Starting Slide Guitar

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by theHoss, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. theHoss

    theHoss Member

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    Howdy,

    I just started playing with a larger blues band. We have 3 guitar players, so it gets muddy pretty quick. I was thinking that I might start playing some slide to fill in the spaces. Can someone recomend where I should start. I would consider myself an intermediate player, and a total rookie on the slide. I would like to do the Warren Haynes stuff and stay in a standard tunning, but if changing tunnings is going to open more doors initially, I guess I will just have to break down and buy another guitar.

    Thanks for any pointers or thoughts.

    Take care!
     
  2. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    You don't have to, but I'd go for the other guitar. I actually need to get another guitar for slide.
     
  3. cpsdawg

    cpsdawg Member

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    standard tuning is fine. open tunings are fine. the most difficult thing to master about slide playing is pitch/intonation. and this is especially true with 2 other guitar players. if you are at all flat/sharp it will sound like a bunch of noodling around s--t. playing slide "right" takes a great ear and lots of practice regardless of the tuning. the thing that makes the guys like warren, derek trucks and duane etc so good is the precision they play with. there is nothing sloppy. so, take your time and really practice. to do it right is much harder than it seems. when you think you have it right, record it and i bet you will be surprised listening back. i'm not trying to discourage you. i have played slide for 15 yrs and i'm amazed how some nights i'm just off. and if i don't use one for a week or so, the intonation is off a little sometimes. i LOVE a great slide player, i'm not one. to me it is AWEFUL to see a band where the slide is a little sharp/flat all nite. equal to a singer who is the same.
    if you need an excuse for a new guitfiddle, fine. otherwise some fat slide on that LP will sound great. alot of guitars only for slide are set up with a high action. eliminates fret noise. good luck and PRACTICE.
     
  4. theHoss

    theHoss Member

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    Thanks for the replies. Yeah, I am guessing it will be a long road. I am trying to find a teacher here in Colorado (Denver) and haven't had any luck? If anyone knows of one, let me know.

    Thanks again!
     
  5. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    I LOVE Sonny Landreth's playing and he actually had a nice lesson in one of the magazines lately in which he described being able to play chords since pushing down strings lowers them below the slide. It was an interesting article and may help you if you can find it. I can't remember which magazine but most likely Guitar Player or Guitar World. LOVE Warren's playing but just as much if not more I love Derek Trucks'.

    Good luck, also, if the other guitar players in your band are using humbuckers, then use a strat or tele and boost those highs. Alone your guitar will sound shrill and almost unpleasant but in the band it will help stick out a tad.

    Chris
     
  6. theHoss

    theHoss Member

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    Thanks again! As for guitars, the others play whatever the heck they want....one guy has'em all (strat, tele, LP, etc.) the other guy has strat, lp, 335. I will have to talk them into sticking with one guitar.
     
  7. theHoss

    theHoss Member

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    Thanks! I ordered that last week...it should be here shortly.
     
  8. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    A good, maybe better, alternative is get a lap steel on legs. Use an a/b switch and run right thru the same pedals and amp. A volume pedal is almost mandatory on lap steel. I used to do that in a blues band. With your guitar still hanging around your neck, step on the switch, pick up the bar and start wailing on steel. I use an E6 tuning that allows me better chords than a standard open E. If you tune to open E chord raise the low B string to C#. At least then you can find some good minor chords (up 4 notes from where wher the major chord is)
     
  9. squeally dan

    squeally dan Member

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    I think the lap steel is a good idea. THey can be had on eaby for real cheap. I think it would be a cool way to stand out from the other two dudes. Is there any way you can have a hit put out on one of the other two. I can't imagine being in a band with two guitars much less 3. Thats too much guitar for one band. JMO.
     
  10. dougb415

    dougb415 Member

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    I take it you haven't checked out the Fiddleworms yet - 4 guitars!!!
     
  11. theHoss

    theHoss Member

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    That is a good idea. I love the sound of them. I might look into that one....thanks for the thought!
     
  12. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    Hoss: It is a long road, but a great trip. Slide and open tunings can do exactly what you're looking for. Give you a way to fit in with others and add something different. YMMV, but here's what I've found: for many years the sound and technique of slide obscured the basic utility of the the open tunings I use (mostly open E). Playing lap steel sort of flipped a switch. After 30 years of playing slide, began to realize open tunings are complete worlds, not just tunings for slide. I started learning chords (all blues based), and playing w/o the slide. Now it's at the point where I hardly ever use standard tuning at jams. With open tuning, you can play the same little notes and changes (sort of) as other players, but it sounds and feels so different. Use the slide for accent. I never compete anymore, and always seem to fit in. At jams people expect a slide player to be sort of limited. They're thinking "what slide tunes do I know, how about "Dust My Broom?" It's fun to confound expectations.

