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#2475357 - 03/01/13 09:04 PM Slide guitar...
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
I have always loved the sound, but I've never gotten the hang of it. Always too much fret, not enough control of the slide, etc.

It has been brought to my attention that I may not have my guitar properly set up for this technique.

Is this correct? What do I need to change?
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#2475391 - 03/02/13 05:25 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
whitefang Offline
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How is it set up now?

I've tried working with slide, but it's not that easy. Which is why I appreciate good slide when I hear it. Or even so-so slide. I too, asked this forum for advice, so expect a lot of good stuff. Also, there are a lot of choices for alternate tunings for this method. Which one are you trying?
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#2475394 - 03/02/13 05:37 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
picker Offline
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How is it set up now? The best slide guitars I've played had action that was a little bit high, and had heavier gauge strings. If your action is low and/or you're using light or ultra light strings, you may have trouble with the strings not keeping the slide up off the frets. One of the reason those old beat-up guitars you see some slide players with make such good slide instruments is the neck get a little warped(or a lot warped) and gives you some space between the slide and the frets. I've found that it helps me to feel the strings push back against the slide, if that makes any sense, so I need a little higher action to make it work. One time, I set up a cheapo Yamaha superstrat for slide by putting a bit of a business card under the nut. It raised the strings just enough at that end of the neck to make it work, with the bridge saddles raised a little and a set of heavy strings.

Also, the type of slide you're using may be giving you more of a fight than you need till you figure it out. I've learned a few things from trying a ridiculous number of different types of slides. First off, regardless of the material they are made out of, the thickness of the slide itself really makes a difference. Thin slides have limited sustain, at least compared with thicker slides of the same material. I guess some guys like that, but it doesn't seem to work for me. If you play really loud, it might be a way to help control the output, but I never had that problem. Johnny Winter uses a thinner gauge steel slide, and it's pretty hard to argue with his slide playing.

Thicker slides have much more sustain, and to my ear, better tone, especially brass. But even the heavier glass slides sound better to me. However, the weight of thicker metal slides can make them hard to control, especially if you wear them on your pinky. Because it gives me the other three fingers free for fretting, I normally wear my slides on my pinky. I have a couple of very heavy brass slides, and they sound wonderful. But I have long, thin fingers, and their weight is hard for me to work with. I even had my gunsmith uncle cut one down by a 1/2", and it is easier to use, but still tough. I've experimented with wearing it on my middle finger, which is what I've read Joe Walsh does, but I always seem to go back to the pinky.

A couple of things about using the slide itself; It isn't necessary, or even desirable, to have the slide all the way across all of the strings most of the time. Even when you're playing on the lower strings, you want to angle the slide up off of the highers strings. It takes a little work to find the right angle, but it makes playing the E, A, & D individually much easier. Also, some guys, like Derek Trucks, and Duane Allman before him, play slide finger-style, and use some of those fingers to damp strings they don't want sounding. It sounds confusing to sort out what's gonna go where and how, but it's at least a little easier to do than to describe, I think.

Some guys seem to be able to use slides that don't fit closely on their fingers, I guess by gripping them between their fingers for stability. I saw LeRoy Parnell very dextrously use a 6 or 8 inch glass tube that had like a 2 inch inside diameter. I don't know why, maybe for tone, or maybe it was just for show. But I have to have one that fits right, or it gets away from me. Also, having it all the way up on my finger is uncomfortable to me, especially when I'm resting the other fingers on the strings behind the slide to damp them. I wear the slide up to the second joint, because it feels more natural to me.

Rory Gallagher held that for electric, a glass slide was best and for acoustic, brass. I have come to agree with him on it. When you're playing a resonator guitar, the hot, trashy rasp of a slightly tarnished brass slide sounds like a backwoods Mississippi juke joint on a sweaty summer night. Or, at least what I'd imagine it sounds like, anyway...;^) To me glass on an acoustic sounds too refined and civilized, but that's a matter of taste. But on an electric, I think the sweetness of a glass slide works perfectly.

The slides I use most often are Dunlop 212 tempered glass slides. It's about 2 inches long, and fits my pinky just the way I want it to. Like I said above, I don't generally try to cover all the strings at once with it, so it's as long as I need it to be. It's just about perfect to me. I have 5 of them scattered around the house here or there.

A lot of this stuff is like pretty much everything else, a matter of taste or what you get used to. But some of this might help you. I hope so. Good luck and happy sliding!
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#2475404 - 03/02/13 06:53 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: picker]
SEHpicker Offline
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Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 990
Loc: Inverness, Florida


I use a Joe Perry ceramic slide. I like the weight and tone of it. I play Statesboro Blues in standard tuning.
I know - everybody says it's played in open E - but I like to play Dickey's parts too.
My action is medium to low and I use .11s. Works fine.


Edited by SEHpicker (03/02/13 06:58 AM)
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#2475428 - 03/02/13 08:39 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: SEHpicker]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
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Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
OK...

