Slide guitar is a technique for playing the guitar that is often used in blues music. It involves playing a guitar while holding a hard object (a slide) against the strings, creating the opportunity for glissando effects and deep vibratos that reflect characteristics of the human singing voice. It typically involves playing the guitar in the traditional position (flat against the body) with the use of a slide fitted on one of the guitarist's fingers. The slide may be a metal or glass tube, such as the neck of a bottle. The term bottleneck was historically used to describe this type of playing. The strings are typically plucked (not strummed) while the slide is moved over the strings to change the pitch. The guitar may also be placed on the player's lap and played with a hand-held bar (lap steel guitar).
Creating music with a slide of some type has been traced back to primitive stringed instruments in Africa and also to the origin of the steel guitar in Hawaii. Near the beginning of the twentieth century, blues musicians in the Mississippi Delta popularized the bottleneck slide guitar style, and the first recording of slide guitar was by Sylvester Weaver in 1923. Since the 1930s, performers including Robert Nighthawk, Earl Hooker, Elmore James, and Muddy Waters popularized slide guitar in electric blues and influenced later slide guitarists in rock music, including the Rolling Stones, Duane Allman, and Ry Cooder. Lap slide guitar pioneers include Oscar "Buddy" Woods, "Black Ace" Turner, and Freddie Roulette.