Beginner Slide Player Questions

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

Beginner Slide Player Questions

Postby tpb1962 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:20 pm

Hello,

What you have here is a beginner slide player who unfortunately doesn't have any one to bounce these questions off of in person.

1) I seemed to be going along fine but recently it seems my guitar is buzzing more than usual. I'm talking about fret buzz type of thing. The guitar was setup for slide with the action slightly raised. I raised it a smidge more but still rattles and buzzes. I don't know if it is need of truss rod adjustment or that I may be pressing down harder with the slide for some reason. Ideas and/or comments?

2) If you have any, what are some of your favorite instructional books/dvds for slide?

3) I'm looking to get a good tube amp, one that is best for electric guitar slide, if there is a difference. I have a PRS SE Singlecut with Gibson Classic 57's. I use a glass slide most of the time. I play strictly at home so I want something I can get various tones even at lower volumes.

4) I have a KORG GA-1 tuner. I stay in Open E most of the time. The tuner will have 7E,6B, etc. What do the numbers represent? I get it tuned up ok but haven't seen anything that describes what the numbers are.

Any help most appreciated.

Thanks,
TB.
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Re: Beginner Slide Player Questions

Postby rustyslide » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:43 pm

tpb1962 wrote:1) I don't know if it is need of truss rod adjustment or that I may be pressing down harder with the slide for some reason. Ideas and/or comments?


If you don't press enough, you get buzzing from the strings slapping the slide; if you press too hard, you get buzzing from the frets. Improperly played slide makes my teeth hurt (really). You just have to learn what it takes. Every guitar setup & slide combo takes a different touch.

tpb1962 wrote:3) I'm looking to get a good tube amp, one that is best for electric guitar slide, if there is a difference. I have a PRS SE Singlecut with Gibson Classic 57's. I use a glass slide most of the time. I play strictly at home so I want something I can get various tones even at lower volumes.


A nice amp is nice, but... here's an old Harmony with the lousy old Harmony pickups through a Peavey Rage (and not a new one):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQyfBfhk6iI

Best slide tone tip: If your slide's walls aren't as thick as the glass in a wine bottle, get a fatter slide.

4) I have a KORG GA-1 tuner. I stay in Open E most of the time. The tuner will have 7E,6B, etc. What do the numbers represent? I get it tuned up ok but haven't seen anything that describes what the numbers are..


Which octave on the piano the note is in. Once you get used to tuning the guitar at pitch you'll figure out which octave is which; useful as a visual cue when stringing the guitar and tuning up for the first time.
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Re: Beginner Slide Player Questions

Postby zhyla » Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:15 pm

I think most any tube amp will do for slide. You want something that can give you just a little distortion at whatever volume you're aiming for as well as a clean sound. As with most things guitar related, most of the questions tend to be "what X will make me sound like Y" and all of the answers are the same: just play what you have.

You didn't ask this but I think an important tip is to avoid playing all the strings. It's easy to think, "ok, my slide is 6 strings wide, I will now slide on all 6 strings" but what you really want to do is slide 1, 2, or 3 strings and try to make it sound really good.

The Black Keys have a few good electric slide songs - "Back Door" is one of my favorites, and it's very easy to play.
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Re: Beginner Slide Player Questions

Postby Disciple » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:06 pm

Muting is a huge part of any playing but becomes even more critical in Slide to take out unwanted noises. The picking and sliding note to note is the easier and obvious part of slide playing. What sets apart the real slide players from the rest of us is muting.

So you've noticed by now that some players lay their un-used fingers behind the slide, they are used to dampen the ringing vibrations that go on with strings you aren't playing at the moment. Maybe this is where some of your "buzzing" is coming from.

I'm pretty green also with slide but so far have learned to do my dampening and muting with my pickin hand. Fingers that aren't plucking are damping the vibration of strings I don't want to hear from. As well my palm or the heel of my hand are also keeping the bass end of the strings quiet unless I want to hear from them.

Muting and dampening are probably the least obvious part of the slide technique but they are the thing that really bring it together. Its not only helpful in shaping the sounds you make it keeps the strange vibrations to a minimum. After a while you'll start to let these vibrations happen for effect, you've no doubt heard that also.

If you self teach at all get yourself some software for capturing You Tube video and search up tunings and songs you want to learn. Watch and imitate, following the fret location of the slide is quite a bit easier than spotting complex fingerings so picking up tunes this way is pretty simple.

If it's blues your learning try tunes like Roll and Tumble, look for R L Burnside doing this on You Tube, easy to see whats going on. Also there are hundreds of variations of the Walking Blues, also pretty straight forward to follow. These tunes are primarily in Open G, it's a bunch more common than some of the other tunings. Some stuff easily moves over to E from G so the techniques you pick up will enhance your playing regardless of the tuning.
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Re: Beginner Slide Player Questions

Postby bottleneck » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:32 am

traditionally a well thought of low volume tube amp is a fender champ or copy thereof.

learn damping to minimize the buzz.

if you live near philly i'll show you some bottleneck technique.

http://www.myspace.com/shakeylyman
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Re: Beginner Slide Player Questions

Postby jellyroll baker » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:15 pm

Be careful about raising the action too much. To be honest slide playing really doesn't need the action to be that high. Practice using a light touch and damping behind the slide and before too long you'll find the buzz just disappearing.

If you can spare the dosh pick up Brozman's DVDs. He spends a lot of time clearly explaining the basic technique that will take you a long way in your playing.
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Re: Beginner Slide Player Questions

Postby tinsmith » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:38 am

I recommend the "Warren Haynes, Guide to Slide Guitar" book. Lot's of examples in TAB with MP3's.......Standard tuning though.
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Re: Beginner Slide Player Questions

Postby tpb1962 » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:43 am

Thanks everyone for the input! I will be looking into all the suggestions.

TB.

http://www.youtube.com/user/SliderBlues
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