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Old 09-12-2023, 10:55 AM
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MissoulaFlood MissoulaFlood is offline
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Default String height for slide

Question for those who have done setups for slide---particularly reso-phonics. Setting string height (action) at the 12th fret is well documented and mostly a personal preference depending upon playing style. Measurement is made from the top of the 12th fret to the 'bottom' of the string. However, when slotting the saddle on a reso used for slide (and freting), wouldn't the height of the 'top' of the strings make a difference allowing the slide to produce a clean note? I noticed I was having a challenge getting a good clean note from the 2nd string (B string). Further inspection revealed my B string to be ever so slightly lower than the adjacent strings. So, for those who have setup saddles for a reso, what is your process? Do you also shoot for the 'tops of the strings' to be level?
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Old 09-13-2023, 04:01 PM
Monty Christo Monty Christo is offline
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I'm not one who sets his action any differently for slide than for fretting. I constantly fret notes behind the slide, and I also play fingerstyle without a slide a lot, so I want the same level of playability as on any other acoustic guitar.

I seldom (if ever) play all of the strings at once with the slide across all of them, so it's not critically important that the strings are dead level. Putting a straightedge across them just now, it looks like they approximate the 12" radius of the fretboard, but had I not checked I would have never noticed this. The two E strings are the most noticeably lower, but only by a fraction of a mm.

If I was playing squareneck, I'd want no variation of string height, like on my lap and pedal steel guitars. But playing "Spanish" style makes the slide behave a little differently, coming at the strings from a less-than-level orientation. And I think the contact angle probably varies depending on which finger you wear your slide on.

Lastly, they make contoured slides, like the Dunlop Eric Sardinas model, which is highly convex shaped and flared at one end; this may be more desireable for electric guitars, and for resonators whose saddle radius is more pronounced.

EDIT: I don't know if you follow Mule Resophonic on Instagram, but Matt just posted a nice saddle-slotting video for his "Mule School" series.

Last edited by Monty Christo; 09-13-2023 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 09-14-2023, 09:07 AM
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Guitars44me Guitars44me is offline
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Smile I agreed with MC

I have used a bunch of different slides and long ago settled on radiused ones.

I too like low action and do a lot of regular fretting when also sliding.

I am sold on the Eric Sardinias Dunlop slide. The medium fits my pinky great. They weigh less than most and this helps me play with a lighter touch, for less fret bonk.

I have spent a LOT of time getting decent at lap slide on my “Spanish” style low action guitars, so I can play a few songs in that way at gigs where only one guitar gets to go.

I now use the ES slide like a lap style steel tube, and the radius is a huge help.

I am sure someone else does this, but have never seen it!

Anyway, if you are willing to put the time and practice in you eventually will probably find you don’t need to raise your action much or at all.

Happy sliding!

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Old 09-20-2023, 06:16 AM
Charlie Bernstein Charlie Bernstein is offline
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I'd never raise the action for roundneck slide. Whether its a reso or a flattop, it would throw notes offut when I fret the strings, and it would slow my fingering, too.

For squareneck, of course, I don't fret, so the higher the better.
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