Two World’s One Slide

The East West Slide is a fusion or hybrid slide for the guitar that essentially create two distinct types of tones. One is a traditional slide tone the other is a sitar slide tone.

The traditional side has a unique warm singing character with plenty of sustain together with a beautiful smooth tone. This can be heard on the track ‘Tiki blue nine’ in the video section. Please give it a listen. The sitar side alternately produces a sound like that of an Indian sitar, which also features on many of the videos.

Each slide is individually cast by hand and is not a mass produced item, so each one has its own individuality. The material used in its fabrication is a brass infused polymer hybrid specifically developed for the requirements of the slide. We wanted the weight to be around 26 g, so it can be used on a regular guitar set up, but still maintain a great tone for both the traditional side of the slide and the sitar surface. Many materials were tested. Solid brass in particular proved to be too heavy and sunk into the strings particularly on the sitar side. The tone was also too harsh and scrapey sounding. Glass alternatively was too smooth and did not ‘grip’ enough, and ‘skated’ too much. We eventually settled on the hybrid material that combined the best elements of all the tested materials. It ‘grips’ but still has sustain and a great tone. Importantly, at the casting stage the material also helped in getting an accurate reproduction of the computer designed patent pending BCS surface developed for the sitar side of the East West Slide.

After many years of trial and error, with computer aided design techniques and some quite unique material composite’s the East West Slide was finally born.

Background

The sounds of the electric sitar have been around since the 1960s when Vincent Bell first developed the idea. These now classic instruments have recently been re-issued by various companies and can be heard in various types of music, and although they sound great some consider them to be a bit of a ‘one trick pony’and quite an expense for the occasional time when the sound of the sitar is required. There are sampled and various electronic pedal versions of the sitar sound now, but these quite often sound fake and simply don’t cut it. This led us to develop the East West Slide or EWS. It is economical, convenient, portable and versatile. We hope you think so too.

Guitars and amplification

The sitar buzz or ‘jawari’ as it is known has lots of high end frequencies in its sound, so pick-ups with wide frequency ranges, typically like lipsticks, which were on the original sitar guitars work well. Pickups with more mellow and narrower frequency ranges will tend to pick up different characteristics of the buzz, so it’s worth experimenting with different guitars and pick-up configurations. New strings also work better, and an appropriate EQ and reverb setting on the amplifier is worth experimenting with to get the best out of the slide. Check out lessons page for more tips on sound.

Development of the slide

Sitar bridges are notoriously difficult to set up and when adjusted they are fixed in one position so they can maintain a consistent buzz. So as you can imagine it was a very difficult task to maintain a good consistent quality buzz with what effectively is a sitar bridge gliding and moving around on top of the strings totally unfixed. Sure you can get a bar or piece of metal, flatten one side or even slightly curve it and try to hold it at a certain angle and create a buzzing effect. The problem with this is that the buzzing is inconsistent and not good quality. It is also awkward for a guitarist to hold and play with. So what was needed was the BCS self compensating surface, which was computer designed using very specific formulas and materials. It allows a consistent buzz anywhere on the surface, even when the slide is in constant motion.

Interestingly, during the testing phase, many people also commented on the design material and weight being great for use on guitars that aren’t specifically set up for slide playing, and that the traditional slide tone on it was excellent and quite unique sounding. We hope you like the sounds produced by the East West Slide. For further information please check out the videos and articles on this site.   Many thanks