Slide Guitar Archives - Riff Ninja

Category Archives for "Slide Guitar"

How to Setup A Slide Guitar

There are a few things on your guitar that you want to adjust differently when you’re playing slide, so in this lesson we’re going to look at how to setup a slide guitar.

When you’re playing slide guitar, you definitely want to have the strings a little higher than you would on a normal guitar. Too high, and it becomes too difficult to fret and you’ll likely be out of tune when fretting. Too low, and you don’t get a nice smooth slide sound and you’ll also get string buzz when fretting. Somewhere in the middle there’s a happy spot that will give you great tone as well as good playability.

The height from the frets to the string is called the action, and you’ll need to adjust your saddle in order to increase it. Hopefully the bridge and saddle have enough adjustment available, and you don’t need to do any serious modifications (like filing or building it up with other material). The other spot to look at is the nut, near the headstock. If the strings need to be really high, you may need to increase the thickness / height of the nut to compensate. On the guitar used in this video (a Danelectro), the nut height was fine as is.

Heavier strings is another way to get a better tone with your slide, this particular guitar is setup with .11 gauge strings. Some players really like using flat-wound strings; however this really does come down to personal preference.

How to Setup A Slide Guitar

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Another tip is to use your first finger to mute behind the slide, which goes on your second finger. Again, this is dependent on your personal preference and style, but try the second finger to start with, and if you want to go in other directions, that’s cool.

Slide Guitar: Open D Major Tuning

The easiest way to play slide guitar is to first adjust your guitar to an open tuning – in this particular lesson we’re going to use Open D Major tuning for our example. That’s the same place I started in my course Essentials of Slide Guitar – today’s short lesson is only scratching the surface of what I covered in there!

The reason I’ve chosen to use an open tuning is because a slide isn’t like your fingers; you can’t bend it into a new shape for every chord you change to. As a result, it is easier to adapt the tuning of our strings so that they work well in a straight line. In other words, we’re going to tune the guitar so that when we strum all six strings without any fingers on the frets, it will create a great sounding D major chord.

Then, we can simply add the slide at any point on the fretboard and create another major chord.

D Major tuning is simply D A D F# A D.

Alright, ready for this? Let’s dive in.

Open D Major Tuning

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