Recording a Song with a Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar: A Comprehensive Guide

Recording a song with a Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar is an art form with a rich history that dates back more than 150 years. It was born when Mexican cowboys gifted their Hawaiian counterparts with the guitar, who then adapted and developed it. There are many guitar styles that are played with open tunings other than Slack Key or Hawaiian Slack Key. When recording a song with a Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, it is usually played in open tuning. However, playing in open tuning does not necessarily mean that you are playing the Slack keyboard guitar.

If the song is played in a different key than the tone of the tuning or if the guitar is tuned noticeably higher or lower than the normal tone it is being tuned to, or if the guitar is covered to a higher pitch, this will be indicated after the song or songs. For example, 'Ke Kali Nei Au (The Hawaiian Wedding Song)' is played in the key of C, tuned half a step down to sound in the tone of B. 'Pa`ahana' has Dennis playing in this tuning, he covered two frets in the tone of A, and George Kuo also in this tuning put two frets in the tone of A. 'Ka`a Ahi Kahului' is tuned two and a half steps from the concert tone, and it is played in the tones of F and C, so it sounds in the tones of Eb and Bb. 'Hawaiian Love' has Bla playing the nylon string guitar in the standard tuning, key of C, he plugged two frets to sound in the tone of D.

'December is the Season' is two half steps tuned to sound in the key of F, and played in the tones of Sol and E Minor, playing in the tones of fa and D minor. Once a recording stops printing, it usually stays that way, but sometimes it is reprinted in a new format, such as on a compact disc. As someone who grew up on O'ahu, I had the great privilege to learn from some of Hawaii's most renowned Slack Key guitarists.

Kurt Wilkes
Kurt Wilkes

Unapologetic coffee fanatic. Evil web ninja. . Hardcore food ninja. Total music aficionado. Devoted food expert.

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