Best Guitar Slides of 2019 – Complete Round-up

If you are passionate about blues, you will have dreamt about the perfect guitar slide, which allows you to reach those dreamy bluesy notes...

Whatever brought you here, curiosity or need, here’s an extensive introduction to guitar slides, what they are, how to buy them, which one is the best, and how to use it. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Guitar Slides

Product

Rating

Price

Ernie Ball Glass Slide

Ernie Ball Glass slide, Medium

Best Overall

Fender Brass Slide

Fender Brass Slide, Fat Large (FBS2)

Runner-up

Fender Steel Slide

Fender Steel Slide, Standard Medium (FCSS1)

Best for the Money

Dunlop 223 Brass Slide

Dunlop 223 Brass Slide, Medium Wall Thickness, Medium Knuckle

Best Slide for Electric Guitars

Dunlop 224 Brass Slide

Jim Dunlop 224 Brass Slide, Heavy Wall Thickness, Medium

Best Slide for Acoustic Guitars

What is a Guitar Slide and What is it Used For?

A guitar slide is a guitar technique most likely encountered in the blues genre. This technique typically involves a hard object, such as a wine bottleneck to slide over the strings instead of fingers. Traditionally it was a bottleneck, which evolved into metal pipes. However, nowadays, many other materials are used to make the guitar slide. 

The main result of using a guitar slide is that you can create glissando effects and deep vibratos. The guitar slide has a tubular appearance and is placed on one of your fingers. Then, you pluck the strings while the slide is moved across them, changing the pitch. The main advantage of the guitar slide is that the notes are not fixed in pitch, but can move around from one another, which gives the slide guitar a unique sound. 

How to Choose a Guitar Slide

Before you go out and buy a guitar slide, you need to know what to look for. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Good Fit

When you choose a guitar slide, you first need to decide which finger you will use. For first-timers, the most common is the ring finger, since you can easily use your middle and pinky fingers to support the weight. On the other hand, you could also consider a slide for your pinky, because you have three other fingers which can be used on chords and fretting. 

In addition to this, the perfect slide should cover the two knuckles of your finger slightly, so it will not fall down and can still be easily used without additional support from pinky and middle fingers. This can be tricky because slides are handmade and all sizes different, especially between manufacturers. However, here is a quick guide to sizing:

Small — Ring size 4–7.5

Medium — Ring size 8–10.5

Large — Ring size 11–13.5

Extra Large — Ring size 14–16

Thickness

The thickness could be quite crucial for some guitar players. If it is not still obvious, here’s why: the thicker the wall, the less you feel, while a thinner wall will allow you to feel the strings better. Generally, this is important for electric guitar players, and they should go for thinner slides to be able to focus on their effects chain. 

Weight

The weight is very important, not only for playability, but also for tone. Heavier weights have warmer tones, more volume and sustain, and less buzzing. A heavy guitar slide should not be the first choice if you are a novice because it might be quite challenging to manipulate, and will not have many benefits. Instead, try to look for lighter ones, especially if you have lighter strings or lower action. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Guitar Slides

Keep reading to find out more about the best guitar slides. 

​Best Overall:
Ernie Ball Glass Slide

Ernie Ball Glass slide, Medium

PROS

  • Clear, Smooth Tonal Voice
  • High-Quality 4 mm Thick Glass
  • Matches Any Playing Style
  • Makes Crisp Sounds With a Silky, Bluesy Tonality
  • Easy to Use, Perfect for Practicing and Beginners

CONS

  • Quality Control Issues
  • Sizes Seem to Be Inconsistent and No Diameter is Given

What Recent Buyers Report

This product is remarkable; the glass is of good quality and it makes beautiful, crisp sounds. The medium size is perfect for most musicians. However, it also comes in small and large versions, so it is a good fit for any guitar player. Overall, this product has quite a warm tone and is worth checking out.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Ernie Ball Glass Slide is our top choice for a guitar slide due to its high-quality borosilicate glass, which provides a durable and smooth gliding surface. The bright and smooth tonal voice, 4 mm thickness, and 58 mm length (medium size) make the perfect combination for your guitar.

Who Will Use This Most

Both professionals and novices can use this slide. It is high quality, easy to use, and the silky sounds can be a real asset to any performance. It is highly affordable, therefore, you might want to check this product out if you enjoy bluesy sounds.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Ernie Ball Glass Slide is an excellent option if you are looking for a high-quality, resistant glass slide. Made of glass, it comes in three size variations and adds the extra silky touch and crisp sounds to your performance. With its high affordability, it is worth a try!

