Friday, September 01, 2006

STL Rising-STL Music

STL is a music town. It's a blues town. Our music scene is not as organized as say Nashville or Austin. But it's here, and it's getting more notice.

Playing the blues sounds great with slide guitar. And slide guitar is easier than it sounds. Almost anyone can do it.

Here's an easy way to start:

Open tuning is the key to easy slide playing.

For a fun and simple slide tuning, try tuning your guitar as follows:

E (standard first string guitar tuning)
C (1/2 step above standard "B" second string)
G (standard third string tuning)
C (1 step below standard "D" fourth string)
G (1 step below standard "A" fifth string)
C (2 steps below standard "E" sixth string)

With your guitar thus tuned, you are playiing an open "C" chord.

When playing with a slide, all your notes will be following an open chord format, so easier harmonies are produced.

Accompany a rhythm musician playing the blues in "C", and in no time you will sound like an old school STL blues side player.

The other secret to playing slide guitar most people don't tell you is this: when playing with the slide or bottle or whatever you're using to "barre" the strings, hold a finger down lightly on the strings behind the slide (toward the tuning head of the guitar).

See the picture above. The guitarist is doing it differently. If her index finger were held down on the strings, "behind" the slide, she would be able to better control the slide effects. To her credit, she's probably lifting and pressing her index finger to gain even more tone variation.

1 comment:

stlmark said...

Ron Wood from the Faces and Rolling Stones is one of my favorite slide guitar players.

2 of St. Louis' treasured sons are alive and kicking the blues. Bennie Smith (my fave STL Blues Man) and Jay Farrar from Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt fame made two of the greatest rock/blues records in Trace and Okemah and the Melody of Riot.