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my sucky slide technique

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:51 am
by jamesfarrell
Ok, I don't know what my problem is here. Or maybe there isn't a problem, but it seems there is a lot of scratching going on with the slide.

Could it be
A. I suck :shock:
B. Light Guage Strings
C. Glass slide
D. Low tuning
E. Low action

I'm hoping it's A :lol:

Have a listen and go easy on me. I'm just wondering how other folks get that clean sound and mine sounds like nails on a chalkboard.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 1:25 am
by bluzeluvr
Well, the most obvious problem I see is that you're not dampening the strings behind the slide. So that's creating a noisy, dirty sound. For a clean sound, you need to dampen those strings. Use your index finger. Let it rest lightly on the strings your sliding on. Learn to play clean. Then you can always use less damping if you want to add a little noise or "dirt" every now and then for effect. I also heard the slide clanging against the frets on occasion. Heavier strings and higher action can help that alot of course, but eliminating that also comes from practice. Eventually, your technique will improve where that goes away without any conscious effort.

I highly recommend Bob Brozman's Bottleneck Guitar video. He does a nice job of addressing all the basic techniques for playing good, clean, slide, and a lot more. But you had a nice little groove going there. A little work on your technique and you'll be there in short order. :)

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 1:30 am
by allanlummox
Quit thinking about A, fix B or E.

Listen to more Blues.

And practice. After a few thousand hours, it all starts to make sense.

Not a bad start at all.

But inside, you know all that.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 1:35 am
by Rust
Well to be honest, I don't see any problem. That sounded great. Some players actually go for that 'dirty' sound i.e., Derek Trucks....

You have the alt. thumb thing down great. That's the foundation. The rest (slide) is just the gravy....

Sure, you can put heavier strings on, or get a beater guitar that has a high action if you don't want to set that one up for slide.

I thought that was quite impressive.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:06 am
by jamesfarrell
hey thanks guys, yeah I know, I gotta get my hands on some music right quick. I'm already having small breakthroughs here and there. I think the biggest thing I've missed so far is that the slide is an embelleshment to the tune and doesn't have to be used constantly. My breakthrough was like "shitt" I can use regular notes in between the slide "DUH"

Well it's a learning process I know. What do you cats suggest for bridge height for slide and how would you measure it? From the 12th fret to the fat E?

Also, are medium guage strings a must? I find the sound is not as bright with mediums and that's really why I don't use them.

Thanks for the kind words anyhow.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:37 am
by Rust
I know some people raise the action, but on my acoustic I use for slide the action was high to begin with, so I never had to. I think some people also will put a heavier guage string just on the high 'e' instead of changing the whole set. Some change the whole set, of course that can be hard on the neck of an acoustic if you use medium strings. I'm not sure but I think that's why some people just change the e and or b.

For my electric I just put heavier strings on and didn't have a problem. The weight of the slide is another factor also (with my thin glass slide its ok to have the lighter strings on, but when I use a heavy wrench socket slide, that tends to whack into the fretboard unless theres some tension using a higher tuning or thicker strings)

I think thats why some like using open E in electric slide, it gives a tighter feel.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 6:20 am
by zhyla
jamesfarrell wrote:Also, are medium guage strings a must? I find the sound is not as bright with mediums and that's really why I don't use them.

I don't think so... I did alright on my reso with lights but they got beat up pretty fast and sliding single notes on the lightest two strings was nearly impossible. So I bumped up to mediums, so far it's gone well. More volume, don't need quite as light a touch. But it wasn't dramatic.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 6:47 am
by allanlummox
I use a 16 - 59 set - a bit heavier than mediums - but I really HIT the guitar. With lighter strings, I just bust 'em.

It's a matter of playing different things and seeing what works. At one point, I was playing a thinline resonator guitar with a 17 - 70 set. Then I went to 13's for a while. I settled on the guages I use now by buying 50 sets.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:27 pm
by jamesfarrell
What slides do you guys prefer, glass or brass? I tried the diamond site, it's down.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:42 pm
by bluzeluvr
That website is not down. Diamond has a typo in his link on the other thread. Use this....

I like brass and glass. Everyone should have at least one of each IMO. But lately, most of my playing is with a glass "Ultimate" slide from Diamond. The lead crystal provides such a sweet, chimey, musical tone, with good sustain. But a nice heavy brass slide is good for a more "raw", stronger, more biting tone. Compared to a typical bottleneck, or pyrex slide, I like a heavy brass slide better -- it has more sustain. But like I said, you need both.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 3:15 pm
by allanlummox
I have a lot of slides, in a variety of materials. Glass, different metals, ceramic, graphite.

All the stuff on my last CD was recorded with a Sears Craftsman 9/16 socket - I like the weight and the fit - but for a while now, I've been using Diamond Ultimates.

I'm one of those who thinks that fit is important - if a slide is too wide, you have to crook your finger inside it - so there's tension in the hand. A slide that fits closely lets me relax the hand, so I play more freely - and get a better tone.

I do have one cut bottleneck I particularly like - from a bottle of Mead we picked up in Slovenia. It's quite narrow, and it's nice, thick glass.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 3:30 pm
by mickeypainless
I too play with a variety of slides of different material. My current favorite is porcelain but brass usually runs a close second on any given day!

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 3:53 pm
by jamesfarrell
I seem to like Brass too, however it's a dunlop and is like 3/4" wide. Any recommendations on where to get one that the pinky would fit semi-snug into?

Thanks for all the responses.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 4:21 pm
by allanlummox
I haven't tried these but they look good:


I had a really weird brass slide I picked up in New Zealand, but I can't remember the name of the manufacturer - I'd love to get another.

You might also look at the bronze bomber from Big Heart.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 4:32 pm
by bluzeluvr
Sounds like you need an 11/16" diameter slide. That's what I use for a slightly snug fit. The Dunlop "Harris" slide may be worth a try. It is slightly flared, which makes it more suitable for full chording in open tunings on a typical acoustic having a 12" radius.

I've looked at it myself, but never bothered because I already have one that is very similar (see below). Go for the "Small". They are all the same length. The small has the 11/16" diameter. For the price, you can't go wrong. ...

A similar one, for a bit more money is the Acoustaglide by LatchLake. I have one, and like it. But it is pretty heavy. As with the Dunlop, Small = 11/16. ... c=3SOSWXXA