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Slide Guitar Technique?

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I've never been able to get my slide to sound right. Most of the time it sounds like the guitar is out of tune and I don't know how to stop the rest of the strings from sounding when I'm just wanting one or two.

In short, it never sounds as good as the professionals. What are they doing that I'm not? :huh:

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I've never been able to get my slide to sound right. Most of the time it sounds like the guitar is out of tune and I don't know how to stop the rest of the strings from sounding when I'm just wanting one or two.

In short, it never sounds as good as the professionals. What are they doing that I'm not? :huh:

I have been playing slide guitar for some time now. First of all, what tuning are you playing in? Are you just playing in standard EADGBE tuning? If you are then when it possibly will sound out of tune. If you are using that tuning then I suggest you either play individual strings or play just on the D and G strings to get a good sound. In fact, you could probably find a good tab in standard tuning for the Zeppelin song "In my Time of Dying".

As far as other strings sounding is concerned it might be something to do with the pressure of your slide on the strings. I suggest you rest the slide on the strings, fingers relaxed, then add the slightest bit of pressure. Your slide should not be running up and down the fretboard and clicking on the frets. There should be no contact of the strings on the fretboard, or the slide on the fretboard. Also try to be more accurate with getting to the note you want or playing the note you want...make sure you don't play other notes in the process otherwise it will sound awful, unless you are in an open tuning (which are ideal for slide guitar). You could also restring your guitar...that might get a crisper sound out of the slide playing for you.

So, some points to consider:

1. PRESSURE ON THE STRINGS - make sure there's pressure on the strings but not enough to make them have contact with the fretboard. The slide should be sliding on the strings, not on the fretboard!!

2. Be positive with your note playing and slide placement...that way you will cut out additional unwanted fret noise.

3. Try some open tunings. Try restringing your guitar. Try a different type of slide. It could have a lot to do with your type of guitar and the type of slide you are using. I have three different slides that I switch and change on a regular basis.

Hope this helps.

Richard. :thumbsup:

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I just played In My Time of Dying again today in that E tuning where you tune the b stiring to C#. I still think the C tuning is more accurate? Thoughs?

Yeah, you can do that. I play it using just the D and G string starting on the third fret and sliding down as the first note. It sounded pretty accurate to me. I guess you can tune the B to a C# though on thinking about it. :thumbsup:

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I've never been able to get my slide to sound right. Most of the time it sounds like the guitar is out of tune and I don't know how to stop the rest of the strings from sounding when I'm just wanting one or two.

In short, it never sounds as good as the professionals. What are they doing that I'm not? :huh:

Some more tips for you. In terms of getting it to sound in tune: playing without the slide you are used to fingering the note just behind the fret, and when playing slide you want the slide directly over the fret. That's an adjustment for most non-slide players. A helpful tip I once read was to imagine there is a laser beam coming out of your finger that you align with the fret. Working on slide placement accuracy will eliminate the out of tune sound . . . although Duane Allman, the Jimi Hendrix of slide, often experimented with purposely playing sharp or flat- think of the Layla slide solo, in which he slides over the pickups using hypothetical frets.

As far as stopping the rest of the strings sounding, that is accomplished by muting with both hands. Fret hand muting is executed by pressing down lightly on the strings with the finger behind your slide finger (your middle finger if the slide is on your ring finger, your ring if the slide is on your pinky.) This prevents notes from sounding from the string on both sides of the slide at the same time.

If you fingerpick when you slide (and I suggest you do- most of the greats do, Allman, Cooder, Johnny Winter, Derek Trucks, etc. ), then you can use your picking hand to mute as well. Duane used his thumb to mute the stings that were lower than the one he was playing on and alterantely picked and muted with his index, middle, and ring fingers. Not as good for the kind of slide chords in say, Traveling Riverside Blues or IMTOD, but so much better for articulating one and two string playing- think Layla, think Statesboro blues.

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I have three different slides that I switch and change on a regular basis.

What slides do you use?

I have this:

Dunlop Pyrex Glass

And another bottleneck I can't find on the internet. I tend to use the Dunlop more, but I also use the other one for something different every once in a while.

