FDP Home Page / FDP Forum / FAQ's

The FDP is made possible by the following companies and individual members like you.
Please use the links below to show them we value their sponsorship.

Yellowjackets Tube Converters

Guitar Center

Apex Tube Matching


Jensen Loudspeakers

Advertise here

Amplified Parts

WD Music

Antique Electronics Supply


Musician's Friend

* God bless America and our men and women in uniform *

* Illegitimi non carborundum! *

If you benefit and learn from the FDP and enjoy our site, please help support us and become a Contributing Member or make a Donation today! The FDP counts on YOU to help keep the site going with an annual contribution. It's quick and easy with PayPal. Please do it TODAY!

Chris Greene, Host & Founder



Find musicians
in your area!
  Search the Forums  

FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Slide Technique


Missouri Ozarks

Sep 27th, 2018 01:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

I want to try my hand (or fingers LOL) at using a slide. I would like to first try this using my pinky finger in order to enable me to use the other 3 fingers on the fret board.
When using a slide on the pinky finger, should a person fit it above or below the knuckle/entire finger?
Any additional tips are appreciated, to include using the other fingers.

Contributing Member

As old as the sun

with white teeth
Sep 27th, 2018 02:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

Like anything else, there are a hundred ways to do this stuff. Some players, e.g., Joe Walsh, wear a full slide on the ring finger. Others, like Sonny Landreth, wear it on the pinky.

It you're a fingerpicker, a shorter slide might work better for you. If you use a flatpick, a full-length slide might be better.

There are a bunch of different slides, and they all have their own sound (glass, ceramic, steel, brass, etc.). There are also ring slides that are short and cover two or three strings.

And then there are things like the JetSlide that you wear like a ring, but it has a full bar on it you can rotate in and out depending on whether you want to use all your fingers or use the slide.

Best advice when starting out is to get several different slides and try them to see what you like.

And then there's the 'roll-yer-own' option. Cut one from the top of a whiskey bottle and flame polish the cut ends.

Even easier is to do it like George Thorogood does. His tech buys 3/4" copper plumbing pipe, cuts it into 2.5" lengths, smooths the ends with 220 sandpaper, and then scuffs the outside with 60-grit sandpaper so the slide sounds really raspy on the strings. At the end of every show he tosses the slide into the audience.


Missouri Ozarks

Sep 27th, 2018 02:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

Peego, thank you so much for the wonderful insight. You gave me a lot of options I was unaware of.

Now to find out if Joe is still touring! LOL! Thanks again!

Contributing Member

Pueblo, Co

Yes, I am sick.
Nov 2nd, 2018 09:56 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have recently purchased 3 slides, one is bottleneck made by a company that recycles wine bottles, the other two are a short Dunlop and a longer one.

They are all very difficult for me, considering raising the action on my one of my Teles and trying 11's. I like Mike Campbell's style of slide but it is a different world. Using a pick really makes it worse.



Nov 2nd, 2018 11:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

There are any number of ways to do it.

Off the cuff, a lot may depend upon if you are going to be playing slide as your main style, or only on a few tunes.

This also leads to if you are going to be playing in standard tuning, or have a guitar specifically for slide.

I have never dabbled in any tuning other than standard, except for very limited use of lowering one or both E's to D.
I have always used the slide on the middle finger.

Contributing Member

Show Low, Arizona

Bottom Sucker
Nov 4th, 2018 11:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have two guitars dedicated to slide and both are strung with 11s with a higher action especially on the first three strings (high E,B & G). One guitar is for open E & D and the other is for open G & A. The higher action and heavier strings allow you to really dig in and achieve awesome tones without hitting the frets.

Contributing Member

A sore

for sighted eyes
Nov 4th, 2018 01:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

There's no right or wrong way to play slide.

Derek Trucks often skims the tops of the frets to get perfect intonation and that signature slide sound he's known for. Listen to most any slide solo of his, and you can hear it, especially when he's sliding over several notes, and you can hear 'steps' in his glissandos.

Sonny Landreth is another player that will alternate between the slide on fretted and unfretted strings. He also applies slide to one or more strings while simultaneously applying fingertip pressure to one or two strings behind the slide. It is this idiosyncratic style that makes Landreth on guitar identifiable by hearing just one or two notes.


