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Whats Slack Key? (Read 8369 times)
Bud
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Whats Slack Key?
Jun 12th, 2006 at 7:24pm
 
I know this doesn't have much to do with Ukuleles, but I keep coming across Slack Key Guitar music and how its inherently Hawaiian... I was hoping someone could tell me a little about it if you know?.
I know its tuned lower than a regular guitar...
Thats about all I know..., the small amount of music that I have heard is beautifully haunting...
Can a Ukulele be slack key?

Thanks, hope this isnt too stupid of a question.. heh..
Roll Eyes

Bud
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konacat
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Re: Whats Slack Key?
Reply #1 - Jun 13th, 2006 at 2:14pm
 
Bud,

I understand what you are saying. My favorite music is slack key. I even attempt a poor version on my ukuleles but I’m one of the worst musicians you have ever heard. Seems to me that I remember a member here talking about playing slack key on the ukulele so keep watching and maybe he will chime in. The slack key players use a lot of different open tunings and create a base pattern to go with the melody. Here is a link that gives a historical view of how it came about.http://www.kahumoku.com/about_slack_key.htm All I know is I like it and love to see the musicians live. I was watching Dennis Kamakahi play one time and bang he broke a string. He nonchalantly kept a bit of a rhythm going while he reached up and retuned the guitar and then continued the song with 5 strings. Amazing!  It always amazes me when I see people who are genuinely talented. I’m going to be on Oahu for 16days in July taking the Hana Lima ‘Ia school and am hoping to catch some live music while I’m there. Funny thing is that most of the people I would like to see are playing on the mainland during that time. Wouldn’t you know that would happen?

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Bud
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Re: Whats Slack Key?
Reply #2 - Jun 13th, 2006 at 5:20pm
 
Thanks Konacat,

I appreciate the link too... Wink
I envy you being able to take the class this summer.. I guess Ill have to save my denaro and sign up for a future class...
My wife has been trying to get me to take her to Hawaii for years. She visited Hawaii when she was a teenager.. In the 27 years weve been married Ive always ducked left and right when she would suggest it... hehe.. Shocked
Im the sort of person that needs to have a purpose when I do something, I mean, vacation and sightseeing is cool but if I have another reason tucked in there with the sightseeing Im one HAPPY CAMPER!
.. I have a super good reason now and I look forward to visiting Hawaii..
Ive found a website that has alot of slack key mp3s and in listening to it, Ive found another style of music to add to my LISTEN OFTEN column.
Very Awesome!
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konacat
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Re: Whats Slack Key?
Reply #3 - Jun 13th, 2006 at 7:58pm
 
Bud,

Check out the link below for Alohajoe.com.  This is free Internet radio with no signups or emails. Joe plays a wide variety of Hawaiian music including slack key, contemporary, classic, new, and old. In fact, I play a lot of online poker and play alohajoe during most of my games. The music also includes quite a bit of ukulele music too. One last thing, if you are really interested in the condensed class then I would try to do it next year. After all you never know when it may be dropped and it’s the only class offered in that short of time period.
http://www.alohajoe.com

Have fun

Philip
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Bud
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Re: Whats Slack Key?
Reply #4 - Jun 14th, 2006 at 2:05pm
 
Philip,

Thanks for the link, Im listening as I type... nice to be able to access all sorts of music via the web...
I will have to look at the scheduale for the class next year... (My wife is totally interested in taking the class also, so what I would miss she would catch and visa versa)... and plan accordingly.. I put in for my vacation time a year ahead usually.. which can suck when spontaneous visits your house.... Or in otherwords... .spontaneous isnt allowed around here much.. Wink


Bud

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Mr_Roboto
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Re: Whats Slack Key?
Reply #5 - May 5th, 2008 at 4:07pm
 
Actually, for those who know what they're doing, slack key is quite viable on the ukulele.  (I venture this knowing that I will likely irritate a guitarist somewhere.)
 
Check out Rev. 2.0 of David Heaukalani's "Slack Key Ukulele" book, or catch him on YouTube under "UkeUncle".


He produces the genuine article.  Even inspired me to write my own, basic version of "Opihi Moemoe" for my own study.  Don't write off the ukulele as a slack key instrument.  Dr. Heaukalani even includes a guide to authentic, Hawaiian tunings used in slack key music, but for ukulele.  (If you haven't heard the original, guitar version of "Opihi Moemoe", you should.  The same is true of "Ahi Wela", and "Hawaii Aloha", and "Samoe", and....)

If you like the sound of slack key on guitar, try Dancing Cat Records "Masters of Slack Key" album (the first one) or find one of Leonard Kwan's popular slack key albums from just prior to the time when it started to "die out", back in the "50s.  Just about any album by Keola Beamer is fantastic.  

I like to try simple little pieces (that I've been told tend to sound Japanese) with a low G, Aquila string set, because it gives the instrument a more legitimate bass note relative to the guitar, more like a baritone ukulele, and the strings start with more tension at normal tuning, prior to slackeing, so string slackening has less impact in terms of awakening any buzzing nut slots.


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« Last Edit: May 7th, 2008 at 6:55pm by Mr_Roboto »  
 
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Re: Whats Slack Key?
Reply #7 - Nov 3rd, 2008 at 1:13pm
 
I saw Makana perform his slack key music this year on the 4th of July at Ala Moana, and he was awesome.
I like slack key music alot too, though I doubt I'll ever be good enough to play it.
Aloha
Bob
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Re: Whats Slack Key?
Reply #8 - Nov 8th, 2008 at 1:19pm
 
For those of you that like slack key guitar, try John Keawe's CDs.  John is from the Big Island and has a very beautiful approach to his music and has very quiet hands.

Don
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