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  #1  
Old 01-24-2022, 07:08 PM
Stonehauler Stonehauler is offline
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Default Slide...when to learn

Your thoughts on when start learning slide.

Also, acoustic or electric?

I am getting pretty good at the open chords, tolerable on barre, and just starting to pick up the start of fingerpicking/broken chords. Not looking to pick it up in the next few months, but was thinking about adding it over the next year or two
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Old 01-24-2022, 07:36 PM
Jamolay Jamolay is offline
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You sound vaguely like me! I will follow this thread.
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Old 01-24-2022, 10:49 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
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If you don't ever start, you won't ever learn.

Stick with standard tuning for the time being. If you learn your inversions, you can play a major chord using the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings, and minors using the first three.
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Old 01-25-2022, 01:36 AM
steelvibe steelvibe is offline
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Iíve always loved the sound of slide guitar. Just seems like such a great way to make an acoustic sing. While I tried it very briefly a couple years ago I could tell it wouldnít be just some quick technique to add to my tool bag.

Iíve been listening to a lot of big daddy stove pipe, Justin Johnson and Kelly Joe Phelps lately and feeling inspired. I just bought the a new slide and as soon as it shows up in the mail Iím gonna attempt some lessons. Iíll follow your thread too.
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Old 01-25-2022, 09:35 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Start now. Start on acoustic. Go for medium gauge strings tuned down to open G or open D, or even swap the 0.013 first string for a heavier 0.015 (your guitar will be fine tuned down). Buy a heavy slide. A dirt cheap <$200 small bodied guitar could well sound better for slide than a more expensive one. You could pretty well pick up a guitar that someone else is giving away and turn it into a nice bottleneck slide instrument.

Using a slide is all about damping behind the slide and blocking unused strings with you right hand.

Less is more: You need do very little with a slide for it to sound good. It is far easier to play slide in support of another guitarist than it is to play a full solo piece.

But if slide is the way you want to go - start now - and listen to as much of the genera as you can to get the sound and phrasing in your head.

You'll find open tunings way, way easier to get sounding good than trying to learn from standard tuning.

Learn how to use a thumb pick and fingerpicks - this is the hardest bit of all but it will give you a far greater dynamic range.
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Old 01-25-2022, 09:56 AM
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Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
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You know, it is up to you when you want to start. Me? Two years into my playing, someone left the first three Allman Brothers albums (Beginnings, containing their eponymous first album and Idylwild South, and At Fillmore East) at my house and I decided I had to learn. I procured a HORRIBLE thin-wall chrome slide and started hacking away at my HORRIBLE first electric and a Seat acoustic. I'm glad I wasn't one of my family members at that point. Wretched!

However, I stuck to it and graduated to simply bad. Five years later I was regularly doing slide leads in concert in a reasonably hot band. These days acoustic (reso) and electric slide and lap steel are arrows in my quiver as I play sessions. The easiest ways to start are concert tuning, open D, and open E. Open D and E have the same internal string relationships but D means tuning down and E means tuning up. Have fun!!!

Bob
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Old 02-01-2022, 03:21 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonehauler View Post
Your thoughts on when start learning slide.

Also, acoustic or electric?

I am getting pretty good at the open chords, tolerable on barre, and just starting to pick up the start of fingerpicking/broken chords. Not looking to pick it up in the next few months, but was thinking about adding it over the next year or two
Stone,
Don't even think about it.

Just get yourself a slide, open the package, and put it someplace where it's in your line of sight.

It's the kind of thing, for many, that feels very foreign/clumsy at first, especially because they try to apply normal guitar physics to using it.

Then there's the minority who inherently understand that it's an infinitely movable fret, and the ears must be involved in the final say-so. The fret wires are just there for mile markers.

You may also realize that there really is no good reason for a guitar to be set up for slide. None of mine are, and they play fretted or slid just as well.

Matching the mass of the slide to the mass of the string is THE most important thing for arriving at your own tone.

It's a good thing there are a lot of inexpensive items out there sold as bottlenecks/slides.

Enjoy the journey!



Regards,
Howard Emerson
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Old 02-01-2022, 07:34 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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You can learn anytime, though you'll probably get more out of it if you know the fretboard already.

I always found electric FAR easier, as acoustics seem to emphasize the inharmonic tones far too much for me.

I never 'got' the 'damping behind the slide' thing myself. i damp with my right hand fingers.
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Old 02-02-2022, 05:43 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Currie View Post
You can learn anytime, though you'll probably get more out of it if you know the fretboard already.

I always found electric FAR easier, as acoustics seem to emphasize the inharmonic tones far too much for me.

I never 'got' the 'damping behind the slide' thing myself. i damp with my right hand fingers.
On an acoustic, Gordon, you'll get way less fundamental tones by NOT damping behind the slide. Those inharmonic tones are way apt to escape on an electric.

Right hand damping, or spidering as I've always called it, can only do so much in controlling the inharmonic ringing, often caused simply by the slide-to-string movement, give or take depending on the slide material/string type.

Not having enough slide mass to control the heavier strings frequently used on an acoustic is another big reason to contributing inharmonic tones.

This is an old archtop played in open D with a heavy slide. It's pretty rich in fundamental tones that are about as thick as the fretted notes.



Same guitar, recorded on my phone. A lot of spidering and damping behind the bottleneck:




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Howard Emerson
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Old 02-02-2022, 10:10 AM
AndreF AndreF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Just get yourself a slide, open the package, and put it someplace where it's in your line of sight.

