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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Slide technique

We were playing in Oakville a few weeks ago and a young musician from the opening act came up to me and said, "I'd love to play more slide, but when I do, it just doesn't sound as clean as you." Now this young laddie was pretty good on guitar, so I knew he could do it with a few tips.

I responded with three words, "muting and intonation." Pluck with your fingers and touch down on any string you don't want to ring. Pluck and touch, pluck and touch. It's as much about what isn't ringing as what is. Muting keeps the unwanted notes quiet and that's half the battle.

The other element is intonation—being ruthless about playing the slide right over the fret. You can slide up to or away from the note, but when that main note is plucked it needs to be in tune with the rest of the music. If necessary, shift your head angle or guitar position to check.

Slide 101.

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