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Lesson #12: Slides

by Tyler de Witt posted on 1999-10-17
Topic: Technique Subtopic: General
Level: Beginner Number of Readers: 73507


A slide refers to the action of 'sliding' your left hand finger across one or more frets to reach another note. In one respect, they can be looked at as similar to bends, because they can be used to create a 'swooping' effect between two notes. But they are different from bends, because with a slide, you will not get all the notes in-between each semitone. An example of a slide on another instrument would be a glissando on the piano. Many notes are hit in rapid succession, producing a swooping effect. But, like we said, we aren't hearing the notes in-between the semitones.

To perform a slide, all we have to do is place our finger on a fret, sound the fret, then 'slide' that left hand finger up or down any number of frets while the note is still sounding. For example, we got play the note located at the 5th fret on the 3rd string, and then while the note was still ringing, we could slide up to the 10th fret on the 3rd string. We could have also slid down to the 2nd fret if we had wanted to. One important thing to remember is that we have to perform the slide quickly, because if we wait to long, the note will stop ringing.

Here are some uses of slides.

The regular slide is what we just talked about. It's just another means of getting from one note to another. We can hit a note, and then while the note is ringing, slide up or down to another note. Sometimes this is an interesting alternative to just playing the first note, then playing the second note. It makes sequences sound smoother

The 'slide from nowhere' is an interesting trick. If we wanted to arrive at the 10th fret of the 2nd string using a slide from nowhere, this is what we'd do. We would start near the first fret of that string(you can start anywhere, really), and then WITHOUT PICKING THE NOTE, slide up to the 10th fret. While you're sliding, some sound will be created, and it will give the effect that you just slid up from nowhere. This an interesting way to lead into a solo or lead line.

The 'slide into nowhere' is the opposite. For example, we could sound the note located on the 10th fret of the 2nd string, and then just slide down until we slide right of the string. This gives the effect that the sound just slid down into nowhere. This is a neat trick to incorporate into lead lines, I like to use it at the end of phrases. A variation of this involves the 'sliding into nowhere' of multiple notes. For example, we could play a chord, and then slide it down into nowhere.

We can use sliding as an alternative for a bend and release. Instead of bending a note and releasing it, we can just slide form the desired note up to the note above it, and then back down. It gives a slightly different effect than the bend and release.

Sliding can be an effective way of getting from one position on the guitar to another. For example, if we were playing something at the third position, and then want to gradually climb to the tenth position, we can accomplish this by applying slides to certain notes, to slide into the next highest position. This is a good way of doing things, because otherwise we'd usually end up running out of fingers, or not being able to stretch far enough.

What I'm going to tell you now doesn't really have much practical value, but I still think it's kind of cool. I call it the 'wolf whistle'. To do this, slide from the first fret along the first string all the way up to a very high fret. When you get there, stop. Now slide from the first fret up to a fret that was lower than the one you slid to before. When you get there, slide back down into nowhere. This will give you the 'wolf whistle' effect, and I think it's kind of fun, even though you won't use it much.

Anyway, those are some things that you can do with slides. Feel free to experiment and come up with your own uses for them.

Things to remember from this lesson:

1. A slide is the movement of one left hand finger along many frets of the same string, creating a swooping effect.
2. Unlike the bend, we won't hear the pitches between each semitone.
3. Some uses of slides include 'the slide from nowhere', the 'slide to nowhere', a means of moving smoothly between positions on the fretboard, an alternative for the bend and release, and the 'wolf whistle'.

if you remember anything from this lesson, you'll remember the wolf whistle...


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