a student from Kupu sitting on the ground

Introducing the Rehearsal Journal and two new pieces added for site members. Working on the score for a new film by director Dr. Thomas Vendetti called “Tibetan Illusion Destroyer”. An update on work at Kuamoʻo.… Read More


Here are the lesson materials for Keola’s famous song, “Honolulu City Lights”. Because this is rather a special piece and close to heart of the Beamer ‘Ohana, Keola has shared three different audio files for our members, along with the tablature.… Read More


Preparing for our tour in Columbia: Keola and Moanalani Beamer along with Jeff Peterson. Also updates on the ʻUkulele In Cambodia trip.… Read More


In this medley, I pay tribute to the compositional genius of my great-grandmother, Helen Kapuailohia Desha Beamer (1881-1952). She is the musical backbone of the Beamer family. Tuning: Keola’s C.… Read More


This popular song is about of an ʻawapuhi (ginger) lei that binds two lovers securely. Royal Hawaiian bandleader Mekia Kealakai is said to have composed the melody in 1893 on a train en route to the Chicago World’s Fair. Tuning: Keola’s C… Read More


This song, written by Albert Nahaleʻā (Nahale-a), has become a popular Island favorite. You often hear it being dedicated to loved ones over the radio and even at weddings or a baby’s lūʻau (dinner party). Tuning: Keola’s C.… Read More


In a small Koa church in the small town of Kamuela, Hawaiʻi, my grandfather’s voice would carry this song. Up along the pews, reverberating against the windows. Tuning: Keola’s C.… Read More


With sincere aloha for the place and composer, I gave this waltz for the Valley Isle by the wonderful O’ahu pianist Bob Nelson a new arrangement for kī hōʻalu. I’ve been a great admirer of Bob’s work for a lot of years. It’s really well crafted. Tuning: Keola’s C… Read More


On this original composition for solo steel string, I play in a variant of a C Major tuning: C-G-C-G-D-E. I draw my inspiration from the sights and sounds of the ocean in winter.… Read More


The song reflects both my love for my wife and a musician’s heightened sensitivity to sounds. My wife, Moana, has a small collection of Hawaiian music boxes. As she gets ready for work, she enjoys lifting the lids of the little koa boxes and hearing the music waft through the house. In F Wahine tuning.… Read More


Li’i’s Song is performed in the same tuning that Gabby Pahinui used for his signature piece, Hi’ilawe (the song that, for many musicians and historians, launched the modern slack key era in 1946).… Read More


Playing with me on Kalena Kai for the recording “Wooden Boat” is my dear friend and excellent pianist/guitarist George “Keoki” Winston, who plays a wonderful second part. Tuning: Leonard’s F.… Read More


I perform this piece on a nylon string acoustic guitar beginning with an original introduction. The lightly diffused hoʻopāpā (harmonics) heard in the middle and at the end delicately evoke the first blush of morning light pushing through the leaves of trees. Tuning: C Old Mauna Loa/Ni’ihau.… Read More


Uncle Ray and I used to tour together in the 90’s and we developed a warm friendship. After he passed away, Elodia Kāne (Ray’s Wife) gave me permission to share this piece with my students, so it is used here with permission and with the hope that it helps keep Uncle Ray’s music alive. Tuning: Double Slack.… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Intermediate Realm > This Lesson This song has the old time feel of some of the older “Taro Patch” tuning styles, although its actually in F Wahine, sometimes called Leonard’s F. In Hawai’i we name tunings after certain players, not because those players invented the tuning, but because they have done such a large body of… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Intermediate Realm > This Lesson This is a good fun piece in C Wahine Tuning, sometimes called Keola’s C. Level: Intermediate Tempo: Moderate Tuning: C Wahine or Keola’s C Length: 3:00 50 Bars / 3 pages After you have finished this piece, go on to Puka Pants. Keola Beamer Lesson Resources Tuning: C Wahine “Keola’s C”… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Intermediate Realm > This Lesson This is a solo Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar piece composed by Keola Beamer depicting the early morning on the Island of Kaua’i. Level: Intermediate Tempo: Moderate / Slightly Fast Tuning: F Wahine or Leonard’s F Length: 1:20 30 Bars / 2 pages After you have finished this piece, go on to… Read More


