Learn to Play: Boscoe France on Blending Country and Blues Slide Guitar

In Boscoe France's slide guitar playing, you can hear bottleneck blues, the Louisiana soul of Sonny Landreth, country licks better-suited for a B-Bender Tele, and more in a stew of genres and influences.

Perhaps even more impressive than the feat of musicianship is France's ability to tease out all the bits and techniques he's borrowed and updated, explaining how each plays a role in his own style. In our video above, Boscoe stops by the Reverb studio to walk us through this lineage of picking and sliding—starting, as it does with so many players, by being floored by a record and wondering just how they were making that sound.

France talks about how he used to listen to Merle Haggard's lead guitarist, Roy Nichols, and think, "How's he doing that?" Soon enough, France learned Nichols was aggressively bending individual notes while holding others in place, creating his pedal steel–like harmonies.

But then he thought, "Well what could sound more like a pedal steel than a slide?" Using dropped-third fingerings—in which he employs his pointer finger behind the slide—and manual volume swells with his picking hand, he was able to adapt his own Nichols-meets-pedal-steel amalgamation.

This trick is just one of many Boscoe explains above. Be sure to watch the full video, and—if you don't have one already—pick up a slide today.

comments powered by Disqus