Defining the Undefinable

Each time the issue of defining slack key is addressed by either a specific artist or some governing body of musical societies, I find the divisiveness of these definitions and categories on the one hand interesting, but also unfortunate on the other. I do see it as a basic human trait to try and classify things into... Continue Reading →

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The Hawaiians and the Dreadnought Guitar

I came across some fascinating bits of information while reading the recent Martin Guitar online journal. Celebrating the 100 year anniversary of their iconic dreadnought guitar, they present a detailed history if its creation, from its inception through its alterations throughout the years. In this journal article lies some information relating to how Hawaiian guitar playing of... Continue Reading →

Who Are the Paniolo?

Paniolo are the cowboys of Hawaii. Obviously there wouldn’t be cowboys without cattle, so it is important to start with the introduction of the first cattle in Hawaii when discussing the history of the paniolo. For a much more detailed and descriptive history of cattle in Hawaii it is mandatory that I mention the comprehensive... Continue Reading →

Slack Key Tunings…Why???

I was doing some reading about open tunings and I started to realize that I've often felt the commonly held descriptions of the development of slack key guitar in Hawaii are lacking. The common story goes that the Mexican cowboys who came here to teach the Hawaiians how to rope cattle came with their guitars... Continue Reading →

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