With the rise in popularity of Slide Guitar, partially due to Derek Trucks, many people are now wanting to play this expressive way of playing the guitar. Playing slide guitar is as close to the human voice as you can get I think. If you want to play a soulful melodic sound, then there’s no better way to do it than with a slide.
If you go to a blues jam and play slide, you will definitely be a standout. There’s just not a lot of people who are playing slide compared to standard blues guitar.
So how do you get started? Well, many people who start out with high hopes of learning Duane Allman and Derek Trucks style slide never realize their potential and often give up. I’ve talked to many people who said, “It’s just too hard!”
I’ve put together this list of 7 reasons people quit playing slide guitar. If you don’t do each one of these things, then I can pretty much guarantee that you will not stick with it and you’ll become just another statistic on the slide guitar hit list.
Here are the 7 reasons
- You didn’t raise the action on your guitar – This is probably the biggest reason that people quit playing. If you don’t raise your action, and you’re a total beginner, then you might as well forget about ever being able to play. You will get frustrated and quit. Watch this video to see how high I set my action. Watch it now.
- You didn’t put bigger strings on your guitar – If you’re playing .009s and are serious about playing slide guitar, then you must put .010s or preferably .011s if you’re a beginner. If you’re using .009s, then you will never be able to get a grasp on slide. You’ve got to use bigger strings. Read this post on what kind of strings I recommend.
- You didn’t learn how to use your fingers – If you’re trying to use a pick, and you want to learn how to play like Duane or Derek, then you are shooting yourself in the foot. Using a pick will let all those unwanted strings to ring out all over the place if you don’t know what you’re doing. And yes, it will sound very bad! Throw down that pick and start using your fingers.
- You didn’t try an Open Tuning – While standard tuning slide has great potential, playing in an Open Tuning such as E or G will be easier for beginners in my opinion. When playing in Open E Tuning, a lot of familiar patterns and riffs can be found right next to each other. This means you won’t have to move the slide around all over the place. In standard tuning, you will be moving around to different frets more often, which requires more skill in the beginning.
- You didn’t find a slide that fits – Please take the time to try out a few different slides when you start out. You’re going to need one that feels comfortable to you. Be sure to find one where the slide stays above your middle knuckle. I find you will have a lot more control if you use one that fits like this.
- You didn’t learn how to mute the strings – Let’s face it, without muting the strings, everything you play will sound bad. Yes there are exceptions, but most of the time you will need to mute unwanted strings with your fingers or your palm when using a pick.
- You didn’t learn how to hold the slide properly – It really does help if you hold the slide right. If you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, then you will angle the slide, and not play on top of the frets. You also don’t need to press the slide down hard on the strings. Your entire arm should be relaxed. If it’s not, then you’re doing it wrong.
If you’re already doing all the above, then you’re off to a great start! It will just take some practice, and then learning what scales and licks sound good when playing slide. If you would like to improve your slide guitar skills I have developed a Slide Guitar Course in Open E Tuning that will dramatically improve your skills, IF YOU PRACTICE! Click here to learn more.
Breaking Out of The Pentatonic Box Free Course
I’ll send you my completely Free, Blues Guitar Mini Course and regular subscriber-exclusive content.
45 Minute Video Guitar Course
8 MP3 Backing Track Downloads
7 Practice Tips VideoGet the Free Course