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#875675 - 02/02/11 03:42 AM Question about Slide guitar sound  
Joined: Jan 2011
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tim houlihan Offline
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tim houlihan  Offline
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Question- how do you keep the buzzz and rattle out of the strings when you're playing slide? I've tried everything i know of to get a cleqr sounding slide- I even tried using a bic lighter--which by the way gave me one of the cleanest sounds I've beeen able to produce--any suggestions?

As Neil says: Keep On Rockin' in the Free World!
#875824 - 02/02/11 10:24 PM Re: Question about Slide guitar sound [Re: tim houlihan]  
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Colin Ward Offline
Colin Ward  Offline

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The hardest part is keeping the slide flat across the fretboard. Often, it gets tilted and causes buzzing.

Serious slide players keep a guitar just for slide and raise the action and use heavy strings so you can press down more firmly without bottoming out. That is not practical if you just throw in a slide solo in the middle of a non-slide song so you just have to be careful to flatten the slide across the board. Also, you should deaden the strings you are not using with a palm mute.


I try to critique as if you mean business.....



#875953 - 02/03/11 02:11 PM Re: Question about Slide guitar sound [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Jack Swain Offline
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Jack Swain  Offline
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Also, make sure you do not press the strings down so low that when you slide you are catching the tops of the frets. You do not use the frets with the slide except as location markers if you have to look at it. It is much better to get the touch, damp as Colin described and use your ears for accuracy, not the rough estimate you can get from using the frets as guides.

Last edited by Jack Swain; 02/03/11 02:12 PM.
#876006 - 02/03/11 06:32 PM Re: Question about Slide guitar sound [Re: Jack Swain]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
Mark Kaufman  Offline

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Having your finger(s) on the strings right behind the slide can make a huge difference, as some of that excess noise is the sound of those strings ringing out when they shouldn't be heard.

All the rest is just controlling the pressure of the slide along with strategic muting of strings with your playing hand.

#876010 - 02/03/11 07:02 PM Re: Question about Slide guitar sound [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Kolstad  Offline
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There are several ways to do it. Muting the strings behind the slide, like Mark says. Also regular palm muting works, as well as "finger tip" muting while playing. Raising the action with an extension nut http://www.elderly.com/accessories/items/EN02.htm also can help. I've found that a heavier type of slide helps too, like a steel or brass tube.

There are undeniable some technique involved too. Lapsteels are also quieter to play.

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#876038 - 02/03/11 10:15 PM Re: Question about Slide guitar sound [Re: Kolstad]  
Joined: Jan 2011
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tim houlihan Offline
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tim houlihan  Offline
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Posts: 249
Thank you for all of this advice- I never thought about the string mute-
Thanks mark,songcabinet, jack and colin

As Neil says: Keep On Rockin' in the Free World!
#902413 - 06/06/11 11:46 AM Re: Question about Slide guitar sound [Re: tim houlihan]  
Joined: Feb 2011
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dmk Offline
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dmk  Offline
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Posts: 442
getting a good slide sound is impossible on some guitar/string set-ups so if you are serious about it you may have to sacrifice some things like "lite strings/low action. really lite strings on a low action will want a lite weight slide and a very lite touch and lots of practice. if it's an electric guitar you can cover up a less than perfect technique with a bit of distortion. but for a clear sound with an acoustic you will want a guitar with a flatter radiused fret board and a slightly higher action. i have had great results with my homemade brass slide on martin guitars in general but not so good on my taylor. i currently use the heavier brass slide made from a 3" piece of brass pipe. i also recommend a slide called the "mudslide" this is a big ceramic slide that works well if you must have lite strings. i have had best success sticking to the glass/ceramic and brass slides. those thin walled crome ones don't work well for me. DAMPENING! your strings with your hand is essential to a clean sound. you must get this right along with the right strings/action if you are gonna get a good sound. beyond this is simply alot of practice,practice.practice. i would also advise getting one of those instructional dvds on slide playing, trust me, it is very helpful to actually watch an expert do his/her stuff.DID I SAY PRACTICE.when you first start fooling with slide it can seem impossible to accomplish but trust me on this as well, i9f you stick with it you will succeed, with lost of practice.one more thing, although many people put the slide on a middle finger, if you put it on the little finger it will leave the rest of the fingers free to jump back into chords and so forth and it is easier to get that dampening thing working.


Last edited by dmk; 06/06/11 11:50 AM.

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