It's the kind of thing, for many, that feels very foreign/clumsy at first, especially because they try to apply normal guitar physics to using it.

Then there's the minority who inherently understand that it's an infinitely movable fret, and the ears must be involved in the final say-so. The fret wires are just there for mile markers.

You may also realize that there really is no good reason for a guitar to be set up for slide. None of mine are, and they play fretted or slid just as well.

Matching the mass of the slide to the mass of the string is THE most important thing for arriving at your own tone.

It's a good thing there are a lot of inexpensive items out there sold as bottlenecks/slides.

Enjoy the journey!



Regards,
Howard Emerson
Howard,
Thank you for those insights. Question:
If you were asked to pick a song from your compositions as a way to introduce slide playing technique to someone, which one would it be? And would you favor acoustic over electric? i.e. is one inherently easier than the other?
Nokie's Blue Bottle sounds like it would be great to learn and play, but it seems demanding slide technique wise. Or maybe not?
(To the OP: Sorry for trampling on your thread, but since it got Howard's attention, I figured I'd take the opportunity to ask him).
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  #11  
Old 02-03-2022, 11:44 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreF View Post
Howard,
Thank you for those insights. Question:
If you were asked to pick a song from your compositions as a way to introduce slide playing technique to someone, which one would it be? And would you favor acoustic over electric? i.e. is one inherently easier than the other?
Nokie's Blue Bottle sounds like it would be great to learn and play, but it seems demanding slide technique wise. Or maybe not?
(To the OP: Sorry for trampling on your thread, but since it got Howard's attention, I figured I'd take the opportunity to ask him).
Hello Andre,
So sorry for the late reply!

My stuff is not easy to play, and least of all Nokie's Blue Bottle! The fretted sections alone are not easy, especially while wearing a slide on your ring finger, (which is pretty much a non-negotiable item, because of the stretches needing the pinky), so there's that........

I don't think electric is any easier than acoustic, unless you start involving compression pedals, but then you're not really learning how best to control the slide in its most basic form.

I've taught The Piping Plover Waltz to a couple of people over the years, and given its slow tempo it may be the better choice.

Hope all is well with you!

Best,
Howard
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Old 02-03-2022, 02:11 PM
AndreF AndreF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Hello Andre,
So sorry for the late reply!

My stuff is not easy to play, and least of all Nokie's Blue Bottle! The fretted sections alone are not easy, especially while wearing a slide on your ring finger, (which is pretty much a non-negotiable item, because of the stretches needing the pinky), so there's that........
Got it Howard, thanks!
As it turns out, the slide I do have is also for my ring finger. Oh well....
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  #13  
Old 02-04-2022, 04:32 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Got it Howard, thanks!
As it turns out, the slide I do have is also for my ring finger. Oh well....
Hi Andre,
Well okay then: It's settled.

You've run out of excuses now.

I expect to hear from you soon!

HE
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Old 02-04-2022, 05:21 AM
Italuke Italuke is offline
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When? When you become mesmerized by the brilliance of Ry Cooder.
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Old 02-04-2022, 07:51 PM
Paleolith54 Paleolith54 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonehauler View Post
Your thoughts on when start learning slide.

Also, acoustic or electric?

I am getting pretty good at the open chords, tolerable on barre, and just starting to pick up the start of fingerpicking/broken chords. Not looking to pick it up in the next few months, but was thinking about adding it over the next year or two
Kind of depends on what you mean by "start", actually. It's never too early to pick one up and start messing with it. No better way to learn to appreciate the work it's going to take to sound good (damping, picking a tuning, picking a slide, going with pick or fingers, etc) than to start fooling around with it as an adjunct to your more "core" learning that you're doing now. Then down the road, as you say, maybe focus more on it. A couple of thoughts, based on nothing more than my own rather rudimentary progression:

1. Consider sticking wth standard tuning for a while. You already know where all the notes are, why confuse things? And yeah, you'll sound like a drunk theramin player for a while: so what? Listening to that screech gradually disappear is a great motivator and a good gauge of progress.

2. If you mostly use a pick for normal playing, use a pick at first. If you fingerpick mostly, do that. If you hybrid pick, do that. The notion that you can't use a pick for slide, or that "real" slide playing is fingers-only, is absurd.

3. Use the strings and setup you normally use: learn to make a decent sound with that. You don't have to have high action and heavy strings to get a decent sound. Warren Haynes plays in standard tuning most of the time, using I think a .010 set of strings, and describes his action as "probably too high for lead and too low for slide." He holds his own with anyone on the planet.

4. Personally, I found it a LOT easier to get a decent sound from an electric with some overdrive than from pure clean electric or from an acoustic. I've found the acoustic the hardest; that may just be me.

5. I've also found that the idea that you need a lighter slide for lighter strings to be false. The key is the lightness of your touch, not of the slide itself. I use (on electric) a .095-gauge set of strings and I use a heavy brass slide. It's all just what you get used to.

6. Spend time on Youtube with players and teachers. Much of it will be crap, but you can cherry-pick over time what works for you. Don't look for "the definitive" approach, IMO.

Slide's a LOT of fun, and there is a point at which it all starts coming together pretty rapidly; before you reach that point, though, there's nothing on earth that sounds worse so just realize that up front, and realize that nobody (except maybe Duane) sounded good right out of the gate.
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