best frets for slide neck


Senior member
Hi Guys--

I am contemplating building a slide guitar, and, after doing the math, I can build what I want without busting the bank. I want to use a Flying V body with a recessed TOM, SD Phat Cats or Pearly Gates (haven't made my mind up yet), and, after watching Johnny Winter play "Mean Town Blues" at Woodstock, I'm going to use a 12-string neck. Whether I'll put only six tuners on it or not, I haven't decided. I may do the full twelve tuners to add mass to the neck. I know it sounds like an odd beast, but a Flying V makes sense to me due to the fact a Showcase body can be bought cheaply, and there's nothing in front of the 22nd fret to worry about, like horns or the guitar body.

Anyway, enough dreaming--down to the logics of the thing.

What kind of frets have you guys found out work the best for slide?  Do I want something itty bitty, like a 6230, or use something bigger, like a 6105, or even something as big as a 6100? I've only really done slide at either the guitar shop, where the action on everything is set low to begin with, or on my acoustic guitar, with a metal nut raiser I picked up a few years ago. It works great, but it gives you the lap steel feel--there's no way you can ever push the strings down far enough to hit a fret.

Thanks for the help guys!


I'd just swap out the nut and reset the saddle height, or put a temporary shim under an existing nut, type thing :icon_scratch:

You take the long way home, don't you? :icon_tongue:


Senior member
I've had good luck with the 6105 with slide.  I run the action a bit high mind you.


Senior member
any size frets will be fine so long as your action is high enough. If you are really concerned and only plan on playing slide then you could always get a fretless neck.


Senior member
Unless you have a lot of slide experience, I'd build one you like to play normally and just raise the action.  Slide is a curious beast - I've tried MANY times to get into it, and I just can't do it.  I love listening to it and watching others play, but it is hard for some people - even if they are teh 5hr3dd3r on a standard guitar.  Just get a regular neck, maybe with a wide nut width.


Senior member
I've been playing slide for over 30 years .. lets stop and think about this .. while you are using the slide ...the frets aren't in play at all. 

Stout strings and higher action is the ticket , and LOTS of practice.



Senior member
i know this is a slightly odd question here - but i have not had much success with this question on other forums - so here goes :

can you tell me songs with slide work done in standard tuning?

i learnt led zep's "what is and what ..." - the solo is in standard tuning.

the next song i wanted to learn was the stones "happy" - only to realize that slide played in two open tunings in that song!


Senior member
You just need thick strings, and jack the action up a bit (not too much). Part of learning electric slide (I've got a lot to learn, too) is learning how to finesse it it so you don't need a really different setup - don't bear down so much with the slide, maybe get a lightweight glass one, and you won't need a special guitar at all.


Senior member
Warren Haynes is probably the leading standard-tuning dude, but I'm not a big Mule fan... mebbe check his homepage, or poke around the net for magazine articles. I'm also a big advocate of just going with heavier strings - you may have to use slightly wider slots in the nut, but if you're careful about the break angle it won't be so much as to have any negative effect to string it back normal. 12-56 oughta do it.... also root out any and all info you can from Derek Trucks & Sonny Landreth. I was a deep, fanatic, rather monstrous slide guitarist for a decade or so, till I bought a pedal steel guitar and slide began feeling like.... driving a Yugo in the Indy 500 or something. streams a large number of Govt. Mule shows, but for the 24-karat atom bomb root out the Phil & Friends show from the quintet years, Sept 2000 - 2003:
Haynes & Jimmy Herring were terrifying together.

A couple decades ago a monster guitarist gave me the best advice about slide guitar, which is to "listen to female singers*, and get a volume pedal...." :cool01:

*(Zoot Horn Rollo of Captain Beefheart fame plays opera arias on slide as a technique builder.)