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Slide guitar is one of the most distinct and captivating ways to play your guitar. Whether you’re a bluesman, a rock and roll fan, a folk singer, or have interest in any other form of music, a ceramic slide can bring serious texture and character to your songs. Finding the right slide for you can definitely open up a whole new world of sounds and styles for your guitar. Slide guitar was originally made popular by blues musicians such as Sylvester Weaver in the early 1920’s, but has grown to find a place everywhere from Hawaiian traditional music to gospel music. Artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh, Billy Gibbons, Gary Rossington and countless others have all crafted some of their signature riffs with a slide. For all the work they do, ceramic slides are actually pretty simple pieces of equipment. Essentially a slide is a sheath that slides over your finger (usually your ring, middle, or pinky, depending on preference) or fits in the palm of your hand. It is then placed on the guitar strings with the intention of altering its vibrating length and pitch. The slide can be moved up or down the string, creating seriously expressive vibrato. Now that being said, while all ceramic slides do the same job, that doesn’t mean there aren’t differences between them. Slides come in a variety of different sizes, textures and thicknesses. Thin ceramic slides minimize fret buzz and provide their own unique tone, while thicker slides can offer warm tone and great presence. When shopping for a ceramic slide, you should definitely keep in mind the size of your fingers; you don’t want your slide to be too tight or too loose while you’re playing. Because each ceramic slide can alter your guitar’s sound in subtle as well as major ways, there’s definitely room to experiment with different makes and styles. That is part of the joy of adding a new style or accessory to your musical repertoire. When you find the right slide for you, adding it to your next great original or cover song will definitely bring the music to life in whole new ways.
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