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Guitar for Slide

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by 1 21 gigawatts, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Holic

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    I just tried out playing slide a few days ago and I am hooked! I have spent the last couple of days trying to determine which of my guitars to set up permanently as a slide guitar (i.e. put some 11's on it and raise the action slightly). My thought was that my beater Epiphone LP Junior that I put a P-90 in would be the perfect slide candidate. Unfortunately, in spending hours swapping between the options, it finishes 2nd to not only my ears, but also my wife's and son's. The Squire Strat was a distant third; didn't spend more than a minute with it (way too clean).

    The clear winner is a cheap (free) Les Paul copy that started life as a Bud Light promotional guitar that I made a poor refinishing attempt to turn it into a gold top. I hate my refinishing job so much, that I relegated the guitar as my bedroom guitar (where it is rarely played). The humbucker just sounded fuller with the slide than the P-90. The P-90 was certainly clearer, but I couldn't EP away the shrillness without killing the tone. Every time that I thought that I had the P-90 Jr sounding good, I'd swap guitars, and the gold top would blow it away. This is a crappy fake Les Paul with cheap electronics and what I believe to be Epiphone ceramic humbuckers. I love the P-90 when playing normally, but it appears to be the opposite when playing slide.

    I know this doesn't really sound like much of a problem, but I would like to really dedicate myself to playing slide, and I don't want to do it on a guitar that I hate. So maybe a new humbucker guitar is in order? Maybe an SG? Or do I keep working with the Junior to try to get it to sound better- admittedly, it has a low action and 9's on it currently. I just don't know if what my ears are telling me is inherent to a P-90 vs humbucker.
     
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  2. _MementoMori_

    _MementoMori_ Tele-Holic

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    I don't know... I dig the idea of an absolute piece of garbage guitar somehow having a kind of magical property only when played with a slide. I'd embrace it.
     
  3. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    I like the darker sounding short scale guitars for slide, too. they just sound less shrill
     
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  4. jamesepowell

    jamesepowell Tele-Holic

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    Let your ears and the ears of your audience be your guide.
     
  5. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nice man, I'm actually in the planning stages of a build that I want to tune to open G and use for slide.
    It will definitely hook you.
     
  6. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    i think lipstick pickups are the shiznitt for slide
     
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  7. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    I like P90 and Tele pickups for slide. But it comes down to which guitar inspires you to play slide. I can play slide on any of my guitars and I know the fretboard well enough to not need alternative tuning. Good luck!

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    My guitar for slide is a washburn hb 15. It has a neck humbucker thats perfect - smooth and sweet that reacts wonderfully to overdrive and a splash of reverb.
    So what tunes are you learning?
    Also, if youre happy to take a tip, try sliding with the pinky and use the other 3 fingers for fingering scales. Its good to try it now while youre developing muscle memory, I wish i had learned it way sooner.
    Best of luck with it - slide is cool. You start playing slide at a party, everyone shuts up to listen.
     
  9. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    I play a lot of slide & have a few guitars set up with .011s, high action, E tuning. This was my fave for a long time and may yet be again:

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Edgar Allan Presley

    Edgar Allan Presley Friend of Leo's

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    It's surprising that someone named DADGAD doesn't need an alternate tuning.
     
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  11. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    I guess it depends on the definition of alternate, right?!?


    To me, standard tuning is extremely alternate. I play every gig in open E or Eb.
     
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  12. Drak

    Drak Tele-Holic

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    Melobar to the rescue!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    OK, this is getting a little out of hand...
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    While I don’t do the “high action and heavier strings” thing for slide, I do agree that the cruddiest of guitars and pickups have some magical properties when used for slide...

    I often crack out my daughter’s discarded Squier Mini-Strat for the odd filthy, nasty slide line—especially when recording. Lousy, noisy ceramic single coils, weird short neck, iffy bridge...sounds like heaven!
     
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  14. VWAmTele

    VWAmTele Friend of Leo's

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    SG for me. I currently have a Gibson '61 reissue that is setup for slide, but before that I had a 2004 Epiphone SG and I can honestly say that there was very little difference - especially if you're using it for slide.
     
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  15. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Holic

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    Yep- I'm tuned to open G. I've learned In My Time of Dying and Death Letter Blues so far. I'm using a shotgun barrel on my pinky for a slide. Bought a glass one, but don't like it as much.

    I'm all for a cheap rat-rod type guitar for slide, but I am just too disappointed with the results of my refinishing job to enjoy the fake goldtop.

    Anybody try the new Epiphone SG Special VE? The walnut finish looks nice, and its only $179.
     
  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    For what it is worth, I play slide on almost every guitar in my quiver but there are a few that are biased towards that style of play.

    All of the resonators are strung with mediums and tuned to open G or D. I like a heavier first string, usually a 14.

    All of my other six string acoustics are strung with lights and tuned to open G, D or C. C is pushing things on the low strings, I actually have one guitar that is set up with heavier strings on the bottom for C.

    My 12 strings are strung according to scale and tuning, but they feel the touch of the old bottle neck too.

    My two electric guitars are strung with 10's and when I want to play slide I tune up to A or E.

    All of my guitars have nice reasonably low action, I mix a lot of fretted notes in with the slide stuff (I play mostly blues and John Fahey/Leo Kottke stuff). I prefer wide flat fretboards which is a definite bonus for slide. I prefer heavy wine bottle necks or ceramic slides, I see no reason to use a curved one.
     
  17. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    this oughta work

     
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  18. tanplastic

    tanplastic Tele-Holic

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    How do you get minor chords?
     
  19. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    Almost any guitar or pickup is good for slide. Lots of sustain? Great.
    Plinky sound? Lots of character.
    High output? Good for overdrive.
    Low output? Sounds cooler with a dirty amp.
    Totally clean? Sounds wonderful.
    Chimey highs? Great.
    Muddy or midrangey? Very vocal sounding.
    Throw a soundhole pickup on a Disney Princess guitar and it will sound awesome. Doesn't matter if it's plastic or plywood, it's still more sophisticated than a cigar box guitar, and they sound great.
    There are a small few guitars I don't personally prefer for slide, usually good ones. Saying a guitar is a good slide guitar is about the worst insult I can think of for a guitar.
     
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  20. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    You can do minor chords on the 2nd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th frets by barring the (what would be) the EAD strings with the middle finger, fretting the note below the bar on the g string, and letting the top B and E ring out.
    you can do it other ways on the 4th and 11th fret, and it can sound fine. Other frets sound discordant.. so a song in Gm for example, could sound awful without capoing.
    In open E with no capo I can easily do songs in E, A, B, Am, Bm, C#m. Other than those keys, I usually capo and can do any key and keep the open sound. Some songs like “Give me one reason” by Tracy Chapman (key of F#) I play in open E .. but it’s entirely major chords.

    I’m playing this song in Am in open E tuning.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
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