Use of Slide When Playing a Single Note


Blues Newbie
I see tabs for slide that have you play single notes. I've never seen a clear description of how this is done. Do I place the slide on all strings, but only pluck the one or do I try to touch the slide to just the string I want to pluck. I've looked around,but can't seem to find a good answer. Maybe the answer is so obvious that no one has ever needed to ask it.

Thanks for any help you can provide.


Blues Newbie
Well it depends on which string. If you are just wanting to play a note on the high e string then you can pull the slide back and angle it so that it only touches that string. For other strings you are going to have to lay the slide further over to cover more than one string and mute the ones you don't want to ring out. You can mute with the fingers of your picking hand, which is why a lot of slide players use their fingers and not a pick.   


Blues Newbie
Thanks for the response. I'm not getting email notifications of replies, so I may have missed yours for a few days.
I understand the point with the high e. I have seen guys touching single strings with slide, but it appears very delicate. Covering several stings, then muting the non-needed strings makes more sense.

Terry B

Humble student of the blues
You're right about the muting Tom. For me, I approach this different whether I'm using open or standard tuning.

In open tuning I'm usually playing chords so it's important to cover all the strings and I use a Dunlop blues bottle slide. Single notes in open are usually something like alternating second, third and fourth strings on the twelfth fret for example, so I would keep the slide covering all the strings and mute the unwanted ones.

In standard tuning I prefer a shorter glass slide that won't cover all the strings but works better for me for single notes, and relying more on palm muting. This might not work as good if you use your pinky for the slide (I use my middle finger) so I think it's important to try different things to see what works best for you. [smiley=wink.gif]