If you are a die-hard fan of George Harrison and The Allman Brothers Band, then you must very well be aware of the technique they use while playing the guitar. These bands used the guitar slides to achieve the sliding sound on the guitar. Guitar sliding is a unique way of playing the guitar to get that particular sliding sound. The first question that may arise in many of our minds is what is a guitar slide? Some of the best guitar slides are made of glass, metal or ceramic cylinder, which is placed on the fingers by the guitarist on the strings of the guitar to glide up and down the guitars fret board. These guitar slides produce unique smooth and slippery sound.
It is believed that this technique evolved around the early 20th century and was popularized by the Hawaiian guitarist- Joseph Kekeku. It is believed that once Joseph was walking down the street, playing his guitar, he happened to pick a metal bolt and started sliding it on the strings of his guitar. He was intrigued by the sound it made and started practicing until he mastered it and was ready to perform on the stage. The new sound and the new technique became very popular and it spread across Europe and America. That is how this new guitar sliding technique was introduced to the world. Experience guitar players can master this technique or at least attempt it.
Factors to look for while purchasing guitar slides
- Mass- Mass of the slide is decisive in quality sound production.
- Hardness- The hardness of the slide determines the tone and control of the string noise which is an important factor to consider while purchasing guitar slide.
- Material- Material of the slide such as glass, metal or ceramic is another deciding factor for producing crisp and heavy tone and extra sustain.
- Fit-The slide should fit perfectly fit your finger so that it does not fall off when you relax your fingers.
Let us find out some of the best guitar slides which are available in stores. You will be happy to know that these guitar slides are not very expensive.
Ernie Ball is a well-known name in the world of music. Ernie Ball Glass Slide is known to be one of the best guitar slides They are the world’s leading manufacturers of guitar strings, bass strings and other guitar accessories. Guitar slides which are made of glass are usually made of tempered glass. Glass guitar slides are lighter than the metal slides and are smoother to play which create a mellow tone.
- This guitar slide is made of seamless Pyrex glass to give the extra smooth and sleek finish which gives a crisp, bright tone on higher strings and warm feeling when you play the lower tone from your bass strings.
- This glass slide from Ernie Ball is quite comfortable and durable.
- The glass slide gives a silky bluesy slide sounds and is much smoother to play.
- The medium size glass slide has got an outer diameter is 25 mm, with the thickness being 4 mm and its length being 58 mm.
Dunlop’s Porcelain Guitar slide falls somewhere between the glass and metal slides when you are talking about tones. The porcelain slides give a good middle tone if you are looking for some change. Dunlop porcelain slides are quite affordable and they have maintained a consistency in quality.
- The density of the porcelain gives a bright tone to this slide.
- These slides are made so as to withstand years of wear and tear.
- It has got a smooth and silky surface and moisture absorbent material is used which absorbs finger moisture to reduce slipping.
- It is medium size to give extra grip
- This porcelain guitar slide usually comes in the size of 18.5 mm x 5.5 mm x 70 mm
- This porcelain slide gives the unique feel, extra sustain and definition.
Many guitarists prefer metal or glass slide as the give crispy and distinctive tones. The thick-walled metal slide gives the extra sustain as compared to the thin-walled metal slide. Fender, who is a big player in this field, has a lot to offer for every guitarist. It has slides to suit every guitar player’s style and taste.
- The thick-walled steel slides from Fender gives you the extra sustain which makes the higher strings pleasant to your ears and its steel bite gives the lower strings the added harmonic complexity.
- These stainless steel slides are extremely durable if you have the tendency to drop the slides in between the song.
- This steel slide has greater bite and sustain
- The thickness of this slide is 1.5 mm and its length is 60 mm.
- This slide from Fender is made with exact specifications to suite the style and taste of the guitar player.
The AXyx Reversible slide from Shubb is one of its type and truly unique as it a lot to offer to the players. Over the decades’ guitar players have experimented a lot of different kinds of guitar slides from glass to metal to ceramic and what not to find the perfect sound for their style. Among the plethora of the materials which is used in making guitar slides, brass is most loved by all the guitarists.
