When you do a guitar slide, you do nothing else, except slide to your destination note on the given string.
Using slides effectively adds texture to lead guitar solos. This, just like with other lead guitar techniques, such works best when combined with other techniques, such as vibrato, bends, etc.
You can slide up, or slide down to the given note, it makes no difference from the point of view of the technique itself, but all the more difference in the riff you are playing, or the effect you are looking to accomplish.
Sliding looks easy, but it takes a fair amount of practice, especially when doing slides over 3 or more frets, since beginners sometimes find it hard to land their slides at the desired fret. This is perfectly normal. As with all new guitar techniques, sliding needs practice.
There are basically 2 main methods of using slides, each having its own role to play.
Slide Within a Solo
When you slide within a riff, you are sliding in between 2 notes. Why would you want to do that?
- To give the riff more texture, as sliding up or down to a note can make it more harmonius. This of course depends on the riff. You can also slide holding more than 1 string down at the same time.
- To place your other fingers into the best possible position for the following notes of the riff, ready for the next part of the solo.
- To link up different scales on the fretboard.
Big Slide Just for the Effect
You can carry out a big slide, either at the end of your solo, or right in the beginning. Why? Because it sounds great, and it adds an extra feel to your playing.
Many people ask where you slide from, and where you slide to? You’ll usually want to start the slide in a note of the given key, if you want to slide into the solo. If you want to end the solo with a big slide, than it really doesn’t matter, usually the bigger the slide, the “grander” the emotional effect.
Guitarists use big slides to end their solos very often, usually followed by a few moments of no playing to let the string ring out, further increasing its grandness.
By BIG slide, I do mean BIG. A good example is Slash’s cover of the Godfather theme, where slash slides from fret 10 all the way down to the neck of the guitar. This is something you have to listen to, to be able to really appreciate it.
Check out this video tutorial on guitar slides, where you can really learn the power of the BIG slide.