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History of Slide Guitar
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Bob Brozman
" Open tunings mean freedom
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Bob Brozman
Bob Brozman (born March 8, 1954, New York, United States) is an American guitarist and ethnomusicologist.
He has been called "an instrumental wizard" and "a walking archive of 20th Century American music. He has recorded numerous albums and has won the Guitar Player Readers' Poll three times in the best blues, best world and best slide guitarist categories. From 2000 to 2005 his collaborations have landed in the European Top 10 for World Music five times. Brozman is well known for his use of National resonator instruments from the 1920s and 1930s, as well as National Resophonic resonator instruments. He also uses Weissenborn style hollow neck acoustic steel guitars. Among his National instruments is a baritone version of the tricone guitar, which was designed in conjunction with him in the mid to late 1990s. This instrument is now part of National's actual range of products.


History of Slide Guitar

The technique of using a slide on a string has been traced to one-stringed African instruments similar to a "diddley bow". The tuning and bend filled playing style resembles the blues-harp.

> See Jack White make a Diddley Bow
> One String Sam

The technique was made popular by African American blues artists. The first musician to be recorded using the style was Sylvester Weaver who recorded two solo pieces "Guitar Blues" and "Guitar Rag" in 1923. Some of the blues artists who most prominently used the slide include gospel singer Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Son House, Robert Johnson as well as Casey Bill Weldon of the Memphis Jug Band. The sound has since become commonplace in country and Hawaiian music. It is also used in rock, by bands such as Canned Heat, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Little Feat, Eagles, and ZZ Top.

> Sylvester Weaver - first known artist to record Slide Guitar

The Rolling Stones featured a slide guitar as early as their 1963 recording of the John Lennon/Paul McCartney song "I Wanna Be Your Man". Guitarist Brian Jones played slide in a very blues-oriented style. His successor, Mick Taylor also displayed his own slide guitar skills while with the band, using a bottleneck on studio recordings and during live performances. Many early Pink Floyd songs such as "See Emily Play" (played with a zippo lighter for a slide), feature Syd Barret's slide guitar performances, reflecting the bands original Chicago urban blues repertoire from musicians such as Bo Diddley and Slim Harpo.


> The 'frying pan', first electric Lap Steel Guitar

Canned Heat's Alan Wilson also helped bring slide guitar to the rock music industry in the late 1960s. George Harrison experimented with slide guitar during the latter half of The Beatles' career, using it on a demo version of "Strawberry Fields Forever". He later used slide extensively during his solo career on songs such as "My Sweet Lord" and Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care", as well as on The Beatles' reunion single "Free as a Bird".

Arguably the first influential classic electric blues slide guitarist is Elmore James, whose riff in the song "Dust My Broom" is copied from Robert Johnson and is held in particularly high regard. Blues legend Muddy Waters was also very influential, particularly in developing the electric Chicago blues slide guitar from the acoustic Mississippi Delta slide guitar. Texas blues musician Johnny Winter developed his distinctive style through years of touring with Waters. Slide player Roy Rogers honed his slide skills by touring with blues artist John Lee Hooker. John Lee's cousin Earl Hooker may have been the first to use wah-wah and slide together.

> History of National and Dobro Guitars

Like Alan Wilson, Duane Allman played a key role in bringing slide guitar into rock music, through his work with The Allman Brothers Band. Duane Allman shows his skill in playing slide guitar in the 1971 live album At Fillmore East and with Derek and the Dominos' Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs album.

Beginning in the late 1960s, Allman used an empty glass Coricidin medicine bottle, which he wore over his ring finger, as a slide; this was later picked up by other slide guitarists such as Bonnie Raitt, Rory Gallagher, Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Joe Walsh, who used his middle finger and later in the mid 80s, switched to a brass slide. Such bottles eventually went out of production in the early 1980s, although replicas have been produced since 1985. including the copy of Allman's slide used by another Allman Brothers member, Derek Trucks, made of Dunlop Pyrex, giving the same sound as the glass slide, without the danger of shattering.