Runner-up: 
Fender Brass Slide

Fender Brass Slide, Fat Large (FBS2)

PROS

  • Full, Warm Tones
  • Good Fit for Most Players
  • Long-Lasting Brass Finish
  • Has a Thick Wall Which Enhances Playability
  • High-Quality, Prompt Delivery, and Excellent Customer Service

CONS

  • No Dimension Specifications
  • Might Be Heavy for Some Guitar Players
  • No Rattle/Buzz Sound Specific to Lighter Metal Slides/Glass Slides

What Recent Buyers Report

The slide is made of metal and is extremely high-quality and durable. No problems have been reported with this product and the brass finish is long-lasting. In addition to this, the thick wall allows anyone to slide on the guitar without much effort. It is enjoyable and adds the extra touch to your performance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Fender Slide lives up to usual Fender quality. It has a thick wall, which makes it possible to slide guitar without applying too much pressure. It is sturdy, large enough to fit anyone, and is an excellent addition to your performance.

Who Will Use This Most

This is perfect for guitar players who are not a fan of glass slides, as the product does not have the same rattle/buzz sounds. It is well-made and easy to use. Therefore, it is great for both novices and professionals. Additionally, it comes in both small and large sizes, so there is a fit for anyone!

Bottom Line

Overall, the Fender Brass Slide is well-made, good quality, and is long-lasting, even with professionals playing guitar on a full-time basis. This is also the perfect fit for you if you want to experience around with your guitar. The slide is made to last and seems virtually indestructible.

​Best for the Money:
Fender Steel Slide

Fender Steel Slide, Standard Medium (FCSS1)

PROS

  • It Has a Ringing Sustain
  • Smooth and Extremely Durable
  • Works Well With Classical Guitars
  • Deep Steel and High-Quality Chrome
  • Beautiful, Bright Sounds With Sweet High-End Tones

CONS

  • Sizes Not Displayed
  • Not Nickel-Plated Inside (Metal)
  • Some Prefer Glass Slides Instead of Metal

What Recent Buyers Report

This slide is made of extremely durable steel, which has impressive sweet tones. It is affordable and easy to use, as you can easily slide it between frets with ease. It is portable and great for the gigging musician. It is also highly versatile, as it matches perfectly with blues, rock, pop, and country.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Fender Steel Slide further promotes the well-known Fender quality in this virtually indestructible slide. The high quality of the materials is also evident in its performance, sweet tones, and versatility. The crisp, bright sounds are a great addition to any guitar sound, both classic and contemporary.

Who Will Use This Most

This is best for anyone who wants to try out guitar slides. It is portable and versatile, blends in with numerous musical styles and genres, and gigging musicians or professionals can use it. The bright sounds add the missing ingredient to your performance.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Fender Steel Slide is durable, reliable, and creates beautiful, bright sounds with a sweet touch to them. It is easy to use, affordable, and does not take much practice to learn its intricacies.

Best Slide for Electric Guitars:
Dunlop 223 Brass Slide

Dunlop 223 Brass Slide, Medium Wall Thickness, Medium Knuckle

PROS

  • Perfect for Medium Knuckles
  • Full, Bright, and Resonant Tones
  • Great for Vintage Delta Sounds
  • Gritty Tones and Comfortable Weight
  • Highly Versatile and Matches Blues and Many Other Music Genres

CONS

  • Dimensions Vary
  • Misleading Specifications
  • Only Covers 2 Strings at a Time

What Recent Buyers Report

The slide has high functionality, especially on electric guitars, but it also works perfectly with acoustics. The slide is the perfect length for most guitar players and the dimensions often fit well. It is effortless to make bluesy sounds and the materials are high-quality and durable.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Dunlop 223 Brass Slide is the perfect choice if you are chasing a vintage tone, with bright, resonant tonality. The weight is balanced, which increases guitar playability, and it can be worn for extended periods of time. It offers increased control and it is versatile, matching different playing styles and music genres.

Who Will Use This Most

This brass slide is perfect for any musician. For novices, it is easy to use due to its relatively lightweight construction so the slide can be easily used for long hours of practice. Moreover, professional players can also use this guitar slide with ease.

Bottom Line

Overall, this slide is perfect if you enjoy higher control over patterns and fingering. The gritty, bright, and cutting tones have great sustain and the slide itself is relatively lightweight and easy to use. It makes excellent, bluesy sounds.

