1: ADV-20: ʻOpihi Moemoe

This is a wonderful taro-patch solo written by the legendary Slack Key guitarist, Leonard Kwan. ʻOpihi Moemoe became famous as a guitar piece when Chet Akins recorded it back in the day. For many standard tuning players, this piece (and its Open G sound) was their introduction to Slack Key. Check it out! It has a great rhythm and feel.… Read More

2: INT-28: Wa’apa

Wa'apa means rowboat or skiff. This is a terrific Double Slack Piece with a vamp that utilizes a special technique called “Hammers From Nowhere”. Its a great ornamental and guitaristic approach to the Hawaiian turn-around (vamp) and its lots of fun to play! I enjoyed writing this piece and tried to give it a good "old time" sound and feel.… Read More

3: ADV-19: Kalapaki

While hanging out with my haumana (students) and friends, I composed this fun, playful piece in Double Slack. We call it double slack because to get there, one often tunes the guitar to Taro Patch (DADGBD) and then take an additional step of tuning the 3rd string down to F#. Thus – the double slack description (DADF#BD). I love Double… Read More

4: ADV-18: Pupu Hinuhinu (Advanced)

Here is my Advanced Solo Slack Key Guitar arrangement of my Mom, Nona Beamerʻs beautiful song and a Hawaiian Classic!… Read More

5: BEG-25: Pupu Hinuhinu

kbeamer.com > Instruction > Beginning Realm > This Lesson My mother Nona Beamer wrote Pupu Hinuhinu in the 1950’s. Since then, it has been sung by generations of mothers as a lullaby. It has been the first hula of generations of hula dancers. No one has counted the number of times it has been played, adapted, and arranged for ukulele,… Read More

6: INT-26 Ka Makani ʻOluʻolu

Great Solo Guitar Piece in Double Slack Tuning… Read More

7: INT-27: Pua ʻĀhihi

kbeamer.com > Instruction > Intermediate Realm > This Lesson Maddy Lam composed this song for Kahauanu Lake as a gift to his wife, kumu hula Maiki Aiu. The song was first danced by April Peeples Chock and presented as a hoʻokupu (gift) to Maiki. Aunty Maiki loved her mele and it became the signature song of her halau. This mele… Read More

8: ADV-17: Wi Ha

Keola's good fun, galloping Taro Patch piece with a bended string ending.… Read More

9: ADV-16: Makika

This is Keola's good fun piece written by Keola, where his guitar imitates the sound of a mosquito. Its whimsical, fun and interesting!… Read More

10: INT-25: Aloha Kalikimaka Bonus!

Keola's solo guitar arrangement of the Christmas classic, "The Little Drummer Boy" as a holiday bonus for our valued members… Read More

11: INT-24: Sanoe

In Hawai’i, distant memories of Queen Lili'uokalani and her short reign are held close to the heart of the Hawaiian people. Besides being a compassionate and caring leader, our queen was also a wonderful composer. (I once examined her guitar, by request of the Bishop Museum on the Island of 'Oahu.) Queen Lili'uokalani played both guitar and piano and is… Read More

12: INT-23: Ku’u Lei Awapuhi Melemele

Isn’t it true that a scent can lead us to a sweet recollection? In Hawai’i, the air is soft and the scent of our fragrant flowers are carried in the trade winds. Sometimes out of nowhere, we recall a place or a thing. More than often, it is a person. A treasured memory emerges.

