“Derek, you could play slide with a ham sandwich and make it sound good”: Watch Derek Trucks use a drumstick as a slide and still make his guitar sing

Derek Trucks plays slide on his Dickey Betts SG
(Image credit: Taylor Hill/Getty Images for ABA)

As the greatest slide guitar player of his generation, of course Derek Trucks has his preferences for what to play with come showtime. His weapon of choice is glass – a signature slide made by Jim Dunlop, shaped like an old medicine bottle. But when you are as good as Trucks is at manipulating the guitar, heck, you can pretty much use anything – as he proved recently when he picked up a drumstick for some practice.

The footage, posted on the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Instagram page, should provide inspiration for any player obsessed over the details in their gear – there’s aways a workaround. Or to those looking for a new sound in slide – there are always new tones to explore. 

Brass, ceramic, and glass slides all have their own tonal properties, and just as crucially their own weight and feel. 

Trucks’ signature slide, the Dunlop DT01, has a closed end with a little weight in it for balance. It does not stray for from the classic Coricidin bottle that slide players soon learned was just as effective on their electric guitars as it was on their coughs and colds, with a tone accurately described by Dunlop as “crisp” and “bright”.

What about a drumstick? Well, it’s wood, smooth but wood all the same. How would that sound? In Derek Trucks’ hands, with his Dickey Betts SG through what looks very much like a vintage ‘no-logo’ Fender Vibro Champ, it sounded just fine.

There’s a surprising amount of top end. There’s unsurprisingly still a Jedi-level of control from Trucks, playing fingerstyle throughout. 

“Derek, you could play slide with a ham sandwich and make it sound good,” commented John Irizarry. Ain’t that the truth. Check out the footage above.

Trucks will be on tour with Tedeschi Trucks Band through July, with the band’s next date on 24 July at the Ampitheater at Las Colonias Park, in Grand Junction, Colorado. See Tedeschi Trucks Band for full dates and ticket details.

I Am The Moon - 7/29/22 - Morrison, CO - YouTube I Am The Moon - 7/29/22 - Morrison, CO - YouTube
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In other TTB news, Fender and Susan Tedeschi recently teamed up for a signature Telecaster, and you can read our interview with Tedeschi, in which she talks about the development of her Tele, her favourite Telecaster players, and what it was like to take part in the Jeff Beck tribute concerts in May of last year, and the impact Beck had on guitar.

“He was one of those guitarists who could play anything, from The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix to even classical stuff,” Tedeschi said. “The sky was the limit with him. He was so gifted and could do it all, and would always create his own sound. He was so versatile and so great at playing melodies from the heart.”

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.