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Idunno

Well...acoustic guitar speak...

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These old posts cropping up in quick succession are trying to tell us to talk guitars if we expect to keep the forum current and interesting.

Nah.

Actually, I've had recent inspiration for resurrecting steel string interest. In my search for an elusive 12 fret guitar I've uncovered many people who have made great use of them, leaving me feeling pretty much in their dust. So, I bought a slide, tuned to open G and discovered I don't like a glass slide. Or, maybe I don't have a clue how to use it and buying a brass slide will prove it. In any case, I think I'm going in that direction.

Anyone here making inroads with playing slide? I can see right away a radiused fret board is probably a hindrance over a flat board. Developing that oh-so light touch over the fret wires, for a heavy handed person, is like driving with a raw egg between my foot and the gas pedal. But, gotta break a few before you can make an omelette.

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I dabbled with slide a little many years ago but never took to it. It didn't give the satisfaction that finger-picking offers.

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I've 'dabbled' in slide playing for over 40 years. I also play lap steel. What I've learned is to close my eyes and trust my ears, much like playing fretless bass [which I am working on currently].

I prefer open G, but can play in standard, open D, E6, DADGAD, etc.

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Where's Neal Paisley?

I've insincerely dragged a slide over the strings many times over the years and the lack of immediate results sent me back to finger picking. But, I want to think learning to finger pick had to be >>>>>>>>>> harder than running a slide across the strings. Keeping that thought, I shouldn't need to remortgage my efforts and interest to put a slide to proper use given some time. I'm going out today to the hardware store to see if it carries brass tubing that will fit my little finger.

daddymack, you might be onto something re closing your eyes. I do that finger picking but until I know intuitively (muscle memory) where the fret wires are it'll be eyes-on.

 

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I've attempted slide a few times with--unfortunately but not unexpectedly--poor results. Best of luck with your endeavor.

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I've always tried slide, lost them, then never get another one until years later. Then I repeat the cycle.

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Make sure the tube has some heft, too light-no tone.  You could start small and just vamp a bit on the 1st string whilst playing some finger picking, try to damp the strings behind the slide.  I read that on a steel forum, I’d love to play slide as well, just can’t find the right medium for the tube without spending.  Ring, middle, or little finger?  

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My only experience is with a beer bottle in front of very inebriated people, who, naturally, thought I was a genius. So did I, but I was more inebriated than everyone else.

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Little finger. I get the mechanics of the light touch and damping. It's the 3-fold thing of that, using the fret wires and a tuning that's brand new to me. It's a start-over-again thing. Perhaps I should ask a lot of questions about the best slide, best guitar, best strings, best pins, best nut/saddle material, best humidity, etc., that will make me the best slide player I can be. 

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Maybe look up tutorials on YT? I'd like to learn, too, but it isn't realistic for me at this point in my life.

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12 hours ago, Idunno said:

Little finger. I get the mechanics of the light touch and damping. It's the 3-fold thing of that, using the fret wires and a tuning that's brand new to me. It's a start-over-again thing. Perhaps I should ask a lot of questions about the best slide, best guitar, best strings, best pins, best nut/saddle material, best humidity, etc., that will make me the best slide player I can be. 

Or this! :)

 

 

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15 hours ago, Idunno said:

Little finger. I get the mechanics of the light touch and damping. It's the 3-fold thing of that, using the fret wires and a tuning that's brand new to me. It's a start-over-again thing. Perhaps I should ask a lot of questions about the best slide, best guitar, best strings, best pins, best nut/saddle material, best humidity, etc., that will make me the best slide player I can be. 


First of all, have you raised the action a bit? Something as inexpensive as this can help get the strings higher while making it less likely you’ll accidentally smack the frets with the slide...

