Category Archives: Fingerstyle

LIVE 041 • Magic Sands – Slack Key Guitar

Here is a slack key style tune I wrote a while back while hanging out around Magic Sands beach in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. I originally wrote it on an old nylon string guitar. While I have a recording of this song played on steel string already posted, I wanted to go back and do a recording with my nylon string Taylor as well. There aren’t many songs I like to play on both steel and nylon, but this is one of them for some reason. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 414ce-NR (Rosewood/Spruce grand auditorium nylon string) and an Ear Trumpet Labs “Edwina” microphone.

GEAR 705 • Neumann TLM 102 Review

Here is my review of the TLM 102 large diaphragm condenser microphone from Neumann. In short, this mic is smooth and velvety throughout the frequency range with an overall balanced sound. It adds a nice body and presence to the bass, while smoothing out the highs at the same time – perfect for my Taylor 412ce, which is a bright, focused guitar. The microphone’s small size makes it easy to work with and the large sweet spot makes it easy to place. This would be a good mic for someone who wants to experiment with a lot of different mic positions, or just someone who wants an unfinicky mic that is easy to work with.

LIVE 038 • Punahele – Ray Kane

Here is another Ray Kane cover – this time his classic song Punahele. According to the Dancing Cat liner notes, Punahele (“favorite” or “pet”) came to Ray “one night in 1938 at Zablan’s Beach in Nanakuli. ‘Back in those days there were no cars, it was pitch black. So I sit there in the dark in the nice cool breeze and I hear the waves bouncing on the sand and see the moonlight flicker on the water. It inspired me, something so nice. So mellow. That’s what gave me my inspiration.’”
Similar to other songs Ray composed on the beach (Keiki Slack Key for example), this mellow laid back songs exemplifies Ray’s nahenahe approach that to me represents the archetype of ‘old style’ slack key. Like Keiki Slack Key, Punahele is one of the first slack key songs I learned, and has stayed on my setlists ever since. I recently improvised a few new licks into the song, and recorded a half dozen takes – some 5-6 minutes long. I think this short three and a quarter minute version gets the point across though. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 414ce-NR (Rosewood/Spruce nylon string) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

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Keiki Slack Key – Ray Kane

Pua Lililehua – Slack Key Guitar

Magic Sands – Original Slack Key

LIVE 036 • Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór

Here is my arrangement of Si Bheag, Si Mhor (Little Fairy, Big Fairy), reportedly the first song composed by famous 17th century bard Turlough O’Carolan. This version of the song is played a little on the slower side of what you normally hear, but I may record a slightly more uptempo version later on. I think the song works well both ways to be honest, one of the many interesting things about it. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, Gotoh 510 tuners, strings are Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD gauge set) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

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Banyan (Slack Key on Nylon String Guitar)

LIVE 034 • Holualoa Blues

From the vaults, here is a demo version of my tune Holualoa Blues. This song is primarily a blues piece, but with some slack key influence as well. Done in open G / taro patch tuning. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 310ce (Elixir Polyweb 80/20 Bronze) and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM 141 microphones in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 10/11/07.

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Tranquility – fingerstyle on nylon string guitar

Pua Lililehua – Slack Key Guitar

GEAR 505 • What’s in My Guitar Case?

While working on some other stuff, I thought it would be fun to shoot a video about the things I currently have in my guitar case – mostly strings / string changing tools, batteries, and picks… but maybe it’ll give you an idea or two.

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Polytune Clip: Acoustic / Fingerstyle Guitar

Using a Partial / Drop D Capo

LIVE 032 • Cannonball Rag on Ukulele

From the vaults, here is a version of Cannonball Rag I improvised on the uke one day back in ’09. The uke is a little out of tune, but sometimes it’s hard to get those friction pegs to stick. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Koaloha concert ukulele and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM 141 microphones in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 2/3/09.

All rights reserved to this arrangement.

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Pua Lililehua – Slack Key Guitar

LIVE 031 • In a Little While – U2

Here is a demo version of my arrangement of the U2 song “In a Little While,” from 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind. This was recorded a few years back when I was using dreadnaught size Taylors, before I got hip to their smaller, more comfortable guitars. The mix is a bit more compressed than what I’ve been doing lately, but it gets the job done. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded at Goldsmith Studios in October, 2011, with a Taylor 310 (Elixir Polyweb medium gauge set) and a pair of Rode NT-5 microphones.

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Every Breath You Take – The Police / Sting

LIVE 030 • Every Breath You Take – The Police / Sting

Here is a demo version of my arrangement of The Police song “Every Breath You Take” I recorded a few years back. I was using dreadnaught size Taylors back then and the mix is a bit more compressed than what I’ve been doing lately, but I think it works for this song. Weren’t The Police great? Hope you enjoy.

Recorded at Goldsmith Studios in October, 2011, with a Taylor 310 (Elixir Polyweb medium gauge set) and a pair of Rode NT-5 microphones.

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Something – Ukulele Cover – Beatles / George Harrison

LIVE 029 • Plaid Blues (Blues Improv)

This little improv bit, dubbed Plaid Blues, was recorded between takes of another song I was working on and needed a break from. Sometimes it’s good to switch gears while recording (especially when recording at home) and work on another song or just do some improvisation and see what comes out. You may not always get a polished result, but you can return to working again on whatever it is you took a break from with a refreshed feeling.

Recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, Gotoh 510 tuners, strings are Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD gauge set) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

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Bron Yr Aur – Jimmy Page Led Zeppelin – Fingerstyle Guitar

Is There Anybody Out There? Pink Floyd cover