How to Play Slide Guitar Lesson
A.k.a “Bottleneck Style”.
Learning how to play slide guitar is one of the most humbling experiences you can have, next to learning the guitar in the first place.
I’m going to show you how to play slide guitar by giving you an overview of the steps involved, some killer tips on slide guitar, where to get slides from, songs you should listen to and videos showing you exactly how to play slide guitar.
So, where to begin?
What is Slide Guitar?
Slide guitar is where you put something over one of your fingers and slide it over the strings to produce a vocalized sound from your guitar.
I say “something” because you can literally use anything from a bottleneck to a custom built slide bought from an online store.
You’ll get varying tones from the different materials you use and the different length, diameter of the slide.
Slide guitar is probably best known for its role in blues music, you’ll find a lot of slide guitarists play blues, and are famous for doing so.
How to Play Slide Guitar
Let’s cut to the chase and watch a video of some very good slide guitar… this is heavy stuff.
Ok, so how do you play slide guitar like that? Well first there are a few steps you need to follow to get setup
Step-by-step guide to slide guitar
- You need to change your tuning from the standard EADGBE to DGDGBD, this is so wherever you are on the fret board you can always voice a chord with your slide. Otherwise you have to do some funky fingering to dampen the strings you don’t want to play
- Put the slide on your finger, you can experiment with whatever finger you like but most people tend to use their pinky, which keeps their other fingers free to play chords.
- You’ll need to know what string you’re playing over with your slide, so try let the tip of your pinky finger come out just enough so you know which string you’re over.
- The slide is always kept at right angles to the strings… remember that or you might get some not-so-nice sounds coming from your guitar
- As you can see from the video above you only cover the strings needed with your slide.
- Only press lightly on the strings… this is evident from the video
More tips for playing slide guitar
Use heavy strings and high action — for a good idea of how your guitar should be setup take a close look at the video above, try maximize it in your window so you can see just how high off the fret board those strings are (and how thick they are).
Try out different slides and different materials to find the right tone for your style of playing.
Where to Buy Guitar Slides
I find the selection just outstanding at Musician’s friend, here’s a link to their slide collection: Buy Guitar Slides.
Otherwise head down to your local music store, they’re pretty much everywhere you might have just missed them last time you were down there. They’re cheap too so there’s no real excuse for not getting into slide guitar… especially when you can use things around the house….
Check out this guy, he’s fully talented, and in this video he goes through a range of different things you could use instead of shelling out for a slide.
Pretty crazy huh?