Tag Archives: tranquil song

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)

GEAR 531 • Taylor Guitar through a Fishman Loudbox Artist

This video is meant to explore some of the different EQ and effects settings on the Fishman Loudbox Artist. This is meant to serve as a sound demo for what the Loudbox sounds like with a steel string guitar (a Rosewood/Spruce Taylor with the ES1 system). I close miked the amp to get a truer representation of the echo / reverb effects, but you get an even more open sound when you hear it from across the room. (Also note, close-miking results in a slightly more bass heavy sound due to the proximity effect. I rolled off some of the lows slightly to compensate some.) Overall, the EQ and effects on this amp are well tuned to acoustic guitar, and the overall feature set is practical and useful.

Recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, Gotoh 510 tuners, strings are Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD gauge set) into a Fishman Loudbox Artist amp miked with a Sennheiser e906 dynamic microphone.

Demo Guide:

Introduction 0:00
Reverb 1, Phase In 0:15
Phase button Out 0:38
Low 0:56
Mid 1:13
High 1:41
Tweeter Control 2:21
Reverb 1 (adj Time knob) 2:57
Reverb 1 + Chorus 1 (adj Depth knob) 3:07
Reverb 1 + Chorus 2 (adj Depth) 3:41
Reverb 1 + Chorus 1 (Chorus on/off) 4:21
Reverb 1 + Flanger (adj Depth) 4:54
Slap Echo (adj Depth knob… = echo time) 5:29
Reverb 1 + Slap Echo (adj Depth) 6:06
Reverb 1 (adj Time) 6:37
Reverb 2 (adj Time) 6:59
Delay (adj Time) 7:36
Delay (longer delay time / ambient delay) 8:35
Echo (adj Time) 9:19
Echo + Chorus 1 (mild chorus – nice setting!) 9:42

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Slack Key Improv on a Taylor 414ce-NR through a Fishman Loudbox Artist

Fishman Loudbox Artist – Review / Overview

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

LIVE 026 • Keiki Slack Key on Nylon String Guitar

Today’s song is a cover of the Ray Kane classic “Keiki Slack Key” (not to be confused with the Sonny Chillingworth song of the same name). To me, Ray Kane is probably the best example of an ‘old style’ slack key player, and his tracks are always nahenahe. I never got to take a lesson from Ray, though I did get to speak to him and his wife Elodia on the phone once, not long before he passed – a cherished memory. Keiki Slack Key is one of the first slack key songs I transcribed, and has stayed on my setlists ever since. This arrangement was inspired by my recent purchase of a nylon string guitar; I really think this song works well on nylon for a number of reasons. Hope you enjoy.

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

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Pua Lililehua – Slack Key Guitar

Magic Sands

LIVE 025 • Is There Anybody Out There? by Pink Floyd

Appearing as an interlude on The Wall, here is the guitar part from the end of Is There Anybody Out There? Originally done on a nylon string guitar, I think this song works well (and like it a little better) on steel string. This is one of the first songs I learned on guitar from one of my first guitar teachers. Years later, I taught the arrangement to some of my students – both using a pick and fingerstyle. It’s a great moody instrumental, and an arguably underappreciated acoustic piece from the classic rock canon. 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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Bron Yr Aur – Jimmy Page Led Zeppelin – Fingerstyle Guitar

Little Martha – Allman Brothers Fingerstyle

LIVE 024 • Study in Em – Francisco Tárrega

Study in Em – Francisco Tárrega – Nylon String

Here is my take on a Study in Em by Francisco Tárrega. This is a song I have taught in the past to students interested in learning a little fingerstyle or classical. To make the arrangement a little more fun for some students, I took some liberties and added a few flourishes here and there. This version of the study has also found its way onto some of my setlists over the years. Hope you enjoy.

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

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Lágrima by Francisco Tárrega

Tranquility – fingerstyle on nylon string guitar

LIVE 023 • Horn – Nick Drake Cover on Nylon String Guitar

Appearing as a sort of interlude on the Pink Moon album, Horn is a fascinating little study of a song in its own right. I love the simple melody and the atmosphere created by the space between the notes. I also really like the way this song works on nylon string guitar. (Apologies for the intonation in places – still getting a feel for this guitar and nylon again.) Of course, Drake apparently used really old, beat up steel strings, so his guitar work translates well to nylon. I don’t know what it is about the deceptively simple genius of his guitar parts, but they get me every time. Hope you enjoy.

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

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Tranquility – fingerstyle on nylon string guitar

Pua Lililehua – Slack Key Guitar

GEAR 532 • Taylor 414ce-NR through a Fishman Loudbox Artist

Here is a video featuring a couple of relatively recent purchases for me – a Taylor 414ce-NR (nylon string, rosewood/sitka) and a Fishman Loudbox Artist. This is meant to serve as a sound demo for what the Loudbox sounds like with a nylon string guitar and what the Taylor nylon pick-up (ES-N, not the ES2) sounds like. I close miked the amp to get a truer representation, but you get a little bit more open sound when you hear it from across the room.

Recorded with a Taylor 414ce-NR (Rosewood/Spruce nylon string) into a Fishman Loudbox Artist amp miked with a Sennheiser e906 dynamic microphone. Reverb is from the amp, not an added effect.

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Tranquility – fingerstyle on nylon string guitar

Pua Lililehua – Slack Key Guitar

LIVE 022 • Tranquility – original fingerstyle on nylon string guitar

Up until now, you’ve mostly heard me play steel string acoustic guitar. “Tranquility” is a song I recorded a years back on nylon string guitar. It’s a mellow, contemplative, and relaxing song. My friend Chris in Kona (no slouch on guitar himself) says it’s his favorite thing he’s heard me do. With that vote, I thought I would dig this out from the vaults for you.
Anyway, I haven’t had a nylon string guitar for going on 10 years… up until recently that is. I’ve made several recordings with it so far, and I hope to have them edited and posted before long. Meanwhile, please enjoy this song.

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

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Sarah – Solo Acoustic Guitar

Pua Lililehua – Slack Key Guitar

Magic Sands – slack key guitar