Proper Slide Technique

Geir Oien
Mon Jul 21 04:22:24 EDT 1997

> >> As far as proper technique is concerned you and Joe are both
> >> in error. The slide should be on the pinky finger.

Interesting. Now consider this:

According to himself, BB King can't play chords, neither can he
sing and play guitar simultaneously.

Albert King and Otis Rush play lefthanded on right-hand-strung,
upside-down-turned guitars.

Lightnin' Hopkins used basically two riffs for most of his songs.

Jimmy Reed had his wife spell out his lyrics in his ear during
his sessions as he was too drunk to remember them.

John Lee Hooker changes chords whenever it sounds right to him, not
whenever the musical format he plays within tells him to.

CeDell Davis uses a butterknife for a slide,
on what some people consider an out-of-tune guitar.

Pat Hare and Ike Turner used half-destroyed amplifiers to obtain some of
their sounds.

Are all you "correct technique" persons out there completely sure
it is not exactly all these (and countless more) little idiosynchrasies,
technical imperfections, coincidences, variations in taste, technique
and equipment that help contribute to the glorious diversity,
power, excitement, magnetism, beauty of all these strands of music we
call the blues?

I for one wouldn't want all you guitarists, drummers, harp players,
pianists out there to be using exactly the same "correct" technique,
on the technically "best" equipment, in a universally acclaimed and
politically correct "only true blues" style. You would be boring as
hell. Keep, even develop, your own little "errors", it's what makes
*you* different from the others. And never, ever, ever forget that
those of us that treasure blues and related musics because of the
emotional kick it gives us, think you sound pretty pathetic if all you
are striving for are technical means to play more and louder notes and
chords. I'll go listen to Juke Boy Bonner, or Lightnin' Slim,
or JB Hutto, or .... instead.

 - "Lightnin' change when Lightnin' want to."

(Lightnin' Hopkins to a young ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard after the
latter had suggested he changed chords at the wrong time during
a recording session.)

Cheers, Geir (a non-musician who thinks "proper" is a word with no place
in the blues vocabulary).

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