Ariel Posen Piece


Slide Guitar with Ariel Posen

5 Tips on Tone, Technique and Tools
From touring and recording with Juno award-winning band The Bros. Landreth , to co-hosting episodes of the popular  Andertons TV Youtube channel, Canadian guitarist Ariel Posen has made waves around the world with his expressive playing. We sat down with him to get some ideas about how our readers can work towards getting a great slide tone.

Ariel giving his signature ball tip slide a spin

Ariel playing a '68 ES-335 through a Dumble modded Fender showman at Vertex HQ


How can our readers find their perfect slide?

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.


How does having a ball tip on your slide factor into your playing?

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.


What do you look for in reverb and delay for slide playing?

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.


What about in a compressor?

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.



Be sure to follow Ariel on Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date with his latest projects and releases!