Ariel Posen Piece
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2017
5 Tips on Tone, Technique and Tools
Ariel giving his signature ball tip slide a spin
Ariel playing a '68 ES-335 through a Dumble modded Fender showman at Vertex HQ
Ariel: The size is most important, as everyone's fingers are obviously a different shape. I always tell people to try as many as they can until they find the one that just fits right. The slide should feel like an extension of your finger rather than a tool that you’re just wearing.
In terms of the type of slide, whether it be brass, nickel, glass, ceramic, etc. is all personal preference. You’ll get a warmer sound from glass or ceramic, and an edgier thing from brass and nickel. I like the throatiness from brass primarily, but there are times in the studio where I’ll use ceramic or glass for different sonic qualities.
Ariel: Having the ball tip edge just smoothens out the sounds you get from the top of the slide when it's resonating on all the strings, rather than choking out and sounding harsh. It's a little added security to know that when you're playing behind the slide like I do and making diagonal motions with your hand that you're not going to buzz out at the top of the slide.
What's something a lot of players overlook with their slide technique?
Ariel: I think too many slide players tend to press too hard and then let their hands freeze up. Essentially meaning that the rest of their fingers become limp and in alignment with the slide, which limits you to very choppy and unexpressive movement.
Playing slide is all about being expressive and playing dynamically. Pressing too hard all the time isn’t going to give you those things. The most lush and tasty slide sounds, in my opinion, are when the slide hand is touching very lightly and the picking hand is digging in a bit more. It's a bit of a mind bend at first, but it's awesome.
Ariel: Just space and width. I have a tough time playing in general with a dry sound - I just need that wet sound to get inspired. For slide, anything to help with sustain really expresses every note that much more, and reverb does that.
Ariel: Immediate "feel good". I like a compressor to help find your tone a place in a mix, and for that "squish". The extra sustain is helpful, but it's when you're either too quiet or too loud that a compressor really helps to even everything out when you need it the most.