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.