Slide Guitar: Frequently Asked Questions

Below you’ll find answers to common questions about playing slide guitar. Be sure to check out our “Beginner Slide Guitar” course.

“Which slide should I use?”

There are basically two types of slides: metal and glass.

Glass is great for sustain. The heavier the glass the better. You could go the old school route and cut your own slide from a bottle or you could simply go to a music store and spend 5 bucks.

Metal has great attack- especially for electric guitar. Heavy metal slides sound different than lighter metal slides, so it comes down to preference.

You can also use common everyday household items to use as a slide. A lighter will do, or maybe you can find an old pipe that you can fit around your finger.

Ultimately it’s up to you! I suggest you experiment with different slides and find what works best for you. In my “Beginner Slide Guitar” course I talk about different slides and how to use them!

“Which finger should I use?”

Again, this is a personal matter. Many players like to use a slide on their 4th finger to allow them to fret chords, but you can use your 3rd, 2nd, or even 1st fingers to play slide with. Personally, I usually use my 3rd finger to play slide, but sometimes I’ll use my 4th finger. I really depends on which slide I’m using as I have multiple slides to play with.

“Do I need a special type of guitar?”

Nope. You can play slide on just about any guitar. There is one exception: a guitar with very low action. The slide will come in contact with the frets and fretboard which will affect play-ability and add unwanted extra noises.

The way a majority of guitars are set up with suffice, but guitars with higher action will help limit extra noises such as the slide hitting the frets. Higher action means that the guitar is harder to fret with your fingers (for when you’re not playing slide), so it’s really a balance.

“Is slide guitar hard to play?”

No! Slide guitar can easier to learn than playing regular guitar. It’s easy for your slide guitar playing to sound awful if you’re doing it wrong, but if you follow my simple advice outline in the course, you’ll find that playing beautiful, soulful slide guitar a breeze.

You don’t need any fancy equipment, just your guitar and something to serve as a slide. You can buy a slide in any music store (or online) for as little as 3 or 4 bucks.

Be sure to check out our full “Beginner Slide Guitar” course.