Guide to the Best Guitar Slides

guitar slides

The best guitar slide can be found if you put in the time. Fortunately, we have done that work for you. Read on the find your favourite guitar slide from our recommended list.

Guitarists have been using slides to add soulful expression to their playing since the small body “blues box” or parlor guitar was born. This sound-altering device has since been used on other guitars like regular acoustics, resonators, cigar box guitars, and even electric guitars.

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The guitar slide has been with us for a long time, and it won’t be going away anytime soon. Guitarists have been using guitar slides to add soulful expression to their playing since around the time when the small body “blues box” or parlor guitar was the norm, and it has since been used on other guitars like regular acoustics, resonators, cigar box guitars and even electric guitars ever since.

From blues, to country, folk to world music, even rock and pop – all have benefited from a great slide lick or two, and as such the guitar slide is very much as relevant today as it was in the past. Here you will find some of the best guitar slides on the market, arranged into three groups based on their material to make it easy to find one that fits your playing style.

Our recommendations have remained similar to our previous ones for this July 2018 update, with some recommended guitar slides being removed due to no longer being available.

A Few Things to Consider About Slide Guitar:

Material and Wall Thickness

There are three popular types in the best guitar slide categories, glass, metal, and ceramic. Glass and metal guitar slides offer distinct feel and tones, with glass being smooth and warm, while metal being rough and bright. Ceramic guitar slides, on the other hand, serve as an intermediary for the two. In addition to knowing which type of material you prefer, you have to consider the right thickness. Thinner walled slides offer better control because your fingers are closer to the strings however rigidity and durability can be an issue. Thicker walled guitar slides are more durable but harder to control. Note that the resulting sound tends to get warmer as the wall becomes thicker.

Proper Fit

Since we all have different finger sizes, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to guitar slides. It is best to find one that fits your finger snuggly so you won’t have to exert extra effort in keeping the slide in place. In case you can’t find one, there are various workarounds like stuffing the interior of the slide with leather or rubber.

String Gauge and Setup

String height and mass are important considerations for playing slide guitar. While you can do guitar slide work on a shred friendly low-action neck, the general rule is that slide works better on necks with fatter strings and high action. The specifics of the right setup can vary depending on your playing style, tuning and experience, but starting out with your regular action parlor guitar will do. The more you play slide and learn its intricacies, the more you’ll understand what the right string gauge and setup is for you.

Here are The Best Guitar Slides:

Best Glass Guitar Slides

Glass slides offer a smoother playing feel, and produces a warmer and thicker tone that emphasizes the middle harmonics of your sound. It is the most commonly used slide taking after the bottle neck slides of old, without the sharp edges. The obvious downside is it can break when mishandled. See how Derek Trucks put the glass guitar slide to good use:


Derek Trucks Signature Slide

Derek Trucks Signature Slide
Manufacturer: Jim Dunlop

Derek Trucks is widely revered as a guitar slide virtuoso, and its amazing how he creates melodic lines with his improvised glass medicine bottle slide. Being at the forefront of producing guitar accessories, Jim Dunlop worked with Trucks to faithfully replicate his slide for us to use. If you’re looking for a glass slide that’s sure to produce bright and crisp tones on both acoustic and electric, then this is your best bet. Dimensions: 22 x 30 x 71mm


Ernie Ball 4228 Glass Slide

Ernie Ball 4228 Glass Slide
Manufacturer: Ernie Ball

Made from borosilicate glass, the Ernie Ball Glass Slide is designed to be durable while providing a smooth gliding surface. The result is a clear and pleasant voice that many players have come to like. While the medium size fits most players, it is available in three sizes so you can pick one that better suits your finger or your playing style. Reviews have been consistent in saying that this glass slide is great for softer more melodic slide playing. Dimensions: 8mm long, 28mm outside diameter, 4mm thick.


Planet Waves Glass Slide

Planet Waves Glass Slide
Manufacturer: D’Addario

Planet Waves is another popular guitar gear manufacturer that have their own line of slides, and their glass slide is their most popular. It’s well known for having a smooth finish and edges, making it easy to slide over strings that produce the expected warm and thick glass slide tone. Wall thickness is 4mm, while length is 48mm. Inner diameter varies depending on the size you choose, medium being the most popular fitting the average American hand. Although a bit pricier, the finish quality of this slide more than makes it worth the money.


