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Its like somebody making your lip speak, making it say things he thinks.... The Blues is a slow story. The feeling of the beautiful things that happen to you is in the Blues; it's a home language like two friends talking. It's the language everybody understands. You can inject into people with the instrument I think. - Trumpeter Henry Red Allen on the blues

Author Topic: How do you set up your guitar for slide playing?  (Read 4738 times)

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Offline frailer24

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Re: How do you set up your guitar for slide playing?
« Reply #30 on: September 27, 2012, 10:36:02 PM »
Johnm, that is the best advice I have heard, including my own. I myself started with a friend's setup, and modified it to my taste. It is a trial and error process indeed.
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Offline nobro

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Re: How do you set up your guitar for slide playing?
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2012, 02:43:40 PM »
Yes, tension is the most important factor to consider when trying to determine string gauge choices. How tension will affect your particular guitar is extremely important to take into consideration. Not all guitars are created equal in this regard. Some guitars can handle a lot of tension and hold up under the stress, just like some string gauges and some can't.

The tension that your particular instrument will be subject to is determined by how you choose to tune the strings you select. So, first, determine what type of tunings you'd like to explore and I see that you've already mentioned what those tunings are. Then, as John has stated, select your string gauges accordingly. If you find that too much tension is an issue, use a lighter gauge string set to avoid string breakage and instrument damage. Conversely, if you are using a low tension tuning, heavier string gauges will help to tighten up your action, so it won't feel like your're trying to play with strings made of limp spaghetti.

Generally, if your guitar's action has high tension, whether via the tuning you use or due to the heavier string gauges you choose, or both, it will enable you to use a heavier slide without bottoming out against your frets. A low tension tuning demands a lighter weight slide or an extremely sensitive touch to avoid the same bottoming out.

As John explains, the only way you're going to know how the tension of your tunings and string choices will affect your particular instrument is via your own personal experimentation. My string gauge choices, on my particular guitar and the tuning choices that I choose, will not necessarily work for your guitar and your tuning choices. Expect to loose a few strings in the process. It's all part of the journey.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 10:20:08 PM by nobro »

Offline harriet

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Re: How do you set up your guitar for slide playing?
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2012, 05:18:18 AM »
Hi All,

My experience has been different per the type of instrument - the three acoustic types I have explored are metal resonator, x-braced and ladder braced. I couldn't get a good sound on an x-braced guitar- I think they require heavier strings, mediums 13-56.

My  two metal body resonators are all 16-56 martin bluesgrass and Michael Messer brand nickel and about 3/8" at the 12th fret, along the lines of a national, tuned to open D or G and I use a green glass slde.

The ladder braced parlours, from the 40's - 60's, are 12 frets except for one and they are all strung light or extra light Martin pb, some have a custom set I made up, tuned to either to open D or G, or a step higher to open E or A. I use a green glass slide.

The action varies from is medium to low and I test by sliding on the 3 bass to see if the material ie. pb, 80/20 or nickel is ok and the tension is correct for the guitar and go with what the guitar sounds best at. I prefer open E or A.  I'm trying to study Fred McDowell and some of his pieces are in F so I capo up to follow along with him.
 

« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 03:32:17 PM by harriet »

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