Watch the Slide Materials online guitar lesson by Andy Aledort from Slide Guitar Power
The very first decision to make when picking up slide guitar is what type of slide to use. There are many different materials to choose from, primarily glass, metal and ceramic. Another unusual choice is a Sears Craftsman spark plug ratchet, favored by both Lowell George of Little Feat and Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band. As one could imagine, a metal slide has a sharper, more cutting tone to it; this is specifically why a metal slide is favored by Johnny Winter. Glass slides, such as bottlenecks cut from glass bottles, or small glass bottles such as that favored by Duane Allman (discovered when his brother Gregg brought him a glass bottle filled with a cold medication called Coricidin) yield a much warmer, smoother tone. Ceramic slides are also popular, and used occassionally by players such as Warren Haynes. Personally, I like ceramic slides better for acoustic playing, as the surface is generally rougher than glass or metal.