Does string action matter on a slide guitar? My personal preference is high action--1/8" at the nut and 1/4" at the bridge. I did make one CBG that had low action, but I found it difficult to play. Since then I've gone with high action on my slide CBG's
Guys who are better players than me might give better advice,but if you're playing strictly slide,height doesn't matter,but a lower action will help in fingering,and also improve your slide technique
I played with one guitar player who raised the strings of his Less Paul just to make his slide playing easier. But not by much. On a fretted guitar you have to find the fine line between string hight and playing in tune. Rase the strings to much and you'll bend them out of tune as you play the frets.
If all your doing is slide then raise those things up as much as you like. The more expressive you get the less chance your going to cluck the fingerboard. Those unforgiving piezos pick up ever cluck.
when I started building and playing, I had high action so I could easily slide. But, I soon found that being able to finger a note or two every now and then was helpful. Unfortunately, with high action, fingering a note produced a noticeably sharp note.
I've since, gone to a medium action (something like 1/16" at the nut and maybe slightly more than 1/8" at the 12th fret). I don't get obsessive about action height. I just want notes to not go way sharp when I finger them.
I found that going to heavier strings (like the Gitty 042, .030, 022 set) provides plenty of tension so you can have low action and still easily use a slide.
I also found that a glass slide is generally easier to play with lower action than a brass slide (weight).
Finally, you will naturally use a lighter slide hand as you play more. I can play slide on my electric six-stringer with some focus and practice and it has light gauge strings. You touch improves with time.
Well said Tom T. I used a thin wall Clayton glass slide.
There's a huge misconception about "slide guitar" amongst a lot of people. High action is fine if you are going to play lap style, where fretted notes aren't part of the music, but in all other cases, theres a real advantage to having the action set only a little bit higher than a regular guitar.
Learning slide guitar can be helped by a combination of slightly raised action (but raised by only 1mm at the nut and a a couple of mm at the 12th fret), and using strings heavy enough to resist the downwards pressure of the slide. The better you get, the lighter strings and lower action you can deal with.
With a decently low action, whether on a fretted or fretless guitar means as well as slide you can play chords, partial chords, harmonies, bass figures, raked lead runs ascending and descending runs...it can extend your musical repertoire enormously.
Check out the great players..Hawaiian and Dobro players use high action, but so many other slide players will use a guitar with an action that isn't that much different to a regular guitar. If you watch a great slide player like Ry Cooder, you'll see that the slide work is often only 10 or 20% of what he's doing.
Here's Hollowbelly...watch him as he builds that opening riff using a combination of fretted and slide - on a fretless guitar with fairly low action.
I just received my slide CBG. The action at the nut is 1/8", about 3/16" at the 12th fret. I'm only beginning to learning to play. Just fooling around with the CBG I find that the notes ring much louder and clearer if the string is pressed down to touch the fingerboard. However it seems what you guys are suggesting is a light touch. Are you saying just press down a bit on the strings with the slide but not enough to make contact with the fingerboard?