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Slide Guitar 101

by Jim Allen

Slide Guitar 101

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For great guitarists, sometimes the fingers God gave them aren't enough to help them realize their vision. That's when an ambitious axemeister often slips a digit into a cylinder and leaps into the lyrical realm of slide guitar. For some players it's a way to elongate their lead lines beyond anything they could otherwise accomplish, and for others the slide is a vehicle for down-and-dirty, slash-and-burn riffing. But when a slide is in the hands of an expert, it can create something completely unique. Historically, the slide guitar has been best known as a part of the blues arsenal, going all the way back to the likes of Robert Johnson and of course the uncontested slide king, Elmore James, and running through to modern-day blues barons like Chris Bergson. But superb slide technique has never been bound to the blues, and you're about to encounter a powerful pile of slide-guitar nuggets from all across the musical map, whether the source is British rock royalty (George Harrison) or American garage-rock rebels (The White Stripes).

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