Slides ʻUkulele Technique Lesson

Sliding is an ʻukulele technique that allows articulation of a note by moving from one pitch to another smoothly. When a hammer-on or pull-off isn’t appropriate a slide can very often fit the bill. It also allows for different fingering opportunities and playing options.

Normal ʻUkulele Slide:

This is the most common type of ʻukulele slide and is the easiest to play. You start on one note, pick, then slide to another (but don’t pick the second note). The slide itself is just a movement of the arm and wrist up or down the neck, keeping the finger holding the ringing note pressed down on the fretboard the whole way. 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 (or \ if the slide goes down). Here are some example slides in tab:

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 dive bomb kind of effect that rushes by a whole lot of notes fast. To play a dive bomb, 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 ʻukulele 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---

Funky Slides:

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-|

Funky Slides MP3

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Brad Bordessa
brad bordessa smiling holding ukulele

I’m an ‘ukulele artist from Honokaʻa, Hawaiʻi, where I run this site from a little plantation house in the jungle. I’ve taught workshops internationally, made Herb Ohta Jr. laugh until he cried, and once jammed with HAPA onstage in my boardshorts. More about me