Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #125078  by Jon S.
 Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:58 am
We're adding this song now to my band's repertoire. It will be sung by the other guitarist and he will play the stock rhythm chords. I'm trying to figure out what I want to do on my end. I'm leaning towards playing slide the entire song through. Not on pedal steel but on my regular guitar, probably in regular tuning, but possibly in open E.

Is anyone else here doing it this way? If so, do you have tips or suggestions for sounding best? Thanks.
 #125080  by Pete B.
 Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:54 am
Unless you are a fluent slide player, I would go with the stock non-slide Jerry licks from your favorite version.
One thing I know about playing Slide Guitar and Pedal Steel thru the years is... "The Slide instrument is the instrument most likely to make the whole band sound out-of-tune."
I would go with standard Jerry-esque guitar fills thru the entire verse/chorus/bridges and solo, then kick in the Octave divider on the ending.
 #125102  by Jon S.
 Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:22 pm
Fluent slide player or not, I dig a challenge. I play some slide, mostly Allman Brothers songs. I wouldn't call myself a "fluent" slide player but I've been able to make it work for me by keeping it simple. The best way to grow as a guitarist is to push oneself. My favorite method for learning new techniques is in their real-life application to new songs. Even if I don't sound perfect at first or I try it and fail, the worst possible outcome is I'll fall on my duff, pick myself up, dust myself off, and try something else instead. The other option is I succeed.

Additional suggestions? :smile:
 #125137  by Pete B.
 Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:02 am
If you dig a challenge, seriously, take up Pedal Steel Guitar.
Jer played PSG on alot of songs over the years.
If your thinking of emulating Pedal Steel on slide, you might consider using a volume pedal.
There alot of instructional Slide Books/DVD's/YouTubes that may be of help.
Either way, I'd say... record every second of your slide playing, review the tapes, and countually hone your slide playing ability until it sounds good.
Can you post a clip of you playing slide on LLR or any other songs?
"Ability to play in-tune with the band" is typically the main issue people struggle with.

Other suggestions include... Decide what kind of slide tone you are going for... Duane Allman or Lowell George... these are totally different.
Consider the rig requiered to get either tone, and the 100-1000's of hours of practice requiered to get good at it.
Glass (straight or bottleneck?), Brass, or Aluminum, Ceramic???
What size and which finger will you put the slide on.
Maybe you would prefer a solid slide or a Stevens slide and play over the neck?
Here is a product called "The Slide Rig" you might look into:
A friend of mine makes these slides:
 #125287  by Jon S.
 Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:40 pm
Really appreciate the tips. I have never made and posted clips of myself - all the videos and clips I have are ones others made - I probably should do something about this but it's just not my highest priority.

I prefer my slide on my 3rd finger. I own a ton of them. I normally prefer unplated brass but have a variety of glass and plated (chrome) brass ones, too. One brass one, I forget now where I got it but the top side is filed flat so it fits perfectly against the top part of my 2nd finger and the bottom as a cutaway to allow for easy and comfortable wrist bending - I prefer that one. I also have a very thick and heavy chrome-plated brass one that has glorious tone but it's not as comfortable so I use it less.

I don't like volume pedals. Don't see a need for one anyway. I routinely work my volume knob with my pinky on all of my guitars. For example, faux organ swells through a chorus, Leslie-sounding effect, or whatnot. I'm also a huge Bill Kirchen fan and will confess to having wasted too many hours chasing those dieselbilly truck sounds (Bill wraps different fingers around his volume and tone knobs for that but his hands are bigger than mine, even with flipping my Tele's control plate, I'm afraid it's just the volume knob for me).

Lowell George's tone is beautiful for him but overly squashed for me (no way I'm running two Dynacomps in series) but I don't go necessarily for Duanes' tone of a cranked 50W Marshall, either. I like a bit of clean drive and compression, not to excess.

If I was playing an Allman Bros. tune, say something off of Live at the Fillmore, because the Album's iconic and everyone knows those versions, I'd try to emulate Duane's licks as closely as possible (even though, if you listen to bootlegs from that period, you know Duane didn't himself play identically night to night).

Years ago, I took a slide class at the National Guitar Workshop from Texas guit'slinger Kirby Kelley. For better or worse (both simultaneously), I learned a lot of great techniques for my playing as well as was humbled given his amazing skills. So I think I'm more than a total neophyte but also pretty well grounded in reality with both feet on the ground as to what realistically I can do here.

Honestly, most of the time, I just try to play simple licks that sound good and fit the song. I don't care if it "nails" what the other guy played. So I'll keep playing around with some slide for this song. If the guys and I like it, I'll keep it, if not, I'll do Jerry style riffs probably as you suggested for your original alternate approach.

Thanks again for your suggestions and ideas.
 #125297  by Dwarf Rat
 Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:38 pm
I use a lap steel tuned to open E. So far I use it on Speedway/Smokestack Lightnin', FOTM, and Casey Jones.
 #125318  by Pete B.
 Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:59 am
Thinking specifically about LLR, I would reccomend brushing up on your guitar based Pedal Steel licks. ... tyle-runs/
I could hear that over the solo where it goes to Asus>A.
Listening to the BW Ace version... Maybe put some slow 12 fret slides with alot of delay and reverb on the intro, then add Pedal Steel-ee Bends here and there... and finish with the Octave Pedal guitar part.
Just thinking out loud here... I think forcing slider guitar from beginning to end makes it more about slide guitar and less about the song itself.
Do you have a B-Bender guitar by any chance?
 #125322  by Jon S.
 Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:40 pm
That Arlen Roth video is awesome, Pete. Am at work now but will pull out a guitar at home tonight to play along with the video. One thing I liked about the introductory licks I saw is that most of the bends began within a fret of the reference (not bent) notes. My J-caster is 25 1/2", I don't need too many bend separated by 2 frets or more (I do already know some * but they're a pain). Hear you on not overdoing the slide (see my signature line), I'll give it more thought. I don't own a B-bender but no man should be without a Tele and you can hear mine below.

* examples here