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Learnin' to slide?

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 vink
(@vink)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Topic starter  

I saw Derek Trucks on TV a couple of months back, and I was really amazed at the stuff he was playing .. I have never paid much attention to slide before.

Also, I have a squier '51 lying around ..I was thinking of changing the bridge, putting new strings, doing the setup etc, mostly as a learning project. Anyway, I got inspired as I have been lurking here: so, when I replaced the bridge on the '51, I decided to set it up for slide. I got a new bridge from GFS and some DR 11 strings. Som the guitar is now set up : new bridge is in place, the neck has been tightened slightly for the 11s, the action is reasonable for fretting but not super low, it has been tuned to open E, and I have bought a dunlop pyrex slide.

So, now, what to learn? I generally like blues and rock/blues..but all the blues stuff I know involves lots of bends and won't translate to slide. Any suggestions on some simple licks and stuff I can learn?

Also, should I slide with the little finger or the middle? The middle feels more comfortable, but harder to try and do even a simple shuffle with only two fingers..

Not to mention that I get horrible squeaky sounds .. but I think that will get better as I learn to mute behind the slide and play more.

Any advice is much appreciated!

--vink
"Life is either an adventure or nothing" -- Helen Keller


   
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(@ricochet)
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I learned to slide with the slide on my ring finger and still do sometimes, but I've joined the crowd and started mostly sliding with my pinky. For most chords it's easier to fret with the first three fingers, but there are things you can only do with the pinky, so I occasionally switch back. I've learned workarounds, though. There are a few, like Billy Gibbons and Bonnie Raitt, who wear it on their middle finger.

The most basic blues slide lick is on the bottom 3 strings that make a "power chord" in Open E. Using the slide to barre them, hit the open strings, slide quickly from the third to the fifth fret, slide down to the third, and off to the open strings. 0-h3/5-3-0. Then give the palm muted low E a couple of thumps. There's one measure of the I chord. Think Hoochie Coochie Man. For the IV and V parts, go to the 5th and 7th frets to shuffle, barring with your index finger. For the turnaround, hit the open strings and slide up from 5 to 7, or for a change, 8 down to 7. Whenever you put the slide on for a note, you'll generally want to slide up to it from a fret or two below, so I almost didn't mention that h3/5 thing above, that's just a commonplace way of hitting the fifth fret. Less often you'll slide down to a note. Note that the slide goes over the fret for a note, not in the space between frets where your fretting fingers go. You'll have to develop an ear for the tones, to adjust the slide position.

There are some decent beginning slide lessons online here: http://www.bigroadblues.com/slide/index.html I think some of the links there are dead. Brian Robertson's lesson CDs mentioned there, if you can find them, are decent but very basic. If you want to get into blues sliding further, Bob Brozman's set of DVDs on Blues Slide Guitar are worthwhile. For more rock oriented sliding, Derek Trucks has a video set, I understand.

BTW, all that string bending stuff was invented to make slidelike sounds without a slide.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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 vink
(@vink)
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Topic starter  

Ricochet, Thanks for the nice description of basic slide moves. I will be trying it. I think I got the general idea. I've already started realizing the "over the fret" thing -- like you say, have to learn to use my ear more, which is a good thing.

I will also check out the resources in (your) bigroadblues forum, but your starter lesson is very good. Maybe you do a little video of it and put it on youtube, that will be really cool :-)

--vink
"Life is either an adventure or nothing" -- Helen Keller


   
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(@ricochet)
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It's not really "my" Big Road Blues forum, but I hang there a lot and am a moderator because I was on there so much and got deputized to help clear out the spam we were being plagued with a while back. I enjoy and have learned a bunch from the others who hang out there. Most members are players, and quite a few are very experienced.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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 vink
(@vink)
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Topic starter  

I know, I meant to put "your" in quotes, but didn't -- Just meant to say "you're the man" over there :-)

--vink
"Life is either an adventure or nothing" -- Helen Keller


   
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 vink
(@vink)
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Topic starter  

One more question: right now, my bridge radius is set up to match the fretboard, and on this guitar, that is quite round at a 9.5 inch fretboard radius. Should I change it to be more flat? Will it be better for slide that way?

