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How to improv playing slide, basic question

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(@phangeaux)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 144
 

Another great resource is the chord and scale calculator at Look No Hands.

Steinar

Thanks Steinar. That is a great resource that I haven't been to in a long while. I should be spending alot more time there, like a week straight would be good.

I remember when you built that stratoslider from the Fernandes and other parts and played some great bottleneck style slide on it. If you can take just a moment, how do you have your bottleneck guitars set up? I'll see if I can find that topic. Here it is, I just posted to you there. If you other people see my post there you'll know why I am not into this 'light touch' stuff :

http://forums.guitarnoise.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=31228&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=30

Gotta go help my neighbor 'Bubba' with his computer He broke XP pro again.

Later :-)

Phangeaux
BadBadBlues


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 Taso
(@taso)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2852
Topic starter  

Thanks for all the responses guys.

I actually did buy a slide. I walked like 20 blocks to the music store, and the guy told me it was $15... $15, what the flip? I saw them for $4 online. I bought it anyways because I had walked there, and didn't want to do it for nothing (I'm lazy) got home, realized I didn't have the dough to spend right then on an over priced slide, and I ended up returning (drove). Sooo, I'm going back home in a few days and I'll stop at guitar center there, where I expect they'll have cheaper slides as its a chain store.

I did play with it a bit before I returned it, I felt foolish as I had no idea what I was doing, lol. Over the winter break I'm going to call up my old teacher and see if he can stand my presence for a half hour and show me a thing or two :P

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


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(@phangeaux)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 144
 

Thanks for all the responses guys.

I actually did buy a slide. I walked like 20 blocks to the music store, and the guy told me it was $15... $15, what the flip? I saw them for $4 online. I bought it anyways because I had walked there, and didn't want to do it for nothing (I'm lazy) got home, realized I didn't have the dough to spend right then on an over priced slide, and I ended up returning (drove). Sooo, I'm going back home in a few days and I'll stop at guitar center there, where I expect they'll have cheaper slides as its a chain store.

I did play with it a bit before I returned it, I felt foolish as I had no idea what I was doing, lol. Over the winter break I'm going to call up my old teacher and see if he can stand my presence for a half hour and show me a thing or two :P

Hey Taso, sorry I messed up your topic with such long posts, I'll edit those down in a few minutes, but about the slide(s):

Yeah I would not pay $15 for a slide either unless I was really desperate and had no other options. I've seen those nice contoured end polished brass slides and they look nice but personally, what money I have can be better spent so I never bought one. I have a superior collection of slides and materials/tools to make them and all but three are home made from excellent materials I have aquired over the years. Some of the best finds are still awaiting my attention to make a few more slides. Some of this stuff is pretty cool high tech, like thick walled stainless steel hydraulic lines from Boeing Aircraft, maybe from 747 landing gears as far as I know, also some heavy thick walled bronze and brass bushings. I always keep my eyes open for materials of all sorts to make things with.

A friend of mine makes his slides like this: If you can find some handlebars off of a junk bicycle, (there are lots of these around, scrap yards etc.) just cut a piece off (straight section) with a hack saw, debur and smoothe the cut edge(s) and those make very suitable slides, no different than the chrome plated ones you can buy at the music store.

I would make it just a little bit shorter than your finger, (when the slide is on) about 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch of your finger tip will be sticking out (6mm to 9mm). That seems to be the most comfortable for me and it seems when it is shorter than the finger I have better control.

The edge of my finger sticking out naturally stabilizes the end of the slide and holds it from moving at all on my finger. It just does that naturally without any thought involved. (trust me it works) and I can change positions faster and more accurately that way. The slide won't flop around or move at all on my finger. This is probably why I like my metal slides alot better - the Dunlap thick pyrex slide I have is longer and slightly loose fitting so I don't have as much control and speed with it. I may grind about 3/8 inch off of the end of it and that would make it significantly better.

