Slide chords

How many chords can be played while using the slide?

All.Some.Not many? If I play in open G the chords available are the G,the A and the D...I think.

Is that it? Did I limit myself by using the slide? Thank you

2 Answers


Hey Tom,

It would be hard to list all the chords you could possibly use and all the different ways of playing them! Less chords are available when you use the slide, but less chords doesn't necessarily mean you're limited! A lot of songs use just a few chords and songs based around blues progressions, with just a few chords really suit a slide.

In open G tuning, you can place the slide across all the strings, on any fret and get a major chord. So if you barre the 2nd fret you'll get an A major chord, if you barre the 4th fret you'll get a B major chord and so on. So as long as you know all your note names on the frets for open G, you'll have at least 12 major chords to use!

You can also use the slide to create parts of chords, and use your fingers to fill in parts around any slide playing, so while there are slightly less chords available (especially extended chords), it's not limiting!

Evan :)

Jun 04, 2015

Just using the slide, you are limited to the open chord that you have tuned to multiplied by the number of frets on your instrument. Depending on what open chord you tune to you may have even more options. I will explain:

I play on a three string cigar box guitar tuned to an open E (1,5,1). This isn't really a chord in the sense of a triad, you would normally expect to see 1,3,5. Functionally, you can use it as a major or a minor chord because 1,5 lacks the definition of the 3 or the flat 3rd., your playing style and tone will influence how the "chord" is heard. There is more to it but that is all I remember off the top of my head.

The book I learned this from is here:

It is written for a cigar box guitar tuned to G (I think) but the theory of how to form scales, chords, and keys, got me interested in learning more theory to help my progress in music. As I said, I play a CBG tuned to E but it was fairly easy to transpose as needed.

Sep 02, 2015

Your Answer:

Do you know the answer? Please login to contribute!