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10 greatest slide guitarists and their preferred tuning(s)!

Y'all come on in and sit a spell. All things Slide and alternate tuning. Celtic, country...whatever. Get your fill of DADGAD, open G and whatever tickles your fancy. Strictly on topic please.

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Postby SlickCat » November 1st, 2007, 9:31 am

Here are some of Sonny Landreths tunings:
A ("This River," "Levee Town," "Soul Salvation")
Am ("Z. Rider")
Asus ("Outward Bound")
C ("Frisco Bay" [which made a rare appearance in the setlist in the Golden Gate City])
Dm ("Broken Hearted Road" [the album version, BTW, is in E-flat minor])
E ("South of I-10," "Native Stepson")
G ("Blues Attack," "Back to Bayou Teche")
Slip___Sliding___Away__________
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Postby ghstflame » November 26th, 2007, 10:12 pm

Jack White, of the White Stripes and Raconteurs
keep moving foward, keep your head up, and wear that smile proud
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Postby art4hire » August 26th, 2009, 8:05 pm

Australia's Jeff Lang. If you YouTube or iTunes him you'll wonder why this gifted artist remains nearly unknown.

Also, Keb Mo. He's got his own style which isn't probably technically correct but man it works. Listen to Am I Wrong...

Peter Mayer - no relation to John Mayer thankfully, is Jimmy Buffett's guitarist extraordinaire. There ain't nothin' he can't play and his slide work is unbelievable though unnoticed if you're not a "parrot-head."

Somebody already mentioned Lowell George but I heartily second that opinion. John Lennon, George Harrison, Alvin Lee, Albert Lee, Son House, Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Stephen Stills, Billy Gibbons, Ben Harper, Cindy Cashdollar, Robert Randolph.

All great names and guitarists but Sonny Landreth is the best of them all!
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Postby Ricochet » August 27th, 2009, 3:39 am

art4hire wrote:Also, Keb Mo. He's got his own style which isn't probably technically correct but man it works. Listen to Am I Wrong...

I think what's "correct" IS what works. Mr. Moore is terrific!
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Postby dogbite » August 27th, 2009, 7:45 am

and John Fahey is one to remember.
Mike Aldridge is one of my all time favorites. he plays an 8 string resonator.
Ben Keith, Neil Young's slide man, not only plays fine pedal steel but is killer on lap steel.
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Postby JohnMalcolm » September 11th, 2009, 6:08 pm

Firstly music is not a competition, and if you listen one musician while thinking about another, you are in no state to appreciate the music as it is.
Secondly, popular music is to music generally, as McDonald's is to food. If you want to find music that really speaks to you, I advise you to look beyond what is attracting crowds, and to try to listen without the internal judgemental critic getting in the way.
That said, this forum is a worthwhile idea if it does more than underline our existing taste, holding it up against other peoples' ideas, and diverting us into conflict rather than harmony and appreciation.
In this spirit I note the omission so far of V.M. Bhatt. You might find his music strange at first, but listen to the subtle mastery.
I don't have time to go right down the list right now, but will quickly mention Ali Fakar Toure, Johnny Winter, Bob Brozman, Kelly Joe Phelps, and if we can include pedal steel, Robert Randolph.
It seems Hawaiian players are being overlooked. The masters of Hawaiian Guitar include Pale K Lua, Joseph Kekuku, Harry Owens, Sol Hoopii, Tony Ku,, Sam Ku West, M.K. Moke, Hanapi, Charles Opununi, Gabby Pahinue, and Charles E. King.
There are probably thousands of great players who will never be heard via the mass media; possibly in your own town, possibly even you.
So don't compare, just appreciate, and remember " If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got."
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Postby JohnMalcolm » September 11th, 2009, 6:22 pm

Ok, I didn't mention tunings, because most of the people I mentioned use a wide range of tunings.
But here are some tunings you can try, transposed or otherwise. Some of them require complete restringing to get even tension.
DADGAD ( see my YouTube effort )
D minor: DADFAD
FACFAC
D6: DADFAB
Bb F G Bb D F for a great "Bar-room Blues" sound on lap steel.

