Most slides seem to be glass. What difference does the material itself make to anything, if any? Copper, stainless steel, brass - or are any other better materials used? For what reasons?

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    I believe the most important characteristic of the material is its mass. You want as little of the energy of the string to dissipate into the slide. Other than that, I've never heard a difference between glass or steel. But I have not enough experience for a complete answer.
    – Jos
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 8:42
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    I wonder whether different materials are partly about friction as you slide? I haven't really tried, but I imagine steel to be less and glass to be more? Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 16:46
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    happybluesman.com/how-choose-right-guitar-slide seems to have a lot to say about tonal characteristics. Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 16:48
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    Probably stiffness (Young's modulus) will play a role: even a heavy rubber will dampen the sound a lot more than a light and stiff (say glass) material.
    – Tom
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 20:37
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    Agree that stiffness & hardness matter, since you only want the slide to force a node on the string at the contact point. The slide will (or should) never be a resonating body. <--, well, unless you want it to act as a sort of megaphone, in which case how you hold it will matter a LOT. I'll add that you could deliberately choose a soft material if you wanted a quieter sound with less of the higher harmonics. Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 21:00

1 Answer 1


In my own experience, the material matters less so than how comfortable the slide feels on your finger.

If it's hard and very much smooth, then glass is as good as copper is as good as steel or aluminum.

Don't concern yourself too much about what somebody else says about the tonal qualities of this material versus that. If it feels really comfortable and intuitive on your finger, you will use it, and you will get really good at it.

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