Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

A discussion of techniques, and equipment for guitar. Fretted, bottleneck or slide, acoustic or electric, this is the place.

Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby ballard6449 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:42 am

Starting to play around with the slide on my acoustic guitar. It's a smaller scale 00 size that requires light gauge strings. When I tune down to Open D there is not a lot of "resistance" for the slide and it's pretty easy to bang across the frets and get a lot of unwanted sounds. Is this a touch thing that I will overcome or will I need to be thinking about something with a longer scale that can handle some heavier gauge strings. I love my Mahogany 00 and it "shure moans purty" but I just want to know if I'm peeing in the wind.....

Thanks for your help!
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Re: Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby DaveG » Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:35 am

I think it's mostly a touch thing. You don't have to press down very much with the slide to get a good sound. Just pretty much lay it on the strings. Practice using a light touch and you should be fine.
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Re: Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby OldWailer » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:52 am

Maybe tuning up to open E would help on the short scale--it would increase the tension--but, as has been said, develop the touch--I like to think of it as the "right" touch instead of light" too light will
buzz. . .
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Re: Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby The Breeze » Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:18 am

Ah, but we're not so kind. That's why we are lurking on a forum, ready to pounce.
Forget your woman, forget your favourite guitar, you're going to have to hock them anyway for a bottle of Jack. Start to develop that hole in your shoe if you want that big blues tone, you may even have to buy a hat. I remember the days when we had to play on an old fence post strung with barbed wire, that'll teach you finger control...

Alternatively you could visit my web site:
http://www.buytwoampsandatubescreamerfromme.com
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Re: Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby s1120 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:57 am

Why does it require light strings?? normaly a shorter scale needs a little thicker strings to keep the same tention on them as a longer scale. I played around on that when I was putting lightweight strings on my daughters 1/2 scale guitar. they were so floppy you could hardly play it
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Re: Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby allanlummox » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:07 pm

Yea, I have a 00 sized Gibson that I strung with a 59-16 set for years. Not a problem in Open g or d type tunings.
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Re: Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby rustyslide » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:08 pm

s1120 wrote:Why does it require light strings?? normaly a shorter scale needs a little thicker strings to keep the same tention on them as a longer scale.


Some little guitars don't have as much bracing; though an OO-size guitar doesn't exactly seem like a Baby Taylor. Otherwise, yeah, you'd use heavier strings on a shorter-scale guitar for the same tension at the same pitch.
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Re: Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby ballard6449 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:33 pm

Folks, thanks for the input. The guitar is a Santa Cruz 1929 00. I called them about string gauges and said that I really should to stick w/the light gauges. Currently strung with 53-12's. I will keep working to find the right touch. Thanks!
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Re: Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby rustyslide » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:07 am

Oh for some reason I thought by 'lights' that you meant .010s or .011s. Should be just a matter of touch in Open D or G. I use .013s on a similarly sized guitar that's tuned to open D or D-standard.
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Re: Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby gatorblue » Mon May 30, 2011 7:16 am

Many people tune down 1-2 frets to loosen the strings then you feel free to do an open E or D w/out as much stress. So tuned down 2 frets and playing in open E you are really in D.

Also remember that many slide players have a dedicated guitar for slide and raise the bridge to give more room above the frets. Try it several ways and see what works for you.
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Re: Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby Freeman » Tue May 31, 2011 6:57 pm

ballard6449 wrote:Folks, thanks for the input. The guitar is a Santa Cruz 1929 00. I called them about string gauges and said that I really should to stick w/the light gauges. Currently strung with 53-12's. I will keep working to find the right touch. Thanks!


First, what a wonderful little guitar - I played one a couple of weeks ago and was completely smitten by it. Second, I would think that standard lights (12-53 or 54) would be perfect for standard concert tuning. That will be right at 164 pounds of total tension (I'm using the UMGF FAQ but any tension chart will get you there). Lets say that to get the same drive out of the top with an altered tuning and the same feel for the strings you want to maintain close to that total tension. Open D with lights is 145 pounds, with mediums (13-56) it is 168. If you were going to play exclusively in open D you should consider bumping the gauges up to medium (I thinkg SCGC would concur that you are well within their specs). Add the fact that you probably have a pretty sweet low action to start with and the fretboard radius is probably 16 inch, I am not surprised that you are fretting out with the slide - it would take a very light touch to play cleanly.

I rarely recommend tuning up to open E - that increase the tension almost 20 percent - that would be about 175 pounds which might be pushing your little guitar. Most of my slide only guitars are strung with mediums and tuned down to D or G, including my 000 (Martin clone). Personally that is what I would try with yours.

A minor technique thing that might help too is to use the fingers behind your slide not only to dampen the strings but also as a little gauge as to how hard you are pressing the strings. You need a light enough touch to not fret out, yet heavy enough to fret all the strings, particularly with a barre. I use my middle and index fingers to kind of judge that pressure.

Here is the UMGF FAQ http://theunofficialmartinguitarforum.y ... ng-Tension

and a great calculator http://www.tothestage.com/upload/StringTension_1949.pdf
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Re: Little Help If You'd Be So Kind

Postby stumblin » Tue May 31, 2011 10:45 pm

[2nd edit, sorry chaps, been in rehearsal & we drank a bit] On one of my small bodied parlours, I replace the top two strings from a Light Guage set,1st E 12 & 2nd B 16, with a 1st E 15 or 2nd B (usually) 17 or sometimes stick with the 16, depending which single strings I can find. This usually gives enough tension that you can use the slide comfortably in Open-G or Open-D. This doesn't add a lot of tension across the whole set. Also, because these are not especially heavy strings, you will still be able to play the guitar in standard tuning without too much trouble.
Just a thought...
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