Lesson 1 – Using the East West Slide

When you first use the slide I recommend listening to it initially  ‘unplugged’ without an amplifier.

Position the slide directly over let’s say the fourth fret on the second string, do not press the slide too hard onto the string, you have to find the optimum pressure, if you press too hard the string will wrap itself around the uniquely designed surface, The slide needs to glide over the string, to get the best buzz envelope, I also recommend not picking too hard perhaps using lighter picks as you don’t want the string to skid and displace itself on the surface by picking too hard and adversely affecting the quality of the buzz. Slowly repeat one note, listening to the sound, adjusting the technique if necessary.

Like any new idea there has to be adaptions to technique to get the best possible sound, and ultimately it will be rewarding.

Next, play a few notes, a basic melody perhaps from a famous song that uses a similar sound to the slide, try to pay attention to the intonation of your playing, I recommend playing against a drone, this is great for accuracy and playing in tune. Add ornamentation, for example slides between notes, I would also like to point out that I tend ‘not’ to use vibrato over a note as I would with conventional slide playing, to me, it sounds better and lends itself more to the sitar sound.

Any knowledge of slide playing is of course a great help. When you start to get the hang of it try it out within a song, rotating the slide and switching between sitar and traditional slide and guitar playing.

Lesson 2 – Getting the best sound

  1. The pick ups on your guitar can make a difference to the sound produced with the East West Slide . Different types of pickups have varying frequency responses, for instance lipstick pick ups have quite a wide frequency response compared with say humbucking pickups . This is why electric sitar guitars tend to use lipstick pickups ,as the wide frequency response helps to pick up all the characteristics and nuances of the buzzing effect . That said I have heard  excellent results from many different types of pick ups.
  2. Try backing off the volume on the guitar, as this makes the pickups more microphonic and acoustic in nature, a bit like a vocalist backing off from the microphone as opposed to pressing against it .
  3. Experimenting with different types of picks .For example thicker or heavier picks can ’round’ off high and increase lower frequencies , and this may or may not be desirable.
  4. Picking strength and pressure can also be a factor . If you pick too hard you may adversely affect the consistency of the buzzing.
  5. Practice intonation by playing against a drone, and avoid too much vibrato
  6. Let the slide glide as lightly as possible on the string try not to dig it in.
  7. Experiment with different amp settings and EQ.

Lesson 3 – Techniques

Here are some  ‘Hindustani’  type slide playing techniques using raga ‘ jog’ . This demonstrates the importance of intonation and accuracy when using these techniques and the way that zig zagging through consecutive notes within a raga is used when playing in this style.

Listen to the tonal difference when switching between east and west tones. This briefly shows the possibilities of switching back and forth between two distinct tones within the same song, adding tonal variety to the music.

Care of the East West Slide

Although the EWS is made from durable material, we recommend that you do not use rusty or old abrasive strings and preferably keep it in the provided bag to keep the surfaces in good condition. As mentioned earlier the slide needs to gently glide over the string with an optimum pressure, and not ‘dig in’ to get the best buzz envelope and slide tone.