Slide guitar

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by RLee77, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    For the slide guitarists here — do you typically just grab a slide and use it on your normal guitars, or do you mostly have a special guitar that you’ve set up for slide, with a higher action or elevated nut?
    For songs that require mostly normal (non-slide) fretting work and chords, with just a bit of slide here and there, it would seem that the former would apply. With the little bit of slide I’ve done, I can mostly avoid avoid banging the frets, but it is an issue for me, but that’s likely because I’m inexperienced at it still. I’d like to get more into it, so I thought I’d ask what others do.
     
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  2. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I haven't played slide for ages but was getting comfortable with a slide a few years back. I played on 10's with my normal lowish action with no real problems using a glass slide that didn't weigh a lot. I'd probably go up to 11's if I get the notion to play a lot of slide again as i'd like to go up a gauge anyway and I think it would make playing slide easier with a normal to low action and larger frets.

    The biggest frustration for me was finding a slide that fit properly and didn't need to be packed with tissues to keep it on my finger. I played with it on my third finger so I could alternate with chords etc. I had trouble hitting frets playing with a heavy steel slide.

    Look at some Warren Haynes slide lessons, he plays on his number one les paul with a normal action and 10's. Standard tuning mostly too.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  3. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    I've got 3 guitars specifically setup for slide but I sometimes play slide on some of my other guitars in standard tuning. On the ones setup for slide, I have the action set slightly higher than normal but not so much that it couldn't be played regular.

    The guitars I have setup for slide are a modified SX Tele copy, a Harmony H-801 and a Squier Standard Strat.

    I use moleskin to get a good fit on a slide. These adhesive strips are available in the foot care section of Walmart for about $1.50 a pack. Just stick it on the inside of the slide.
     
  4. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks, sounds like a great fix. Tissues get messy and still move around when wet from sweat.
     
  5. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I don’t have any of my ‘normal’ guitars set up differently for slide: I do find it a bit easier on the flatter-radiused boards than on the 9.5” boards. But the thing that makes most difference is the fit of the slide: I used about 4 different ones before I got hold of a brass slide that fits securely but not too tight on my ring finger.
    However now that I also play lap steel I usually use that — I have it set up for almost all gigs and I switch to that if there’s a song where I play slide right through.
     
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  6. scottser

    scottser Tele-Afflicted

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    i have loads of slides, due to the fattening of my fingers over the years lol!
    i use the slide on my pinky so i can fret as well as slide. i have an archtop that i leave in open g all the time, with the action set a little higher down at the bridge end than normal. guitar is set up for 10s so it's very comfortable to play
     
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  7. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    All my guitars are set up similarly—very low action, and fairly light strings (9’s or 10’s, depending on the guitar)...and I play slide on all my guitars. You just have to slightly adjust your technique and use a lighter touch.

    I generally use open tunings—Open G or Open D for the most part.

    I’ve never used the moleskin trick to make a slide fit better, but I’ve used sticky-back felt inside a slide to absorb sweat or tighten the fit.

    My favorite slide (a modified Craftsman socket):
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  8. DADGAD

    DADGAD Tele-Afflicted

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    I use my regular guitars for slide. My only advice is to use a string dampener. These are scrunchie hair bands that pushed behind the nut when not playing slide and pushed forward over the first or second fret when playing slide. It really cleans up the notes. My slides are home made from thick walled copper pipe.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Friend of Leo's

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    For me, it’s easier to ‘get into it’ if you keep a guitar tuned for slide. I can play in standard tuning, and there’s definitely a place for it. Some of the greats play in standard.
    But...
    Open tunings can be pretty forgiving, and it’s an interesting way to view the instrument. It offers more options for chording with the slide than standard for a casual player in my lazy and informal opinion.

    Anyway, keeping an old crap acoustic tuned up let’s you pick it up often. More time playing is one key to control and intonation.
    One other benefit is that instead of focusing on getting some legend’s slide ‘tone’, you focus on playing.

