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Learning slide guitar

Messages
3,403
Greetings all,

I've been playing guitar for about 7 years. Recently I've take an interest in slide guitar and I'm wondering what experiences other players have had with getting into it. I've ordered Warren Haynes's book for playing slide in standard tuning and I've also tuned down to open D once or twice (how often I would make use of this depends on how serious I get with slide, it might be something I just used to enhance my regular playing in standard once and a while or it might be something I get into. Just depends really. Can anyone give me their advice?

Best wishes,
William.
 

chill

Member
Messages
491
Hi William,

The hard part for me is not making noises that I don't want to be making. If you are going to be playing in standard, you are going to really have to work on dampening with both hands. In which case, you'll need the patience Kimock refers to.

I'm lazy, so I keep a guitar tuned to open D and occasionally mess around. Works for me.
 

9fingers

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,000
Do a TGP search; there are volumes on side guitar here. That will get you started & then ask specific questions based on the style of slide you pursue.
 

HenryAdams

Member
Messages
595
Hey, man, you're in for a fun ride. I got really into slide about 2 years ago (let me qualify "really": as much as a new-Dad, grad-student can get into anything). Do try to experiment with open tunings (it's easier, IMO), and if you can get a cheap guitar to set up open, even better. Like, $200 for a used peavey or dano or something.

But the biggest thing? Try lots of different slides. I've tried brass, ceramic, pyrex, and just recently glass. Straight sided, curved-sided, and tapered. I just got my first diamond redhouse bottleneck, tapered, made out of an old brandy bottle, and hot damn, it's everything I want. WAY louder than brass, more sustain, faster. It's awesome. Here's the link: http://www.diamondbottlenecks.com/

Also, pay super close attention to damping, both with your slide hand and your picking hand. Get the damping down and you've instantly graduated from a noob to an early intermediate (again, IMO).

Have fun!
 

gtrbarbarian

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,030
I hate re-tuning, unless it's to play some Zep... so I concentrated on learning in standard tuning, and I mostly use my pick with my middle and ring finger of the right hand when using a slide....it helps me mute the notes easier...

I get really rusty unless I play slide alot...especially intonation
 

Tommy Biggs

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,660
I hate re-tuning, ... so I concentrated on learning in standard tuning
I get really rusty unless I play slide alot...especially intonation

beg borrow or garbage pick a high action crappy acoustic.
Tune it to open G (or E, or A) and start playing.
Keep one always tuned for slide, and leave it around. Make sure you play some slide on a pretty regular basis, and you'll get going in pretty short order.

Focus on control and intonation, and string damping before you start going all Johnny Winter.
 

hank57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,279
I'd say go for low hanging fruit. When you tune open chord and do the Elmore James windup it feels good. Then the turnaround. Now your a slide player!

Really, try to learn Dust My Broom then branch out and upwards.

Like Kimock says, patience.
 
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Tommy Biggs

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,660
I'd say go for low hanging fruit. When you tune open chord and do the Elmore James windup it feels good. Then the turnaround. Now your a slide player!

Really, try to learn Dust My Broom then branch out and upwards.

Like Kimock says, patience.
Elmore is a good starting point!
 

Modulator

Member
Messages
2,731
You might consider picking up a cheap lap steel and keeping it in an open tuning. I played blues slide style for many years and started playing dobro/lap steel style and find that it's far far easier to stay in tune, do "fancy" things like slants, double stops, and keeping the other strings quiet is much much easier. Slide on a standard neck (especially in standard tuning) is much more difficult. Especially keeping the slide from hitting frets, need a light touch. Lap steels seem to go around $400 or so. Cool thing is the vintage ones are not that expensive when you compare them to guitars. I got a 1949 National New Yorker for under $600 in perfectly playable condition. If you go with a resonator, you get what you pay for. A $300 resonator will sound nowhere near a $2000 one.

And slides, you don't need a corksniffer $20+ slide. I mainly use a Sears Craftsman spark plug socket as my main slide. But I did have to spend a bit more than that $4 socket for the schubb barre.

And one more note on tuning, there are capo's for dobros that may fit some lap steels. Neat little way to have a movable open chord.
 

Mr Boggie

Member
Messages
1,239
I learning slide myself, I've found open G and traveling riverside blues a good starting point. the light bulb went off, when fretting the note/slide, do it over the fret vs inbetween the frets.
 

kinmike

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,909
You can go open A (one step up from Open G). The tautness from tuning up from standard works well if you have 10's on your guitar. Then practice by putting on Clapton's "Motherless Children" and Bonnie Raitt's "Thing Called Love". Both tunes are in Open A and you can pick out some licks pretty easily, especially Motherless. I find it works well to find that signature lick and practice around that.

Mike

Mike
 




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