Best guitar slides: every budget and material covered, plus how to choose the right slide for you

Close up of guitar player with a slide on their pinky finger
(Image credit: Future)

Today we are lucky to have our pick of the best guitar slides in a variety of materials and for a range of budgets, but the slide as we know it has humble origins. First utilized by players of the African folk instrument called the diddley bow, the slide graduated to the guitar after being pioneered by blues legends including Robert Johnson and Elmore James. Since then, players have carved their own style with the assistance of the slide and Jack White, Joe Perry and Seasick Steve are a few modern artists who have done so to great effect.

It’s no coincidence that the slide has stuck around through the evolution of the guitar and has been adopted by a huge range of inspiring players. Slide guitar enables players to improve their fingerpicking game and is perhaps the most accessible way to start exploring open tunings. Most of all, the slide is a great outlet for musical expression, allowing you to hear all of the notes between the frets and to create vocal-like inflections.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

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Ross Holder

Ross has been a music lover and guitar player since the age of 8. He has spent the five years since graduating from university working in music retail, selling guitars, amps and more. Ross is particularly interested in electric guitars, pedals and amplifiers and his current rig includes a trusty 2009 American Standard Stratocaster and Vox AC30S1 with a few Walrus Audio and Way Huge pedals in between.