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How to Choose the Right Guitar Slide For You

acoustic guitar

So you’ve decided to play slide guitar, have you? Perhaps you were just curious after seeing your favorite player don a slide or maybe you were listening to some blues rock and your fingers were itching to emulate the sounds. Whatever the case may be, welcome! Here at Rocky Mountain Slides, we are overjoyed when a musician young or old, inexperienced or experienced, decides to venture into the world of slides. It is our business, passion, and mission to make the best guitar slides the world over and offer them up at a competitive price! That being said, how do you know which one is the right one for you? While it can take years of playing and trial and error to finding the sound you most enjoy—and that process is the fun part, believe us, here are a few questions to get you started.

How Does It Fit?

It doesn’t matter what kind of slide you get, if it’s ill-fitting, that’s no good. Playing guitar is first and foremost about feeling comfortable and being able to concentrate on the music, if your slide is bothering you midway through then it defeats the purpose of enhancing your sound and play.

There are two aspects to a good fit:

  1. Finger Diameter – This measurement is critical to how the slide fits around your finger, too tight and it will be uncomfortable. Too loose and you simply won’t be able to play effectively with it due to the tool sliding on your finger instead of your guitar!
  2. Length – Choosing a length for your slide is also important as it will dictate how you choose to play and fret. Take a look at our handy mini-guide to diameter measurements and lengths over here!

As an aside, remember that the length of your slide of choice is also highly determined by which finger you choose to use the slide on. But really, whatever finger “Feels Best ” to you is always the right choice. It’s about making the tool fit your needs, whatever that is.

Choose Your Slide Type

Now that you’ve got your fit figured out. There are a few factors to consider that differentiate one slide from another.

    1. Weight – Weight or “Mass” plays a part but ids not only aspect in choosing a slide. These Stoneware slides are unique in that Thet offer Density over Mass. What this means is that you get a lighter finger slide that offers lighter weight and can be played on ANY Guitar. A major misunderstanding is that you need a heavy slide to get tone, the slides that I make defy this notion as even our lighter slides can produce dramatic results.
    2. Wall Thickness – While it isn’t always the case, generally speaking, a slide with a thicker wall will most likely also be heavier. This means that slides with thicker walls can be considered to have similar benefits as heavier slides. Overall though, the most important aspect of wall thickness is how it feels to play, and what materials they’re made from. The thicker the wall, the warmer the tone with RMSC slides.

Most Common Slide Materials

The Mass and Density create the sonic properties of your slides tone produces, all end up being most influenced by which material you use, of course!

Some common materials for slides are glass, metals, ceramics, bone, woods, and stone.

Glass – Glass is smooth and light, which leads to a sound as equally smooth and light. For this reason, players who desire more sustain will have to opt for a considerably thicker glass slide to counteract that softness it possesses. *Real Glass (Silica) never use Boracilicate (Pyrex) most “Glass” slides out there is Pyrex!!

Metal – Metal is as expected, much heavier than glass and offers a long sustain and a “harsher” sound that is one option, but with this, you have to make adjustments to your rigs and acoustically you have no choice except what type of metals you use. Steel – very shrill aggressive tones. Brass- much warmer than brass but very heavy on the finger. Aluminum -softer sound, warmer ton but not as loud. Titanium – light and sounds like a cross between steel and Brass but almost the weight of aluminum…but very costly to buy and hard to work with. We offer a flared Aged (heat Tempered)Brass slides in 2 beautiful designs and 2 different spec settings. Balanced and with a comfortable 5mm wall thickness is one choice.

Ceramics – We specialize in custom ceramic slides that are created with several ergonomic features so our patrons can enjoy a much more comfortable and diverse playing experience. Our slides are crafted out of a solid block of Stoneware clay— which is far denser than most clays used in other ceramic slides, which use a clay called “slip”. We take that hunk of Stoneware and wrap around one of our signature glazes which are created in-house. The glazes are comprised of various rare earth elements such as microcrystalline deposits and metals. Due to this, the combination of Stoneware and our custom glazes, high in Silica(Glass)creates a wonderfully diverse range of tonal possibilities.

We have expanded our line to encompass our original Stoneware slides as well as bring on board our “Elements Series” featuring a variety of Real Stone finger slides and tone bars with their own sonic personalities. And with the “Orgains Series”, we are venturing into the worlds of Metals and Alloys creating hundreds of slides that offer an immense and uncompromising range of sound for our musicians to use.

Rocky Mountain Ceramic Slides

So, now that the question of how to choose a suitable slide is out of the way, here are some slides that we offer that can satisfy some different needs.

For those who are looking for a thin and light slide, look no further than the Cochetopa Finger Slide.

cochetopa slide

It has the same outer diameter as our popular Columbine model—which is a great lightweight fit with moderate thickness, but the Cochetopa is significantly thinner and more secure-fitting.

If you’re looking for something with a thin wall but isn’t an ultra-thin model, look no further than our Blues Boy slide model.

blues boy model

Thick Walled Slides

The Shavano is a slide we designed for players who wanted a tighter fit. It has a more traditional feel and suits players with average-sized fingers.

shavano guitar slide

The Salidan has a very thick wall that aids in belting out warmer tones. The inner diameter is the same as the Blues Boy but it is a great alternative if you want a thicker slide.

Custom Ceramic Guitar Slides

With over 17 years of loving dedication to creating custom guitar slides, Rocky Mountain Slides is the best purveyor of these wonderful tonal instruments. Our patrons who have had the pleasure of trying our slides have had nothing but good things to say!

When we set about making our slides, we didn’t want to make slides that are “good enough”, we wanted custom, slides worthy of being called artisanal. Though we preach diversity in the sounds our slides can create, we fully embrace specializing in our craft. That’s why we chose to only create guitar slides because we wanted a better tone tool, and are committed to that ideal.
If you have any questions about our slides or would like to inquire about a custom piece, we’d love to hear from you today. Contact us here or give us a call at (719)-221-1030!

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