A wood bottleneck-style slide made in Taylor’s Cameroon sawmill.
by Teja Gerken
June 24, 2019
Taylor Guitars has been at the forefront of environmentally responsible wood sourcing for many years. The company has been using alternatives to traditional wood species; finding ways to use woods more efficiently; working with Pacific Rim Tonewoods on reforesting spruce, maple, and koa in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii; and, perhaps most significantly, partnering with international tonewood supplier Madinter in purchasing and operating an ebony sawmill in Cameroon (under the name Crelicam). Ebony, which is used to make the fingerboards and bridges of most stringed instruments, has become endangered, and Taylor’s efforts have led to more responsible harvesting. The company has also begun actively replanting ebony, and has become an example for international collaborations of ecologically sound wood sourcing (for more information, check out taylorguitars.com/ebonyproject).
What does this have to do with guitar slides? One of the many frustrations faced by Bob Taylor and his team is that, as in any sawmill, there is a lot of leftover wood too small to make guitar parts. In trying to minimize waste, Crelicam began looking into other products that could be manufactured from these pieces, and the result is a line of beautifully machined slides.
Available in four sizes, small, medium, large, and extra large, the Crelicam slides are about 2⅛ inches long, and because of their light weight, they feel very different from metal, glass, or ceramic slides. For players trying to learn slide on a guitar with low action and/or light-gauge strings, the lighter weight is a real benefit, because it’s much easier to produce a clean tone with a light slide than a heavier one, which requires more control. Experienced slide players may also enjoy adding one of these slides to their collection, as the low weight facilitates fast moves and playing on guitars that aren’t set up for slide playing. The softer surface and lighter weight creates a warm tone, and while the lack of mass results in less sustain than with most other slides, the overall tonal quality is somewhere between a regular fretted note and a note produced by a more traditional slide.
At about $20 (street), Taylor’s Crelicam Ebony Guitar Slide is a great way to experiment with new sounds, and if you’re new to slide guitar, you may find that it makes it easier to learn. Taylorguitars.com
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