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i play slide guitar as well. its more than ok to play in standard (EADGBE) tuning. Jeff Beck did it all the time, Jimmy Page plays You Shook Me in regular tuning.

Try an open G tuning (DGDGBD) ala travelling riverside blues, rollin' and a tumblin'

i prefer to play with a metal slide on my ring finger. you need to use your free index and middle finger to rest on the strings just behind the slide to stop excessive noise and string movement. that coupled with a light and smooth movement should work.

also if you want to get good vibrato with a slide, don't put the slide over your whole finger. have it start at the first joint of your finger. rest your thumb on the back of the guitar neck. and you can use the same wrist vibrato teqniuqe as you would with regular playing.

hope any of this helps.

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I know what you mean as far as just hitting the middel strings, but a guy on a park bench back in the 70s broke out his acoustic and showed me how to play it in CGCGCE. Could be off on one, will have to go back and try again, but it always sounded great. Now I have had several reputable players here tell me it is in EAEAC#E. Starting to believe that this dude was right after playing it again today.

I never went to cover the song properly (with the band), but I would just jam it on my guitar imbetween playing acoustic songs. Therefore I didn't want the hassle of tuning down, so I just played a rendition straight from the D and G strings. You can get by on that with the main riff, you can make it sound similar. I can't remember what it is like with the rest of the song. :thumbsup:

What slides do you use?

I have this:

Dunlop Pyrex Glass

And another bottleneck I can't find on the internet. I tend to use the Dunlop more, but I also use the other one for something different every once in a while.

I need one of those...that is a heavier glass slide than mine, but mine does the trick.

I use dunlop slides:

Jim Dunlop 203 glass

35015_m.jpg

Jim Dunlop 220 chrome steel

35019_m.jpg

Jim Dunlop 222 Solid Brass

35020_m.jpg

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Yeah, I think mine's the Medium Wall one, but I wanna get Heavy Wall.

How's the chrome one? I've used brass, but never steel.

Edited by irg82

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The chrome one is good. It kinda deadens the sound more than a brass one. There is less resistance with a brass one IMO. I can't really describe the difference, you need to experiment with them yourself really. But I do change between them frequently to get different sounds...I am still experimenting still...I use what sounds best. :thumbsup:

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Here's a video of Jack Pearson, who was a member of the Allman Brothers Band for two years. He is a absolutely one of the best slide players on the planet, and this video features great closeups of his Duane style picking technique. He starts in standard tuning and then switches to open tuning, gives you a great example of the contrasting styles of the two.

Another thing I'll point out is that Jack's using glass. Just about all of my personal favorites- Duane, Jack, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Sonny Landreth, Ry Cooder, they ALL use glass. Glass kicks ass, IMHO.

The player I really really like who didn't use glass is Lowell George, who used a metal socket from a socket wrench of all things!

Edited to add:

Also check out part 3 of the Jack Pearson demonstration; at about two minutes in, he describes and demonstrates picking hand muting and plays some amazing jazzy slide.

Edited by Magic Sam

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To those that gave me the wrong tuning on IN MY TIME OF DYING, the correct slide tuning (and I got this from a dude on a park bench in the 70s) is CGCGCE. Forget about the bullshit EAEAC#E tuning. IT IS WRONG. That is a fact jack!! Played it along with the live Led Zeppelin version. I dont know where you guys came up with it. I wont mention names, WRONG!!! Try it and see. It is in the above tuning.Have no doubt about it now.

You know what...when I was saying earlier about me playing it in standard, or at least the same kind of tune, I now realise that I was thinking of When the Levee Breaks using the D and G strings. I think I was anyway. I am all confused now. It has been a while since I played those songs. But thanks for the tuning update, if ever I go to play it again I will use that one. :thumbsup:

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reading this thread has made me pick up my slide again. :lol:

It had been gathering dust in the corner, but seeing a few Duane videos made me wanna have a crack at it.

Is glass that much better than chrome? I might have to buy a glass one then :D

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