A couple of years ago I bought a bunch of slides at a trade fair, so I could try them out and see which I liked. A couple of steel tubes, heavy brass one, one of glass in one of porcelain. The glass one lasted about one day – it rolled off the table and broke. No great loss, as, to my surprise, I wasn’t very impressed with the sound which was dull compared to the metal ones. Decades ago I used the actual necks of actual bottles: I would score around the neck with a file in the hope of encouraging the right fracture line, wrap my hand in a towel, grab the neck and smash it against a brick. The success rate was probably something like 20%, and those that were workable then had to be ground so that the broken end didn’t then slice your finger as you played. But nowadays you can just go to a shop.
Recently I’ve moved from the heavy brass one that has for a while been my favourite, and which is pictured on the cover of For The Record. I’m enjoying the porcelain one pictured here, partly because the brass slide is very heavy indeed, while the porcelain is a bit easier to control. In the hope of saving it from the fate of its erstwhile glass contemporary I poked a hole in a bit of foam rubber.
As it happens I spend quite a lot of time in my day job dealing with patents, and I can just see it: “Apparatus for reducing the breakage rate of a guitar pitch-changing device, and method for reducing the breakage rate of said device.”