Best Slide for Acoustic Guitars:
Jim Dunlop 224 Brass Slide

Jim Dunlop 224 Brass Slide, Heavy Wall Thickness, Medium

PROS

  • Thick-Walled Brass Slide
  • High-Quality and Durable
  • Improves Glissando Attacks and Vibrato
  • Best for Acoustic Guitars Due to Larger Size
  • Bright and Resonant, With Full, Vivid Sounds

CONS

  • No Return Policy
  • Heavier Compared to Other Slides
  • Dimensions Are Not a Perfect Fit 

What Recent Buyers Report

The Jim Dunlop 224 Brass Slide is slightly heavier compared to other glass slides. However, this is a slight drawback compared to the magnificent full sounds. Another main benefit of the weight is that it improves glissando attacks and vibrato, giving the impression of more physical playing.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is another one of the top guitar slides on the market. It has a thick wall with impressive breadth and fullness of the tonality. It is suitable for both electric and acoustic guitars and its hefty weight is well-balanced. Easy to play, this slide is still considerably more substantial compared to other options.

Who Will Use This Most

This would be best for professionals, as it tends to be heavier than other models on our list. On the other hand, this drawback is perfectly balanced by its great, full tones, which are worth it. With practice, the heavy weight can be overlooked and is a definite improvement over other lighter glass slides.

Bottom Line

Overall, this brass slide is perfect for anyone who is up to a slight challenge. The slightly heavier weight is perfectly completed by better glissando attacks, vibrato, and fuller vivid sounds. Additionally, you need to make a firm decision before purchasing this because the company has a no return policy.

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Guitar Slide

Here you have a shortlist of the major wins of choosing one of the guitar slides presented above. 

Quality

First of all, the guitar slides above are made to last. The materials used in their manufacturing are sturdy, even though they are all metal or glass. They are all reported to be indestructible. Thus, it is easy to see why they earned their place on our list. In addition to this, the better the quality, the better sounds it will make. You do not want to invest in a guitar slide which starts to peel off shortly after you use it a few times. 

Affordability

Another win of investing in our list is, of course, affordability. Even though they come in slightly different price ranges, all of them are relatively cheap compared to ‘high-end’ products. On the other hand, we ensured that their features are top-quality, on-par the most expensive branded products, however coming at an affordable price. 

Bluesy Tones

Probably the reason you are here is that you are longing for that bluesy tone which makes you guitar sound similar to a steel one. Even though you go for glass, brass, or any other material, we have ensured the tonality will be top-notch and will help you achieve the extra touch in your performance or help you discover new play styles, if you are a novice. 

Types of Guitar Slides

The most common guitar slides are made of glass, metal, or ceramic. Here is a short description of each of them:

Glass

Historically, the guitar slide was called a ‘bottleneck’ because, well, that was precisely what it was. All slides used to be cut from the top side of the wine bottles. Thus they only existed in glass forms. This offers the shortest sustain and warmest tone, with a smooth glide across the strings. This is also the most fragile of them all, so you might want to pay extra attention when handling. But, no worries! Our list includes a thicker, more impact-resistant model, so you are completely covered. 

Metal

These slides can be made of either steel or brass. Compared to the first type, they are significantly heavier and sturdier, with brighter notes and a long sustain, because they are also significantly thicker compared to glass slides. Additionally, and obviously, they are more durable compared to glass. Brass is denser and softer, which results in louder, but darker sounds compared to steel. 

Ceramic

The least common is ceramic. It is not widely used yet because it is one of the newest developments. However, they do exist, and you should know that they are mid-way between the glass and metal slides, in terms of everything: weight, texture, hardness, tone, glide, and sustain. The main drawback is they are extremely sensitive, even compared to glass. 

How to Use a Guitar Slide

So far, you probably have a slight idea which slide might be best for you. Here are instructions on how to use one:

  1. Grab your slide and decide which finger you want to use it on (go for the best fit). 
  2. Tune your guitar for sliding (open tuning).
  3. Mute the string above your slide with your hand
  4. Press the slide directly above your fret.
  5. Pick a note, mute the rest of the strings, press gently with the slide and move up and down (this will make the sliding sound).
  6. Always be gentle, do not press hard; otherwise, the strings will touch the fretboard, and they will make an unpleasant noise. 
  7. Try out different methods, techniques, and sounds to find your best playing style. 

Conclusion

On a final note, this article has introduced you to the world of guitar slides, what they are, what to consider before purchasing, the best ones on the market, and how to use one. Next, it is up to you whether you want to undertake this adventure on not, as it is only for the adventurous souls!