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 and sailed right along with it.
This solo guitar piece entitled Ka Lupe ʻUla (The Red Kite), takes me back to those days. It is lots of fun to play, and it’s got a great Double Slack feel to it.
Here are some important things to consider:

  • I’ve notated the Music and Tablature in color, so you can easily differentiate between the bass and treble voices. We will study voicing in greater detail in future lessons, for now, play the red notes (the bass) with your RH Thumb and the blue notes (Treble) with your i,m,a, fingers. Remember to work out the LH fingering in a common sense approach to each situation. Make intelligent fingering choices by considering the context of the move. Where are you coming from? Where are you going to?
  • The squiggly line ~ in the first measure, is another way of indicating a slide in Tablature. Play the first two notes as indicated, then (without playing the RH), SLIDE to the next change. Try this a few times until it feels comfortable. It’s one of our tricks of the trade!
  • The curved red lines indicate a slur or the ‘hammer on’ in folk vernacular. Most of these are double slurs which mean, pluck two notes with your RH then sound the next two by hammering your LH on to the indicated position. The hammering action of the LH sounds the notes. NOT YOUR RIGHT HAND. Practice this a bit by playing the first measure (slide & slurs) several times.
  • In measure 39, I have elegantly stated ‘Slow down ova hea…’ Sorry about the pidgin English, but that’s the way us kids talked back then. :-)
  • Check your tuning by listening to my Double Slack Tuning audio file (below) and comparing it to your guitar.
  • Here is my color tablature for ‘Ka Lupe Ula’. (Get the normal black and white PDF if you prefer it.) Take a moment to print this Tab from your printer, then compare the Tab to my recording.
  • Below this is my audio example of this piece. Close your eyes and see if you can see a red kite bobbing in the breeze.

Example and audio is for members only. Join now!

Now dig in and get started. Have fun! Its good to be the guitar player!
Take this song a section at a time. (The double bar lines indicate the main sections.) Think of the way a lei is made. It starts off as a cluster of flowers in a basket. From the musician’s perspective, each individual blossom might be compared to a phrase in a song. Appreciate each flower (understand each phrase), then like the lei maker, string the individual moments together into one beautiful whole.
Next: You are almost done with the Beginning Realm! Please follow along to the next lesson, How Proceed from here with your Slack Key Guitar playing.