Country music is all about creating compositions and lyrics that touch the soul. It draws sounds from many sources, especially the strong, rich vibrato notes produced by guitar slides. This useful technique makes altering pitches an easier task than pressing the strings against the frets of the guitar.
The guitar slide technique allows musicians to continuously change the pitch of the guitar strings swiftly but lightly by moving across the guitar’s fingerboard. Slide guitar can be played either the typical way by resting the guitar on your lap, or it can be played with the guitar laying flat. For this reason, a slide player may often use a fingerpick instead of a flatpick to play with more ease.
Musicians can change their playing style by choosing the guitar slide that best fits their musical sound. There are three major types of slides: glass, metal, and ceramic. Let’s explore which ones are ideal for the licks and riffs that define the country music sound.
The smoothness is one of the primary benefits of playing with a glass slide, and it's also one of the most common you see amongst country guitar players .
A glass slide enables you to play country guitar music with ease because its slick surface allows for smooth transitions and wide vibratos, creating a rich, warm sound that remains thick. Mastering the glass slide will give you the skills to create melodic lines similar to those in more folkish country guitar music or ukulele solos. Although a glass slide lets you smoothly play country chords, be very careful because a glass slide can break easily if dropped.
Metal slides provide a rougher country sound. Metal slides are usually either brass or steel. Many country guitarists prefer steel because it provides a hint of both the blues and rock.
Metal slides highlight the upper frequencies in country guitar licks and guitar solos, producing a semi-distorted tone. Playing country riffs with a metal slide produces a strong and sustaining sound that captures the essence of country music.
A ceramic slide provides a versatile middle ground. They’re often referred to as “hybrid” slides due to the shared characteristics of both the glass slide and the metal slide.
Depending on the makeup of their material, ceramic slides can often be used for a variety of country songs because it can provide both smooth and rough guitar sounds. They’re ideal for standard electric or acoustic songs played on the guitar or ukulele. A ceramic slide can produce the warm, high notes of a folk-country song.
When beginning to learn how to use a slide, choosing the right type of slide can be a daunting task. Even if you’re an experienced picker, a pro can help you make the right choice and master the art of using a slide while playing country guitar music. Slide lessons are now available online, and our country guitar expert teacher can show you the best techniques for playing slide guitar. With hard work and dedication, you could easily become a country guitar virtuoso using a glass slide, a metal slide, and a ceramic slide.
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