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Our website was completely rebuilt from scratch by my hānai brother, Kaliko Beamer-Trapp, following being badly hacked in early 2016.… Read More


This is a solo Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar piece composed by Keola Beamer depicting the starlight of the Milky Way (Ka Leileiona) as seen from the Island of Maui. Level: Intermediate. Tempo: Moderate. Tuning: C Wahine or Keola’s C… Read More


In Keola’s C (C Wahine). The key to the musicality of “Hula Nā Lāʻau” lies in the smooth execution of its manaʻo (thought, phrasing). Learn about right hand harmonics and how to play in a smooth, legato (connected) fashion. This lesson will really move your technique forward!… Read More


This original composition first appeared, with bass and drums, on my 1986 album, “Sweet Maui Moon”. It’s a great piece to play. On the attached recording, I overdubbed a second guitar part and added drums and bass. In Taro Patch in G and C.… Read More


Uncle Johnny Almeida wrote this great song. I remember him coming over to our house and singing it to my mom when I was a boy. Uncle Johnny was a unique soul and wrote some really great music that later became some of the classics of Hawaiian music. In Leonard’s F.… Read More


Manu Kai is played solo on the steel string guitar in taro patch tuning. I use my trademark “hammer-on” and “pull-off” ornaments, including discordant notes that are not heard directly but are played for a percussive effect. According to George Winston and Dancing Cat records, this was the first time these types of ornaments were recorded in this tuning.… Read More


The song is said to have been inspired by a lei given to a woman friend. It speaks in typically poetic language of the author’s desire to sip the delicious waters of ʻIao Valley on Maui. Lesson in F Wahine or Leonard’s F.… Read More


In tribute to the Kahauanu Lake Trio’s stunning vocal harmony, my arrangement features two guitars as in this recording from my CD, “Soliloquy – Ka Leo O Loko”. I have also included the tablature and music for solo guitar only especially for our members.… Read More


My arrangement for two nylon string guitars in C Wahine tuning again features an innovative bridge, and I’ve included two versions of the tablature here, the first guitar for solo performances and then the two guitar duet arrangement as in my CD “Moe ʻUhane Kīkā”… Read More


I created this arrangement in 1971 going for a soulful feel that honors the subject and mood of the song. Because this song has such importance to our culture, I’ve included the lyrics for your study, prepared by my brother, Kaliko Beamer Trapp. Tuning used is Keola’s C or C Wahine (C-D-G-B-D-E) in the key of G.
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Many Hawaiian “mele” (songs) use poetic images of flowers to express affection. The title of this traditional lovely old melody, which translates as “my beloved sweetheart, my beloved lei,” typifies this romantic custom. Learn this in Keola’s C tuning.… Read More


Ka Makani ʻUlaʻula is an original piece that I composed for the “red wind” of our home near the little town of Kamuela, Hawaiʻi. Learn this piece in Modified Taro Patch (DGDGBE).… Read More


E āwaiaulu i ke aloha (a love securely bound) is the subject of this popular mele hoʻoipoipo (love song) attributed to Lala Mahelona and George Kalelohi, Sr. You will learn it in F Wahine Tuning.… Read More


This is my tribute to the region of Maui where I used to play music in the evenings. You will also learn the differences between kāne (male) and wahine (female) tunings.… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Intermediate Realm > This Introduction Aloha and welcome to our Intermediate Level Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Lessons. This level of instruction consists of “repertoire pieces” or a selection of guitar pieces that are listed by their level of difficulty. One of my first revelations of the world of Kī Hōʻalu – the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar… Read More


