Picture of Homemade Guitar Slide
Many of you are probably not wondering: HAL, what did you do when you forgot to get one of your two friends a christmas present? Well, since he is into bluegrass guitar, I gave him one of these, which he mistook for a piece of broken glass.
This is how to make your own professional-seeming glass guitar slide from a bottle to get that nice bluesy sound, or to play any number of other types of music. This is a very easy method of making a great tool for guitarists, and makes great, cheap gifts for your guitarist friends.
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Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials
For this project you will need a few materials and tools. These are:

One bottle. This should have a very pronounced neck, unlike some beer bottles which just taper slightly to the top. The project will work best if the neck on your bottle has a long, straight section, like a wine bottle.

Glass Cutter. If you don't have one, get one. I got mine for i think $3.50 at the hardware store, and its very useful if you're into DIY. This is essential to the project.

Sandpaper. You could rub the glass on the wet sidewalk, this also works. I use a combination, since the sidewalk is rougher than my sandpaper.

You may also want gloves, since there is a guaranteed potential for broken glass. hearing protection is also advised, since there is also a potential for loud noises.

Step 2: Cut around the neck

Picture of Cut around the neck
In this step we will cut the bottleneck, which will become the slide. for this you need to know how to use a glass cutter.

A glass cutter does not actually cut glass, rather it scores a "weakest link" line into the glass which, when the glass is broken, will redirect the direction of the breaking along the scoring line.

To use your glass cutter score a line around the neck applying pressure with the cutting wheel along the glass, like in the picture. Try to make just one, straight line to get a good, clean cut.
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cripplehero11 months ago

mine ended up crooked

elibuu161 year ago
Does a bottleneck work on an acoustic guitar
guitarfan3 years ago
i found out that this is simpler with a dremmel tool and only takes 10 minutes, you have to wear eye protection unless you dont like to see
Acorns4 years ago
Very good HAL, i'l be making one soon ;-)
Copper slides r cool Wwipe down your guitar and y strings each time you play W #10 copper pipe. a vise, a file and a hacksaw, = (15) 3" slides for $10.
Rule #1 - Don't park a copper slide in your mouth, - poison
Rule #2 - Don't water it with your plants, it kills plants
Rule #3 - Keep it away from toddlers who put everything in their mouths, or
brother you will really get the blues.
Copper slides are light, fast and straight. How to play decent slide with a fat bottleneck with a lip or screwmount on it? DA could do it. I used to use dunlop glass slides, expensive. I kept breaking them when they fell out of my shirt pocket. The difference between the Dunlop and the homemade (copper) slide is wheh you put your plastic thumb and fingerpicks in the Dunlop slide, they fit perfect and stay in.
Nassmaster5 years ago
HI there, first ,thanks a lot for sharing this... can you tell me about the min/max Slide length ? cheers.
Well Nassmaster, you asked this question more than a year ago, but I figured I'd try to help anyway. I'm not sure if there is a standard length, but you want it to be as long as your fingerboard is wide. You could measure your fingerboard at the widest point and try to make your slide that long. OR--you could just make it 2-5/8 inches... because that's how long my store-bought slide is :). I dropped a Corona bottle a few weeks ago and the neck broke off, and it just happened to be 2-3/4" at the shortest point, so perhaps I'm in luck! Thanks HAL for the tutorial!
Thanks Eigenbroetler, By the way, I found that 3 inches or a little bit less was just perfect for me. keep sliding ;)
Sweet man! Now all i gotta do is down my wine bottle! cheeers!
This could possibly be the most fun part of the project. Just don't make the slide until a good 6 hours later.
St.Louis4 years ago
Hehe, I (or one of my friends) made one of these when I was drunk once. Accidentally that is. After a big party I found a broken bottle of passoa in the yard. The neck was still pretty much intact, and it was perfect as a slide.

The sanding isn't really necessary, just put the other end on you finger ;)
fireman1155 years ago
What do i do if i dont have a glass cutter?
 A hacksaw works well, but it takes patience. And glass breaks easily even if its a tiny cut. So really, just score the bottle with the hacksaw and then hold the neck and tap the bottle against a hard surface. It will break off right around your scoring mark and then you can sand down the edges.
HAL 9000 (author)  fireman1155 years ago
 You can get one for about $2, thats what i would recommend. there are other methods for "cutting" glass without one involving fire, water, string, etc. I didnt look into them too closely because I had a glass cutter. Just search around a little.
S Timmerman5 years ago
I make and sell them VERY reasonable on my site -   I'll have more very soon  - I keep running out as I sell them at such a good price.  If you want a bunch contact me.    Or a certain color, with something painted on them ect.  I'm an artist. 

