Spoon Playing Techniques – The Slide

Finally! Here it is! So many folks have asked me to upload a video of how I “slide the spoons” down my fingers, so here goes. I hope this tiny little video helps.

When I first started playing spoons, I was really bad at it. I wanted to play music with my friends, and could not afford any sort of “formal” instrument. Some folks I had met traveling had stolen a pair of spoons from some outdoor dining in Savannah, Georgia, and taught me how to hold them in my hands. Although I wasn’t necessarily off-beat at first, I definitely could not get them to do what I wanted them to do. It took a lot of practice before I could feel confident when playing music with others.

In fact, I was so terrible when I first started playing that sometimes I’d have someone even pay me to leave. I found them portable though, which was really handy while traveling. Naturally being a fidgety person, I fiddled with them pretty constantly. I would make marching cadences while I walked down highways, or play along with the trains. Whenever I would find a city where it was legal for me to play music on the streets I would try it out. Eventually I got myself a washboard, and nailed a bunch of knick-knacks to it, and would use it to go street performing by myself. Creating washboard beats with the spoons was fun and sometimes would stir up spontaneous dance parties.

The “slide” is the technique that most folks ask me about when first learning spoon playing. It really is all about the grip. The more I learned about the right way to hold the spoons and got used to them in my hand, the more I could achieve more tricks and movements with them. Practice really is the answer. Once you have the grip correct, the spoons will more likely do what you want them to do.

Some of my favorite spots to practice while traveling were underneath bridges. Sometimes the echoes are fun underneath the right bridge, or even within the right doorway on the street. I’ve walked down the street of new towns before tapping my spoons once and a while looking for a spot that had the right kind of echo or sound to it. One spot I wish I could have been able to practice is while waiting on freight trains while traveling. There’s a lot of camping and waiting by the tracks… but if you’re too loud in a handful of those areas the railroad “bull” (police) might hear you… so it really was best to just keep quiet.

I hope this video helps. If there is a move you’d like me to post, let me know in the comments below – or shoot me a link to your awesome moves.


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