If you make a slide from a piece of metal like the bike handlebar, make sure that the surface of the slide is nice and smoothe all around with no big scratches or gouges that will abrade or catch on the strings. If necessary, a file, very fine emory cloth or sandpaper for metal will work to take out such defects and you can make it shiny and smooth with some steel wool. A rag with some of that powdered abrasive cleanser used to clean sinks and such (Ajax, Comet, etc) would also work to polish one up.

I just bought a 21 speed Schwinn Aluminum frame mountain bike in very good shape for $14.99 at the local Goodwill thrift store for the price you would pay for that slide, so yeah, $15. for me was better spent on the bike.

In years of scouring thrift stores throughout the Seattle area looking for a suitable glass bottle to cut off and make a real 'bottleneck' slide I've seen thousands of bottles and only a very few, maybe 3 to 5 that were suitable and then I either didn't want to ruin a nice bottle for a slide or I didn't feel like doing the work so I just gave up on that idea. Metal is alot easier to work with, alot more plentiful as ready made tubing or pipe. If I want another glass or pyrex slide I'll just buy one, it's alot easier.

Yeah, like you implied, playing slide is not as easy as it looks but with the basic fundamentals down it doesn't take long before you can produce some acceptable slide work. You MIGHT be better off to try an open tuning like open E or open D for a start until you get used to using the slide. Actually that is probably a very good idea.

good luck

Phangeaux
BadBadBlues


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(@phangeaux)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 144
 

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http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?songid=5460743&q=hi

That was done on the Squier Tele, with the 9's, in Standard, with a light, glass slide. Just to give you an idea....

:D :D :D

Vic

Hey Vic, if you see this, I meant to tell you earlier that this link you posted doesn't work- it just goes to the soundclick default page. Is there another way to post it?

Phangeaux
BadBadBlues


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(@steinar-gregertsen)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 503
 

If you can take just a moment, how do you have your bottleneck guitars set up?

Sorry I took so long to reply, my mind's been pretty much 'everywhere' lately....
To answer your question,- since I'm down to one only electric guitar again I have it set up as a 'happy compromise' for both slide and regular playing. Meaning many people would find the action intolerable high for regular playing, but I kinda like it that way, and I use 011-048 string and tune to open-E when I play slide. I would have preferred a slightly higher action for slide because my playing can get pretty rough in a live setting when the adrenaline rush kicks in, but I can live with a few clunkers and 'fret-outs' here and there.....

Steinar

"Play to express, not to impress"
Website - YouTube


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(@iraesq)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 62
 

I have been exploring open tunings for about a month and I really enjoy them. Can't figure out what took me so long to see the light. I like Open D for the rich tone. Even got me a few slides a few weeks ago.

If you prefer pentatonic scales, you can play them in open tunings. The Open D pentatonic is pretty easy to learn and will serve you well in that tuning. Check out this link at p. 20 of the pdf file (a good guide for open tunings).
http://eceserv0.ece.wisc.edu/~sethares/alternatetunings/opentunings.pdf

You also can check out scale http://www.scalerator.com to build scales in different keys and different tunings. Here's the link for the Open D pentatonic scale. http://www.scalerator.com/cgi-bin/sdispatch.py?optionsDisp=inline&selLeft=0&menuTab=instructions&root=D&pattern=pentatonic+major&tuning=DADF%23AD&size=30


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 Taso
(@taso)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2852
Topic starter  

Out of curiosity, how limiting (if at all) do you guys find an extremly low action (for normal guitar playing standards, not slide) to be for slide playing? Also, if possible, please refrain from doing any psychoanalysis of the writer of this post, as it should be pretty easy to figure out why I'm asking. :(

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

the action on my strat is extremely low. I never use it for slide work.
I would like to , but I love the way the guitar is set up now and I dont want to change a thing.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7850
 

It gets tough when light strings are set extremely low as shredders like. It's not too hard when you play an electric as they typically come set up, if you use a light slide and develop the "muscle memory" for where the slide stops in just the right contact with the string, instead of relying on string tension to resist it. When the action's very low you're more likely to want a slide with a concave curvature that matches the fretboard radius. A very low action may make it harder to fret behind the slide. My teacher usually grabbed random new guitars off the store racks to play at lessons, and he was so good he'd just blow me away. You really don't need any special setup to play slide. It just makes it easier if you use fat strings and set them a little high.

