Problems with sliding


#1

When I try to slide, my left hand “twists” when I reach the 3rd fret or so. I have a picture of how it looks. It might be a little hard to see on the picture, but my index finger twists to the left, and it mutes the string instead of making a lower sound. When I just play on the first frets my finger doesn’t twist, only when I slideMaybe I just have to short arms? Or is it just practising?


#2

Is this when you’re sliding from, say, 1st fret to 3rd fret?

Slide struggles are almost always an issue with touch and pressure with the left hand.
Have you tried sliding with your middle finger and 1st finger together? Index finger right behind the middle finger, and applying pressure with both?
Sometimes that can help get the pressure needed.

Also, that can happen if you are applying too much pressure during the actual sliding part of the slide. The pressure is strong at the beginning and end of a slide, and there’s a magic-not-too-hard-just-enough-to-get-sound-not-so-much-you-weigh-and-slow-your-hand-down point of pressure for the sliding part.

Hope I understand the nature of the problem, and that this helps a bit!


#3

It’s more when I slide from, for example, the 12th fret to the 1st fret. I think you are right that it’s about the right pressure at the right time. I guess that it is just to do it until it sounds great! :slight_smile: I actually find it easier to slide with my middle finger, it doesn’t twist as much. But I will keep practising to slide smoothly with my index finger!
Thanks! :smile:


#4

Hey @pnbagger, thanks for posting the photo, that really helps! Yeah looks like you might be applying a little too much pressure, which is giving you too much friction when you slide, which is making your hand “catch” on the neck too much.

It might get a little easier when you have more callused fingertips too, since they’ll glide on the strings more.


#5

Okay, thanks. I think it is hard to find the magical-pressure-point, because when I try to add a little less pressure, I mute the string. But I will keep practising! :slight_smile:


#6

Another factor to play with: speed of slide.
How long you stay on the note you start on, and how quickly you slide to the note at the end.
The speed of the slide can really affect how much pressure is needed.
Quick slide = teeny bit of pressure
Really long and pronounced slide = needs pressure.

Most of the slides and slidey-tricks are smoother and quicker - so maybe check that?

Annnnd… practice forever!!


#7

Oh, I didn’t think about that! But it is not very often you need a “slow slide” I guess?


#8

No - not often at all - but in my experience with students, there’s often such an intense focus on executing the slide part of the slide, that they press too hard and take too long.
I try and explain it, in those instances like this:

Sliding is just being lazy with the left hand.
Instead of picking it up and moving it to the next spot, you just leave it and drag it… but you do it with all of the focus on the landing / the next thing to play. The slide itself is a Zen moment of doing a thing while not doing a thing.

The more it feels relaxed and dragg-y, and not like you’re really trying to DO a SLIDE… it’s usually easier and smoother.

Having said that - there are, of course exceptions. There are the big-bass-intro-fill slides that have to be huge and extremely intentional. …but before you learn those, you have to learn how to play in super tight-fitting clothes, and with one leg up on a monitor, and you have to master some serious bass-face techniques.


#9

Haha, yeah that sounds cool!
And I really love the feeling of doing a slide that doesn’t sounds okay! I have found out that I find it a lot easier to slide with my middle finger, so I hope that’s acceptable in the bass-world.


#10

Absolutely.

Call it “The Bird” and really exaggerate it!

Happy sliding!


#11

Thanks!
(Whoops, that became a mix of (doesn’t sound so bad" and “sounds okay”. Confusing)