Slide.

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Colt, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. Colt

    Colt Member

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    I love the allman brothers and would like to play slide like that. Where should I start? I've been playing 12 years and I'm a very good player, so when I pick up a slide and start messing..I get frustrated and end up putting it down. It's hard to start from scratch again. Any pointers/books/etc? Thanks!
     
  2. robbieboyette

    robbieboyette Member

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    If you really want to play some slide...keep in mind that the guys who invented blues slide guitar used acoustic guitars and dobros with a VERY high nut so that the strings didn't get any buzz out on them.
    That being said...once you get good on it you'll be able to play slide fairly well on most any electric guitar. I can play some cool slide on my floyd equipped guitars.
    But back when I first became interested in it...I was playing a Les Paul. And I would say it's a good idea to be playing a guitar with a fixed bridge and "medium" action....not too low.
    Then keep in mind that to sound a note...you have to position the slide over the fret wire just AHEAD of where you would normally fret it with your finger. That's because when you play a note with just your hands..what you are actually doing is pressing down the string in the fret, which causes it to sound on the fret wire just ahead of your fingers.
    With that concept in mind pick out some cool licks that you like. When I started, I stole shitloads of licks from The Rolling Stones "Exile On Main Street" album. The song "All Down The Line" has some of my favorite standard tuned slide licks of all time. Those are the ones you want to mess with first.
    Start learning some of those standard tuned slide licks and work on intonation carefully. Then when you have that down start working on vibrato with the slide. Those two factors are the most important when playing bottleneck slide.
    After I had been doing that a couple of years...I began trying to cop some other slide licks. That's when you need to hunt down some Johnny Winter, Muddy Waters, and of course the complete collection of Robert Johnson. Those are the kings. And that will open your eyes to playing in open "G" and open "E". A lot of the Rolling Stones slide licks with Ron Wood playing are in open "E" as well. But I personally focused on the Robert Johnson collection.
    Playing in open "G" really opens up your slide playing...and if you have mastered your intonation and vibrato beforehand AND gotten pretty proficient in the use of the slide by playing in standard tuning...you will be a bad ass when you get the hang of playing in open tunings.
    Hope that helps...
     
  3. robbieboyette

    robbieboyette Member

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    And oh yeah...once you start getting confident...You can't go wrong with going after anything Duane Allman played. I also suggest "Motherless Children" by Clapton as well as "Running on Faith" off of his acoustic album. Some great slide licks there to add to your repertoire. You'll see..here in the beginning, once you get your first "cool" slide lick down it starts to become fun. It's sorta like when you first start playing guitar and fumble through "Smoke On The Water" or "Theme From Peter Gunn" and you get a big stupid grin on your face! :)
     
  4. ES350

    ES350 Member

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    just a note; stick to the same scale length while you are learning (and your hand is learning where the pitch is). Without fret references, it's analogous to 'hand memory' while playing violin/cello...and you aren't restricted to a tempered pitch anymore.
     
  5. rod horncastle

    rod horncastle Member

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    Good advice there Robbieboyette.
    I have a few more tips.
    I find tone to be very important to my slide abilities. The right amount of reverb (& a touch of delay) sometimes really helps your slide to feel a little more magical. Sonny Landreth has some nice echoes around his sound that really helps.
    I've been on stage many times where my volume wasn't loud enough, & my slide playin' just wasn't happenin'. Volume does help your sustain. So does your Overdrive level. Playing slide with a clean sound is sometimes difficult.

    I've spent years now trying to unlearn all the original slide licks I started with. I now play alot more slide melodies (little feat) than licks (a la George Thorogood). If someones playin' in the key of G major, I'll make melodies from the G major scale. I always play with the major/minor 3rds to determine how bluesy I want it to sound.
    So learn to play your major/minor scales with a slide instead of your fingers. Use as many open strings as possible also.

    Listen to Black Crowes...Gov't Mule...Ry Cooder...Sonny Landreth...Little Feat. I really learn alot from Ry Cooder. He's a little easier to understand than the virtuosos.
    I also tune my A string to a G so I can play power chords with my slide on my ring finger.
     
  6. rod horncastle

    rod horncastle Member

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    I can't believe I didn't tell you about Joe Walsh. If it wasn't for him I never would of touched a slide. Listen to Joe.

    "Songs for a Dying Planet"
     
  7. robbieboyette

    robbieboyette Member

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    I can't believe I skipped Ry Cooder! He is a monster on all stringed instruments and of course blew us all away on the Crossroads Movie Soundtrack with his slide work. Get that soundtrack and steal EVERY lick on it. I did! :)
     
  8. rod horncastle

    rod horncastle Member

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    Yeah! Ry Cooders version of Crossroads (totally different than Creams, or Claptons, or Johnsons) gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. probably the most sizzling slide sound ever recorded. And his album version of "they Call Me Willie Brown" is awesome. Longer than whats on the movie. Everyone interested in slide playing should own this soundtrack. What Steve vai did was nice but Ry Cooder showed the world who's really the man. (I bet even Steve Vai was in AWE!).
     
  9. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    "I really learn alot from Ry Cooder. He's a little easier to understand than the virtuosos."

    Pardon me, but what the????
     