One more thing: Sometimes things we think of as "bad technique" can sound good. I've heard old blues players who were always knocking the slide on the fretboard, and pressing the strings down onto the frets as they slid up and down the fretboard, that were playing absolutely killer stuff, and the "bad technique" was part of it. There were actually a bunch of those guys who were "sloppy players" but their music is great fun to listen to, or deeply moving.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2268
 

A guy I bumped into in a music shop once had a little piece of triangular dowel that he carried around, and would stick under the strings next to the nut to lift them up. It messed up tuning with the extra tension and intonation with the change in scale length, and so the frets were only any good as a rough guide and you couldn't use open strings. He swore by it though, saying that you want to slide by ear anyway, and the frets being close gives you a bit of a head start without giving you habit to break later. Not being a slider I have no clue if he was insane or not, but it sounds feasible and he was very impressive with his playing.

I think I was most impressed with the "what disadvantages?"-style reasoning though, right up my street... ;)

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7850
 

It depends on what you want to do. There have been a lot of guys who stuck pencils, screwdrivers and such under the strings and played. But it makes your guitar into a lap steel, playable only with a slide. It's hard to play bottleneck guitar by yourself and make it sound interesting if all you can do is slide; you need to be able to fret to keep the rhythm going. But if you just want to do solos and fills over a band, you may be fine with that. Not saying you can't play slide only alone, I do that some myself on lap steel. But it does add lots of possibilities when you can fret. Can't do the basic blues shuffle without it. And you can throw in fretted chords or arpeggios voiced differently than the barre chords you get with the slide. Heck, Steinar even multitracks and lays down a rhythm guitar track when he's lap sliding. I would never raise the nut on a "Spanish" guitar for sliding. I think if you need to jack the strings up to use a bottleneck, you just need to practice more.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@houndog)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 21
 

Hello,
I had my reso set up a few years ago , and the question was "fretting or slide" , to which the answer is "both".

I'm with Steinar here as when gigging on acc I need the resistance of 13's* against a heavy brass slide , this means a higher action and muscles to manage it.

But it really does make the difference in a live gig as I don't have to worry about clearance , which is important as many Delta tune's melody , for example Fred McDowell's "Write me a few of your lines" , is on the thinner string open to 5th fret. And that is a particularly funky tune when it gets into top gear which I couldn't manage on a lighter set up.

adios,
Lovat

* Until Bottleneck John restrung it for a gig with 12's -- what could I say !

..play it..I just hit the damn thing...

Groovecats...The dawg at the bottom end

Houndog Fraser sliding about


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10340
 

>
>
>
>
http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?songid=5460743&q=hi

That was done on the Squier Tele, with the 9's, in Standard, with a light, glass slide. Just to give you an idea....

:D :D :D

Vic

Hey Vic, if you see this, I meant to tell you earlier that this link you posted doesn't work- it just goes to the soundclick default page. Is there another way to post it?
AAAAAAAAARGH - I never saw this for ages.....or if I did, it somehow slipped to the back of my mind.

http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?songid=6115129&q=hi&newref=1

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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 Taso
(@taso)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2852
Topic starter  

So, I've started playing about a half hour a night with the slide, and I think I'm making some progress - sort of figuring out how things "go", you know. No where near as good as I want to be with it (On a scale from 1-10 I'd put myself at about a 2 right now, meaning I've figured which finger I prefer the slide on, and havn't killed anyone by using it yet)

I'm going to start recording every night, and maybe after a week I'll post here and you guys can give suggestions?

Even, better, I'll video-record. Will take a look now and see if I can do this.

Yeah, here it is

http://youtube.com/watch?v=2V_45Dd7M0A

It's pretty darn ugly.

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


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(@iraesq)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 62
 

Taso:

I think you are being a little hard on yourself. Sounds pretty good for just starting out. You are getting better tone control than I am (trust me, that's not much of a compliment). Keep at it.


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