for anything but sliding?? This is kinda difficult for me because I can't get from 8 to 5 with pinky and middle finger that easily. I know I am not that good and this sounds really like begginerish. But I mean it might be kinda hard to post up a whole song and not explain anything for us. Since it is true that begginers are reading this lesson...
    playing w/ a slide on works just gotta *** around w/ it. it's harder, yes, but if you wanna be good..... p.s. slides are cheap
    um yeah not all slides use a slide...normally long slides (eg from 2 to 20 or something) need a slide to keep the sound going...slides from 7 to 9 don't need a slide really...or thats my opinion anyway
    You dont really need a device called a slide i have only been playing for 5 months and i have never used one and my slides sound fine with just my fingers. At first it chews up your fingers but then the skin gets harder
    Rhinosaur Bones
    There seem to be a lot of questions going un answered, so I'll try and answer them. A slide is both a technique wherein you slide your fretting finger to a higher or lower fret, producing two notes with one pluck, as well as a device that you wear on your finger. The use of this tool is basically the same as with a regular slide technique, except the sound goes for much longer. Here is a picture of someone using a slide- As you can see, it is a hollow cylinder made of metal (or sometimes made of glass) that you can wear on any finger you choose, however it is most commonly worn on either the ring finger or pinkie. This is usually a comfort thing, however it can depend on the choice of song. As for calling it a "bottle neck" that is typically only said when it has actually been fashioned from a bottle neck. Hope this helps some people.
    dude im 11
    ok first of all dude i really am 11 and man i didnt even read the lesson but bottle necks whats that yes im 11 dot know very much but i can play crazytrain smoke on the water and ironman so dont give up u old folks
    hey the best slide solo is in devil by veto caution, it is so sick!!! there lead guitarist, justin miller, is awesome!!! you probably havent heard of them but they rock!!!..
    ok, let me explain even better. A slide is pretty simple to use. It goes on your fretting hand (left hand) pinky finger. By putting it on the pinky you can use your ring to do other things. I never saw anyone with a slide on theyre ring finger before. It goes down to your second knuckle. It should be pretty snug and I reccomend you dont make it out of a beer bottle. Just go buy one. When using the slide, It should be right over the fretwire or else the note will be flat. DO Not press down. with a slide you do not push the notes you just press very gently, almost like you are doing a harmonic. It will sound like crap if you push. Also, when you slide, the slide sounds the other strings a little. You can prevent this by muting the strings you dont want with the finger tips of your other hand (optional) Be patient, slides take some getting used to. Sorry if this seems obvious to the advanced players.
    Songs like the Stairway solo??? Who in their right mind would use a slide to play that??? Honestly??? If you're gonna use a slide, don't have it for songs that use basically --7/9-- or --3/5-- kinda slides, thats just stupidly retarded to need a slide for them, as you effectively retard 1 of 4 fingers, and as a shredder, i should know, you need all bloody four for soloing unless theres some HEAVY sliding to be done, not just weedy little 2 fret sliding...
    As a shedder you would appriciate -it's not "what you play, it's how you play it". Getting a great vibrato at the top of a bend even when your "playing boxes" (basic pentatonic riffs) can be just as sweet as shredd'n a palm muted chromatic scale at high volume. To me at-least.
    me too metallikatt, good lesson i guess. but i think the creator focused too much of the slide as being used for barre chords or something when it can be used for other things.