  10. rod horncastle

    rod horncastle Member

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    Sorry! I normally don't consider Ry Cooder's slide technique to be fast, complicated & flashy all the time. He does quite alot of really cool groovy chordal work. He likes to really let his notes ring out.

    I wouldn't call him the Yngwie/VanHalen of Slide guitar.


    I don't feel like discussing the merits of the word "Virtuoso". (yawn)
     
  11. pbradt

    pbradt Senior Member

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    If you can get hold of it, I highly recommend the video "The Art of Slide Guitar" with Lee Roy Parnell. If you can't find it, PM me, I may be able to help.
     
  12. TonyV

    TonyV Member

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    To get started with slide in general I would suggest Kirby Kelly's Electric Slide (available as DVD or book/CD). This is an excellent resource to get you started with the physical/technical part about slide. Holding the slide, intonation, damping, etc. I learned slide from Kirby Kelly at NGW, the book/cd has much of the same info.

    Then I would get the Waren Hayes Electric Slide book/cd
    It is all in standard tuning and is definately in the Alman Bros sound/style. It is very playable for beginner at slide.
     
  13. billdurham

    billdurham Member

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    I'm with you on the Allmans. Duane was the man, period..and not for just his slide work. I don't play slide but have watched a few pretty good ones, and a trick that I have only seen once, by Gary Rossington on the "Freebird, the Movie" DVD. On Freebird, Rossington is playing slide on his Les Paul. He has what looks like a pencil or pen under the strings before the first fret. This makes for a higher string action for slide playing, but also allows him to pull it out for the fast part of the song which he plays mostly rhythm. Collins and Gaines play most of the solos during the fast part!

    Very cool way to make slide playing a little easier on a guitar that you need to play standard as well.

    BD
     
  14. robbieboyette

    robbieboyette Member

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    I've never seen that Freebird DVD...but I have a question...if Rossington stuck a pencil under the strings before the first fret that would do two VERY bad things wouldn't it?
    First it would create a new "nut" in the middle of the first fret which would change the entire intonation of the guitar. It would be horribly out of tune with itself.
    And secondly when he pulled the pencil out...all the strings would go WAY flat.
    Are you sure that's what you saw? That just don't sound right.
     
  15. mario

    mario Member

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    I could be wrong, but I recall reading a interview somewhere that Gary put a piece of electrical wire under the strings. Either way, keep trying with the slide! Just listen to a lot of it and keep the action a little higher than usual. I also find glass slides a little more forgiving on electric.
     
  16. zoemunchkinpro

    zoemunchkinpro Member

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    My experience was very similar to yours I had been playing for about eight years and had gotten interested in playing slide... as I am a huge Duane Allman fan...to me he is the greatest electric slide guitar player of all time...I have listened to many many players and none can touch him...not that his technique was superior...cause it wasn't...but his feel and phrasing and the fire and soul and pure passion of his playing is what made him so amazing...these are always the traits that spell greatness...its not being technical or mechanical but it is when something far greater flows through you...like the pure expression of one's soul...
    Anyways back to the topic ... I to would pick up the slide and try...and would get frustrated...because I could already play lead... and playing slide was like being thrown back to the starting line...so I would put it down and then some time would pass and I would try again... Now I have been playing since 1974...and have been playing slide in my band for twenty years...I always get complimented on my slide playing...I play with the same style as Duane Allman... Coricidain bottle and use my thumb and fingers never a pick...I play in both open tunings E,G,D,& standard...
    The main thing is if you really want to do it ...just keep at it and with each day you get closer and closer until one day you'll look back and say I finally got it...I can do this...
     
  17. zoemunchkinpro

    zoemunchkinpro Member

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    Also one thing that really helped me was jamming along with other people or with jam cds... and just get the feel for sliding to the right notes without going sharp or flat...then start working on your vibrato...and listen to alot of slide players and try to figure out how they get the sounds they get...then start trying to get your chops together and jam with people to develop who you are as a slide player...
    Good luck to ya man...and just keep trying...you can do anything you want to if you put your mind to it...believe in yourself...always...
     
  18. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    Not much to add that hasn't already been covered. However, I'd like to stress the importance of having an instrument that is properly set up for playing slide -- meaning that the action is set high enough to keep the slide from knocking against the frets.

    Additionally, you should listen to as many different slide players as you can -- both electric and acoustic -- because it's a safe bet that a number of relatively obscure players will really blow your mind when you hear them.

    Make a point of checking out the old-school Chicago blues cats like Earl Hooker, Elmore James and Hound Dog Taylor. A lot of what George Thurogood (sp?) does is really just rehashed Hound Dog Taylor. Though in my embittered, curmudgeonly opinion (ha ha ha!) 'Tha H-Dog had way better tone, vibe etc. :p Pick up a copy of NATURAL BOOGIE on Alligator Records and hear for yourself.
     
  19. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    Oh, I almost forgot. Bob Brozman has a series of slide guitar/National Reso DVDs you'll want to checkout. Here's a link to his official site: http://www.bobbrozman.com/

    He's an amazing musician who's well versed in more styles of music than most mere mortals could ever hope to be in two lifetimes -- and I'm not kidding!

    Best of luck.
     
  20. Colt

    Colt Member

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    thanks alot guys for all the info!
     

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