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PerfectNut--grover-perfect-guitar-nut-height-extender


As Gibson29 advised, you should get a slide with some weight to it. Those ultra-thin glass slides are really not the best IMO. Something with enough weight to allow the slide itself to do most of the work (without you having to really “press down”) is the way to go IMO - especially when you’re just getting started. My favorite slide is a vintage Coricidin bottle that I liberated out of my grandmother’s medicine cabinet many years ago, and while it is heavier than some thin walled glass slides, even that might be too light for a new slide player. I’d look to either a metal or ceramic slide to start with, but recommend you go for whatever is most comfortable for you.

As far as using the frets as guides, there is nothing wrong with that, but the real trick is similar to fretless bass IMO - hand position and using your ears to guide you to proper tuning / intonation.

Also, it IS possible to play slide in standard tuning... although many players actually find that harder to do than using an open tuning. 

There is certainly nothing wrong with asking for advice, or taking some lessons :idea: but you’re right - while those things can help, nothing is going to replace time and lots of practice. Keep at it - you’ll get better at it the more you do! 🙂 

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I dunno, I dunno. Slide might be beneath you. I've seen you play Classical Gas. Why dumb it down? ;-)

Have you ever considered learning to play harmonica while playing guitar? That's something I've considered but harmonica is an investment. I've barely mastered whistling while playing and feel like I have to move up via the kazoo.

OK, I'm being slightly facetious here - but along those lines have you ever dabbled with altered tunings? On one of my many doodlings I've become enamored with the droning of open strings, some even tuned so that there are multiple unison notes occurring. IMO it's a much more hypnotic effect than slide. It's also more challenging to some as it changes the "chord shapes" and makes you think more about note placement and intervals. As guitar players we get stuck in 4ths and 5ths. I feel like slide locks us in a little too much.

OTOH, one appeal of slide is that it shifts your focus from your left hand to your right so that you focus more on dynamics - sometimes even percussion.

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Not having seen Idunno play, and coming to this with an open slate :), go with the spoon.  That’s pretty cool.

And anything you learn new isn’t locking you in, in my opinion.  Heck, I’d love to learn slide, but one guitar, changing between tunings...I’d spend a fortune in strings from the metal fatigue!  I’ll stick with standard, but still love the Kottkes and Derek Trucks of the world to provide that kind of stuff.  Living vicariously, I play a mean air slide!

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5 hours ago, kwakatak said:

Have you ever considered learning to play harmonica while playing guitar? That's something I've considered but harmonica is an investment. I've barely mastered whistling while playing and feel like I have to move up via the kazoo.

 

I started out on reeds - clarinet and saxophone. I've tried to learn harmonica two or three times, and I mean seriously tried hard - daily practice for months each time, with books, tapes... and it just totally eludes me. I can't do it well to save my life. I really wish I could blow a mean blues harp, but it's just completely beyond me for some reason. :0

 

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5 hours ago, kwakatak said:

I dunno, I dunno. Slide might be beneath you. I've seen you play Classical Gas. Why dumb it down? 😉

Have you ever considered learning to play harmonica while playing guitar? That's something I've considered but harmonica is an investment. I've barely mastered whistling while playing and feel like I have to move up via the kazoo.

OK, I'm being slightly facetious here - but along those lines have you ever dabbled with altered tunings? On one of my many doodlings I've become enamored with the droning of open strings, some even tuned so that there are multiple unison notes occurring. IMO it's a much more hypnotic effect than slide. It's also more challenging to some as it changes the "chord shapes" and makes you think more about note placement and intervals. As guitar players we get stuck in 4ths and 5ths. I feel like slide locks us in a little too much.

OTOH, one appeal of slide is that it shifts your focus from your left hand to your right so that you focus more on dynamics - sometimes even percussion.

Hi Neil. Yes, I play often in DADf#ad and EAEac#e. You're right about the mesmerizing drone. It has an alluring quality. I write for both tunings these days more so than standard. I'm curious about slide because I think I will explore it far from the usual open G blues standards, or country use of it, in the same manner I explore standard and alternate tunings when not covering stuff. It's just a new direction to take finger picking and my interest.

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