Mixing up fretted notes and slide notes over an alternating bass sounds great. Learn how to play this classic blues technique with this excerpt from Acoustic Guitar Slide Basics.

Having a slide on your finger doesn’t mean you have to play every note that isn’t an open string with the slide. In fact, it sounds really good to mix up fretted notes and slide notes over an alternating bass. You can combine the two over a shuffle as well, but it sounds particularly good with Travis picking.

You could play the notes in Example 7 with the slide, but we’re going to play them as fretted notes for the time being. One reason to fret these notes is that it’s easier to get notes on the second string to sound clean with your fingers instead of the slide.

Also, as we’ll see in a minute, fretting these notes over the I chord will work particularly well when we play fretted chords for the IV and V chords. (No, we haven’t done fretted chords yet. But we will shortly—stay tuned.)
How does it work? Check out Example 8. Fret the melody in measure 1 with your fingers before answering it in measure 2 with the slide lick. A good way to get used to slipping back and forth between playing fretted and slide notes is to play through a call-and-response idea.


Excerpted from Acoustic Guitar Slide Basics