- This brass slide as a hefty when in use and features the unsurpassed tone and control.
- This reversible slide from Shubb just takes a fraction of second to rotate behind the hand and frees all the fingers for conventional fretting.
- Its unique open design helps to reverse it easily and fret the strings as you would normally do without slides.
- It has got rings at the base, which is made of Delrin plastic, so as to allow the slide to rotate easily.
- The brass metal slide provides thick, full and musical tone with lots of lower tones.
Dunlop 224 is one of the best brass slides from Dunlop. Since many years, the brass slide has been the favourite of many of the guitar players because of its resonance tone and comfortable weight. This is a must-have in your kitty if you are seriously looking to give a new feel to your tone.
- This brass slide from Dunlop has got a thick wall which gives it extra sustain.
- Due to the thickness of the slide, it gives a bright and resonant tone.
- It is of medium size which fits ring size 13.
- Even though this metal slide has got a thick wall, it has got a comfortable weight.
- Its size is 22mm x 29 mm x 60 mm.
These vintage glass bottle slides are manufactured by D’Addario, which is a well-known name in the world of music. Planet Waves which is a part of the D’Addario family is well known for its innovative, unique and high-quality guitar accessories. Some guitar players are hooked by the look and sound of the vintage glass bottles as it is easy to use and play.
- This glass bottle slide has got a unique glass surface and is lightweight.
- It has got a look of the vintage medicine glass bottle.
- The slide is light due to which it is able to achieve the fullness of the tone for sustain and speed of play.
- This glass slide helps to unleash the excellent sound quality.
- This unique glass bottle slide offers excellent tone, sustain and playability.
Have you ever imagined how good it will be to have a wall around your finger while playing the guitar as it would be impossible to lose the balance from the fret board and the sound. You would definitely want to have a heavy large wall around your fingers for that perfect tone. Clayton has come forward to grant your wish as it offers you a chance to have a metaphorical wall around your fingers with its Heavy Wall Large Guitar Slide.
- These glass slides which are manufactured by Clayton come with a protective case to prevent breakage.
- It has got a heavy wall to get the deepest, fullest and heaviest of sound that is possible to achieve.
- Even though heavy, this glass slide is comfortable and will fit your fingers with ease.
No matter what type of slide you use, it has got a unique and magical effect on the sound and tone which is sought after by many guitar players. Above is a list of some of the best guitar slides which is available in the market. It is obviously a matter of personal preference, but you can choose wisely among them as per your style and taste.
- What are the types of slides?
Each type of slide has its own effect on the sound. There are generally 3 types of slides which are manufactured all over the world
- Glass- The glass slide is mostly popular among a large number of guitarists. The variation of the sound depends largely on the color and the thickness of the glass slide. Hence you should be very careful while purchasing the glass slide. There are a variety of glass slides available in the market- thick, thin, long and short.
- Metal– Metal slides are very popular among rock stars and in pop culture. Metal slides offer a great variety of resonance and sound. Steel is the most popular metal used for making metal slides as it produces a strong, wrenching and shrieking, bright sound. Next to steel, comes the brass slide which is also equally popular because of its soulful sound.
- Ceramic– Ceramic gives the sound almost similar to glass slides with the only difference being that they are more brittle. One of the positive aspects of ceramic slides is that you can customize them according to your needs.
- How a guitar slide should fit?
A guitar slide should fit your finger in such a way that it does not fall off when you relax your hand at your side. This helps you to have an extra grip and control over the slides while you are playing the guitar.
- How do you slide on a guitar?
If you are using guitar slides, then you should be well aware of the sliding technique. Only an experienced guitar player can master the sliding technique. Sliding requires a lot of practice and precision to achieve that desirable tone and sound. After doing a few frets, lift your fingers completely off the string. The long slide, moves up and down the neck of the guitar, slowly releasing finger pressure and then finally removing your finger from the strings towards the end of the neck of the guitar.
- Which finger is mostly used for sliding?
Mostly ring finger is used for sliding as it allows you to wear a heavier and a bigger slide so as to put more weight on the strings to get that fuller, bigger and heavier tone and helps to achieve extra sustain.