    What's worked for me: Do use a second guitar. Tune it to open something, and set it up so you can play w/o slide just as easily. .11s work just great. The slide itself will be frustrating at first. Figure out some basic chords, simple solo lines. That becomes a map for slide playing. Good luck!
     
  13. drolling

    drolling Member

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    I prefer open tunings, so I can grab the whole chord under the slide, but SVR, who's not really known for his slide playing, uses a cool little trick in one of his tunes (Boot Hill, maybe??) where he just drops the high 'E' down to 'D' - You can get a nice thick sound w/the top three strings that way, and retune your guitar back to standard on the fly.

    I don't have any guitars set up for slide, but have no problem playing slide on any of them, as I discovered what works best for me is a big slide w/lots of mass. That way, I don't have to exert any downward pressure - Letting the slide do all the work allows me to keep my action nice and low.

    But it's so much fun that I became addicted, and now have several resophonic guitars in various tunings that are reserved mostly for slide, altho', as mentioned above, the world of open tunings also lends itself to conventional playing. Chordal based fingerpicking's where I'm at now, but listening to Derek Trucks' single string leads w/ABB has convinced me that anything's possible in open tunings.

    Open E's popular, but my preferred tunings are open D and G, as I'd rather drop the string's tension than raise them above standard.

    As has been noted, intonation's critical, and not something you're gonna get overnight. I've found that it sounds better to be a tiny bit flat than it does to shoot past the target pitch into sharpness, so it's important to stay relaxed, take your time & use your ears at least as much, if not more than, your eyes.

    Enjoy!
     
  14. squeally dan

    squeally dan Member

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    I haven't seen the 4 guitar line-up. I heard Mike was no longer playing with them. He's a great guy and a bad ass musician.
     
  15. pbradt

    pbradt Senior Member

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    One thing no one has mentioned is the need to throw away your pick when you start sliding. I use one for rhythm on my slide guitar but when it's time to solo, the pick flies away and the fingers take over.

    There are a number of reasons for this:

    Tone. Flesh on steel can't be beat for slide. Just gives you better tone and touch.

    String muting. Fingers not used for plucking are busy muting strings you don't want making noise. You also need to place a finger on the strings above the slide (with your sliding hand). Tames that cat-fight sound.

    If you're going to play a lot of slide, you might want to consider a dedicated guitar. I read a lot of people who don't want to have to swap guitars but if you're really serious about it, you need another guitar, preferably set up for slide.

    Heavy strings. My strings are .013, .017, .026W, .036W, .046w, and .056W. I had a special nut made for my guitar (A CIJ '54RI Strat with a HUGE neck and Hamel single coil pickups), raised the action slightly at the nut, and raised the bridge saddles too. Took a lot of truss rod to compensate for the strings.

    I use a Fulltone fat Boost with the Strat to even out the output with the Tele so I don't have to dick with amp settings.

    I use a heavy glass slide, a Dunlop 213. I don't like othermaterials, heavy glass is mah thang.

    I cannot recommend highly enough, "The Art of Slide Guitar" video with Lee Roy Parnell. He doesn't use the same gear any more or have the same band, but it's a great place to get started. it's out of print so it may be hard to find. If you can't find a copy, PM me and I'll see what I can do.
     
  16. kenoflife

    kenoflife Supporting Member

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    I just picked up an Epi Jr. for $70- at Guitar center,
    replaced its P-90 w/ a Rio Grande Bluesbar I've had around for awhile,
    had the local guy notch out the fixed bridge right, put in 13's and a
    wound G string - I want to try it for slide next to my Tele 52RI...
    still trying to decide which tuning (probably G), and which of
    those fine books you recommend to try (for open tunings)....
     
  17. JoeP

    JoeP Member

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    Muting... Muting... Muting...

    Getting rid of all the unwanted stuff.

    The secret, is in the right hand, if your a right handed guitarist......
     
  18. kenoflife

    kenoflife Supporting Member

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    I went and ordered the DVD of Parnell (it IS available on Amazon) and of Warren Haynes -
    thought I'd cover the open tunings, and I think Warren does some riffing
    as well as slide on his DVD...

    what's the diff between Warren's book/CD and DVD...compare/contrast?
     
  19. 57tele

    57tele Member

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    Muting/blocking for some applications is important, but there is also a huge amount of gorgeous stuff that comes out of a steel/slide if you let it all ring, too. I especially love those little unexpected harmonies and contrary motion that emerge from behind the steel when you don't damp! I'll also add that fingerstyle is great for some stuff, but by no means required. I often use a regular pick and fingers, and at other times all fingerpicks or all fingers. I play a bunch of lap steel in my act--I think it really gives what we do a unique sound compared to the usual guitar/keyboard rock n roll thing. Here's a clip of our adaptation of "The Chicken." I'm using just a regular pick and fingers on an 8-string lap. http://www.archive.org/download/tfr...006-08-18.flac16/tfret2006-08-18d2t02_vbr.mp3
     

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