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Best electric guitar for slide?


Silver Supporting Member
I've heard great slide stuff done on various instruments with no obvious commonalities: Duane on a LP, Derek Trucks on an SG, Lowell George on a Strat, Danny Gatton, Muddy Waters (and lots of others) on a Tele, Ry Cooder on a Strat with pickup changes, Hound Dog Taylor on a Teisco, Johnny Winter on a Firebird, etc. I think there is consensus on what tends to give great results in lots of other areas - for heavy rock a Les Paul into a Marshall is hard to beat, for country a Tele into a Fender is king, for virtuoso shred some variant of Superstrat into a high gain amp, for metal an EMG bearing guitar into a Mesa Recto, etc.

What features and specific guitars tend to give the best results for slide? Short or long scale? Mahogany or ash? Bolt on or set neck? Single, P90 or Humbucker? Solid, semisolid, hollow? What bridge?


I honestly play slide on all of my guitars. The sound is really a subjective one that is subject less to gear than to your playing touch and the type of slide you choose to use (metal, glass, ceramic). In my experience, whatever your preferred electric sound is, that is where your slide sound will sound its best. The only difference is, you may need a touch more extra gain if you use your fingers due to the softer attack.


As you note, great slide can come from any type of guitar. I've decided that I want to play slide in standard tuning. For me, having 11's instead of 10's on my guitar helps me with slide, the extra tension and....feel / feedback I get through the slide is important. So because of the larger strings and tension... I wanted a short scale so that I can play both slide and regular more easily.

Finally, as awesome as the guys you mention above (I'll add Sonny Landreth and John Mooney to the list of incredible slide players), my favorite tones come from Duane and Derek short scale and hums.


Gold Supporting Member
Don't forget about George Thorogood and his ES-125 !!!!

Great dirty P90 tones ! I used to play a lot of slide stuff on an old ES-330T....What great tones, and fun !!



Senior Member
I think a Strat.

That's what most of my favorite slide players use or used: Bonnie Raitt, Lowell George and Ry Cooder.

Of course Derek Trucks and Duane Allman use or used Gibsons.

But I'd go with a Strat. In fact, I do! Here's my Strat that I use for slide:

But I also use this Tele:


Sean French

Silver Supporting Member
I'm not a slide player. Years ago I did sell a Historic R0 DC Special(P90') to a guy that was a slide player.
After he received it he got back with me and I heard him on it.
DAMN that was an awesome slide tone.

This is the R0.



Silver Supporting Member
PRS Mira is great for this. 24 frets, double cut, great humbucker tones, decent split tones so you can pull off those Lowell tunes...


Let us not forget that Duane tracked a ton of session work with a strat.
And I meant to mention Sonny too.

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
There is no objective best set of guitar features for slide, just as there is no objective best slide tone. It depends totally on how you want to sound. I'll play slide on anything. It doesn't always work out, but always worth trying. My favorite guitars for slide are a pretty diverse lot, don't have much in common.


Tweed Supporting Member
Gold Supporting Member
I also prefer P90-equipped guitars for slide. I want a vintage tone with some bite and when I was using humbuckers (Historic SG), everything felt more rock than blues. It can be a great sound if you are going for the Allman Brothers sound, but that's not what I'm going for.


I'd say any guitar is fine for slide, but guitars with fixed bridges are best, IMO.

I really like the sound of guitars with trapeze tailpieces for slide. I get some fine sounds from my Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin, and I occasionally miss my old Harmony Stratotone - that got a gorgeous slide sound.

But I've happily played slide on all my guitars, as long as the action was high enough that I didn't clank the frets.

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