Today’s post is a performance of “Hula Medley,” which pays tribute to Gabby Pahinui’s hugely influential recordings of the same name (both the early solo verision, and the version found on Pure Gabby). Many have covered this over the years, with one of my favorite versions appearing on Sonny Chilingworth’s Sonny Solo album. Per below, my recording of the medley here includes a slightly different lineup of songs. Hope you enjoy.
Demo recording of original song Bumble Bee Slack Key, inspired in part by the nalo meli, honey bees buzzing about their business. I wanted a song that was both lively and mellow and think I achieved it. Hope you enjoy.
Recorded with a Taylor 310ce (Elixir Polyweb 80/20 Bronze) and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM141 microphones in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 12/16/07.
This lesson shows you how to tune your guitar to Drop D tuning, which from low to high (in pitch) is D-A-D-G-B-E. Drop D is the most common alternate tuning – any tuning other than Standard tuning – and differs from standard only on the sixth string, which is tuned down (or dropped) to D. Open D is great for playing songs in the keys of D, A, and G. The tuning has been used by all types of players in all genres for all types of songs, but folkies and hard rock/metal people probably use it the most. You also see Drop D used in a decent number of guitar arrangements in classical music.
This lesson shows you how to play some chords in Drop D tuning, including how to adapt shapes you already know from standard tuning. Basically, notes you see on the sixth string in standard tuning are moved up two frets when you’re tuned to Drop D. This can mean slightly revoicing the chord – for example, leaving the 5th string out of some common chord voicings.
“Green Tea” is a fingerstyle improvisation based on the idea of toying with certain oft used open tuning tropes and seeing how they could be morphed. Listening back, I enjoy the sound of the dreadnaught guitar I recorded it on, even though I have been using predominantly smaller bodied guitars for the last 4-5 years or so. While small bodied guitars have a great balance that is perfect for many situations, sometimes there’s just something nice about the sound of a big boomy acoustic box. Hope you enjoy.
Recorded with a Taylor 310ce (Elixir Polyweb 80/20 Bronze) and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM141 microphones in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 12/14/07.
Today’s song from the vaults is an ukulele improvisation dubbed “Sunny Afternoon in My Ohana,” after the ohana unit where I recorded it. The unit centered on a large tile floored room with great acoustics that I kept mostly empty of furniture for recording purposes. People think of tile as producing a bright, harsh sound, but I never found the room to be that way at all. At any rate, it complemented the sound of ukulele nicely and though I only have a handful of uke recordings from that time, I recall playing uke a lot while living there. Anyway, this is one of those recordings; I hope you enjoy this music.
Recorded with a Koaloha pineapple soprano ukulele and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM141 microphones in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 3/1/08.
Today’s tune from the vaults is a recording of a slack key song I wrote and called “Kailua Bay Blues.” I spent a lot of time as a kid swimming in the waters of historic and majestic Kailua Bay, the waterfront area of ‘downtown’ Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The bay is surrounded by historic residences once occupied by the Hawaiian Monarchy, hotels, restaurants, and usually someone fishing off the seawall. The area also hosts the swim and finish line for the Ironman World Championship triathlon. The waters of Kailua Bay, as well as the sky above, can have many different shades of blue – thus a double meaning for this bluesy slack key song’s title. Hope you enjoy.
Recorded with a Taylor 310ce (Elixir Polyweb 80/20 Bronze) and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM 141 microphones in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i, 9/13/07.
Hilo Rag is a super fun tune to play from Dennis Kamakahi’s oeuvre. Better known for lyrical songs like Koke’e, Hilo Rag makes me wish I heard more of Dennis’s instrumental work. I was fortunate enough to meet Dennis and son David years ago and see them play, both on stage and in smaller back porch style jam sessions. I remember Dennis dressing sharp in his kind of urban paniolo style, complete with boots and cowboy hat. Like I say, this is such a fun song to play I can never just play it once when I’m running through songs (and will be posting an alternate take on my other channel soon). Hope you enjoy.
Recorded with a Taylor 414ce-NR (Rosewood/Spruce grand auditorium nylon string) and an Ear Trumpet Labs “Edwina” microphone.