Slide intonation

Wrighty

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I’m setting up my elderly MIM tele for slide. Raised the action and set the strings so that the slide rests with even pressure in each as I rest it in them in my normal playing position.
Now, intonation. It sounds out of tune on the higher frets but it’s occurred to me that, as with slide playing you bend the strings very little towards the frets, I should not be fretting at the twelfth, more just resting the slide above the fret. The note should then be in tone with the open string. Is that correct? I’ve set it up as per usual and still have a noticeable problem when I use a slide .
 

bottlenecker

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I’m setting up my elderly MIM tele for slide. Raised the action and set the strings so that the slide rests with even pressure in each as I rest it in them in my normal playing position.
Now, intonation. It sounds out of tune on the higher frets but it’s occurred to me that, as with slide playing you bend the strings very little towards the frets, I should not be fretting at the twelfth, more just resting the slide above the fret. The note should then be in tone with the open string. Is that correct? I’ve set it up as per usual and still have a noticeable problem when I use a slide .

Slide doesn't need compensation. If you have it compensated for fretted notes, chords will be out of tune with a slide higher up the neck. If you are going to fret it and play slide, there will be some compromise. You'll have to find the compromise with your ear that works for you.
If you are only playing slide, no fretted notes, then there should be zero compensation, like a lap steel.
 

Wrighty

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Slide doesn't need compensation. If you have it compensated for fretted notes, chords will be out of tune with a slide higher up the neck. If you are going to fret it and play slide, there will be some compromise. You'll have to find the compromise with your ear that works for you.
If you are only playing slide, no fretted notes, then there should be zero compensation, like a lap steel.
Yep, been messing around since I posted and have simply set the nut to 12th and 12th to bridge pieces the same length, all sounds good. Can’t get better than advice on slide from bottlenecker! Loving it so far though sounding a bit sitar!
 

Chiogtr4x

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To me I just think of slide playing by nature, as

'Continuous Moving or variable Intonation!' Ha!

( I play slide in Strandard tuning on any of my guitars/ no setup change; just work the same patterns & try to stay in pitch)
 
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KC

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Yeah, I play a lot of slide & the key to approximating pitch is your vibrato. Shake that thing! It is very very hard to get an exact note when you're playing slide so a little wiggle around the note keeps it from sounding wrong. That and damping are the two magic keys to slide playing.
 

AAT65

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Yep, been messing around since I posted and have simply set the nut to 12th and 12th to bridge pieces the same length, all sounds good. Can’t get better than advice on slide from bottlenecker! Loving it so far though sounding a bit sitar!
If it's sounding "a bit sitar" then you might need to apply a bit more pressure, and definitely keep the strings muted with your other fingers behind the slide.
As said above, the key thing is to play with your ears not your eyes!
 

Wrighty

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Yeah, I play a lot of slide & the key to approximating pitch is your vibrato. Shake that thing! It is very very hard to get an exact note when you're playing slide so a little wiggle around the note keeps it from sounding wrong. That and damping are the two magic keys to slide playing.
The ‘violin technique’ does seem to be important. Just practice I reckon, and an understanding wife. Trouble is, she’s a singer and off pitch offends her ears!
 

Wrighty

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If it's sounding "a bit sitar" then you might need to apply a bit more pressure, and definitely keep the strings muted with your other fingers behind the slide.
As said above, the key thing is to play with your ears not your eyes!
Frustrating! 1/2 dozen pure, in tune notes and then, bang, back to broken bed springs. Threw in the towel about 1:30 this morning. Will give myself, and Mrs Wrighty, a break today, well, at least this morning…………..or for an hour or two…………..then again, my Tele’s all set up where I left it…………no rush………nothing much else to do………….😄
 

Renown

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Whenever I got my Tele, I thought intonation was out. 3 Brass barrel bridge

After isolating noise and learning concepts from the geetar players here at TDPRI, my Tele is dead on and stays in tune. I need more practice tho.

If I recall, I was advised to use tuner to open string and intonate to twelve fret, not harmonic (I check Harmonic). Or something like that.
Also, Its never perfect, its all about the geetar player and guitar
 

bgmacaw

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Make sure that the slide is floating, not pressing down at all, over the target fret. It's easy, especially at first and on the higher frets, to be off enough to make things sound wrong. Sometimes it helps to practice hitting the notes accurately using a tuner to check.

The slide you're using can affect your accuracy. If the slide doesn't fit well, this can throw things off. If it's on the big side, the area contacting the string may be wide enough to make your intonation inaccurate on higher frets. If you're playing in standard tuning a smaller slide can help you be more accurate since standard is less forgiving than open tunings.
 

Billy3

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Leo Kottke said you want to have your hand like your holding a peach. In other words, don't press too hard. You want the slide to glide over the strings. Technique is not as easy as one might think. And using the correct slide is very subjective. I have a dozen different ones. But I only use a few. It can take a while to find the one that suits YOU best. Oh vibrato.
 

thebowl

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Two comments. First, as others have noted, intonation is a non-issue when actually using the slide. You find the right spot with your ears, not your eyes. If you want to play slide AND fretted with the same instrument, there is a compromise to be made between the height of your action and your intonation. I have a Dobro Model25 round neck. when I got it a desperately needed neck reset, I asked the luthier to replace the nut and cut it with reasonably high action consistent with decent intonation. He knew what I meant.
 

bottlenecker

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Two comments. First, as others have noted, intonation is a non-issue when actually using the slide. You find the right spot with your ears, not your eyes. If you want to play slide AND fretted with the same instrument, there is a compromise to be made between the height of your action and your intonation. I have a Dobro Model25 round neck. when I got it a desperately needed neck reset, I asked the luthier to replace the nut and cut it with reasonably high action consistent with decent intonation. He knew what I meant.

There is an issue I think people may be missing. When playing slide on a compensated guitar, the relationship between notes of a chord will change as you move up the neck. Usually we can hide it with vibrato, or dropping some notes out of the chord. But it's there. If we go up to the octave on a 6 string chord with the slide, and the saddles are compensated, it will not be as in tune as the open chord.
 

thebowl

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There is an issue I think people may be missing. When playing slide on a compensated guitar, the relationship between notes of a chord will change as you move up the neck. Usually we can hide it with vibrato, or dropping some notes out of the chord. But it's there. If we go up to the octave on a 6 string chord with the slide, and the saddles are compensated, it will not be as in tune as the open chord.
But that isn’t unique to slide or open tunings, is it?
 




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