(Also, looks like I should get a smaller slide .. I tried out and got one that felt comfortable on my third finger, the smaller one was too tight, but would have been perfect for my little finger. This one feels kind of big and clunky on my pinky. )

--vink
"Life is either an adventure or nothing" -- Helen Keller


   
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(@ricochet)
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Most folks like a flatter fretboard and string radius if they're frequently using the slide to barre across the strings. Lead players who mostly do single-note slide runs often like arched strings.

Another option besides flatter strings is to use a concave slide. I've got one made by Dunlop that's perfect for those steeply arched Fender strings, and is tapered with dual diameters to fit ring finger and pinky as well. Wine bottle necks often have a perfect concave curve in the side.

Loose slides are no problem. Pull it down on your finger and curve your finger inside it. I prefer 'em that way, actually.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@witchdoctor)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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I am with Ricochet on the slide size thing- I like them a little big, as I do some slanting as I play (started on lap steel and can't break the habit). As for the way to wear it, I can play with my pinky but prefer the ring finger; I have better control and can still fret behind the slide. I had a friend make me a slide out of a vintage wine bottle and it is the keeper, though I like 3/4 sockets too. I have a long way to go as a slide player, but the worst hour spent making music is better than the best hour washing dishes!


   
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(@ricochet)
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If the slide's on the ring finger, you can also fret in front of it with your pinky. Presumably by wearing it on the middle finger you gain the ability to fret in front of it with two fingers.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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 vink
(@vink)
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Topic starter  

I don't know whether I want to play lot of single string lead yet, it's still too early .. right now, it sounds mostly like some animal in pain when I play slide, so playing much slide lead is a future activity for sure :-)

BTW, I meant to say earlier that I had been using my ring finger, but said middle instead. I have now switched to trying to use the pinky, I think I'll stick to that. I will look for the curved slide, if I don't find it I will make the strings a little more flat.

Thanks for all the pointers. I will be working on the "hoochie-coochie man" style riff/lick/shuffle as my first objective. Seems reachable. Just haven't had much playing time lately ..

--vink
"Life is either an adventure or nothing" -- Helen Keller


   
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(@ricochet)
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You can do a LOT with variations of that pattern above. You can also throw in 12th fret substitutions for the open strings on the I chord, and that lets you do a bunch of fun little licks where you go down two frets on one string and back up on another, then jump over sideways. Yeah, those could be tabbed out, but I think if you think of it that way it's more fun and if you just mess around a little, you'll find familiar stuff there. I think of it kind of like a chess knight jumping around. Works on the fifth and seventh frets, too.
:mrgreen:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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 vink
(@vink)
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Topic starter  

Yeah, those could be tabbed out, but I think if you think of it that way it's more fun and if you just mess around a little, you'll find familiar stuff there.

Will play around, thanks .. I am getting some "intuition" already, just listening to the little lick style in Hoochie-Coochie man, and getting the notion about where the I-IV-V chords are with the open tuning, so now it's a question of actually getting the guitar, fingers and slide to do it :-)

I read from a Derek Trucks interview that most people use fingers to pick with slide: is this conventional wisdom for slide players?

--vink
"Life is either an adventure or nothing" -- Helen Keller


   
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(@ricochet)
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Yep.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@slickcat)
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Here is a tip.... In open "E" when you bar all 6 strings with the slide you get a major chord. Now fret the 3rd string one fret behind the barred slide....you have a minor chord. 8)

Good ear and sliding practice.....go on one string and slide up and down try to play "do re me so fa la ti do" remember what Ricochet said...try sliding into the actual note you want.

Slip___Sliding___Away__________


   
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(@slickcat)
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In order to hit a note perfectly you must land directly over the fret.
A little vibrato (shake the slide gently back and forth) will cover a lot of mistakes. (like not stopping directly over the fret)
Slide playing is about "feel" and "control"

Slip___Sliding___Away__________


   
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