The only guitars I have tried slide with have been in standard tuning, using 10s or 11s, with pretty low action. I own a glass and a metal slide which I've tried on my pinky- any other position for the slide drives me bonkers. I might also want to look for different slides- both of the ones I have are as long as or longer than my pinky.

Even after all these years, I tend to use the IRON CLAW more than I should with my fret hand, so I probably do need to have the action raised a bit.


Edited by Dannyalcatraz (03/02/13 08:42 AM)
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#2475430 - 03/02/13 08:46 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Bottom End Offline
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Lowell George used a Craftsman socket, 11/16 IIRC.
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#2475437 - 03/02/13 09:22 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Bottom End]
The Geoff Offline
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Registered: 11/05/04
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I don't play slide.

However:

https://soundcloud.com/geoffbyrne/hair-1

Chrome slide on my Frankenstrat, standard action (for me) tuned to open G.

G.
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#2475462 - 03/02/13 11:40 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5350
Loc: Hwy 49, California
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
OK...

The only guitars I have tried slide with have been in standard tuning, using 10s or 11s, with pretty low action. I own a glass and a metal slide which I've tried on my pinky- any other position for the slide drives me bonkers. I might also want to look for different slides- both of the ones I have are as long as or longer than my pinky.

Even after all these years, I tend to use the IRON CLAW more than I should with my fret hand, so I probably do need to have the action raised a bit.


I'm not a slide player but have a friend who is really into it and uses about 13 different tunings...My only 2cents is to start out with altered tuning as opposed to standard. Standard is a little harder to do right off the bat and with altered tuning you won't be hitting any unwanted notes. Then if still interested get back into standard as it's cool to be able to pick up any guitar, especially one with a little higher action and play some slide without tuning. The action on my buddies guitar is low enough that he can still play using his fingers but a little higher than normal so that you keep from knocking the slide on the frets, 10 or 11's sound about right for string guage. He also capos alot so that his altered tuning can be moved to different keys easily. He also has at least 2 and usually 3 guitars set up for different chord formation tunings like E/G and D/C and A...You might go try a dobro or nashville resonater type axe at your local store and get a feel for the set up. I have a couple of slides and play around from time to time with them and I prefer using them on my ring finger. Good luck and have fun with it as slide is a very cool sound to get into! cool

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#2475530 - 03/02/13 08:24 PM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Larryz]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
When I slide on my guitars, it sounds very percussive as I whack the frets in the process of moving around the fretboard, so I probably need to raise my action a bit.

Is that a pricey procedure? Electric? Acoustic?
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My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2475558 - 03/03/13 06:13 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
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Getting back to what picker was going about, I'm working on slide using a cheap, acoustic I bought off my niece for the $5 she paid for it at a garage sale. The neck IS noticably bowed, and it seemed no good for anything else. I'M using a glass tube and it sounds fine to me. The TONE, that is. The SOUND I'm making with it leaves much to be desired...
Whitefang
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#2475573 - 03/03/13 09:12 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: whitefang]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
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Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Hahaha!
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Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2475580 - 03/03/13 10:22 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
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Loc: Hwy 49, California
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
When I slide on my guitars, it sounds very percussive as I whack the frets in the process of moving around the fretboard, so I probably need to raise my action a bit.

Is that a pricey procedure? Electric? Acoustic?


I'll take a WAG (wild assed guess) at it...$100 bucks on the acoustic and $50 on the electric for parts and labor, done by a qualified luthier or tech...or you could pull a Whitefang for $5 bucks and buy a wall hanger with the strings so high noone wants to play it without a slide. My thought process is on an acoustic you may want to shim or change the bridge saddle and maybe change the nut, on the electric you may want to change the nut and in both cases it would include bench time for any height adjustments, truss rod adjustments and/or intonation adjustments, etc...you can probably adjust the electric yourself if you just need to raise the bridge a little bit, for free...

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#2475601 - 03/03/13 01:05 PM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Larryz]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
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Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
I'm from a line of men genetically predisposed AGAINST success with using simple tools. I'll go to a pro, thanks!
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Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2475696 - 03/04/13 08:20 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Eric Iverson Offline
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Registered: 08/03/05
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Loc: Jackson Heights, NY
Guitar Player has done a couple issues dedicated to slide guitar, which you probably could order from their Back Issues department.
I have them somewhere, except for one I sent to a friend who is a budding slideman - gotten pretty good actually.
Actually, with You Tube available, you can dial up some of your favorite slide players and SEE them do it, which can't hurt....

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#2475724 - 03/04/13 10:41 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Eric Iverson]
picker Offline
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Regarding tunings, there are proponents for altered and standard tuning for slide. Warren Haynes prefers standard, and says it's easier since all the notes are at the places he is used to them being. Sonny Landreth, on the other hand, says open tuning present more opportunities for both chordal & single note playing. Both guys are well beyond my evaluation as guitar players, but I can make one recommendation. Landreth says that people who are used to playing exclusively in standard tuning and don't know much about slide or playing in altered tunings should try lowering their high E to a D. In that tuning, the 1, 2, 3 & 4 strings can be barred and make a chord that corresponds with the note of the A string, but two frets down from the barre. From that barre, several slide movements, both up & down, can be made that give you scalar opportunies as well. I've used that sometims, and it's pretty workable. There's another tuning that was easy to get around in, but I can't remember it now. I'll try to recall it...
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#2476945 - 03/11/13 10:36 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: picker]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
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Do you use any fingerstyle technique? This helps A LOT for damping and muting when playing slide.

