Make your own bottleneck slide

Proper blues slides, left is a Rioja, right a co-op pinot

I have never really liked store brought glass slides, they tend to be very thin walled and too wide for my spindly long fingers.

I have a couple of brass slides that do well for belting out Son House style acoustic stuff but for  low action electric playing, ( I wear my slides on my little finger, play in open D or E and fret conventionally with the rest of my fingers), you really need a proper glass slide.

They aren’t too difficult to make.

 

 

Equipment

  • Dremel
  • Supply of empty wine bottles
  • Cut off disks
  • Workmate or secure work surface
  • Eye protection
  • Face mask (or in my case Winnie the Poo tea towel tied around head and over mouth and nose “Cowboy fashion”)
  • Bucket of water
  • Concrete paving slabs or a sidewalk / pavement

Quick word about safety :

You are will be using power tools  and playing with glass. The likelihood of a visit to A & E is high.

Do not attempt this project drunk, tipsy or in any way inebriated.

Be sensible, think before doing anything and concentrate!

The Theory

The Dremel will both score and heat up your bottle. In theory; once heated the bottle will crack along the path of least resistance. That should be the score line the dremel has made.

Procedure

Using the workmate's plastic clips to make a cradle for easy rotating of the bottle while cutting.

Wash out and dry your bottle. Remove any plastic neck sleeve.

Place it on the workmate in such a way that it is supported and secure. DON’T try to clamp it.

Fire up your Dremel and use the cut off wheel to grind a line just around the bottom of the bottles “lip”. Once you have made that initial circle just keep going. Do NOT push too hard, you don’t want to shatter the bottle. After maybe 5 minutes you will hear a crack and the top of the bottle should just drop off. The break will be cleaner than you expected but not perfect, don’t worry we will fix this later.

The bits left after a successful cut

Place some tape around the bottom of the bottle neck to give you a guide where the next cut will be. Then grind away, just like last time. The bottle neck will crack away just like last time.

Eventually you should have a good little slide with rough ends in your hands.

Oh, Before I made my first decent slide I had three abject failures with cracks in the wrong place, crazy spiky breaks and so on. There is a knack to making these but it’s not a difficult one to acquire.

Finishing the slide and making it safe.

Take your bucket of water to your paving slab or pavement. Wet the slab and use it as wet and dry paper or a hone. Basically grind down any sharp bits.

Now tune your spare junker guitar  E-B-E-G#-B-E,  plug into a slightly dirty valve amp and wail like hell.

 

 

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