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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Recalcitrant, Jan 17, 2021.
And Earl Hooker.
And Robert Nighthawk.
And Elmore James.
And Blind Willie McTell.
I'm a big fan, it's such an expressive alternative. I've gravitated to Open E (tuned down to D though).
I like playing on a National best, or an an old acoustic. Mostly I imagine because don't play slide in my bands. On electric I like my Strat best for slide - but haven't really thought about the why. I've never raised the action.
I like brass or ceramic slides best - for me glass breaks eventually. My favorite is the Latch Lake 'Acoustiglide' tapered brass slide, but I've had different favorites over the years.
Anyway - I love playing slide.
I toosh about a little,but I ain't no Ry Cooder. Open G mostly for me.
I have a dedicated Fender Hot Rod series acoustic tuned to open D. I try playing it like a lap steel, using a Dunlop brass slide as a steelie. I suck but it’s fun.
I have Squier Surf Strat tuned to G. I use the afore mentioned brass slide, a Dunlop light glass slide and a Craftsman 5/8 deep socket to use on my pinky.
All three slides have a distinctly different sound. Also use a Tube Screamer. I think you need a little bit of drive, especially with the Strats lipstick tube pickups.
I will fool around at home ( on acoustic) with playing blues in open tunings ( say G or open E)
But on gigs, especially in my acoustic duo (in the last few years), I'm playing more slide in Standard tuning, but just 2 or 3 songs in a gig.
I use a thick glass ( 2" long) Dunlop slide on my pinky and I'm getting pretty good at hitting the right chord positions in any key we may play in ( since I'm the singer, I pick the key anyway!)
I definitely try to go for a Duane Allman phrasing, albeit in standard, and as I've been playing lead guitar for so long, I know where to go on the fingerboard.
So it's more a matter of 'cleaning things up' with technique to get a good sound.
I'll do the same on electric, but it's been manly acoustic gigs lately.
Edit: I know I can get pretty repetitious with what I do play with the slide, so with slide on pinky, I'm able to mix in non-slide breaks or lines with other fingers
I've been playing slide for a while and continue to work on improving my playing daily.
On tunings, I started out playing in open G but I've mostly switched to using standard tuning unless I'm playing a blues standard that works best in an open tuning. I occasionally use open D or something else to fit a particular song.
I've got a couple of electric guitars that I usually have in an open tuning, a Harmony H-801 and a oddball parts guitar, but, for standard tuning, I use my regular guitars. On my acoustic-electric resonator, I use open G. I also have built and play several cigar box style guitars and they often have their own specialized tunings.
My main slide is a copper gas pipe cut to about 1 1/2 inches in length. It's thicker than the copper water pipes you find at most home improvement stores but still lightweight. One trick I use with my slides is to line the inside of them with moleskin to get a good fit.
My strings are usually 10's on my electrics. I've used heavier strings in the past but, since I switched to using standard tuning more, I've kept the guitars setup like I normally do.
So far as amps, I most often use something Fender or Vox based, usually a modeler and sometimes the real thing, almost always going into a DI/IR setup. I also use a compressor pedal, currently an Orange Kongpressor.
Here are a couple of examples of my slide playing...
Open G slide
On a 3 string "Sinclair Dino" sign guitar
I've dabbled. At a gig (electric), I'd usually play in standard tuning, just to add a different sound to a song or two.
In a looser situation, such as a jam session, I might tune to open E or D.
Can I play slide? No.
Do I play slide? I don’t not play slide.
just after 6 minutes into this - I think they should use this in hospital to see if people are still alive - only a corpse could not respond
I started playing slide very soon after I started play guitar back in 1970. I wasn't very good at that point, but was always fascinated. I studied Duane Allman, Joe Walsh, and David Gilmore for my sources. By '78 I was using bottleneck live on a Les Paul. I had a lap steel but it was pretty terrible. I eventually began receiving requests for lap steel and reso in recording sessions so I had to get serious and pickup the gear I needed. On bottleneck I mostly play in concert tuning and open E. On lap steel I play in concert, open E, open E minor, and in the studio I tweak in a sharp or flat as necessary to reach a chord or melody as needed. I find concert is the easiest tuning to quickly work out a melody because, of course, I spend so much time on concert tuning when playing Spanish style.
I have three lap steels, the nicest of which is a 1940 Rickenbacher Model B that I recently tracked down. It hasn't been to the studio quite yet. Believe it or not, I get a fair amount of requests to create lead parts for art rock music.
I really enjoyed that -the playing AND the tone you got which is key- thank you for sharing.
Why, yes! I do play slide. But I’m not going to claim that I’m good at it.
And Catfish Keith.
And Charlie Parr.
I dabble. My new favorite slide player:
Just from a lead playing perspective slide is a great option when you feel the need to break out of a rut. A few years back when I was the only guitarist in a band I started doing this thing where I would play the leads with a slide on the pinky and the rhythm parts with my 3 fingers. I wrote a couple of songs this way in open G. This demo is a good example.
I play slide in10 or 12 songs in our country/rock band. Using standard tuning so I can just grab my preferred Dunlop chrome slide(will never break) and play with no changing guitars.... usually a tele, I often back off the tone knob 10% as I put the slide on my ring finger and palm my pick. I made a hook to hang the slide on my mic stand for fast change up.
A light touch on the left hand is imperative to not smack the frets and my action is set a thin hair higher. Right hand muting with fingers and palm. Playing clean or dirty, a compressor is helpful to limit some and add sustain. Standard tuning has some limitations, mainly, you can't easily get the 3-5 interval.
Years ago, I got into a Tom Petty tribute band and had to get serious to deliver some of the slide solos in the repertoire. A challenging one was "Handle with Care" and I found that standard tuning worked great. Also "Learning to Fly" was cool too.
Lastly, using compression, echo and volume pedal swells, it's fun to make atmospheric steel guitar sounds.
As with everything it’s your level of fuss/commitment.
In the electric context I play guitar and lap steel. They are different things.
Lap is tuned to open E and I use a steel.
Guitar is tuned standard and I use a brass slide. For that slide requires a lite touch and (for me) fingers instead of pick/hybrid for standard electric playing.
I can’t fuss about em with multiple guitars so I set up my electric to accommodate standard playing and slide.
Because I’m really a guitar player, a slide or lap steel player, my style is atmospheric. Think Nels Cline or David Gilmour, Andy Summers or Johnny Marr when the sit down to play steel or put a slide on their finger.
You hear it on our latest album if so inclined. I play all the fills/leads and the more riffy bits that aren’t pure rhythm, plus all the slide and lap steel.
As a slide player, I prefer standard tuning. That is because I have the entire fretboard memorized.
Learning slide from an old blues cat in the early 70’s, I copied his home made slide. It is 3/4” type L, thick walled copper from the hardware store. I prefer the tone of the copper over glass, chromed brass, etc. I wear the slide on my pinky.
I meet Bukka White at the UC student union, we talked he looked at my old national duolian and laughed,
he was very pleasant , I Like Mr. Whites Music alot.
Strat, tele, Godin, Larrivee, hamer, Gibson, all std tuning, middle pickup on strat, thr10c, glass dunlop 212, brass ‘swamp slide’ ... both small size on pinky... not particularly good at it, but sounds fine...