Category Archives: Fingerstyle

OPEN 105 • How to Tune Your Guitar to Drop D Tuning

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.

OPEN 106 • Playing Chords in Drop D Tuning

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.  

LIVE 096 • Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór (Taylor 912ce)

Here is another version of 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 was recorded on my 912ce, which I feel is a perfect guitar for this arrangement.  Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 912ce (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD Light strings) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.  

LIVE 090 • Moonglow (Alternate Take)

Here is an alternate take of Moonglow, a song I wrote years ago while sitting outside under a full moon. I’ve played it on and off for years, most always on steel string guitar. More recently I tried it on nylon and found it worked quite well – perhaps even better. Hope you enjoy.

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

LIVE 087 • Mino’aka – Keola Beamer

Mino’aka (Smile) is a short, sweet song from slack key master Keola Beamer’s Soliloquy album. Soliloquy is one of my favorite Dancing Cat era albums from Keola and a highly recommended listen. Keola’s book is one of the first I picked up when I really delved into the slack key style years ago, and this was one of my favorite songs featured in the book. In fact, I also recommend Keola’s book for beginner to intermediate fingerstyle players who are looking to learn some slack key. Although the version I recorded here is at a slightly faster tempo, I hope it still captures the original’s relaxed feel. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 912ce (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD Light strings) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

LIVE 086 • Silver Threads – Slack Key Improv

Here is an improvisation I did based on Leonard Kwan’s famous slack key arrangement of “Silver Threads Among the Gold.” This classic tune is a popular piece in the slack key repertoire and often one of the first things people learn when exploring Drop C tuning. Most listeners of modern day Hawaii radio will recognize Silver Threads as the slack key passage quoted in the intro to Country Comfort’s Waimanalo Blues, a beloved song in the islands in its own right. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 912ce (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD Light strings) and Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

GEAR 514 • Taylor 912ce Review and Demo

The Taylor 912ce is an easy to play guitar with a balanced eq that is ideal for fingerstyle or light strumming. The Grand Concert body gives it a balanced EQ, the advanced performance bracing and vibrant top give it a clear, articulate speaking voice, and the higher grade rosewood back and sides add complexity and richness to both single notes and chords. Gotoh 510 tuners offer greater accuracy and tuning stability – a welcome upgrade to those who use a lot of open or alternate tunings. With the addition of a beveled armrest, the compact guitar is the perfect companion for hours of comfortable play.
Of course, people often notice the cosmetics of the 900 series first, mainly the upgraded inlay work on the headstock, fretboard, and in the rosette & soundboard trim. Yet the inlay work is more subdued than previous incarnations of the 900 series and the upgrades are more tasteful than showy. The guitar does indeed look great, but more importantly it plays and sounds even better. In short, if you’re looking for a small-bodied guitar with upgraded features, the 912ce is a great choice.

Sound demos recorded with a Taylor 912ce (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD Light strings) and an Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

LIVE 088 • Auld Lang Syne (Alternate Take, Remix)

Here are an alternate take and a remix of my fingerstyle guitar arrangement of Auld Lang Syne. It’s a slack key tinged version with an added bridge/transition, but otherwise follows the familiar melody closely.

Remix of original post:

Alernate take:

Happy New Year!

Both takes recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb 80/20 Bronze HD gauge set) and a single Beyerdynamic MC 930 microphone in Honolulu, Hawai’i 12/30/14.