Duane extended the expressive range of the slide guitar by incorporating the harmonica effects of Sonny Boy Williamson II, most clearly in the Allman Brothers' cover version of Sonny Boy's One Way Out, heard on their album Eat a Peach. He made his slide playing sound like an alto saxophone in the band's live version of "You Don't Love Me" on their 1989 anthology Dreams. (During his solo he included a portion of the song "Soul Serenade" as a tribute to his close friend, the then-recently-murdered alto player King Curtis.)

Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson, Lowell George, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Mick Taylor, Duane Allman, Billy Gibbons, Micky Moody, Ry Cooder, Bob Brozman, and Sonny Sharrock are all guitarists who have played a key role in the advancement of the slide guitar's playing style.

Bentonia School, a style of guitar-playing sometimes attributed to blues players from Bentonia, Mississippi, features a shared repertoire of songs, guitar tunings and chord-voicings with a distinctively minor tonality not found in other styles of blues music. While not all blues musicians from Bentonia played in this style, one particular blues player, Skip James (1902–1969), had a distinct, complicated, and highly sophisticated style that veered from typical blues guitar playing. His style became known as Bentonia School. MORE >

Modern examples of slide guitar players who have become prominent slide guitarists in modern rock music include Derek Trucks and Jack White.

> Ben Harper explains why he changed from Bottleneck to Lap Steel style

Most recently lap style slide has been re-born via artists like Ben Harper and Xavier Rudd - both players of weissenborn's, the former using original early 1900s instruments long with modern day variations such as his own co-designed Asher signature model, the latter using modern reproductions of weissenborn.

With thanks to Wikipedia

Books for the Slide Guitarist

The History and Artistry of
National Resonator Instruments

By Bob Brozman - List Price: $35.00
Our Price: $22.43
This book is the standard by which all or any others will be judged.
Every aspect of the National resonator guitar world is comprehensively covered in detail. The book starts with the history of the Dopyera family emigrating from Hungary and setting up a musical instrument repair business in L.A. After the formation of the National Guitar Co. we get a comprehensive discussion of its history including detailed earlydrawings of prototypes of guitars etc. and copies of the patent plans submitted. Every model of instrument made by the company is discussed in detail with reference to the different materials used and the various levels of decoration etc. A qite sizeable section of the book deals with a number of National and Dobro players including Sol Hoopi,Tampa Red, Son House,Blind Boy Fuller et.al..

One Man's Trash:
A History of the Cigar Box Guitar
By William J Jehle
Price: $24.95
William J Jehle, detritomusicologist and cigar box guitar historian, has collected fragments of these forgotten instruments to create the first written history dedicated to these humble instruments. Mr. Jehle’s fascination with cigar box guitars led to a wide-ranging search for any and all artifacts to learn more about these instruments, and this research has yielded a wealth of information that you now hold in your hands. Spanning over 150 years of artifacts, this book is a collection of the history of the cigar box guitar, its origins and its changes in value and perception from the mid-1800s to the present. Mr. Jehle assembles the disparate parts, snippets, one-line mentions, newspaper and magazine articles into a cohesive whole, and, deciding to share his discovery, shares this information with others.

Hawaiian Steel Guitar and Its Great Hawaiian Musicians
By Lorene Ruymar List Price: $34.95
Our Price: $23.07

Compiled & edited by Lorene Ruymar Centerstream Publications Sponsored by the Hawaiian Guitar Association The term Õsteel guitarÕ can refer to instruments with multiple tunings, 6 to 14 strings, and even multiple fretboards. To add even more confusion, the term ÕHawaiian guitarÕ refers to an instrument played flat on the lap with a steel bar outside of Hawaii, but in Hawaii, it is the early term for the slack key guitar. Lorene Ruymar clears up the confusion in her new book that takes a look at Hawaiian music; the origin of the steel guitar and its spread throughout the world; Hawaiian playing styles, techniques and tunings; and more. Includes hundreds of photos, a foreword by Jerry Byrd, and a bibliography and suggested reading list.




History and Artistry of
National Guitars




History of the
Cigar Box Guitar




Hawaiian Steel Guitar







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