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Went to see the gipsy, see what the gipsy'd say. She said 'Lord God, you got the same problem as me' - Jerry Ricks, China Blues

Author Topic: women slide players  (Read 939 times)

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Offline Vermonter

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women slide players
« on: July 02, 2018, 06:24:17 AM »
I'm curious if anyone has info on women slide guitar players: specifically, if there's a lot of variation in the fingers chosen for the slide because of smaller hands. Pinky, ring, or middle? My pinky is much too short for a slide (defective, as I call it). Thanks.

Offline Nicolas Dussart

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2018, 02:33:06 PM »
the firsts coming to my mind are Rory Block who uses her ring finger and Bonnie Raitt who uses her middle finger

Offline Rivers

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2018, 06:49:47 PM »
I would look at Sister O.M. Terrell. Weenie member Harriet will probably want to chime in here also.

Offline oddenda

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2018, 02:03:30 AM »
This Atlanta resident was going to be my suggestion! Sadly, we'll never know how Savannah "Dip" Weaver sounded. but her students Robert and Charlie Hicks, and her son, Curley James Weaver may give us an inkling! The only female guitarist I recorded was one Mattie Russell of Atlanta, mother of pianist Tommy Lee Russell and aunt to guitarist/harminicist Charlie Russell. She claimed to have been taught "by a Geechie"; some of her playing reminded me of Willie Brown!, very rhythmic.

pbl

Offline harriet

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2018, 04:47:27 AM »
Thank you for the mention Rivers.  As far as I know  there's as many different ways as men, but for contemporary or living slide players you might want to look online at photos of lady electric blues/rock players to confirm that.

Bonnie Raitt and Rory Block both use slides that extend past their fingertips, neiither are small women so I don't know if that's going to be comfortable for small hands. Son House used his slide that way as well.

I can't tell whether you are just interested in knowing more about this or are interested in playing yourself. If you are looking at contemporary players, many women who have videos or photos are electric guitar or electrified cbg players. The slide material itself for electric and acoustic is often different, so I would go back and look at male acoustic players for the materials - glass, metal etc.

Here's Sarah Rogo from San Diego -she plays slide on Nationals..I could be wrong but I think there's some interest in women performers on resonators.  There seems not to be many on acoustic that are getting their name out there. And the women I found on resonators are also playing on electrics...

« Last Edit: July 07, 2018, 05:09:24 AM by harriet »

Offline Vermonter

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2018, 07:43:56 AM »
Thanks, everybody. Helpful replies!

Offline Rivers

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2018, 07:04:47 PM »
If the slide fits comfortably on your chosen finger, and has a comfortable weight and balance, it can extend your reach beyond the finger tip. A heavy slide, like a Sears deep socket, may take some time to master. I believe I read somewhere that Bonnie picked that up from Lowell George, but I don't know if she still uses one, and anyway she uses her middle finger in all the photos I've seen after a quick search.

A lot of people get very pedantic about which finger to use, not me. I ended up using my pinkie so I can fret partial chords with the other three fingers. If I'm feeling adventurous I can also fret a string behind the slide to hit a minor chord. But I'm not into it really, it's just a technical exercise and generally sounds off unless your guitar's intonation is better than mine.

Also bear in mind that  most, or many, of the really good slide players are aces at playing slide on the inside strings. So whatever slide and finger you chose you might want to make sure you can play slide lines and double stops on strings 2 thru 5

That's just the way I like to play. Also, as harriet alluded to earlier, electric guitar is a whole different ball of wax. What sounds great on an electric with a great steel amp doesn't always (ever?) translate to a great acoustic guitar, and vice versa. So you have to figure out what you're into, or adjust your touch to play both ways.

Rivers, who just returned from a Ry Cooder & Emmylou Harris concert at Tanglewood MA, 95 degrees out on the lawn, it was hot hot hot, in all ways

PS since no-one has mentioned it yet, damping technique is a pretty crucial element of slide touch, both fretting hand and picking hand damping. Takes a while, play and practice a lot and it will eventually work its way into your playing, like everything on a musical instrument.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2018, 07:29:46 PM by Rivers »

Offline Vermonter

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2018, 08:08:06 AM »
Thanks, Rivers. And we saw Ry in VT with the Hamiltones. Phenomenal!!!

Offline Rivers

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2018, 03:46:29 PM »
Phenomenal indeed. Ry played right on the limits at Tanglewood, proving occasionally the old saying "if you aren't making (small) mistakes you're not trying hard enough". The Hamiltones were the perfect backup, and Ry's tone was spine tingling. We were very happy to have witnessed it, I'll never forget it. Here's a sample, without the harmony singers unfortunately:


Offline harriet

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2018, 05:26:24 AM »
That's a great clip and also illustrates the slide on little finger extended technique mentioned. 

I started out on my little finger but started to get some indications of problems with the outer tendons on the arm so I switched to my ring finger. Fortunately these days you can order a custom slide from diamondbottlenecks.com and I have been also using a short slide from silicasounds on my acoustics. Electrics use a standard dunlop 218.  The  diamond inner size is a little large for me so I cut a piece of moleskin and put it inside. 

Originally actual bottlenecks were used and they are conical, but I found that they were irregular and was having to turn them too much. Both the diamondbottleneck and the silicasounds are tubular, but the silicasounds is tapered on the inside and doesn't need moleskin. I use a heavier custom size bronze slide from daddyslide on my 12 string. Went through about 40 slides before I settled on a few - some people are lucky and find what they are looking for right off...
« Last Edit: July 07, 2018, 05:29:30 AM by harriet »

Offline Lignite

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2018, 06:29:41 AM »
Unless you are Louisiana Red who seems to have spent his whole life in search of the perfect slide.

Offline harriet

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2018, 10:52:06 AM »
Yes Louisiana Red wore a slide on different fingers, ring and pinky, and different materials in the photos of him online.

Fred McDowell is another example of people who switched fingers - he played with his ring finger usually in Vestapol and his bass player reported that he used his pinky for playing in Spanish and to verify that if you move to 10.37 or so you can see that he does that:

« Last Edit: July 07, 2018, 10:54:44 AM by harriet »

Offline DerZauberer

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2018, 01:07:16 AM »
I have thick fingers and use the "Son House" Technique - ring finger, slide just up to the second joint so I can still bend the finger. This gives me good control (slide is tight), comfortable playing (can still use the other fingers to fret).

Slide all the way up the finger does not feel great for me when playing non-slide stuff, and slide on the pinky ... well I can technically do that, but I don't have the same amount of control (that is likely due to me just not trying and practising this, because I have found "my" playing style).

Also, while many people recommend heavy/thick slides, there are other ways! Some of the greatest slide players used thin glass tubes, flimsy metal rings, pocketknives or whatever was around. There is no one size fits all.

So for any person and gender anyone: Get you a slide that fits! The basic glass tubes from Dunlop are cheap, get a variety of different sizes and shapes and experiment. Once you know what you want - buy some more.

Even after years of trying and buying and finding quite a few good slides, I keep myself coming back to that cheapo brass Dunlop standard slide - it's the one I feel most comfortable with, have spent the most time with, have the best control. It's scratchy and not great for a sweet clean sound, but it does the job on the rougher stuff that I play anyways.
"The blues is not a plaything like some people think they are." - Son House

Offline Booker Matches

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2018, 07:51:07 PM »
Spark plug socket for acoustic, Coricidin pill bottle for electric a la Duane Allman

Offline Vermonter

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Re: women slide players
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2018, 09:09:31 AM »
Harriet: thanks for the clips of Fred McDowell. I hadn't seen those.
And thanks to all who replied. Much appreciated.

Tags: slide