How To Play The Guitar: Using A Slide For Sound Effects

Learn how to play slide guitar sound effects. The lessons provide instructions for soloing and experimental techniques.

The guitar has so many dynamic possibilities and the slide is one of the most valuable tools available to a guitarist. The biggest key to slide playing is just getting started building your slide know-how. It is important to have down a few basics and then you can begin to look beyond for more sonic possibilities. The slide is great for getting notes to cut through the mix and lusciously dance above the other instruments. It is also very good for creating extreme sound effects. Once you have a few of the possibilities in mind, it is easy to start crafting wild new sounds.

First things first, you have to know a few slide basics to use one at all. The essentials are actually simple; it is the finesse that is difficult. Allow your picking hand to rest on the strings to keep any unwanted sounds from ringing out. Use your fingers to pluck the strings and allow your hand to rise up just enough to allow the picked string to ring out. When you pick a string, bring your fret board hand to the note you want. However, instead of pressing down in between the fret markers allow your slide to rest lightly over the fret marking itself. Make sure not to press the string down very far, if you listen carefully you should be able to hear how much better notes ring out under gentle slide pressure. So, those are the simple basics for using a slide. Now let us look at the next level of sound effect possibility.

Many options open up once you get down the fundamental feel for using a slide. You can create sound effects through a variety of playing techniques. Dragging the slide up and down the strings is a very easy way to begin making a very big dynamic variation. You can use the slide to make sweet vibratos, and the more violently you shake your slide vibrato the crazier the effects are. Slides are also good when used with multiple picking fingers at the same time. This is a great way to create interesting harmonies between the picked notes. Also try picking an open string and then with a quick, fluid motion lightly depress the string with your slide. This technique is more difficult but it gets a cool sound once you get some gentle speed. Additionally, this slide technique works well for playing from within the relative scale pattern, and for venturing outside. Volume swells are another great way to accompany a slide and you can get a hold of some very luscious guitar tones this way.



Effect pedals are obviously the best way to create sound effects. Using a delay or reverb pedal will enable you to start making some drastic sonic differences. Once you add some guitar effects to your slide playing, you can begin creating walls of sound that fill the entire room. Just try any of your techniques with a heavy reverb, delay, or a combination of effects. Throw on some distortion you can begin picking up rare harmonics and you will notice great sustain for your sound effects.

Beyond adding effects to your sound, several other possibilities for manipulating the slide sound are easily accessible. Try using different slides; you will see they come in an extensive variety of shapes and materials. Each type of slide produces a different sound. Some guitar players will glide the guitar strings on their microphone stand and produce a ferocious sound that way. This is a very flashy stage technique. Bottles, lighters, and pool cues all make great makeshift slides, each with its own unique effect on the sound. It is also possible to change completely change your naturally occurring fretting options by using an alternate tuning. Alternative tunings such as open D, open C, open G, or open E all work well and allow easier access to chord interplay while using a slide.

Slide work is all about finesse and you only get that from practice time. The same goes for creating sound effects. Anyone can pick up a guitar and make some racket. However, to create good sounding effects you have to have some gentle know-how. The slide will cut through the mix of sounds your using, so remember to leave gaps and allow it some room to speak. Above and beyond anything else, remember to have fun experimenting. This is the best way to practice creating sweet slide sound effects.

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