This is a great intermediate level piece. It has a very interesting rhythmic bass line that is fun to play. My lesson notes are presented in audio form for this piece.… Read More


Kolowaka is a beautiful lullaby type piece in my signature nahenahe (soft and gentle) style, exploring the idea of theme and variation. I wrote it for my students as a kind of etude. Simple on the surface, it opens up a lot of possibilities for growth and for playing one’s own variations.… Read More


Hiʻilawe was the great slack key guitarist Gabby Pahinui’s signature song, and he recorded it several times, beginning in 1946. Here, I take an entirely different approach in his interpretation of this popular slack key piece, adding many new parts to the original melody.… Read More


News and information about the purchase and perpetual preservation of the ancient Kuamoʻo battleground in Kona, Hawaiʻi island, by Aloha Kuamo‘o ‘Āina (AKA) and The Trust for Public Land.… Read More


Join Keola Beamer, Henry Kapono, and Moanalani Beamer for a set of amazing concerts in SEATTLE, PORTLAND, EUGENE, PHOENIX, LAS VEGAS, FOLSOM, BERKELEY, SANTA CRUZ, ESCONDIDO, and IRVINE, CA!… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson The best system of notation for the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar is called Tablature. I was the first to use tablature for our art form when I realized its potential for kī hōʻalu. I included it in the first method book ever written for Slack Key Guitar which I wrote and… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson I hope you’ve enjoyed your tenure as one of my haumāna (students). If you’ve come this far with me, then you’ve experienced the joy of making the music. It is one thing to hear recordings, to follow the notes and appreciate their beauty, but it is a far more evocative experience… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson When I was a boy, we used to make our own kites. Growing up, we didn’t have much money for toys so we made our own stuff. I remember seeing my red kite fly for the first time against a clear, blue sky. It was as if my heart lifted up… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson The G-Double Slack Tuning (“Double Slack Tuning”) is uncommon. Those of us that play in it get a real joy out of it. We find it delightful. It’s got a nice feel and you’ll have fun with it. You should know that it is based on Taro Patch Tuning, but involves… Read More


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kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson It is the philosophy of the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar that good music doesn’t come from the ego, it comes from the heart. To play with aloha in our hearts, we must learn to make the way of aloha an integral, “living” part of our own existence. Perhaps, the first step… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson About Aunty Alice Nāmakelua Aunty Alice was my special mentor for the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. She taught me a great deal about how to play the instrument and perhaps more importantly, the philosophy hidden beneath the surface of the music. At one point, she was the love of my life,… Read More


