Slide Guitar in Standard / Dropped D Tuning

Like most, I started playing slide guitar in open tunings. Yes, you can get those big 6 string chords but the layout of the fretboard that I had put so much time into mapping out was gone. So I started looking into playing slide in standard tuning and was amazed to find out that all the flavors—major, minor, major7th, minor7th, 9th, 11th, augmented, diminished— were there in some form or other. (It was in fact exploring the fretboard wearing a slide that I stumbled onto the PlaneTalk 'trick'. I then looked into Dropped-D, just the bass string down a whole tone, and discovered the best of both worlds: half the strings became 'open tuned' but five sixths remained 'standard'. All my landmarks were intact and I have stuck with that tuning ever since. I put together a DVD a few years ago on the art and I also started making my own heavy brass slides.

Slide Guitar DVD

A detailed look at the art of playing slide in Standard and Dropped-D Tunings. Slide is and will always be my favourite way of playing the guitar. It's so free and expressive and that sound! I do it in standard tuning which allows me to play regular guitar wearing a slide on my pinkie so that whenever the whim takes me I can spice my lines with some slide. Over the years I've developed a hybrid style of playing that I talk about at length in the DVD.

Heavy Brass Slides
Guitar Slide

These slides are machined from solid brass to my specs. They have extra thickness at the fingertip end for added mass and they're shorter than the standard length slide as they are specifically designed for playing in Standard or Dropped D Tunings, where there is no need to span the six strings. This makes them more comfortable to wear and gives your other fingers more mobility. They come highly polished, ready for action. 92 grams of pure tone. A longer version is also available for open tuning players.

  Some slide in standard tuning

This improvisation was all played using the PlaneTalk mindset, no scales, no modes, simply 'seeing' the fretboard at all times as an array of chord tones, and picking a path through them all. The beauty of playing slide in Standard Tuning is that you're still looking at the same fretboard layout. Dropping the low string down to D gives you the best of both worlds: half of your guitar becomes 'open tuned' while five sixths remain standard tuning.


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