Photo by Andy Ellis

Coax extra mileage from a familiar lick by slipping in some sly slide moves.



Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Understand when and where to combine slide with fretted notes.
• Create drone-style licks using open strings.
• Develop a better sense of intonation. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Here’s a thought: You don’t have to exclusively stick to slide technique when that bottleneck is on your finger. Why not use those three other fingers? For this lesson, we’ll explore how to sneak the slide into your “normal” fretted licks. It takes skill and practice to merge the two techniques, but the resulting sounds are well worth the effort. For these examples, we’ll focus on mostly roots and blues-style licks in standard tuning. As we launch into these examples, it’s important to think of your slide finger as a normal finger with a slight extension that lets you emphasize legato lines. Don’t switch back and forth between the two styles … instead, make them one!

Our first lick (Ex. 1) is based around a G minor pentatonic scale (G–Bb–C–D–F). For the first notes of measure one and measure three, use the slide to “bend” the note just a bit before the pull-offs. This works great over a G7 vamp.

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Don’t limit your slide chops to singing, single-note leads. Instead, try crafting cool rhythm parts by focusing on both sides of the slide.


Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Create suspended sounds by fingering notes behind the slide.
• Learn how to change harmony by moving the bass note.
• Develop a better sense of playing over chord changes with the slide.


Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Think of some of your favorite slide players—Duane, Sonny, Derek, Ry. They all have that mojo, a magical touch that makes their particular brand of slide stand out. Novice sliders usually gravitate towards working out some melodic leads or melodies before branching off. In this lesson, we’ll look at using the slide for rhythm guitar in an open tuning—specifically, open E (E–B–E–G#–B–E). If you’ve never messed around with an open tuning, the concept is rather easy: Just tune your open strings to the same notes you’d play if you were strumming an open-position E chord.

These examples involve using the slide to move between notes and chords, as well as using your fretting fingers behind the slide. It takes some time to get the right feel for this technique. It involves angling the slide in different directions to allow the notes behind it to be audible while still allowing the notes “fretted” by the slide to resonate. Putting the slide on your fourth or third finger will work just fine, however it might be a little bit tougher if you play these with the slide on your second finger.

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