If you’re looking for slide guitar songs to learn, you’ve come to the right post!
1. Tush by ZZ Top
Tush is an obvious pick for a list like this one. In this ZZ Top classic, we hear Billy Gibbons blasting some simple yet very effective slide licks in the solo. But don’t get fooled by the song’s simplicity as it takes a lot of patience and practice to make it sound like the original.
2. Bad to the Bone by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
Who knew that a slide riff could be so heavy? George Thorogood made history with Bad to the Bone, bringing slide guitar back into the spotlight.
But most importantly, the song will teach you to play slide with the distortion on. The riff isn’t that difficult, although it may take some time to get it spot-on.
3. Statesboro Blues by The Allman Brothers Band
Statesboro Blues is an old song by Blind Willie McTell, originally released in 1929. However, The Allman Brothers Band popularized the song. The most famous version of the piece appeared on their legendary “At Fillmore East” live album.
Honestly, no one can fully replicate the magic that Duane Allman did on this one. To this day, he’s still regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
4. Desdemona by The Allman Brothers Band
But The Allman Brothers Band has a very long history. At one point, Derek Trucks found his way into the lineup. He officially recorded only one studio album with the band, Hittin’ the Note in 2003. It’s also officially the group’s final album.
Although not a major hit, the song called Desdemona really stands out. Going for over 9 minutes, its middle section has a slide solo by Derek Trucks. Now, this is a pretty challenging one, but I think you’ll like it.
5. Highway 61 Revisited by Johnny Winter
The original version of the song is by Bob Dylan. However, Johnny Winter gave it a completely different twist. His version of Highway 61 Revisited feels completely different.
And it’s not just because of Johnny Winter’s use of a slide in the song. There’s a whole different groove to it. It was a very specific arrangement. So it’s no wonder that his version become more popular
6. Dust My Broom by Elmore James
Even though it’s originally known as Robert Johnson’s I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom, Elmore James reinvented the song in 1951. Of course, both are blues legends well-known for their slide skills. But Elmore’s version really changed the game.
It may sound a bit outdated, but you need to bear in mind that these were the early 1950s. What’s more, Elmore James managed to get that thin, ear-piercing distorted tone out of his amp. It just worked perfectly with his style of playing, not to mention how his powerful vocals contrast the guitar tone.
7. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) by George Harrison
Sure, we’re already familiar with the greatness of The Beatles. But the curse of being in such a band is that one’s musicianship might go unnoticed. To be perfectly honest, that was the case with George Harrison.
In fact, Harrison was a pretty skilled guitar player ahead of his time. His solo piece Give Me Love is a predominantly acoustic one. However, Harrison showcases his slide skills. And not only that. Harrison also did some overdubs, creating harmonies with slide guitar tracks.
8. In My Time of Dying by Led Zeppelin
Jimmy Page is one of the greatest innovators in rock music. He’s the one who brought blues to the next level and helped lay the foundations for what was going to become heavy metal.
But, of course, he stayed true to his blues roots. That’s what we can hear on slide-heavy In My Time of Dying. This is a great one to start with if you’re new to slide guitar.
9. Come on in My Kitchen by Robert Johnson
Now we go back to the old days. Without Robert Johnson’s recordings, guitar probably wouldn’t be as popular as it is today. If we had to pick one song to showcase his slide skills, then we would go with Come on in My Kitchen.
The song keeps a pretty steady beat all the way through. What’s more, it has a very recognizable main melody. Vocals and slide guitar work hand-in-hand.
10. Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground by Blind Willie Johnson
This is one of the darkest and most melancholic blues songs of all time. Blind Willie Johnson had a pretty difficult life. And you can hear that on the old recording from the late 1920s.
However, it’s a challenge to pay this song justice through a proper cover. Bear in mind that this is also one of the songs sent into space on Voyager Golden Records.
11. Crankin’ It Up by Justin Johnson
Justin Johnson is one of the younger blues players today. He may not be a huge name in the world of guitar. However, he rose to fame with his incredible slide skills and approach to songwriting.
For this list, we’re bringing his instrumental song Crankin’ It Up. In the original, he performs it on one of his shovel guitars. But, of course, you can play it on a regular guitar as well.
12. Cut My Wings by Seasick Steve
Although using a pretty unconventional approach to playing, Seasick Steve is a name worth mentioning. Additionally, he’s famous for his unusual guitars. In particular, his so-called Three-String Trance Wonder stands out. On this instrument, he played Cut My Wings, using the unusual G-G-B tuning on it. However you might feel about this one, it’s a great way to experiment with unusual tunings and string formations. It will also teach you to approach the fretboard differently.
13. Feelin’ Bad Blues by Ry Cooder
Although you may know this one from the movie Crossroads, this melancholic blues piece was written and recorded by Ry Cooder. It feels kind of semi-improvised so it may be a bit difficult to pull it off to sound the same as the original. Nonetheless, it’s a great one to learn if you want to get into slide guitar.
14. Native Stepson by Sonny Landreth
Although not as famous as some other names here, Sonny Landreth is one of the greatest masters of slide guitar today. Native Stepson from his 1995 South of I-10 album is a great tune, showcasing Sonny’s incredible technique.
But what’s really exciting to hear is how clean his slide playing sounds even with distortion on. In addition, he pulls off some pretty unique licks that you wouldn’t expect to hear in a slide-centric song.
15. Old Friend by Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks
Yes, this is the third time that I’m mentioning The Allman Brothers Band, but hear me out on this one. Although originally recorded by Chris Anderson, the 2003 version by the blues band made it more famous. Warren Haynes, who also co-wrote the piece, teamed up with Derek Trucks to cover this tune and it ended up on The Allman Brothers’ final record.
Above all, this is probably one of the most immersive songs on the list. Furthermore, the lyrics and the music work perfectly together. Although only two acoustic guitars and vocals, they do what many bands can’t with several backing musicians, and high-production tricks can’t pull off.
Slide Guitar Songs: Conclusion
I hope this article has given you some slide guitar songs you might want to learn!
And if you want to read more about great songs to learn on this blog, then check out:
- Awesome Guitar Hero 3 Songs to Learn
- The Best Dark Acoustic Guitar Songs
- Great R&B Songs to Learn on the Guitar
- The Best Nursing Home Setlist for the Guitar (2023 Edition)
Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!