Where To Start
Our founder, Kip Easton, is passionate about slide guitar music. Here is his advice for slide players just starting out.
Tips for Getting Started
Typically, guitars with higher actions and heavier gauge strings will be easier for slide playing, and you can get away with a larger/heavier slide (which typically improves tone & sustain).
Unless you’re aiming for hip ‘microtonal’ notes, you’ll be aiming to play in tune. So place the slide over a fret - make solid contact with the string, but not so much that the string hits the fret. Try to keep the slide in line with the frets.
Let the fingers behind the slide rest on the strings gently to mute any unwanted noise.
Listen carefully, and unless you’re aiming for cat-like noises, try to avoid them by watching your tuning & intonation.
To get started, try playing a simple melody you know well on one string - Happy Birthday, for example.
Keep in touch with us on our social media pages for demos, tips, inspiration and more.
Which slide do I need?
Slides are usually worn on the ring (4th) finger or pinky (5th). It needs to feel secure and controlled, but not so tight that you can’t remove it easily.
We provide measurements in millimetres, not ring sizes - you don’t want it to fit as snug as a ring! Personally, I wear my slides on my 4th (ring) finger. Wearing on the pinky leaves more fingers available for fretting other notes when you’re not sliding, but I think you sacrifice a little control over the slide.
Here’s my purely personal guide to choosing the right type of slide.
Ceramic has a certain pureness about the tone and really cool sustain, as we generally use quite thick walls. Of course, this can mean they are trickier to use - especially for a beginner.
Glass is a great all-rounder; lighter than ceramic, but still with good sustain, and available in a variety of wall thickness so you can choose a better balanced slide for your personal requirements.
Steel & aluminium slides give a brighter tone. They’re thinner walled, lighter and easier to control. They give a little more ‘noise’, great for authentic vintage gnarlyness! They give less sustain, but still a great sound, especially at high volume. Aluminium has a slightly softer edge to the tone than steel.
Ultimately, you may find one slide doesn’t cut it for everything you want to do, so you may want a selection to choose from. That’s why we offer so many. And there’s a handy case available to keep them in too.
We’ve spent a lot of time making sure that our slides are as consistent as possible, but small fluctuations may occur, especially on ceramic slides.
All of our slide lengths are either 60mm (Long), which covers most of the fretboard, or 42mm (Short), which is more useful if you’re doing some finger fretting while also playing slide.
The numbers in our product codes give you the inner and outer diameter sizes in millimetres. For example, 2024 means 20mm inside, 24mm outside, with a 2mm wall thickness.
After getting frustrated with so many slides on the market being so small, we did create some cool larger sizes, especially in the Ceramic range.
Even the heaviest rocker likes a bit of comfort sometimes, right? Or perhaps you’ve experienced slides which are just slightly too big sometimes? Enter the INNER SLEEVE.
The inner sleeve is is an option on many of our products. It’s a specially selected cushion Neoprene liner for your slide. It feels amazing! And it gives you extra control over the slide, enabling you to use a larger slide than normal, and still have it fit comfortably with no wobble.
Looking After Your Slides
Please bear in mind that, you know, glass can break. So can ceramics. And metal can scratch sometimes. Handled with a degree of care, however, your slides can last a lifetime. All 12Bar Slides are sold in carefully designed plastic-free packaging so that your slide is perfect when you buy it. Every slide has a velvet bag included for carrying it around. We also offer a range of cases for the ultimate in protecting your slides.
These guides are not rules - we don’t have any of those here. Some of the greatest musicians ever got their sound by ignoring the so-called rules - especially when it came to slide guitar. Have fun! (Ok, so there is one rule…)
That's it. If you have any other questions that we haven't addressed on the website, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Now saddle up, get inspired and make some noise!