Learn To Play Slide Guitar
by: Robert Menne
Slide guitar is a way to play guitar using what is known as a slide. This object is generally made of glass or metal, and each type creates a different tone. Get a slide at a music store to get started. You can also use a lipstick cover, straight razor or even, cigarette lighters. Either way, when you have one, use this advice to help you use it to play.
Where To Use The Slide
Use the slide over the fret wire instead of using it in front or behind it. A note can be sounded by aiming for the fret wire that is right in front of the space is for the fret you'd usually play with your fingers. Instead of looking at what you're doing, try hearing what is going on instead. That way, you can find out what tones are possible and can connect the feeling with the sound. Learning slide guitar is best done by feeling because if you just try to memorize a bunch of positions that you can see with your eyes, it will be hard for you to play without looking down at your hands.
Don't Press Down With The Slide
A lot of people think that when you use a slide, you're just pressing down on the strings and sliding it up or down. You have to actually touch the strings in a light manner without pressing them so hard they touch the fretboard. You will know if you are doing it wrong because you will hear a sound that buzzes.
It takes a little bit of practice but when you are doing it right, you will apply just enough pressure for the note to sound. You have to use different amounts of pressure when using different slide types or guitar string types. For instance, when you are using an electric guitar with lighter strings you have to use less pressure or if you have a slide that is light, you have to press a little harder with it.
Dampen The Guitar's Strings
You have to dampen the strings of the guitar with your free hand. When you are trying to use a slide at first, you will notice that there are a lot of other tones can enter into what you are playing. To take care of this, your left hand is going to be used by positioning it behind the slide. Hold your finger so the palm is flat and your fingers are close together sticking out straight. Then press your fingers in this position on the strings while you are using the slide so it keeps everything but what you're playing from sounding.
Open Tunings For Slide Playing
Many guitar players will use guitars that they have specifically set up for playing slide. Since you never want to press down on the strings with the slide, players will often set up their guitars so that the action is raised. This way the strings are higher up off the fret board, eliminating the buzzing that might occur from pressing too hard. They also use open tunings so that every note that is not fretted will sound good. Open G and Open D are two of the most popular tunings.
Be sure to listen to some of the greatest slide players to get an idea of how it is supposed to sound. Robert Johnson and Duane Allman are two guitar players who are best known for playing slide guitar. There has been plenty of great music has been made by playing slide guitar. It's a matter of getting to know how to position the slide and use it without pressing too lightly or too hard while dampening strings that you don't want to sound. It takes some finesse and a lot of practice to get it right.
Robert Menne writes and plays music in his spare time. He runs a site, FreeSongs.us, that shares the latest tips and advice about guitars and guitar playing, as well as the best video guitar lessons to help you learn to play guitar.