Slide intonation

bottlenecker

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Posts
5,986
Location
Wisconsin
But that isn’t unique to slide or open tunings, is it?
Yes, what I'm talking about is. It's a mismatch I'm identifying that is specific to playing slide on a guitar with saddles compensated for fretting. The compensation exists because of the sharpening that happens when the strings are bent down to the frets. When playing slide, the strings are pushed down very little, and the compensation makes the chord a little out of tune with itself.
The ideal compensation for slide is zero. A straight line parallel to the nut. Playing slide and fretting on the same guitar requires a compromise specific to this situation.

I played bottleneck style for years just intuitively doing what I had to do to make it sound as good as it could, but being aware of this compromise has helped me arrive at solutions and best practices more quickly while playing.
 

tfarny

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Sep 4, 2008
Posts
6,017
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
For my own slide playing which is not a lot, I never want to be 100% on the slide. Most of the notes are going to be fretted and the slide is employed somewhat sparingly. So for a setup the only thing to do is raise the action just a touch and use slightly heavier strings. It should play decently as a fretted instrument first and foremost. That's my approach, I don't think are any right or wrong answers though.
 

Edgar Allan Presley

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Posts
3,720
Location
Colorado
Like others have said, for your setup you need to find the right compromise between a lap steel-type uncompensated bridge setup and a regular compensated setup that is good enough for the way you play.

Once you have it set up well enough, I recommend praticing over a drone note, like from the DroneToneTool app or website, or an electronic shruti or tanpura. I use the IOS app iTanpura. Having a drone note playing that you use your ears to tune each note to really develops your intonation. I learned this as a violin player, but it helps a lot with slide guitar, too.
 




New Posts

Top