Best Metal Guitar Slides – Brass & Steel

Metal slides have a rougher feel which results in a semi-distorted tone that emphasizes the upper frequencies. This brash quality has made metal slides the favorite of blues and rock players. If you are looking for a cutting slide tone with great sustain, then you should look for either steel or brass guitar slides. As expected, metal guitar slides are tough and reliable. Check out Johnny Winter and his steel guitar slide:


Dunlop Johnny Winter Texas Slider

Dunlop Johnny Winter Texas Slider
Manufacturer: Jim Dunlop

This lightweight metal guitar slide is designed specifically to complement Johnny Winter’s fast pinky slide guitar style. It’s lighter weight and thinner profile makes it easier for your pinky to move around the fretboard, which means that you can accurately hit the right notes and do so faster. As expected, the tone produced by this slide is bright and aggressive, taking after its name sake who is known for “from-the-gut” blues slide guitar playing. If you are looking for a blues friendly slide that you can wear on your pinky, check this one out.


Fender Steel Slide

Fender Steel Slide
Manufacturer: Fender

The Fender brand needs no introduction, with their extensive experience and guitar technology know how, it is only expected that they come up with good and practical accessories such as the guitar slide. Instead of being overly aggressive, the lightweight design results in a sweeter tone, while still emphasizing the upper frequencies as expected from steel slides. Sustain is great especially when used on an electric guitar, while acoustic guitar players can also benefit from the slide’s biting tone. Dimensions: Length: 60 mm Wall thickness: 1.5 mm, Inside diameter 19 mm.


D’Andrea Steel Slide

D'Andrea Steel Slide
Manufacturer: D’Andrea

This steel guitar slide from D’Andrea offers the best bang per buck with its 2-in-1 package of a standard steel slide and a knuckle slide. Both of which produce a bright tone with rough edges that work great for rock, blues and other aggressive musical styles. The extra knuckle slide is an interesting piece that allows for extra slide control that’s not possible from a regular slide, and it can be an interesting way to try going beyond your usual licks. If you’re into rock, blues and country, and you’re looking to get serious with slide guitar playing, then check this one out.


Dunlop Eric Sardinas’ Preachin’ Pipe

Dunlop Eric Sardinas' Preachin' Pipe
Manufacturer: Jim Dunlop

The Preachin’ Pipe is a faithful reproduction of Bluesman Eric Sardinas’ handmade brass slide, which was sculpted into shape by his years of playing on his favorite instrument, the Dobro. Now the same preachy tone can be yours, without having to wait for your slide to be naturally tapered. Its uniquely shaped body and weighted end allows for easy and accurate slide playing, and pushing it on the strings result in the same bluesy and preachy tone that works great for both acoustic and electric guitars. This is easily the coolest looking slide in this list, and is well worth its price tag.


Rock Slide Balltip Tarnished

Rock Slide Balltip Tarnished
Manufacturer: The Rock Slide

If you’re looking for a worn out brass slide to match your equally worn out instrument, then the Rock Slide Balltip Tarnished may very well just be what you need. More than just your average brass slide, this one is aged by hand to have the appearance of age. And since hand processing is used, each slide will look different from the other, some having more black, or rust colors, making each one a truly unique and personal musical tool. Interestingly, only the look is aged, because the finish remains as smooth as non-aged brass slides. Although a bit pricey, this is a stylish and useful slide that’s worth the investment.


Clayton Brass Socket Slide

Clayton Brass Socket Slide
Manufacturer: Steve Clayton

Steve Clayton and his team created the Brass Socket Slide in honor of the tool sockets that were actually used by musicians of the past. It retains the same 12 star interior for good grip and snug fit while doing away with the weight issues of tool sockets, having equalized weight on both ends. It also features a cut-out relief which makes moving your finger with the slide more comfortable. Finally the smooth finish and craftsmanship make it comfortable to both your eyes and your hands.


