Duane Allman’s Coricidin Bottle (Slide)

access_time First seen circa 1968

According to Galadrielle Allman [Please Be With Me, p. 103], Duane initially used a water glass to learn to play slide. At the time Duane lived in Los Angeles, sharing an apartment with Pete Carr on Yucca Street. [Johnny Sandlin: Anathalee G. Sandlin, A Never-Ending Groove, p. 56.]

According to Johnny D. Wyker, he settled on using a Coricidin bottle around the time he lived in Muscle Shoals, circa late 1968.

I went to several drug stores with Duane in The Shoals and we’d ask the pharmacist if Duane could look through his empty bottles and we’d sit on the floor and dig through the boxes and Duane would try out different bottles as a slide. He finally settled on the Coricidan(sp) bottle. [Johnny Wyker, Robert Register blog, 2005]

An original Coricidin bottle as displayed at The Big House Museum, Macon, GA. Photo by: Dave White

Duane used medicine bottles sold by Schering Corporation with Coricidin or Coricidin D tablets. There were bottles with 12 and with 25 tablets available back then. He preferably used the 25-tablet versions since they are tall enough to cover all the strings. When Schering Corporation merged with Plough, Inc. in 1971, the bottles later became childproof. Duane used the original non-childproof versions, of course.

Coricicin D glass bottles sitting on top of Duane’s Bassman Amp. Big House Museum, Macon. Photo credit: John McDavid/Flickr

As an interesting story – at the Atlanta Pop Festival, Duane had forgotten to bring his Coricidin bottle so they broke a wine bottle and Duane used the bottle’s neck as a bottleneck [Galadrielle Allman, Please Be With Me, pp. 246 – 248].

Gregg’s version of the story

According to Duane’s brother, Gregg Allman, Duane received his first Coricidin bottle from him. As the story goes – it was Duane’s birthday and he had a cold and had also bruised his arm because he had fallen off a horse, Gregg gave him a bottle of Coricidin and a copy of the debut record of Taj Mahal, and Duane started playing slide on a Telecaster of which the neck was broken.

However, there are some issues with this story. On Duane’s birthday in 1967, Taj Mahal record had not been released yet. On Duane’s birthday in 1968, Duane either lived in Muscle Shoals, but more likely in Jacksonville at Berry Oakley’s house going back and forth to Muscle Shoals and Jacksonville. Either way, he did not live in Los Angeles at the time. And whats more, the Hour Glass days were over and we do know that he learned to play slide in Los Angeles while being in Hour Glass, as Hour Glass played Statesboro Blues live on stage way before his 22nd birthday – which would be the next option.

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access_time 1969

Ring Guitar Strap by Zebo

On his 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, Duane used a Ring Strap made by Zebo of Zebo’s Leathers of Sarasota, FL. After his death, the strap ended up with Barry Oakley, and sometime later with Larry Brantley. After Duane was killed in a motorcycle wreck on Hillcrest Avenue in October 1971, bass player Berry Oakley wore the strap as a tribute. Brantley was introduced to Oakley in 1972 and joined […]

access_time 1971

Mountain Guitar Strap by Zebo, John Meeks

Duane used this guitar strap on his 1950s Gibson Les Paul Standard “Hot Lanta”. The strap was custom-made by Zebo (of Zebo’s Leathers of Sarasota, FL, and the same person who made Duane’s Ring Strap) and John Meeks.

access_time 1968

Ace 1313 Guitar Strap

Duane was seen using this guitar strap on his 1960s Fender Stratocaster. Chronologically looking, the first time he was seen using it would be on the photos taken in April 1968 in Cleveland at WEWS-TV (“Upbeat” TV Show ). The strap can be also seen on the photos taken on August 10, 1968, in St. Louis, MO (Forest Park Pavilion), and on the photos taken by Stephen Paley at Atlantic Recording […]

access_time 1968

351-shape Celluloid Guitar Pick

On most occasions, Duane was seen using either plain white or celluloid picks (zoom in on the photo below). Although it’s hard to tell from the photos, these seem to be standard 351-shape picks. Embed from Getty Images This is also confirmed by an AllmanBrotherBand.com forum user by the name of “Goliath”, who mentioned that he has seen an actual Duane guitar pick and that it was a Fender Heavy. […]

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