Slide Guitar Query

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Re: Slide Guitar Query

Postby PaulJay » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:06 am

I like to hear Bob play slide, because I think he has a lot of balls to do it in front of that many people. He is also much better than me. :?
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Re: Slide Guitar Query

Postby Pete B. » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:45 am

fwiw, While I would assume Jerry held/played some sort of Lap Steel or Dobro in his life, I am not aware of any recordings of Jerry playing Lap Steel or Dobro type instruments. Maybe I am forgetting something on a Garcia/Grissman project?
He played Pedal Steel Guitar on 17 studio albums during the 4 years or so he was playing Pedal Steel, mostly with the GD, JGB, Bob Weir ACE, NRPS, CSN and related solo projects, Link Wray, Brewer & Shipley, a few others that I am probably forgetting at the moment.
My favorite Jerry Slide Guitar is on E72 version of Hurts Me Too. Give it a listen.
He also played slide guitar on the studio version of Deal. Obviously some live recordings of various Bobby blues numbers.

A bit of Skullduggery regarding Pedal Steel vs Lap Steel...
Pedal Steel is actually easier to play fluently than Lap Steel, because it has a wider sonic range (more strings), and the pedals/levers make it easy to get all the notes you need for chords and scales.
On a Lap Steel you have to use forward/reverse 3-note bar slants (holding the bar diagnally to the strings), 3-note bar slants where the nose of the bar catches two of three strings on the same fret, behind the bar string-pull raises, etc, to get all the notes you need for scales and chords. Not to mention, many Lap Steels have 2 or 3 or 4 necks to accommodate different tunings, where Pedal Steels typically can host multiple tunings on one or two necks.
"Skullduggery" was also the name of my High School band for a minute there.

Scale length often dictates what your open tuning will be, which often sets Dobro's and Resonators apart form Lap Steels and Pedal Steels.

None of this Pedal/Lap/Dobro stuff has anything to do with standard-guitar-tuning Slide Guitar, really. That's a whole nuther thing.
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Last edited by Pete B. on Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Slide Guitar Query

Postby tatittle » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:47 am

Indeed I like a lot of Bob's accompany/rhythm slide work a lot; as usual he had a totally unique approach and added to the song/band.
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Re: Slide Guitar Query

Postby mgbills » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:57 am

Cool Pete.

I'm not even sure where I'm going with this. I'll probably start with a slide that fits my pinky better. I was playing with your suggestions for chord voicings on the Strat last night. Easy to get the voicings. Hard to slide up and get them clean for the other defining notes. I played with the "A" form bar chords for the ease of minors & 7ths.

I love that pedal steel sound, but it really seems like a steep learning curve. I think you told me you played it for 10 years straight. Are they in open tunings?
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Re: Slide Guitar Query

Postby Pete B. » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:17 pm

You can see Jer using a pinky slide here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBCGLBYlbSo
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Re: Slide Guitar Query

Postby tatittle » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:26 pm

I always found pinky slide more difficult balance wise. I think the primary reason to use it is to keep your fingers free for fretting notes and tricks like Pete described. Probably a good idea to learn pinky from the start if straight leads/fills with a band are not the exclusive goal.
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Re: Slide Guitar Query

Postby tcsned » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:17 pm

tatittle wrote:I always found pinky slide more difficult balance wise. I think the primary reason to use it is to keep your fingers free for fretting notes and tricks like Pete described. Probably a good idea to learn pinky from the start if straight leads/fills with a band are not the exclusive goal.

Yeah, if it's something like Passenger where I need to go back and forth between the slide and the fingers I'll use one of those standard chrome pinky slides, if it's just a slide tune I'll use the Coricidin slide or a ceramic one that I like.

I'm a slide hack, Pete's the real deal. He offers good advice.

Pete, you mentioned something I had not thought about, that the scale kind of dictates the tuning that's best for the instrument. I've got a couple of 50s era guitars, the best is a Gibson Century that seems to be in the 23-22" length. I usually play in G tuning but have strung it C6 - I love that tuning but is kind of foreign to play and I am less that confident moving around the neck in that tuning. Any clues what tunings are best for that scale? It's got an awesome P90 in it that really screams.

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Re: Slide Guitar Query

Postby Pete B. » Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:21 pm

That's a cool looking axe, I am pretty sure it was designed to be tuned to C6, for Western Swing or Hawaiian styles.
You could easily change it to open C7th for a more blues/rock oriented tuning.
Sometimes guys vary string gauges to change keep the string tension balanced while changing the open key, as a way to get around the fixed scale length.
I have to say I am not an expert when it comes to Lap Steel tunings, there are so many. Same goes for Dobro.
I would have to do a Google search on tunings for that scale length and study up on it.

I was a big fan of David Lindley during the Jackson Bowne Running On Empty years, back in high school, late 70's.
There are a few good shots of him here playing a similar instrument to yours.
I think he has it strung up for an open E7th tuning.
Lindley and Brown swap licks on Lap and Slide Guitar (another pink slidey guy) on the outro:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=av3DXCDsABY
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Re: Slide Guitar Query

Postby Grateful Dad » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:09 pm

tatittle wrote:Indeed I like a lot of Bob's accompany/rhythm slide work a lot; as usual he had a totally unique approach and added to the song/band.


You got it right. For the life of me I do not understand why most (if not all) people have a pack mentality and universally condemn all of Bob Weir's slide playing. His lead slide playing has improved over the years, however his accompany/rhythm slide playing is absolutely unique, well though out, and fits in very well with what the other instruments are doing without being overbearing. Examples of his accompany slide playing include Casey Jones, U.S. Blues, Tennessee Jed among other tunes.

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Re: Slide Guitar Query

Postby tcsned » Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:53 pm

Thanks Pete - I love that Lindley era too. I hadn't thought about using a 7th tuning. It is a sweet sounding guitar - I've always been a big fan of P90s. I've got a mid-50s Kay that I was told was manufactured by National with a string-through-pickup design. It's cool but not nearly as sweet sounding, or cool looking as the Gibson. I have a dobro playing buddy I play bluegrass with who came and sat in with my Dead band and played the Gibson through my Twin and it sounded killer. One of these days I'll run it through the SMS-Mac rig at a gig. I need to put together a stand or something to set it on so I can access it easier on stage.
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