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The Thimble Slide is a new kind of guitar slide; it's an answer to an old question, "How can I slide when I want - but be able to fret the strings when I need to?"

Developed and patented by rock guitarist Cole Coleman, the Thimble Slide is designed to be worn on the tip of your finger. Yet, it allows your fingertip to pass through and exposes enough of it so that you can easily fret your instrument - while still wearing the slide! You can play linear parts, chords, riffs, AND take that slide solo and go back to playing chords etc. without a pause in the same song. You can even develop mixed solos and parts sliding and fretting.

The Thimble Slide is particularly useful to guitarists who will use it for slide solos and melodies. The Stretch model has a 1-inch playing surface which is perfect for sliding up to 3 strings at a time and repositioning over the strings as you move around the fretboard.

Sales of the Thimble Slide are administered by Cole's company DHW Enterprises, Inc. 

Manufactured by DHW Enterprises, Inc. Los Angeles CA, U.S.A.. Thimble Slide™ is a trademark of DHW Enterprises, Inc. It is a name to describe a new class of guitar slides and it is a unique line of products. We are the original, the official, Thimble Slide.

Patent Info:
The Thimble Slide is protected by Utility Patent 8399753. All rights are reserved. Manufacture or distribution of similar products as defined in that patent are prohibited within and without the United States Of America and worldwide by the international Patent Cooperation Treaty.

The Ongoing Story

Photo By: Michael Crook
Cole Coleman
It was developed by rock guitarist Cole Coleman who for many years was a working player in club and touring bands throughout the southwest United States before embarking on a solo career. During this time he often found himself called upon to provide melodic slide solos and parts while still needing to "hold the tune down" with the band as he was usually the only guitar player onstage. As such, he had a real need to switch between sliding and fretting the strings without a pause. In this environment of need he developed the first Thimble Slide prototype design. 

The idea for this first design was planted from the day of his first bar gig. Remembers Cole, "One of the most popular songs of the day started with a few strums and then right into a melodic slide melody. So, there I was onstage with a standard slide over my finger like a splint carefully trying to strum through the intro. I got into the slide melody okay but when it was time to get into the verse - I couldn't see a way to do it cleanly while wearing the slide nor without a pause to take it off. But, that's what guitar players did then - and still do; they pause to put a slide on and pause to take it off or drop it to the floor. After I took mine off and got into the verse I thought, 'there has got to be a better way.'" 

Many years passed since the idea was planted and many very different and sometimes complicated designs were thought of. Slide melodies fell out of fashion in rock music as did soloing all together and for a time the thought to develop a new slide device was set aside. Then, a song or two that featured slide melodies gained popularity; then, a couple artists who incorporate slide in their music gained popularity. And then, during the span of a couple months two different artists asked Cole to record melodic slide solos in their songs; and with that, the idea to create a new kind of slide device was back! 

Cole showing the first crude Thimble Slide prototype.

Cole had noticed while performing night after night that he only ever really used an area of the slide about the size of the pad of his fingertip - about 1/2 to 3/4-inch. So, he set out to affix a piece of rounded sterling silver a little over 1/2-inch long (5/8 inch) to the pad of his fingertip; and it worked! Leaving the tip of his finger exposed he could both slide and fret as needed. He had his first crude but usable prototype.

Over the next six months he refined the shape and size of the Thimble Slide making his next prototype's slide surface 3/4-inch long - enough to slide two strings at a time. He also determined the best way to make the slide consistently was to use molds. In choosing what metal to make the slide out of he ultimately chose brass which has long been valued to make slides out of for the full-warm tone it produces on the strings. He also added some grip-triangles on the sides; these are triangle shapes cut through the slide to expose the skin. It was thought these would help the slide grip the finger. With these choices made he was ready to make the mold for the second prototype. However, while preparing art renderings of the new prototype he thought it was starting to look like a piece of jewelry and that the top of the slide looked rather barren. Since the Thimble Slide does have an actual top and bottom he thought, "Why not put a design on it; add a little flash to it; not only for looks but to easily identify the top when you reach for it quickly onstage." After some thought, he chose to put as universal and attractive of symbol he could think of on it's top - a bold Fleur de Lis. 

The first true Thimble Slide designed from scratch. It was cast with brass and had a 3/4-inch slide surface, and grip-triangles on the sides.

However, before creating the second prototype's mold a major concern surfaced which was - how to accommodate all the finger sizes that people have and just how many sizes are there? So, Cole conducted a survey of finger sizes open to all guitar players who came across his notice online. All they need do was measure their third finger's  diameter about 1/4 inch back from the tip and email in the results via the Thimble Slide website. When the survey was concluded it was clear there would have to be many sizes to fit everyone. But after a lot of thought and calculations Cole realized he could accommodate everyone with just the classic four sizes Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large - by putting a sizing gap down each one. This would allow people to adjust the slide larger or smaller as needed within their general size range. 

With all these choices and design features made - he at last made the second prototype's mold and the result was the first true Thimble Slide designed from scratch. 

Why was the sizing survey targeting the third finger of the fretting hand? Cole has observed that while playing the guitar, fretting the strings, and running scales and lines, the third finger moves the least and therefore provides the calmest platform for the Thimble Slide to rest on while playing. It stays clear of the strings best on that finger when not sliding and will interfere the least when chording. So, he chose to base the size ranges on the third finger of the fretting hand; and, while guitarists will use it any way and on any finger they want - we recommend it for use on the third finger.

Thimble Slide model The Stretch. It's identical to The Original - merely stretched longer so that it has a 1-inch slide surface.

Since that time a few more experimental prototypes were tried and a few changes have been made. Gone are the grip-triangles and the sizing gap has been moved to it's current position on the slide. This all culminates in the first official model of Thimble Slide we call "The Original." 

The most important change to take place however has been the introduction of a new model we call "The Stretch." Over the course of a year of testing The Original in practical use, Cole and several guitar players who tested the slide determined that it was too easy to slip off the 3/4-inch slide surface under stage conditions and that a longer surface would make it even easier to use. After creating and testing the prototype for The Stretch with it's 1-inch slide surface which is enough to slide 3-strings at a time - we all agree it's easier to use by a majority of guitar players across a variety of music genres. 

So, we are currently withholding The Original from release - and releasing The Stretch for commercial sales confident that it offers the most ease of use.

Cole publicly debuted the Thimble Slide (Stretch: Fleur de Lis) at the NAMM Show in January 2012 - and created quite a stir! Stores and magazines requested it and over fifty advance orders were placed. 

Moving forward, we are preparing new designs for The Stretch model for those who would like something other than a Fleur de Lis. Look for a new design to grace the top of the Thimble Slide in late summer or fall 2012.

Cole at the NAMM Show in January 2012 making the public debut of the Thimble Slide.