This technique is very Dobro-like in its sound and approach and has a great similarity to some of the licks we were doing previously in open G tuning, which means we’re using slide tilting and angling to create those great open position harmonies associated with this style.
This approach emulates the sound that Ry Cooder and Lowell George helped make famous. Again, it’s purely a finger-picked style and the split-string sound is very critical in these kinds of licks. In fact, if you want to hear even more of the possibilities you should listen to some great Dobro players like Jerry Douglas and hear how they combine open strings with slide licks and then borrow some of those sounds for this “upright” slide approach.
For this lesson we’re also going to stay mostly in the open E Major pentatonic positions, so many major third slides will be incorporated. In this tuning there are actually three places in the open scale where this can occur: the low E, the D string (now tuned to E), and then the high E string.
A nice, fairly heavy and thick slide is recommended for this technique, and it should be long enough for your pinky to stick out and “sense” the end of it so you can have more accuracy when aiming for those crucial slides, and when you’re doing those special angles and tilts as well.
Good luck with it and enjoy!—Arlen Roth