Best Ceramic Guitar Slides

The best ceramic slides have characteristics that sit somewhere between glass and metal. The feel of these slides can vary depending on the ceramic mixture, so they can play as smooth as glass or rough like metal. The resulting tone is a healthy mixture of warmth and highs, while the medium sustain that you get is not as short as glass, but not as long as metal. One thing to keep in mind with ceramic guitar slides is that they are fragile, at times – more fragile than modern glass slides, so make sure you keep them safe. Watch Toby Walker with his Rocky Mountain Ceramic Slide in action:


Dunlop 255 Joe Perry “Boneyard” Slide

Dunlop 255 Joe Perry
Manufacturer: Jim Dunlop

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry may not be considered as a virtuoso by some, but he sure knows how to apply soulful slide sounds to their chart topping hit songs. This signature “Boneyard” porcelain slide reflects his guitar style, versatile enough to work on both acoustic and electric, and polished enough to make sliding through your strings easy and convenient. While the price point is a bit higher compared to other slides, the premium feel and sound that you get from this slide makes the pricing justifiable. If you’re looking for an all-around slide, then check this one out.

Final Thoughts

Since even the best guitar slides are affordable, don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try ones from a different maker or with a different material. This way, you get a direct experience with the feel and tone difference that might inspire you to create new music.

At the end of the day, the guitar slide is just a tool; it’s your creativity that makes it fun and fulfilling, so why not have one more?

You can share your experience and ask questions about the best guitar slide in the comments below.


17 thoughts on “Guide to the Best Guitar Slides”

  1. Michael Cooley

    For perfect fit. Pack your slide with white marine epoxy , shove a pen in to give a little room then slowly work your finger in. Leave it on for a bit then take it off and let it dry. Perfect fit ! I’ve even done this with thin glass slides.

  2. Overall the discussion was a bit thin or superficial, especially for those beginners looking for advice. Info that should have been included:
    – following up on some of the comments (kudos to you folks!), fit is pretty important and needs to be thoroughly discussed,
    – open end vs closed end slides,
    – slides with a radius,
    – slides with a taper,
    – effect of fretboard (string) radius,
    – is a steel a slide and vice versa.
    Time for another update!

  3. The booze blues glass bottleneck slide gives you that tapered shape in a glass slide.. if anyone is looking for something like that. I’m not affiliated.. just like the slides.

  4. Robert Van Housen

    I would even come close to making the claim that “this size should fit you”, without measuring the finger and the interior dimensions of the slide. People wear the slides on all four fingers depending on their preferences, and many slide makers are just awful about giving these specs. They should include the ID of the slides in Imperial and Metric as well as the thickness and lengths. Unless you’ve measured the digit that you want to use the slide and you know the exact dimensions of what you’re purchasing, don’t buy it online, try it on in a store, unless the online store offers easy returns. Finding a good fit can be maddening because many (most?) slide manufacturers don’t offer the information in their advertising. Now you know.

    1. A big amen on that Bob.It’s been a gripe of mine ever since I started playing slide.My fingers aren’t big & fat & trying to find a good fit is like finding a needle in the old proverbial haystack. It truly is maddening to click on & scroll thru pages of slides & find the size of the thing isn’t listed or worse they don’t tell what the inside diameter is. It’s generally a huge waste of time for me.

  5. Rocky Mountain Sldes Company is the one that created the Toby Walker Signature Slides seen as an example of the Ceramic slide catagory…yet Toby Walker nor RMSC are mentioned?? If you’re going to show a video you’d think that there would be Some Mention of the product, right?
    Toby is NOT playing a Joe Perry slide and a mention of RMSC would go a long way to completing this artichle.
    There are many other slide makers out there and yey this blog is nothing but the slides found everywhere, why not mention Sears or some other Hardware store for all your metal socket slides needs? You should be getting commision from Dunlop, LOL!!!!!
    If you really want to help inform those wanting to know thier options, dig a little Deeper Bro!!!

  6. I’m honored to be in the mix and so thankful to Toby Walker and so many others that gravitate towards the tools that I create. a As a slides player myself, I wanted more from my tone tools and had to start creating them because the ones out in the market were lacking!!Next year it will be 20years that I’ve been creating and designing finger slides, tone bars and flat picks that deliver to the slide player the comfort and especially the tones in their heads and hearts!!

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