Play Slide Guitar in 6 Easy Steps [How To & More!] • Acoustic Tuesday 232

Slide guitar is zippy, twangy, and classic. On today’s episode, you’re going to learn how to use a bottleneck slide to bring those classic tones to your acoustic guitar. In 6 easy steps, I’ll show you how to hold the slide properly, which tunings to use, and how to make single-string melodies!

Slide guitar is the open sky where the buffalo roam and where the waves lap the shore at sunset. It evokes a different time and place that the all-too-digital world we live in now. I’ve always been drawn to this sound and I can’t wait to share it with you!

When I first started playing slide guitar, I thought that a slide was used for barre chords. Almost like a capo! Little did I know, the slide was for so much more than that.

I personally prefer using lap slides where you can see the fretboard more easily. Bottleneck slides are typically more accessible to players, especially if you are transitioning between playing slide and playing normally.

Slide guitar unlocks new sonic possibilities for your playing. If you are in a guitar rut, I highly recommend you pick up a slide. It will make you see the fretboard in a new way, and have you seeing new patterns and possibilities.

Be sure to watch the video to see my full thoughts on slide material (glass vs. metal vs. ceramic), which tunings to use, and how to properly work your slide!

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  1. That broken string reminds me of a Tonight Show back with Johnny Carson. IIRC it was Glenn Campbell. He stepped out on stage and right before he started playing, he told the band something. They play the song. Johnny walks over clapping and notices the broken string. Glenn says “Yep, broke the string walking out here. Told the band we’re keeping the song and playing in a different key. One that doesn’t use that string.”

  2. Today is 199 straight playing sessions. One more than the last streak. Small win goes to TAC, Keeping the wheel of my journey moving, just enough to build on, Fun and entertaining. I look forward each day to what I can learn. I laugh at myself somedays when I talk to you /screen like you can hear me. or like coaching from my couch to the bench. Anyway a few thoughts seem to always pop up. The guitar of the day? What are you playing? Your words, “Guitar Geeks” Well Like I mentioned before, I fell into the rabbit hole in front of your door. I’m searching for the next Guitar. I also would like to know what songs we could look into that will support the daily challenges for all the beginners. How do YOU select YOUR next song to learn and what is that process like? I realize I don’t know what I don’t know. When you record a new challenge, is it possible to Counting softly so we can hear the note over the count instead of the other way around?
    Any chance there are out takes coming or behind the seen happenings ?
    I really like the new format and look Tony. Keep it Fresh.
    Have a Grateful Day !

  3. Great instruction. Just getting back into playing after 30 years and your making it fun and inspiring to keep learning.
    Thank you!

  4. Hey Tony: The good thing I learned from your show today on Slide Guitar was about Open Tuning After seven years of guitar lessons I (knowing nothing about music) thought you would simply tune all 6 strings to “D” or whatever note—today I learned you tune it like the chord . Thanks for your wonderful instruction I’m getting it.

    John Jennings

  5. Tony great show. This may sound like a dumb question but does a person need to change all the strings at the same time? I have one Tylor guitar that I have had for 7 or 8 years and I have never changed the strings. Question number 2. How can you tell when a string needs to be repacked? Thanks!

  6. The slide guitar tutorial was stupendous. Tony, you usually have great info, but I thought, for me, this was over the top. Thank you very much!

  7. Hold expectations if it helps, but I found that My Expectations were where my fun went to die. When I jettisoned my expectations I found fun and adventure and the camaraderie of other adventurers filled with musical curiosity. I play in the moment as much as I can and whatever happens next is always a great surprise. The one thing I know, it is my conscious intention: WHATEVER happens I play.