Transposing Your Slide Melodies

by David Hamburger

One of the great things about playing slide guitar in an open tuning is the ease with which you can play great sounding licks in the key of whatever chord you’re tuned to. In open G, for instance, the top three strings spell out a G-major chord, meaning they’ll always sound great over a G note in the bass—but what if we want to go to another chord? No problem; playing slide in an open tuning makes it easy to transpose those licks to another position.

Transposing Example 1a_2b
Click to enlarge tab.

So let’s see a little transposing in action. Playing the top three strings at the 12th fret spells out a G chord, or the I chord in the key of G. If we want to imply or spell out a D chord, or the V chord in the key of G, all we need to do is move the slide down five frets, to the seventh fret position, and play the same licks. The three basic notes in Example 1a we’ll now play as the three notes in Example 1b. Therefore, a lick like Example 2a will become the lick in Example 2b.

Excerpted from Acoustic Guitar Slide Basics

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