    I enjoy playing slide, i don’t know why but I always have.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  10. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    here's a tip, from when I used to only carry one guitar to a gig: use your regular gauge, with the action set on the high side of normal, but swap out the high E string for one gauge up -- if it's an .010, put an .011 on there -- and raise that one string a little bit higher. I found that if I was going to fret out anyplace, it was always on the high E string, and this stopped that, with minimal effect on playability.

    I've had to move down a gauge due to antique hands & this trick doesn't work as well with an .009 set. These days I carry two guitars to a gig, one strung regular, the other with an .011 set and high action. It really is a pleasure to play slide & not have to worry about dropping the note. I play a lot of slide & have several different types, heavy brass for the Nationals, a ceramic for my parlor guitar, glass for electric -- though lately I've been playing this titanium slide on electric that sounds a lot like glass but is easier to control. You see how far down the rabbit hole I've gone. Good luck.
     
  11. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Since my main guitar has lighter strings and low action, I have a designated slide guitar, a hardtail partscaster Strat with a Duncan JB at the bridge and a P-90 at the neck position. I keep it in open E for the most part. Sometimes G or A. I have a piece of leather inside the slide to keep it from floating around. I have an acoustic set up for slide as well in open D.

    I play lap steel more then bottleneck these days. I find that I have more control and it's easier for me. YMMV.
     
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  12. dsouza

    dsouza TDPRI Member

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    I used a small brass slide ring on my cover of magnificent (see below). I originally purchased a glass one but it broke. In hindsight the solo could of used more overdrive but at the time of the recording I was working with limited equipment. I’d love to do more slidework in the future.

    www.youtube.com/u2adrian1000
     
  13. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Love the craftsman slide!
     
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  14. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    any of you guys try the ceramic/porcelain slides? I think it's a nice in-between glass and brass tone. lots of really cool looking designs out there with these

    other than that, I've found I often prefer glass for electric and brass for acoustic, tone-wise

    and, having said THAT, it's hard to beat a big old solid dunbar steel slide for tone, but it can sort of tend to limit your agility:
    [​IMG]

    these gizmos slip right over your existing nut and raise your strings up, making slide playing a lot easier
    [​IMG]

    Easy as pie, and completely reversible and only costs like 5 bucks
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  15. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    I need to get a better variety of slides... I tend to prefer the sound and feel of glass, but I have a few metal ones, but they are big. I like medium or small sizes for most things (referring to length of slide). I’d like to try one of the ring-sized ones.

    My current slides... fav is the front glass one. The inside tapers down to fit snug.

    0F787B11-4069-4856-A905-D4B1685D795E.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
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  16. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    I wish I could "pinky slide" my pinky finger just isn't wired up to my brain. I envy your ability to use your pinky finger. I am now searching for daddrio "bottle" funny this post came up.

    I'm learning from Greg Koch's book...slowly. 11's and 12's bottom end never more than 52, for me sliding is the first three strings with a "device" an "open slide" get's the middle finger muted with index. high to medium high action.

    doubt I will ever be a solo slider.
     
  17. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    use chrome tube
    acrylic tube
    moving to glass - just ordered three :eek: because they break as noted above
     
  18. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I usually play in Open D or G, but no special guitar or set up. What ever ones in the rotation that week or so. I'll just switch from Open to Standard
     
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  19. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I think you'll finding - this thread already shows - approaches to slide are very individual, and the best thing is just to do some experimenting. I personally have a brass pinky slide that I like, though someday I'll try out some ceramic ones. As for setup, I have gone full-on high action and 12s and strictly open tunings, but that's pretty limiting for me. I just set up one of my teles with 11s and I raised the action just a bit for a frettable slide approach. A tuning trick that I like is just to tune the high e down to d - it obviously helps the the whole slide thing but yet I don't have to do a lot of brain retraining, as the basic scale and chord patterns are identical on the rest of the fretboard.
     
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  20. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    Usually just grab a guitar and do it, but since I like low action it does;t work well ,and i've never committed enough to it to dedicate a guitar , though I am still thinking about a cheap lap steel.
    But...
    It came up once that Gary Rossington would shiv e something under the strings of his SG to prop them up to play slide, and there was great debate over what that was.
    It's something like this
    [​IMG]
     
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