Question on Slides

Online Fiddle Lessons Forums General Help Forum Question on Slides

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    Great ScottGreat Scott

    Hi John and fellow fiddlers!
    John – I have a question regarding slides. When playing the fiddle, I have often heard you say ” … slide up to the next note.” Well, I am just curious about a couple of things:

    How far before the note that we want to strike, do we begin our slide.

    For instance: (two examples)
    1. I have just struck the A note on the G string, and the next note I need to strike is the C note on the G string in first position. How far before striking the C note should we begin our slide? Would we gently strike the B note and then slide from B up to C, or would we begin half-way between B and C as we slide up to C, and then add a little vibrato?

    2. When playing on the A string, and having played a B note in first position, and then wanting to slide up to play the D note, can we slide straight from the B note up to the D note, actually sliding over the C and C # to get to the D note, or do we bypass the C and
    C # and begin our slide between the C# and the D note?

    Also, are slides ever actually written into fiddle tablature or notation, or are they simply ornaments / embellishments that are left to our own creative devices?

    I hope all of this makes sense.

    Naturally, a professional fiddle player is going to make all those slides sound very warm and well-executed, but when done by neophytes like myself, I fear that if I do them incorrectly, they will sound terrible! I want to learn to do them correctly from the beginning!

    Your help and expertise is always welcome.

    Mata ne! 🙂


    John (BGD)John (BGD)

    Hi Scott! This is a good question… How do we slide from a 1 to a 3? In most case a slide is only a half-step. For example, if your are on the A string playing the B note, and want to slide into a D note, you would start your slide with the 3rd finger playing the C# then sliding into the D.

    Most fiddlers are automatically going to play lots of slides. These could be considered gracings, or maybe just “finding” the note and would not usually appear in the tablature (unless I am teaching it the way a certain fiddler does it, and I want to imitate his/her slides exactly). However, some songs have slides built into the actual melody. In the latter case, the slide appears in the melody as an arrow pointing from the note that begins the slide to the note that ends the slide. See measure 2 of Kentucky Waltz.

    However, sometimes the slide is a big one. For example, measure 15 of Margaret’s Waltz slides from 2 to 0. In this case, you wouldn’t slide the second finger all the way down to the nut. Instead, you would slide it to the 2L or 1 position then lift it off and play the 0.

    When in doubt, err on the side of a small slide. You don’t want to overdo it!

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