How to Play Slide Guitar

Slide guitar playing is a great way to introduce a very hip tone into your style. Whether you choose a glass or metal slide, the color of this sound is something that can't be overlooked. Often at Creative Guitar Studio student's will ask which slide they should begin with; i.e., glass or metal. It is a decision that lies with the player. Both have their unique tonal properties. And, only after trying both will a guitarist be able to truly make their decision.

Luckily, slides are inexpensive to purchase. So, buy a few types and see what you prefer. I normally suggest that players new to slide try a short glass slide with a thick sidewall. Jim Dunlop company makes a nice one; the short - small glass pyrex (212). Metal slides tend to be heavier and might work best for the middle and ring fingers for most guitarists. Glass is far lighter and will work better with the pinky for most folks.

To develop the slide technique players need to decide upon which finger they prefer placing the slide. Test all fingers. Many players have a misconception walking into playing with a slide that they "must" use the slide on one particular finger. This is simply not the case. Any finger (aside from index) should do. Bonnie Raitt & Joe Walsh play slide with it on their middle fingers; Duane Allman & Derek Trucks use their ring; Sonny Landreth, Johnny Winter and Ry Cooder all play slide using their pinky fingers. So, test and see what works best.

Watch the video lesson for a whole host of other slide details, tricks and tips!


  1. Great stuff here, I have a slide guitar web site if you are interested. Sonny Landreth has some awesome chops, his playing behind the slide is really unique. Thanks