How to Slide on Ukulele – Technique Lesson

Sliding is an ukulele technique that allows articulation of a note by moving from one pitch to another without lifting your finger.

Playing with a glass or metal slide on your finger is a completely different style. This lesson is about the articulation technique that connects one fretted note to the next.

The signature sound of a slide comes from moving from one note to another, while also hitting every note between on the way.

My lesson on how to slide

To play a slide:

  1. Start on one note
  2. Pick
  3. Slide to another note

There is only one pick attack. Don’t pick when you get to the second note. The momentum from the first pick carries you all the way to the target note.

ukulele slide technique before and after

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The main trick to sliding is to keep your finger pressed down the whole way. It’s a movement like scrolling down a webpage on your touchscreen phone. If you lift your finger off, it stops scrolling.

In order to keep the finger in contact with every fret on the way by, you need to move your finger pressure “into” each fret. Since the relationship between your finger and thumb change as you move, so does your gripping power.

You need to compensate by, oftentimes, squeezing a little more firmly on the neck of the ukulele as you slide. You’re not actually increasing pressure on a single fret, but moving the pressure laterally to account for the greater distance your grip is spanning.

It helps a ton to look forward to the fret you are sliding to (especially when sliding long distances) and tell yourself “land on that fret”. Kind of like how it’s easiest to draw a straight line if you focus on your destination instead of the pencil point.

A slide is represented with a slash (/) in tab if going up the fretboard and a backslash (\) if going down. Here are some examples:

A |-----|-5/7-|-----|-10-|-----|-----
E |-----|-----|-3/5-|------|-3-|-----
C |-2/4-|-----|-----|------|-----|-----
G |-----|-----|-----|------|-----|-2
A |-----|-5/7-|-----|-10\7-|-----|-----
E |-----|-----|-3/5-|------|-3\1-|-----
C |-2/4-|-----|-----|------|-----|-----
G |-----|-----|-----|------|-----|-2\0-

Normal Slides MP3

Slide Out:

A slide-out is a falling kind of effect that rushes by a whole lot of notes fast. To play a slide out, pick a high note and then slide it towards the headstock. By the time you get all the way down the neck you should let off so that you end in a mute. The only reason this is different than a normal ukulele slide is because you stop with a mute instead of a note. You can stop on a note, but that makes the slide normal. A slide-out looks like this in tab: 10\.

A |-10\-|-----|----
E |-----|-----|----
C |-----|-----|-5\-
G |-----|-12\-|----

Slides Out Of MP3

Slide In:

This is just the opposite of the former. Slide in from a mute low on the neck, pick, and squeeze on the way so that you end in a note. About halfway you should start hearing hear notes under your fingers.

A |-/10-|----|-----
E |-----|-/5-|-----
C |-----|----|-/12-
G |-----|----|-----

Slides Into MP3

Chord slides:

Sliding into or out of a chord is a great way to end a song , and also a good way to add some groove. You slide a chord the same way that you slide one note. It’s just harder because you are holding more notes to the fretboard.

Sliding into a chord to end a song is a great trick to soften the last chord. A lot of times a big end chord is the only perceived option, but it doesn’t work very well for a gentle song. So if you strum a chord and then slide it up to its root fret, it loses a lot of energy in the slide and ends soft. You can ether hold a chord or a mute before you start the slide.

A |-/7-|-3/10-
E |-/8-|-3/10-
C |-/7-|-2/9--
G |-/7-|-2/9--

Sliding out of a chord on the other hand is best for really loud and in-your-face types of songs. This works when a song is being played at full steam, hits the ending and then BOOM! You jam the last chord into oblivion and then slide out of it towards the headstock. Lift up as you go so by the end of the slide all the notes are muted.

A |-1-2-3-5-6-7-8--9--10-13-14-15\-
E |-1-2-3-6-7-8-8--9--10-10-11-12\-
C |-2-3-4-5-6-7-9--10-11-0--0--0---
G |-3-4-5-7-8-9-10-11-12-0--0--0---


To add the groove to a chord you can use a one fret slide-in. Slide the chord in on the first beat and then just do your favorite strum on 2,3,4. Add a wah-wah and you are ready to go to the house of jazz!

A |-4/5-5-5-5-|-4/5-5-3-4-5-|
E |-4/5-5-5-5-|-4/5-5-3-4-5-|
C |-4/5-5-5-5-|-4/5-5-3-4-5-|
G |-3/4-4-4-4-|-3/4-4-2-3-4-|

Scrubbing MP3

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