Good compromise for picking and slide

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

Good compromise for picking and slide

Postby VcubedAtHome » Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:57 pm

Hey all. New guy here, lurking before, but ready to learn more and so I ask for your advice. My experience up to now has been on electrics and classical guitars. I bought a Gold Tone steel guitar a month ago, lowered the action at the bridge, and have been playing an hour a day. I'm trying to get it dialed in to where I can chord and slide on it in open D and G. Standard tuning is not an issue.

With 12's on it I can chord cleanly (except for full barres). But the two lightest strings bottom out when I slide. What would you do? Thanks much.
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Postby rustyslide » Fri Nov 23, 2007 3:10 pm

Try a string set with thicker treble strings - 0.016-.056 are similar to .013s except for the treble strings, and I believe some companies make a .015 to 0.052 set which would be like the .012s you are using.

Oh, and welcome!
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Postby panhead74 » Fri Nov 23, 2007 3:16 pm

A lot of the fret-clunking-bottoming-out problem is related to technique as much as string gauge. Try playing real lightly. Unlike fretting, you don't press the slide down at all.
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Postby ricochet » Fri Nov 23, 2007 3:23 pm

Lowering the action was the wrong thing to do if you're sliding. You want to keep it low enough to fret with decent intonation, but the lower you go, the trickier it is to slide on. You want to be able to fret behind the slide, too. Lower action makes that harder.
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Postby heckergt » Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:45 pm

Well, given that your playing experience is on electric and classical guitar, you are probably going to have to build up the muscles in your fingers and get use to having to really press down on them strings to get them to ring clear while fretting, that is if you have higher action. If the bottom strings are bottoming out, you need to raise the action some. I have a friend that only plays electric guitar and he cant play my acoustic guitar worth a darn because he isnt use to having to apply so much preasure onto the strings. Thats just my guess anyhow.
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Postby stratman_27 » Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:19 am

I've been battling the same transistion from electric to acoustic and my resonator. I use martin 12's on both for consistency and so I dont have an extra gauge to stock. I've been playing alot of acoustic and resonator lately so my caluses are built up and my fingers are capable of bending those heavier strings. I've never had anything heavier on my reso but I havent had it along time. I get plenty full enough sound with the lighter strings it comes with time. You must learn to have a delicate touch with the slide, balanced with being able to fret chords and licks. I played slide on electric long before reso so that contributes to my light touch I supposed. Having a heavy handed vibrato on the slide doesn't hurt either. Keep that baby moving.
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Postby VcubedAtHome » Sat Dec 01, 2007 3:41 am

Thanks, gents. I tried the Martin bluegrass strings and found them pretty stiff, and my opinion is they damp the cone. Went to some mediums with the high string bumped up to 14 and I'm pretty happy. It's been a long time since I enjoyed a guitar so much!
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Postby ricochet » Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:58 pm

You're right, too much downforce on the strings puts too much preload on the cones, and they don't put out the volume they should because their range of motion is limited. I went the heavy string route, going heavier till I got to a custom set from .017-.070", then said "screw it" and went to .012-.052" or .012-.054" nickel electric sets, same as on my electrics. Sounds better, plays easily with or without slide, and the feel of the strings is pretty much the same from electric to reso. I'm using up my heavy strings on lap steels.
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