How to Play with a Bottleneck Slide in Country Guitar

Learn how to play with a bottleneck slide in country guitar from musician Boo Reiners in this Howcast video.

So here’s a bottle neck slide, there are all kinds of different slides out there. Some are made from a piece of pipe. Some might be made from a ceramic material. This glass slide is really versatile for acoustic playing and electric playing.

Some guys might have taken a wine bottle and chopped the neck off of it and sanded the ends. This is inspired by a medicine bottle, Corzine bottle, and it usually goes on your fourth or your third finger. Some people might play it on your middle finger. This slide is made to go on the third finger because it’s a certain diameter. Some slides have a larger diameter.

Anyway, for now I’ll just use it on my ring finger, my third finger. And there’s certain little licks in standard tune guitar that might be good in country tune if we took the C Major, so that’s our sound right there, we can get a C triad on the fourth, third, and second strings, and sliding into the fifth fret like this, and if I just pick each chord tone, slide into the chord tone and add some vibrato, and then I’ll slide into another chord tone on the third string. And then another on the fourth string. And then I’ll slide into another chord tone further up the second string.

And I think the key to getting this to voice how you want it on the guitar is to use some damping with your spare fingers behind the slide, so these fingers back here are there to sort of keep the string noise at a minimum. You might see some people that don’t play that way at all. Where they’re letting some of the string noise come out, it’s sort of a texture, especially if it’s electric guitar. But for acoustic guitar, it generally brings out more tone, more volume, and more sustain if you can use some damping action behind the slide itself. To get a handle on this a little more, try again to find some melodies that are kicking around your head for your whole life, generally kid’s songs work really well. Here’s a melody you can use to get some of your slide chops together.

We’re in the key of g. You’ll probably recognize this. So I went from the open position and then I did the same melody up here in the close position at the twelfth fret. And you’ve got a lot of the same intervals to work with. I’m using my thumb, index, and middle finger to pick rolls and pick notes and try to get a nice resonant tone out of the guitar, not too much pick noise, not too much string noise or noise from the slide. So it takes a lot of practice but you’ll have a lot of fun with the slide on your guitar.