and these are just for 6-string guitars, don't forget!
Beware of getting so caught up in technicalities that you forget how to listen with a loving heart.
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Postby Goldilox » December 12th, 2009, 3:40 am

colin rp wrote:Muddy Waters - standard


Muddy waters early records is all used 'spanish' tuning. From my rusty memory it wasn't until the 60s that he started playing slide in standard and it was the late 70s before he was in standard exclusively.
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Postby cacheseeker » January 22nd, 2010, 6:44 pm

Everyone forgets Joe Walsh, he's pretty good at Open D, Open D, and Standard as well
Billy Gibbons also does a bit of standard, not many people know about the hard rock sliders
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Postby Ricochet » January 22nd, 2010, 9:15 pm

Joe Walsh is awesome!

I'm sure Billy G. does some open tuning sliding as well.
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Postby AC50 » October 6th, 2010, 6:53 pm

Billy Gibbons plays "Just Got Paid" in open E. "Apologies to Pearly" sounds like it's in open E, but then there are parts that sound like non-slide playing in standard tuning. Maybe he dubbed those parts in? Don't know for sure. I believe "Tush" is in standard tuning.
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Postby Rahul » October 10th, 2010, 4:28 am

This version of 'Tush' is awesome - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_M6NkfNFsA

Looks like Billy is doing his slide in standard tuning only (considering the backing riff).
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Postby AC50 » October 10th, 2010, 6:40 am

Rahul wrote:This version of 'Tush' is awesome - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_M6NkfNFsA

Looks like Billy is doing his slide in standard tuning only (considering the backing riff).


I'm sure it is. This is the one that baffles me. Starts off sounding (to me) like open E, but as the song progresses it sounds like standard tuning. Try playing it, you'll see what I mean. What do you think is going on?
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Postby mystique » October 13th, 2010, 7:29 pm

First of all forget the concept of "favorite tuning". The best players just tune to what they need and sounds good. And they don't even need guitar tuners to do it. They can just hear that it's right. That being said, some of the most common tunings are the majors, mostly D, G and C. Here are my top 6 ... with room to throw in your own top 4 just to make it personal.


#1 - DAVID LINDLEY ( Solo, studio & touring artist - Dave is No.1 )
#2 - LONESOME DAVE PEVERETT ( Foghat )
#3 - MANNY CHARLTON ( Nazareth )
#4 - BILLY GIBBONS ( ZZ Top )
#5 - McKINLEY MORGANFIELD ( Muddy Waters )
#6- BONNIE RAIT ( Solo Artist )
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Postby m w guthrie » December 19th, 2010, 1:57 am

I've always liked the following slide players:
(Sorry, more than 10, couldn't narrow it any further. Some posters didn't include 10, so it averages out, right?)

George Thorogood
Joe Walsh
Jimmy Page
Jeff Beck
Robert Johnson
Elmore James
Albert King
Bukka White
Duane Allman
Kokomo Arnold
Ry Cooder - great album: Meeting by the River (with Indian slide guitar player Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, another great)
Leo Kottke
Jeff Healey

I think most/all of the above have been mentioned, including tunings. BUT, I can't believe that since this thread originated in '07, nobody has yet mentioned one of my all-time favorites:

Mississippi Fred McDowell! (Pretty sure he uses open G (video below), not sure if he played or recorded with other tunings.

Probably a "simpler" style than many of the other players mentioned, but his music just speaks to me (talkin' direct line to the soul!). Even more than most/all of those same "more technical/proficient" players. Just goes to show...

GREAT video of Fred playing "Goin' Down To The River" here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TyzAAwJnIw

If you like slide guitar and your not familiar with Fred, or even if you are familiar but haven't seen this video - you owe yourself to take the 3 minutes to watch!

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