Hawaii is definitely on everyone’s list of top vacation spots. In the summer of 2013 I had the opportunity to take a trip to the island of Maui. It was unlike any place I had been to before. Everywhere I looked there was a new type of beauty for me to behold. To the left, there were lush green mountains and to the right there was the clear blue Pacific Ocean with the profiles of other Hawaiian Islands in the distance. On Maui, I did what any other non-local would do and visited the beach a lot, went to many different restaurants, went to an outdoor Luau and even biked down the volcano on Maui. It was a perfect vacation for me but, believe it or not, relaxing was not the only reason my family and I made the trip to Maui. Prior to making the trip, my mother came into contact with a very popular Hawaiian Slack Key guitarist on the island of Maui. His name is George Kahumoku Jr. and he is the receiver of multiple Grammys. My mother was able to set up personal Hawaiian Slack Key guitar lessons for me with George. Learning from one of the Hawaiian guitar masters turned my regular Hawaiian vacation into an experience that I am not likely to forget.
Now I feel as I must back up this story a little bit and give you all a background on Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar and why I was seeking lessons from one of the masters in Hawaii. I started to play guitar when I was around 13 years old. I was, and still am, really attracted to acoustic guitar and its relative sounds and styles. Being such a fan had me exploring many different styles of acoustic guitar until I found one in which I fell in love with. My Uncle lived in Hawaii for a time, which led the music to spread to my household and became the type of guitar I liked to play. Hawaiian Slack Key consists of finger-picking melodies and alternating bass’ all on one guitar in any sort of open-chord tuning you prefer. Watch the video below to get an idea of what the style is like. The video features a slightly mainstream Hawaiian artist Jack Johnson performing his song “Constellations”.
Then, 5 years later, I was able to make the trip to Hawaii to learn from one of the great Hawaiian masters of guitar. George really helped me with my technique and opened my eyes on how Hawaiian slack should be performed. He would teach me on his farm in Maui where he raises goats, chickens, mini horses and he grows a plethora of fruits, herbs and vegetables. He even invited us to one of his concerts for free. I definitely learned a lot from George and he made my trip to Hawaii a unique onehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tfvezq4BYw