Category Archives: Fingerstyle

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

LIVE 028 • Take Me Out to the Ball Game – Cubs Tribute

This fingerstyle acoustic guitar version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is posted as a tribute to the World Series winning Chicago Cubs. I’m not a huge baseball fan – I don’t really have time to keep up with sports in general – but the Cubs wining the World Series and breaking one of the longest droughts around was a great excuse to dust off and play this song. This version is based on one I heard in a TV commercial five or more years ago. Anyway, it’s a fun little song to play; hope you enjoy. Play ball.

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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Here Comes the Sun fingerstyle guitar arrangement

Is There Anybody Out There? Pink Floyd cover

LIVE 027 • Banyan

Banyan (a/k/a “Banyans,” or “Banyan Tree Slack Key”) is a slack key style song I wrote about 10 or 12 years ago on nylon string guitar. I used to play my gut string ‘beach’ guitar around beaches and surf spots in Kona like Magic Sands, Banyans, and Old Airport. For one, the nylon strings aren’t as affected by the salt air, and for two, it was less expensive than my other guitar at the time, a Taylor 310ce that I didn’t want to take to the beach. So I guess this song is partially named after the surf spot, but also after some banyan trees near Magic Sands – some of which have since been cut down – or even those mystical banyan trees in general. Shortly after writing this song, I sold that nylon – an Ibanez, sort of crossover model – though I continued to rotate this and a few other related songs in and out of my set. Until recently though, it had really been a while since I played this song. Once more, owning a nylon string guitar again inspired me to go back and revisit some older material. Hope you enjoy.

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

All rights reserved to this song, however students may perform the song in public.

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Magic Sands

Pua Lililehua