Dig in with 6 hand picked licks from Andy Aledort’s 30 Beginner Slide Blues Licks You MUST Know. These free online guitar lessons will help demonstrate essential techniques, tunings and concepts that are key components to slide and will help expand your approach to playing blues music. Grab your guitar and get started!

Beginner Slide Blues Lick #2: Slide Simple Too

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Now that you have the basic idea of sliding up to higher notes and down to lower notes on one string, let’s move on to the next logical place by applying this movement to progressively lower strings.

Just as in the first lick, a note is sounded on each downbeat here, but now each successive note moves from the first, to the second, to the third, to the fourth string, sounded with a “slide up” to each of these notes. This lick affords the opportunity to hit each target note properly, and also illuminates the benefit of the open tuning in that the notes of an E major triad (E, B and G#) are sounded when laying the slide across the top three strings at the 12th fret.

Beginner Slide Blues Lick #6: Microtonal Expressions

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This lick is titled “Microtonal Expressions” because throughout the lick the slide is moved in very small increments (less than a half step) in order to provide more of a vocal-type feel and musicality to the sound of the notes. Building on the previous licks in terms of ramping up the complexity, this lick begins with two notes sounded on the first string, but the next three eighth notes are played on three successively lower strings, so you’ll have to deftly move across the strings with clarity and precision.

Another element to look out for is the manner in which I move either up to or down to the notes in constantly alternating fashion as the lick progresses. The phrase ends by first sounding an E root note and then gently pulling the slide back, or flat, about a quarter tone, followed by a vibrato, closing the phrase with a vocal-like timbre.

Beginner Slide Blues Lick #7: IV Chord Love

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A common practice when soloing with a slide is to take a melodic phrase or idea and then transpose it to accommodate each of the chords in the progression. This concept of treating the lick as a “theme” that’s repeated in different keys is one that musicians often use to establish a compositional quality in their solos.

This lick is identical to Lick 6, but here it’s moved down to A, the four chord. It’s executed in exactly the same manner, except we’re now centered around the fifth fret instead of the 12th fret as when the lick was played over an E chord.

Beginner Slide Blues Lick #13: Grease-E

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Let’s stick with this thematic approach for the moment; it’s a great way to build a repertoire of licks while also focusing on a few very specific technical aspects of slide execution. One of the beauties of the open E tuning is that a fifth and flatted seventh can be sounded simultaneously by laying the slide across two strings at the same fret. Over E, this would be the second and third strings at the third fret (or 12 frets higher at the 15th fret). Sounding the fifth and flatted seventh together is a cornerstone of slide soloing and has been used by virtually every slide guitarist ever.

In this lick, I begin with the phrase, sounded by alternately picking the second and third strings while the slide is positioned at the third fret, after which I slide down the neck and move to progressively lower strings.

Beginner Slide Blues Lick #17: Delta Double Stops

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As the name of this figure implies, I utilize two-note figures (double stops) along with single note phrases to create a “Delta blues” type sound. In this example, I play another two-bar phrase repeatedly over the 12-bar progression (resulting in the two-bar lick being played six times). I begin with the slide across the top two strings at the 12th fret, after which I slide down to the 10th fret on the first string, followed by a slide back up to the 12th fret on the second string, and then the phrase ends with a vibrato applied to the A root note sounded 12th fret of the third string. Like open E, one can “hang around” between the 12th and 10th frets while in an open A tuning and find all kinds of great licks.

Beginner Slide Blues Lick #18: Hangin’ Around 12

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Here’s a good example of how to get more out of the 12th-10th fret position when playing in an open A tuning. Let’s expand our lick idea to a four-bar lick, kicking off the phrase on the A root note sounded at the 12th fret of the third string, and then moving down to the lower strings, and then back up to the higher strings, settling once more on the A root note to finish the idea. This lick affords the perfect example of a common slide guitar approach, which is to emulate the sound and feel of blues harmonica. Duane Allman often said that, when playing slide, he was simply trying his best to sound like harmonica great Little Walter.

Dig these beginner slide blues lessons? Download Andy Aledort’s 30 Beginner Slide Blues You MUST Know for much more including tab, notation, and jam tracks!