This is a wonderful song with a sweet melody. I’m quite happy with my solo guitar arrangement of this beauty. I think you will be too.… Read More

13: The Bar Exercise

Keola demonstrates an excellent bar exercise for the left hand.… Read More

14: The Rehearsal Journal

A great tool!… Read More

15: INT-22: Papa’s ʻOkolehao

Keola shares a piece he wrote to honor his grandfathers aloha for pineapple -swipe!… Read More

16: INT-21: Mino‘aka

Keola describes his reflectively wistful Taro Patch Solo -Mino'aka. This is one of his favs!… Read More

17: ADV-15: Honolulu City Lights

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

18: ADV-00: Advanced Realm Introduction

Keola offers guidance to his advanced students.… Read More

19: ADV-14: Ke Aliʻi Hulu Mamo & Kimo Hula

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

20: ADV-13: Lei ʻAwapuhi

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

21: ADV-12: He Punahele Nō ʻOe

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

22: ADV-11: ʻImi Au Iā ʻOe

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

23: ADV-10: Maui Waltz

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

24: ADV-09: Winter Tide

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

25: ADV-08: Slack Key Music Box

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

26: ADV-07: Liʻi’s Song

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

27: ADV-06: Kalena Kai

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

28: ADV-04: E Kuʻu Morning Dew

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

29: ADV-03: Bali Hai & Stranger In Paradise

In my arrangement, played solo in a C Wahine tuning on the nylon string, the ghostlike overtones of the dream guitar are very apparent. Tuning: Keola's C.… Read More

30: ADV-01: Punahele (Ray Kāne)

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

31: INT-20: Puka Pants

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

32: INT-19: Kepania Paniolo (Spanish Cowboy)

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

33: INT-18: Mele Kakahiaka

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

34: INT-17: Ka Leileiona

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

35: INT-16: Hula Nā Lāʻau

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

36: INT-15: Shaka Slack Key

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

37: INT-14: Kanaka Waiwai

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

38: INT-13: Manu Kai (Sea Bird)

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

39: INT-12: Roselani Blossoms

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

40: INT-11: Pua Lililehua

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

41: INT-10: Moana’s Laundry Basket

This is a good, solid guitar piece with an interesting character. My study notes for this piece are here in audio form. Tuning is Taro Patch G… Read More

42: INT-09: Holo Waʻapā

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

43: INT-08: Kaulana Nā Pua

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. … Read More

44: INT-07: Kuʻu Ipo Kuʻu Lei

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

45: INT-06: Ka Makani ʻUlaʻula

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

46: INT-05: Wai Ulu

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

47: INT-04: Kapalua Bay

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

48: INT-00: Intermediate Realm Introduction

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

49: INT-03: Isa Lei

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

50: INT-02: Kolowaka

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

51: INT-01: Hiʻilawe

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

52: BEG-13: How To Read Tablature

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

53: BEG-24: How To Proceed In Slack Key Guitar

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

54: BEG-23: Ka Lupe ʻUla – The Red Kite

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

55: BEG-22: G Double Slack Tuning

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

56: BEG-21: How Do We Call Aloha Into Our Lives

rainbow thumbnailkbeamer.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

57: BEG-20: Aunty Alice Slack Key

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

58: BEG-19: Tablature Exercise #5

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

59: BEG-18: Modified C Wahine Tuning

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

60: BEG-17: Tablature Exercise #4

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

61: BEG-16: Tablature Exercise #3

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

62: BEG-15: Tablature Exercise #2

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

63: BEG-14: Tablature Exercise #1

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

64: BEG-12: Taro Patch Tuning

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

65: BEG-11: A Brief History of Slack Key Guitar

An Excellent History of The Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar prepared by Dancing Cat Records & George Winston… Read More

66: BEG-10: Keola’s C Wahine Tuning Up For The First Time

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

67: BEG-09: C Wahine Tuning Introduction

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

68: BEG-08: Chromatic Scales Exercise

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

69: BEG-07: The Spider Exercise

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

70: BEG-06: Exercises

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

71: BEG-05: Fundamentals: Rest Stroke

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

72: BEG-04: Fundamentals: Right Hand Technique

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

73: BEG-03: Fundamentals: Basic Right Hand Position

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

74: BEG-02: Fundamentals: Left Hand Position

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

75: BEG-01: Fundamentals: Playing Position

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

76: BEG-00: Beginning Realm Introduction

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

77: ADV-02: ʻAu Kai

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

78: ADV-05: ʻElepaio Slack Key

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