This past Thursday, I went down to Oxnard to look at a used car. After being told by the owner that the car’s trunk was big enough to store a gun by a very serious man, I took off to the nearby guitar center to waste some time. I ended up walking out with a Gretsch G9220.
Before Thursday, I’d been playing slide on a Yamaha classical guitar with three nylon strings. Needless to say it hadn’t been sounding to authentic. I started playing slide after hearing old slide players like the Texan Blind Willie Johnson. His music literally transcends his genre and even time. The beautiful slide on “Dark was the night, Cold was the ground” is one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded. The loneliness portrayed in this song is one of the many feelings slide can represent.
More modern slide players like Duane Allman take slide and blues to another level by playing in a faster and more contemporary way. Sadly, Duane wasn’t around for too long, but he sure left an imprint on the slide community.
But as modern as slide gets, it still doesn’t get any better than its roots. Muddy Waters was modern, but had slide players on his records that most definitely stayed true to their Delta Roots.
But lastly, if you say slide is too old fashioned and that it doesn’t sound modern enough, be sure to check out Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying”, or even AC/DC’s “Stormy May Day”.