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 Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar / Hawaiian Music
 2nd instruments, thoughts?
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thumbstruck
Ahonui

USA
2025 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2019 :  04:09:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just played a wedding gig with Kermet Apio, I played ki ho'alu, he played some guitar but mostly ukulele. In June and July, I played with Gary Kalei Medeiros, he played ukulele. 2 guitars are great, but the sound from a clearly different instrument really works - each can be heard, plus the ukulele can play passing chords and maintain steady rhythm. What yufella t'ink, eh?

Earl
Lokahi

USA
337 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2019 :  05:12:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Earl's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The ukulele and guitar occupy two different and complementary tonal ranges. It works well. Ukulele makes a great backup to ki ho'alu and can strum the rhythm. Or the guitar can strum and ukulele can take the lead. There is a reason why a choir has different voices - bass, alto, tenor and soprano. Each has a place.

I take my ukulele along to bluegrass jams all the time. If we are heavy with guitars, then I play the ukulele, especially if there are no mandolins that night. If several mandolins show up, I put down the uke and pick up guitar. Of late I have been leaving my guitar in taro patch tuning and playing along with whatever, as a learning experience.
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thumbstruck
Ahonui

USA
2025 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2019 :  12:56:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Right you are, Earl. If there are too many guitars, I capo up and play in a different register. Gabby liked guitars to be in different tunings for difference in voice.
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Earl
Lokahi

USA
337 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2019 :  5:27:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit Earl's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I do that anyway -- play where they ain't. If someone is playing first position cowboy chords, I move up the neck and do barre chords. And vice versa. Or I sometimes use a capo and play in a different "key", but not usually. The ukulele just makes all that easier, if I'm not watching the guitar players hands. That'll mess me up every time.

Uncle Gabby passed on in 1980 while I was still midway through college, and we first visited Kauai in 1988, so never got to see him. (And I didn't even know about slack key then either). I took a workshop with Cyril around 2005 and also met him backstage in 2015 at the Outrigger show during our last trip to the islands.

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Hookani
Lokahi

232 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2019 :  11:31:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Kory, 12 string rhythm and Kiho'alu go good together.

Ke Kani Nahe
YouTube

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mpi_50
Lokahi

USA
124 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2019 :  09:25:32 AM  Show Profile  Send mpi_50 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Az dey say, "Da more fellas get, mo betta da sound, yeah?" Hapa (I tink waz dem) did a good job on Uluwehi O Ke Kai utilizing a banjo and an organ. Can go way back to Atta Lyman and all da stuff he went use. It's old school but the uke and guitar have been timeless throughout the generations, a classic combination. I can imagine my childhood at Hanauma Bay and Sunset beach where the Ohana went fishing and played their music after the meal, drank their beer and ate their pupus. Of course we had to go to bed, I listened till I fell asleep. It seemed that the music was amplified by the surrounding cliffs, reverberating and alive.
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thumbstruck
Ahonui

USA
2025 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2019 :  6:35:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gabby said that the 1st slack key he heard was a guitar backed by a small accordion. Aunty Manu Lono told me her Mom on Kauai, played diatonic accordion (buttonbox). Playing restrained so that all instruments can be heard and appreciated and fills played in da pukas. It takes a long time to learn that less can be more....
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mpi_50
Lokahi

USA
124 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2019 :  09:30:27 AM  Show Profile  Send mpi_50 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Hey you fallas no fo'get Ledward on da autoharp.
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Kapila Kane
Ha`aha`a

USA
1034 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2019 :  05:25:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
And a thought on Hapa's "Ka Uluwehi o Ke Kai", it was an "Everything but the kitchen sink" sort of production!

It would have been fun to have been a fly on the wall in the studio...The banjo? The fiddle, (with the authentic kick-in lick)...accordian. I'm surprised they didn't have the fly singing. This cut was apparently a popular one to play in one of the helicopter rides. All the brainstorming, so no idea got the retort, "Well that's ridiculous!" It was more, "Well that's ridiculous, who do we know who plays banjo?" And I'd have done fiddle for free, just fly me to the islands!"
Just glad they didn't throw in trombone!

Edited by - Kapila Kane on 09/09/2019 05:26:45 AM
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thumbstruck
Ahonui

USA
2025 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2019 :  11:32:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Peter Medeiros told me that accordions were more common up into the '60s, but fell out of favor due to maintenance problems (Aunty Manu Lono said that her Mom played diatonic, Gabby's 1st recollection of slack key was a guitar and "one small squeezebox", also see YouTube: "Maui Hawaiians" from the '60s). "Kanikapila" literally means "play the fiddle" - the 1st instrument introduced by British ships (fiddlers played for work gangs). Piano became popular in the islands before WWI, as did Jazz and Jazz instruments in the '20s. Gary Haleamau plays 5string banjo, Sam Lia played fiddle. Hawaiian music is bigger than even Don Ho thought it was.....
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