Lesson 5 - Guitar Sliding Technique

In metal music, sliding (sometimes also called glissando) sounds really cool with the power chords:

and it also used on single notes in guitar soloing. For example Steve Vai and Joe Satriani extensively use the sliding technique in almost every solo.

Sliding can help you to add more personality and articulation to your playing, as well as to accent certain notes which need to stay out.

In order to perform the sliding, play any note, and then glide the fretting finger to another fret, the note at that fret should also sound (without picking the string with the plectrum), watch my video below:

Here's a few exercises to help you work out the sliding technique. After you manage them, go forward and enjoy the impressive heavy metal riffs.

exercise 1

Play this drill using only one of the fingers on your fretting hand for sliding at a time, begin with the 1st, later switch to 2nd, 3rd and 4th finger.

tab for exercise 1 - guitar sliding technique
watch the video

In text-based guitar tabs, sliding towards the guitar bridge (upwards) is indicated by a slash symbol "/", and towards the guitar head by a backslash "\". Sliding can also be notated with an "s" character:

1|-------------    ---------------
2|-10/12--12\10 or --10s12--12s10-
3|-------------    ---------------
4|-------------    ---------------
5|-------------    ---------------
6|-------------    ---------------

exercise 2

tab for exercise 2 - guitar sliding technique

To get the tasty vibrato on the last note of this lick, lift and descend or move in circular motions the fretting hand around the fret while the string remains pressed down.

The last sliding in this lick doesn't have a specific destination, just glide your hand somewhere on the fingerboard and release the string.

exercise 3

Now let's slide the power chords, all the principles of sliding described above remain the same.

tab for exercise 3 - guitar sliding technique and power chords

A slightly different approach to perform sliding is, instead of making the destination note sound purely by means of inertia inherited from the previous note, play the note from which you're going to slide as usual, and right before the moment you need to slide, pick that note again. This extra picking will make the sliding effect more noticeable and pump more volume to the destination note.

The same 3rd exercise, performed with extra picking:

tab for exercise 3, variant B - sliding guitar technique

exercise 4

tab for the exercise 4 - sliding technique and power chords

The pretty cool riffs below combine sliding and palm mute guitar technique together:

tab for riff 1 - guitar sliding technique

tab for riff 2 - guitar sliding technique

Note that in many guitar tablatures the legato notation is added along the sliding notation, if a note you glide to generates its sound from the gliding.

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This article was last updated on January 18, 2024