Thursday, January 3, 2013

Playing Left Handed Slide Guitar

It's been quite some time since I've posted, but something came to my mind recently that I haven't talked about in previous articles. Playing slide guitar using a right handed guitar left handed upside down. I've been playing slide guitar this way for a few years now. I was watching Eric Clapton's "Me And Mr. Johnson" documentary on TV last week and noticed his second guitarist Doyle Bramhall playing slide guitar left handed upside down. I noticed that he plays the slide using a different technique than I do, though he is much better than me. I tried to gather as much information from him just from seeing him on TV, so here's what I picked up, and I may be wrong. He wears the slide on his right ring finger and uses his index and second fingers to play single lead licks. I couldn't tell if he uses his pinky finger or just lets it dangle. I couldn't tell if he uses standard tuning or open tuning or both. I never saw him change guitars between "slide" songs but he could have re-tuned between songs. I play with the slide on my index finger and use the other three fingers for lead licks. I use standard tuning and barre chords. I wasn't taught to play this way but it was the only way that I could figure it out on my own. I've tried several times to play in open tuning but usually got nowhere with it. I've recorded several songs that I've overdubbed slide guitar parts and gotten decent reviews from my songwriting peers, but I consider my slide playing mediocre at best. It was a thrill to watch Doyle playing the right handed guitar left handed like I do and maybe I can learn something from him in the future.

Ben Willis demonstrating the "left handed upside down guitar method".

A chord

B Chord

C Chord

D Chord

E Chord

F Chord

G Chord

B Barre Chord

D Barre Chord

Contact Info

E-mail Ben Willis at