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Nov 5th, 2018 12:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

The thing that's nice about having the slide on the pinky is that you can fret more strings behind the slide, so you're not quite so tied to the tuning of the instrument, or using just the slide to make notes. Also, you can just lift your pinky out of the way and you have your 3 other main fingers to fret normally with. Plus, I find it much easier to mute behind the slide (a necessary skill) when the slide is on my pinky finger.


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Nov 5th, 2018 12:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

One more thing. I'm not much of a finger-picker at all, but I can make better sounds if I use just my fingers to pick. You can mute individual strings, and it sounds more clear. I'll put the pick in my palm or my teeth if I need to do some strumming as well.

Doc Sarvis
Contributing Member

USA/Salt Lake City

Tuned Strings and Tight Lines
Nov 10th, 2018 10:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've been working on slide playing for five or six years now. I started off with slides that fit completely over my middle finger. As I developed my skills I settled on the "Rock Slide" because it has a notch that settles in the lower finger joint and that ended up being most comfortable for me. My SG gets tuned between open G, A, or E, depending on what I am playing. Eventually I moved the slide to my ring finger which is now the most comfortable to me. I can't move back to the middle now. I have never been able to play slide comfortably with my pinky although I have tried. Over time I'm been able to make real progress.

Contributing Member

juneau ak.

If you must smoke, please smoke salmon!
Nov 10th, 2018 12:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

^ I also use my ring finger and my slides are all about 2" long. I have both thick wall and thin wall brass slides as well as glass and ceramic, some guitars just sound better with different types of materials used, at least to my ears.

I use 11-52 on all my guitars and this way I can still comfortably be able play straight (EADGBE) or use it for slide in most open tunings although I use open E 90% of the time..

My main slide guitars action is set about how I would normally want to play it (I do like a little higher action anyway) I don't need to raise the bridge instead I let some more relief in the neck so it has a very slight bow in it, I've done this on Fenders and Gibson's without any problems but you do have to have a pretty light touch with the slide and the mute finger behind it.

I always use a compressor when I play slide on an electric guitar and I also like to use DR pure nickel strings but of course that is just my personal preference.


I love guitars

and things that fly
Dec 1st, 2018 10:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

When you get comfortable with whatever slide you use consider that what your right hand does has so much to do with how you sound.

To your question I use Coricidin bottles (took the meds as a kid) on my ring finger & have tiny hands so it goes all the way down.

Contributing Member

Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Feb 4th, 2019 12:57 PM   Edit   Profile  

I’ve been trying to play slide for a couple of years now. Our church band music only has a few songs for slide. When one comes up I give it a shot.

I use a thick, glass slide, about 2 inches long and fits loosely on my ring finger. I’ve tried my pinky a few times, but it doesn’t work as well for me.

I was just watching a couple of video interviews with George thorogood. It was just him talking about how he started, and got to the point he’s at. Peegoo, thanks for the info on his copper slides. He mentioned he used copper but not the details.

I play in regular tuning. I started with one guitar dedicated to slide but quickly found out I didn’t have time to change guitars. We go from one song right into another a lot of times.

I’m not very good at it but I can get the basics out and make it sound not horrendous. I need to get a little braver.

Contributing Member

Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 4th, 2019 02:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

One thing to do is practice playing the chord tones for a I, IV, and V in a given key. What you'll discover is they are most often repeating patterns.

Not only that, the IV chord tones are five frets higher than the I, and the V chord tones are two frets beyond the IV chord position.

Once you get two or three keys under your fingers, all the rest will be intuitive.

Next, work on the minor 6th (vi) chords for the keys, as well as 7th pattern shapes, and you'll be able to cover a whole lot of ground on slide or lap steel.

Like mojodelic says, the picking hand is at least as important as the slide hand. Mute all strings with the right hand and allow only the plucked string(s) to ring.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 03:19 AM, Feb 5th, 2019)

Contributing Member

Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Feb 6th, 2019 01:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

When I get back on my feet I’ll be trying more.
Thanks Peegoosan.

FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Slide Technique

Reply to this Topic
Display my email address             Lost your password?
Your Message:
Link Address (URL):
Link Title:

Moderators: Chris Greene  Iron Man  reverendrob  

FDP, LLC Privacy Policy: Your real name, username, and email
are held in confidence and not disclosed to any third parties, sold, or
used for anything other than FDP Forum registration unless you specifically authorize disclosure.

Internet Application Development

Copyright © 1999-2019 Fender Discussion Page, LLC   All Rights Reserved