I'm trying to play a song with lots of slides ("Honky Tonk Women"), and I found myself incapable of producing a convincing sound out of them. Sometimes I don't stop sliding exactly at the fret I'm supposed to (sometimes I stop before, sometimes after), and many times my finger kind of "rolls over" the string while sliding.

What is the correct technique? What are some good exercises to improve it?

  • 2
    Practice more. Start slow. Repeat until correct, then speed up. Mar 30, 2017 at 12:10
  • never heard of this method, gotta try it
    – user36102
    Mar 30, 2017 at 19:14
  • Hey @Aaron. Not sure this should have the “slide-guitar” tag. Surely the “slide-guitar” tag is for using a slide (e.g. bottle-neck) or for playing instruments like lap-steel, rather than for questions about the technique of sliding on guitar (which is done with the fingers). Feb 24, 2021 at 18:29
  • Yep. Just checked the tag itself - not for finger slide technique. Do you want to edit or shall I? Feb 24, 2021 at 18:29
  • @BobBroadley Go ahead. I think I just misunderstood it as a question about alide guitar as opposed to finger slides. (Maybe we need a way -- i.e., a new tag -- to distinguish the two?)
    – Aaron
    Feb 24, 2021 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


Practice the slides in isolation.

Use each finger and practice them on each string, sliding 1 fret, 2 frets, 3 frets and then large slides of 10 frets.

Make the slides slow at first ensuring they sound smooth and there is no break in sound.

Practicing like this is a great way to focus on those weaker areas.

  • Welcome to Music Stack Exchange. We welcome focused on-topic answers and questions, of which your answer above is an excellent example. It's especially good that you provided a link to a site with more topic detail. Again, welcome.
    – L3B
    Apr 14, 2017 at 22:40

I don't think there is a 'correct' or 'wrong' way to slides. As with all techniques, practice makes perfect. Given enough time you'll be able to do 12-fret slides accurately. There's little limitation to how good you can get with practice. Honkey Tonk Women has nothing compared to, say, some Polyphia songs.

You might want to make up some exercises using various fingers and intervals to slide across. For example, on high E sliding up for x frets, sliding up then down for x frets, x up and y down. You can tie it to any melodic line or a lick so you can get used to fluently transitioning from picking to sliding. Use a metronome, of course.

  • I've seen a video lately were a guy suggested to use the thumb as pivot in order to improve accuracy, is this the recommended way to slide indeed?
    – user36102
    Mar 30, 2017 at 19:16
  • @mahatma I've never pivoted or anchored my thumb-, the way I hold the neck barely changes. Accuracy and speed come with practice, there is no way around that. You won't get it right after trying it for the first time, might take several hours or days of practice until you feel comfortable sliding all your notes.
    – vlg
    Mar 30, 2017 at 20:20

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