Slide Course Guide

A guide to the courses for learning slide guitar in any tuning.

The Courses I have created about learning to play slide guitar start with the understanding that you have no idea what to play with a slide. They do assume that you have some musical knowledge like what strings, frets, scales, chords, and the guitar basics are. Put simply, these courses are geared for players who have been playing for at least a year or two. 

Step 1

No matter what tuning you want to learn, I have created the Slide Techniques course to show you everything you need to know about getting started with slide guitar.

In this course, you’ll learn the basics of playing slide guitar for any tuning. Topics that will be covered include getting started with slide guitar, action, strings, muting, raking, vibrato, and more.

Your next step is to decide what tuning to use.

Open E, Standard, Open G

If you’re not sure which one to start with, read a description below about what each tuning sounds like. I would recommend that whatever artist you like the most, pick that tuning to start learning slide with. Duane Allman, Derek Trucks? Choose Open E. Warren Haynes? Choose Standard

Here are the most common tunings used for playing slide in my opinion and while I don’t have any lessons for Open D and Open A, they are identical to Open E and Open G except the entire tuning is one whole step lower for Open D and one whole step higher for Open A.

1. Open E Tuning – This is a great tuning for slide guitar and is associated with the Elmore James, Duane Allman, and Derek Trucks style of slide guitar. Tuning from low to high is EBEG#BE.

2. Open D Tuning – This is the exact same kind of tuning as open e, except all the strings, are tuned down a whole step so by learning Open E Tuning you are essentially learning Open D Tuning as well. Many people use this tuning on acoustic guitar or dobro because of the decreased amount of tension it will put on the neck of the guitar. Tuning from low to high is DADF#AD.

3. Open G Tuning – This is a great tuning for acoustic and electric. Very similar to standard tuning in some regards. You can use this tuning to play like Lowell George of Little Feat, Jerry Douglas, Keith Richards, Robert Johnson, and Ry Cooder. Great for acoustic because there is less tension on the guitar neck when using this tuning. Tuning from low to high is DGDGBD.

4. Open A Tuning – This is the exact same kind of tuning as Open G, except all the strings, are tuned up a whole step. I believe Robert Johnson used this tuning on some tunes as well as many others. This tuning could cause some damage to an acoustic guitar because you are tuning strings up, so I would recommend further investigation before attempting this tuning to make sure your guitar can handle it. Tuning from low to high is EAEAC#E. To achieve Open A, just use Open G Tuning and capo on the 2nd fret.

5. Standard Tuning – This is really useful because you don’t have to retune your guitar or have a separate guitar for another tuning. The drawback here is that you will have to compromise your action as it’s very hard to play slide guitar with really low action. This tuning sounds like Warren Haynes and also check out Jack Pearson for some Standard Tuning Slide greatness.

Step 2

Pick any of the 3 courses below to get started with slide guitar.

Open E Tuning Slide Guitar – If you want to learn how to play like Duane Allman and Derek Trucks, then this is the course for you. A lot of the techniques these guys use are taught in this course. If you go through this course and practice, you will be able to understand what they’re doing. However, it will take some practice to achieve the same kind of sound that they get.

Open G Tuning Slide Guitar – This is more of a country blues type course, but it also has a little bit more of a rhythm aspect to it. I find myself playing Open G a lot lately and in my opinion, it’s a little easier to pick up than Open E. Think Robert Johnson, Ry Cooder, and Lowell George. Also contains some roundneck dobro lessons.

Standard Tuning Slide – I played slide in standard tuning for many years before ever using open tunings. In my opinion, standard tuning is the most difficult to learn due to the amount of muting you must do. In a way it’s kind of good, because if you can play slide in standard tuning, then you will probably do really well in open tunings because of the technique that you have to develop.