Watch the Guitar Setup online guitar lesson by Sonny Landreth from Slide Supernatural
A lot of people ask me what they can do to help them learn to play slide guitar, I always tell them that the best thing is to have a separate dedicated guitar. When I was first starting out I had a lot of trouble with low action. I didn’t understand the difference between gauges and strings and the types of slides. Over time I’ve settled on 13-56, which is pretty heavy for regular guitar playing. The heavier strings do two things that I like, they really push a lot of sound out of the guitar acoustically, and they give me the tension I need for playing slide cleanly, I have my action a little higher than a non-slide player would, not only does this help omit buzzes and rattles, it helps when I fret behind the slide. The clearance it gives me makes playing slide much easier. It's also important to take in consideration the weight of your slide, the heavier string gauge allows me to use a heavier slide. I like the sound that this produces. It's important to me that the guitar sounds good acoustically; I like a big loud sound coming from the instrument. I have been working with Fender closely on a prototype guitar using different neck shapes, ones that I feel facilitate playing slide guitar. I love my vintage guitars of course but there are many considerations when traveling with them and performing live. With the help of my friend Steve Blucher from DiMarzio I have settled on the DP181 humbucker in the bridge of my guitars. I really like how versatile it is, and I can cover a lot of territory and get string clarity and definition, and still have a fatter tone that sometimes a single coil won’t give you. Experiment with your own string gauge combinations and see what works best for you.