Comparison: 5 Guitar Finger Slides For Acoustic Or Electric Playing

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Here Are Five Common Guitar Slides Which Offer A Variety Of Potent Tonal Tendencies

How do you determine which type of guitar slide provides the best sound? Some legendary slide musicians, including Duane Allman and currently Ry Cooder, only use glass on their fingers while others, such as celebrated bluesmen Johnny Winter and Muddy Waters, favor metal. Then there are six-string prodigies like Leo Kotke, who prefer brass. Whether it’s acoustic or electric playing, each guitar slide produces a distinct tonal character.

We looked at an assortment of guitar slides and evaluated their size, material construction and tonal character by road testing them on an acoustic National Steel Tricone resonator and an electric Delaney Guitars solid body, equipped with Cream T pick-ups, plugged into a Fender Blues Junior amplifier and run through a Boss DS-1 distortion pedal. Review our ratings and then compare the results for yourself.

Blooze Bottle
Glass w/ lip
Dunlop™ 218
Glass
Dunlop 228
Chromed brass
Rocky Mountain Slides - Blues Boy
Ceramic
The Rock Slide
Brass
Blooze Bottle Guitar Slide - GlassDunlop 218 Guitar SlideDunlop 228 Guitar SlideRocky Mountain Slide - Blues BoyThe Rock - Guitar Slide
Price: $3.49Price: $5.99Price: $8.95Price: $19.95Price: $24.95
Length:
Short
Size: 19mm x 31mm x 51mm
Length:
Short
Size: 20mm x 29mm x 51mm
Length:
Short
Size: 19mm x 27
x 51mm
Length:
Standard (long)
Size: 22-24mm x 61-63mm
Length:
Medium
Size: 19mm x
57.8mm
Material: New glass (not Pyrex)Material: Boron silicate (Pyrex)Material: Brass w/chrome exteriorMaterial: Glazed ceramic Material: Plain brass
Thickness:
Medium
Thickness:
Heavy
Thickness:
Heavy
Thickness:
Medium
Thickness:
Heavy
Color: AmberColor: ClearColor: MetallicColor: Bayou Blue (available in assorted colors)Color: Brass
Tonal character: Lighter warmth and finesse than Pyrex but a bit more fragile.Tonal character: Warm midrange, slightly more subdued than metal.Tonal character: Bright, lots of sustain.Tonal character:
Brightness as well as warmth.
Tonal character:
Superior sustain.
Application: Preferred by electric players but can also be used on acoustic.Application: Acoustic and electric.Application:
Great with acoustic and electric.
Application:
A favorite with electric axes .
Application:
Used by many acoustic players; also fares well with electric.

Blooze Bottle: Glass w/ lip

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
It’s supposed to resemble a miniature Coricidin™ bottle, almost like the one used by Duane Allman. The only problem is that its closed end design lends itself to moisture build-up inside the slide, which can become slippery. Though cool looking, the lip takes a little getting used to.

Dunlop™ 218: Glass (Pyrex)

Rating: ★★★★☆
Slides like the 218 have made Dunlop an industry favorite. Sturdy construction and a consistently reliable response on both acoustic and electrics make this a winner.

Dunlop™228: Chromed Brass

Rating: ★★★★☆
Dunlop’s 228 is another reason why the company is mentioned twice in this article. Some players think gritty metal-on-metal is the best approach to acoustic or electric slide playing. When you consider the 228, they may be right.

Rocky Mountain Slides: Blues Boy (ceramic)

Rating: ★★★☆☆
When it comes to contemporary slide players who live to play electric, many insist ceramic is the premiere finger slide. Its greatest attribute is the way unwanted overtones are tamed. Once players switch to ceramic, they find it hard to go back to either glass or metal.

The Rock Slide: Brass

Rating: ★★★★☆
“The Rock” may not be a household name when it comes to guitar slides; however, there’s no denying its rich sustain and rounded metal character. There is something traditional yet compelling about the yellowish hue of brass slides. This one is no exception.

There are numerous finger slides on the market. Most are interchangeable, between acoustic guitars and electric ones, while some may work better with others. Though a slide is a small investment, it can add greater dimension to any player’s repertoire.


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Paul Wolfle

As a vintage and contemporary music enthusiast, guitars dominate Paul’s life. He plays slide in open tunings on a National Steel Tricone resonator and electric blues, in standard tuning, on an assortment of other instruments including his white Fender Stratocaster.

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