Play the song ʻImo ʻImo Hōkū Iki kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson Before playing this exercise, count through the measures and give careful attention to the time symbols. The time structure of this arrangement fits with the English lyrics of the song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, because they are more familiar than the Hawaiian translation. I… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson Introduction The Modified C Wahine Tuning is identical to the basic Keola’s C that we learned in earlier lessons, except for one string. This change is that the 1st string is slacked from E down to the note D. In a way the modified C Wahine is in the “double slack”… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson In this fourth exercise, the notes themselves are a little more difficult than those of the previous exercises. Try to play smoothly and evenly, connecting the individual notes to each other. Here is my tablature for Exercise #4. Take a moment to print this Tab from your printer, then compare the… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson This third exercise uses eighth, quarter and half notes. It’s best to count eighth notes, as they have the smallest value. Try to play smoothly and evenly, connecting the individual notes to each other. Here is my tablature for Exercise #3. Take a moment to print this Tab from your printer,… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson In this second exercise, the first measure is incomplete, because it doesn’t contain four beats. It is called a “pick up” bar. In this case the pick up is an eighth note. Count the entire first measure, but play on the last eighth note only. (Play on the Blink – one… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson It’s best to go through a couple of Tablature exercises before attempting a complete piece of music. If you ease into the Tablature system, it’s a far more pleasant experience. What you don’t want to do is wrestle with something way too difficult that could end in frustration and the unfortunate… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson The Taro Patch tuning or ‘G’ Tuning is a favorite of many Slack Key Artists as its timbre and flexibility are remarkable. Taro patch is based on a G Major chord structure. If you are just beginning with us and coming from another guitar style, you might want to begin by:… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson Let’s Tune Up! To begin, tune your guitar to the normal EADGBE. If you don’t know how to tune your guitar in standard tuning don’t worry! Play the following audio file and tune your guitar to mine: C Wahine Tuning If you are tuned normally and to standard pitch, you will… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson Introduction We will start with the C Wahine Tuning, (also called “Keola’s C” because of my extensive use of this tuning over many years). It is one of the easiest and most user friendly tunings available for the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, plus it has the added bonus of sounding very… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson A chromatic scale is a scale ascending and descending in half steps, the smallest interval in western music. To play a chromatic scale on the guitar, begin on the open strings. Then play the note on the first fret, second fret and third fret, continuing up to the twelfth fret, and… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson Left Hand Reach Development Exercise (Also known as The Spider Exercise) This is a great exercise that is VERY effective in left hand training. The movements of the fingers in this exercise are encountered in many styles of guitar playing. They are so basic and occur so often that early mastery… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson Introduction to Exercises When you thoroughly understand the basic playing position, the free stroke and the rest stroke, the next step is to train the right and left hands to function smoothly in preparation for the pieces in this tutorial. To this end, the more you practice these technical exercises, which… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson The rest stroke produces a substantial tone and is occasionally used to accent a melodic line. As this is an important technique, especially in the more advanced pieces, the student should acquire at least a working understanding of it. To prepare for the rest stroke, place the index finger of the… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson There are two basic strokes for the right hand in Hawaiian Slack Key guitar: the free stroke and the rest stroke. Both must originate from a good right hand position. Most slack key is played with the free stroke which, when executed correctly, produces a clean, strong sound. Elements of the… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson Bring the right hand over the sound hole and relax it completely from the wrist. Place the palm of the hand parallel to the surface of the soundboard. To achieve good sound quality, it is important to keep the hand in this relaxed position at all times. Right hand position When… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson The position of the thumb is important in left hand technique. When playing a nylon string or classical-type guitar, the thumb of the left hand should move along the center and top of the back of the neck (see left illustration). It may be placed slightly higher on the neck of… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson Basic Playing Position Holding the guitar properly is essential to good guitar technique. In one method the body of the guitar is held over the right leg. The right arm comes over the side of the instrument and forms a clamp with the leg so that the guitar is braced firmly… Read More


kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson Let’s review the simple tools that you will need. A guitar (nothing fancy – any guitar will do: electric, acoustic, nylon, steel string – it doesn’t matter!) Adobe Acrobat Reader (or similar software) to download and view my PDF tablature and music files. A modern web browser to hear me demonstrate… Read More


From my recording, “Moe ‘Uhane Kīkā – Tales from the Dream Guitar”, this original of mine was inspired by the subtly swirling ocean tides of my homeland. This solo steel string guitar composition in F Wahine tuning distinctively displays many of my trademark ornaments. Tuning: Leonard’s F.… Read More


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The Shimmering is a book full of great stories ranging from serious and deep to very humorous and light. Learn more about it.… Read More


This is my sprightly original Hawaiian slack key guitar piece portraying the behavior of the Hawaiian bird (ʻelepaio) believed to be the goddess of canoe makers. Tuning: Keola’s unique F tuning (C-F-C-G-A-F).… Read More


With the release of Keola Beamer: Malama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love), he has taken his genius onto the world music stage in a captivating collaboration with nine-time GRAMMY® nominee Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai and virtuoso jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer.… Read More


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This recording expresses an inspired blending of the urban and rural, the modern and the ancient. Keola artistic vision crafted this recording from equal parts tradition and innovation… Read More