12 Bar Slide Basics #1
This is a basic 12 bar song to get you started with slide guitar. Play along with the video and the Tablature to get started.
Blues players would describe this song as 'twelve bar, key of G'. This would be enough info for a seasoned guitarist to work with. Technically, this is not quite correct. The only chord in the key of G Major, is D7. G7 is actually in the key of C Major, and C7 is in the key of F Major. However, most blues progressions involve dominant 7ths and 9ths, so some liberties can be taken when describing this format. This is an extremely common chord progression for blues songs. Four bars of the one one chord (G7), two bars of the four chord (C7), two bars of the one chord, one bar of the five chord (D7) one bar of the four chord, followed by two bars of what is called the 'turnaround'. There are many standard turnarounds, this is one variation. Blues guitarists have a complete arsenal of turnarounds at their command. Play the first part of the turnaround without the slide, then incorporate the slide where notated. The two eighth notes equalling the broken triplet at the beginning, is a standard way to denote a shuffle or swing rhythm. As opposed to a straight eighth feel (one and, two and, three and, four and), the broken triplet results in a heartbeat sound. Triplets are counted: one and ah, two and ah, three and ah, four and ah. Leaving out the 'and', yields the proper sound.
This song is in standard tuning (although open G tuning would work very well). The tuning low to high is: E A D G B E. Since an open G chord contains the three open strings, D G B, this is a great key for the slide as opposed to retuning the guitar. The slide can remain at a ninety degree angle to the fretboard, that is straight across the frets, to play the desired chord shapes, exactly the same as barring across the three strings. On the fifth fret the resulting chord is C, on the third fret, B flat and on the seventh fret D. The open strings, of course, form a G. Although a pick can be used to play the piece, the preferred technique is the thumb, index and middle finger of the pick hand, or a mixture of pick and fingers, known as hybrid (chicken) picking. I lean to the hybrid technique, as this allows the pick to sound the bottom note (pick held between the thumb and index finger for the fourth string, middle finger for the third string, ring finger for the second string). This is much louder than the thumb (unless a thumb pick is used). Hybrid picking can be difficult at the beginning, but gets easier with practice. Upward sliding is notated with an ascending straight line, and downward with a descending line. At the pick up measure, pluck the open strings, then quickly place the slide on the strings (do not push down on the strings), and slide upwards to the C shape, then downwards to the B flat shape, returning to the open strings. At measure five, slide into the B flat shape, then return to the open G before sliding into the C shape. At measure nine, slide upwards to the B flat, then upwards to the C, and upwards again into the D. All in all, this is a very cool sound!!