lusoc5 years ago
Another trick is to heat the score line over a candle and then immediately plunge it under cold water. This is much less violent and produces good results.
sammydiy095 years ago
I've got to try this!!
Hey!! thanks a lot! i'm a guitar player and yeaH! this is gonna help me ;) greetings ;
lennyb7 years ago
good job. this is a similar method to how i made my own slides the main difference is i heated the scored line with a candle then rubbed the line with an icecube. the thermal shock cracked the glass and the neck came off in my hands with no need for thumping and banging. it also preserves the rest of the bottle for if you want to make a vase or something
mdog93 lennyb6 years ago
i used this method and it worked well apart from my line wasn't very straight in the first place but i just found a new way of doing it without having to scratch/score a line, the video is here:

it's basically the same as lenny's way but instead of scoring a line yoa wrap a line of thread around put lighter fuel on the thread burn it til it goes out then put it in water! really impressive

might give this method a go

lennyb mdog936 years ago
oh yeah i`ve seen that way . it works really well if you give it a nice clean burn with the fuel primarily on the thread. if its all down the glass you wont get a predictable cut.
HAL 9000 (author)  lennyb7 years ago
Oh, good idea. Breaking it like I do actually preserves the rest of the bottle too, if you look in my recycling bin you will see a bunch of decapitated wine bottles. It looks pretty funny.
smash101016 years ago
wow, I wish i had thought to look for one of these earlier. I put a bottle in a vice and tried to cut it with a hack saw. BAB IDEA. I got bored and tried to chisel it, but the bottle moved, 5 sec later It randomly exploded. DO NOT TRY THAT WITH OUT HEARING PROTECTION AND GLOVES AND GOGGLES. This makes it a lot easer, now I just need an excuse to drink a bottle of wine, to bad I'm under 21.
mdog936 years ago
do you think this groove will be roughly deep enough, because i did it with a file as somebody said you could in a comment. I know it's probably hard to see because the pictures were quick and rough but you will know better than me wehther it's good enough. thankyou, mdog
I've just bought a glass cutter off ebay, i'm trying this as soon as it arrives :D
woodfinery6 years ago
Wood FineryEnjoyed the easy to follow steps on building a homemade slide. Now I have something to do with the empties!
haha nice. My dad and I were walking around Home Depot and found little copper tubes in various sizes that looked perfect for guitar slides. We each got one that fit us and tried them out. It works pretty well! I don't know the advantages of glass over copper though, or even if there are any disadvantages of using copper. But for 60 cents or so, you can't beat it.
Copper might get some oxide on your strings. Watch out they dont' get green and stain your guitar. You might consider polishing, coating with oil without touching it and leave your slide alone for a few weeks. Works on brass.
my strings are copper wound, so i'm not sure the slide would hurt them. copper stained fingers are hard to clean, though.
Son House used copper slides. If its good enough for him, its good enough for 99.99% of guitarists, eh? If you wear copper jewlery all day and or night it turns your skin green. If you play an hour or so a day, no green my friend. Direct knowledge is the only knowledge that is true. Ruin your strings, stain your guitar? Anyone had this happen? You better take the penny out yer pocket, it may stain your pants. Think about it. Or experience it, even better. Peace.
Thanks for the tip. We don't use it often, so there's no real worry. My dad plays more lead than anything, and I play bass. Hopefully we'll be picking up some DR Coated Strings soon. That should ease the wear of whenever we do use copper slides. Though I may make a glass one soon.
It's just a sound difference. Probably harmonics or something. You can listen to some blues records and tell right away, "Hey, that guy had a glass slide!" or whatever. I've used some plastic slides before, and they really have a bad sound to my ear. Both store-bought and homemade ones. Glass seems to have what I would call a softer edge to it than copper. Kinda like the sound difference between your guitar's tone knob set at 0 or set at 10, or bridge versus neck pickup. Same kinda change.
Yeah, I see what you're saying. I'll probably try different ones out and mess and switch around just to experiment with different sounds. That's always fun. My dad had a glass one, but I'm not sure where it went...
It really is amazing how one small change can make a big difference.
slucepan6 years ago
A diamond blade in a hack saw frame works well to cut off bottle necks.
Esmagamus6 years ago
Nice. I once had a surplus piece of shiny stainless stell tubing around here and just wrapped a layer of cotton adhesive bandage on each end. Loos good, and gets the work done.
Nice instructable, tools definitely make making a bottleneck slide easier. When I made mine, I just dropped a bunch of wine bottles trying to figure out how best to break them so the neck stayed intact, eventually discovering that the best way to do this is to hold the bottle sideways, parallel to the ground, and drop it from about 1.5 feet, then you can just grind down the sharp edges on the sidewalk.
transmothra7 years ago
Way awesome! I always assumed that they were worn the other way around.
one time i used a wrench, a speaker box, an altoids can, an AOL CD, my digital tuner, and my PSP, this way is probably alot better
carpespasm7 years ago
You can also use a torch to smooth the edge and give it a nice shine, just be sure to warm it up slowly or you might crack it like lennyb's scoring and shocking.
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