Bottleneck & Slide Guitar Lesson
The terms "Bottleneck" and "Slide are used to define a
style of guitar playing in which the guitar strings are
"stopped" by a metal or glass tube, which is most commonly
worn on the ring or pinky finger of a guitarist frethand.
The term "bottleneck" is most commonly referred to as
a "glass" where as the term "slide" is most commonly
referred to as "metal".
The terminology of the name "bottleneck" came from the
earliest slides, being made from the broken off necks
of beer bottles. The early slide innovators used the
slide as a tool to duplicate the human voice. It is
common for guitarist to be creative and use everything
from a Bic lighter, to a beer bottle, a shot glass and
other self created tools that may also be used to play
slide guitar. Newer versions of slide's would include
double plated brass, chrome steel, pyrex glass, porcelain,
ceramic, and aluminum.
Slide guitar was originated and developed in America
around the Mississippi Delta, and was played most commonly
among the early black blues greats such as Mississippi
Fred McDowell, Big Joe Williams, Blind Lemmon Jefferson,
Blind Willie McTell, Blind Boy Fuller, Charley Patton,
Leadbelly, and the man known as "The man who went down
to the crossroads" : Robert Johnson.
These players had created a foundation that brought a second
generation of great slide players such as Muddy Waters and
Elmore James, who had introduced blues slide guitar into the
electric blues guitar era. This second generation were also
followed by a third generation of slide guitarist such as Rod
Price (guitarist of Foghat), Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Dickie
Betts, Johnny Winter, Ry Cooder, and the late Rory Gallagher
and is now being followed by many new generations of todays
How To Use A Slide
Although it is easy to make or create your own slide as
was mentioned above, it's recommended for "best sound" and
"easiest playing" to purchase from the slides that are
available that are offered from various music stores. If
you have never played slide, or at new at playing slide
and arent quite sure what to get, it is recommended that
you try a few to see what you prefer as glass slides do make
a different sound than metal or other slides. Another thing to
consider, is which finger to wear ths slide on. The advantage
of wearing a slide on the pinky finger is that it leaves the
other 3 fingers open to play chords. To use the slide, simply
let the slide rest on your finger of choice. Do not "push down"
to "fret" the sounds of the notes you play. Instead, rather
when you play, let the slide "glide" or "float" across the
strings. As you play, the slide should come to rest directly
over the frets, , not slightly behind them.
Best Choice Of Guitars For Playing Slide
Guitars that have high action (where the strings are higher
off the neck of the guitar) are most recommended. This will
reduce the risk of any unwanted "fret buzz".
Commonly Asked Question
Q: How do I know "what to play" or "what can I play using a
A: The possibilties are basically endless. Many slide players
choose to use "open tunings" and or "drop tunings" which you
can read about in the Open Guitar Tunings Lesson below.
Open Guitar Tunings
It's often recommended that if you are just learning slide,
and wish to apply some basic blues essentials, that you begin
with the pentatonic scales. You will find some examples of
this in part 2 of this lesson.
Part 2 * Slide Guitar Solo...>
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