I absolutely love LOVE love my Dunlop 'Harris Slide'; it features a concave/radiused side-profile which clears the frets very nicely for less fret-buzz and crashes, and this also allows more room for fretting-behind-the-slide techniques. The Harris Slide also features a flared shape, with one end larger than the other; I really like how the bigger end handles the low-strings very well.

I like 11's on my Les Paul for standard tuning, fretted and/or slide.

I've used some custom-ordered mixed-gauge Pure Blues nickel sets from DR, for Open-D tuning on electric guitar, gauged, hi-to-lo (1st through 6th):

.012" - .015" - .024" (w) - .028" - .038" - .052"

These gauges were chosen for both slide and fretted playing on an electric guitar.

I arrived at these gauges by simply taking the given gauges of the set that I already liked for Standard-Tuning, and going up in gauge (going by what was designated by the string-maker for their next heavier sets) for those strings that were tuned down a whole or half step for the Open-D tuning. You could do the same process to arrive at specific suitable gauges for Open-G tuning, as well.

Again, I chose those gauges for an electric guitar tuned to Open-D, and a Les Paul with its relatively short scale-length, at that; I wouldn't have minded a slightly lighter wound 3rd-string, like a .022" or .023", but the .024" was the lightest that DR offered in that type (round-core, pure/solid nickel wrap "Pure Blues"), and I really wanted to stay with those.
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#2476965 - 03/11/13 12:37 PM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
Winston Psmith Offline
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There are raised metal nuts that simply sit on top of your standard nut - no simple tool skills required. Just de-string the guitar, and sit metal nut A on top of plastic nut B, that's all. It'll give you just enough string height to avoid crashing into frets - the bane of every beginning slide player. Here you go - Stew-Mac nut extender for slide.

Adding a raised bridge saddle to most acoustics is even easier, once you've found a saddle of the right height and width, and bridge saddles are pretty cheap, too. Part of the beauty of this approach is that you can quickly switch your guitar, just by loosening the strings. Keep in mind, you'll have some extra string length to wind around the posts, if you remove the nut extender and raised saddle, so give yourself some leeway.

BTW, a buddy plays a National guitar, and they recommend a John Pearse .016-.059 set for Open 'G' tuning. Of course, that's for a metal-bodied resonator guitar.
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#2476967 - 03/11/13 12:51 PM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Winston Psmith]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
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Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Thanks! I hadn't even considered the possible existence of such things. Now that I know, I have a weaker case for buying a guitar especially for slide...:(

wink


Edited by Dannyalcatraz (03/11/13 12:51 PM)
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#2476976 - 03/11/13 01:59 PM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Winston Psmith]
SEHpicker Offline
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Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 990
Loc: Inverness, Florida
Originally Posted By: Winston Psmith
There are raised metal nuts that simply sit on top of your standard nut - no simple tool skills required. Just de-string the guitar, and sit metal nut A on top of plastic nut B, that's all. It'll give you just enough string height to avoid crashing into frets - the bane of every beginning slide player.


Wow - that's a lot of trouble to go through. With just a wee bit of practice you can master a touch where you won't fret the strings. It's really not that hard unless maybe you're using .08s or .09s with very low action.
One of the keys is to "float" the slide across several strings evenly - the combined resistance over multiple strings will support the slide. And, like Caevan mentioned, using your picking fingers to dampen the strings you don't want ringing is the way to go.
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#2477069 - 03/12/13 06:34 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: SEHpicker]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
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Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
The only thing more I'd stress is to not spend a lot of money or time refitting some innocent guitar (or two, in case the first try fudges up)until you've got the slide playing pretty much down pat. Unless you're "Scotty" from "Vertigo".
Whitefang
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#2477105 - 03/12/13 08:49 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: whitefang]
picker Offline
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Registered: 06/13/04
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Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
I saw a couple of videos Gibson put on You Tube with Joe Walsh demonstrating some basic slide techniques, and I thought it was pretty good primer material. He spent more time than I thought was needed showing how to tune to an open E. But he said that E tuning was "the most effective tuning for slide guitar." I guess he knows more about it than I do. I must say I love his slide playing...
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#2477106 - 03/12/13 08:51 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: picker]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5350
Loc: Hwy 49, California
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu8ffNUrHAo <--- here's another way to spend $150 bucks and solve the problem (ie. take some tips from the slide guitar players on youtube...

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#2477148 - 03/12/13 10:50 AM Re: Slide guitar... [Re: Larryz]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3114
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
I'll have to look at those.

I'm still thinking my low action is a big contributing factor to my "percussive" slide technique. I MAY be able to lighten my touch enough to alleviate it, but only time will tell. (It may be an interesting test of my patience & dedication.)
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My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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