Slack Key Tunings
I divide slack key tunings into four general areas:
These names are not standard throughout the slack key world. This system is based on discussions I had in 1971 with Abraham Lukela on Lana’i and Lyons Alapa’i in North Kona. Some other people reverse the names or use others; but this system worked for at least three of us.
- Major tunings;
- Wahine tunings (major seventh chords);
- Mauna Loa tunings (1st & 2nd string a fifth apart);
- Whatevahs (misc.).
When I call a tuning "kapakahi bass," that means one of the bass notes is not in the regular chord, but is used for another common chord in the key. Taro Patch with a C bass is kapakahi on the 6th string--C is not part of the G chord. However, this tuning is good to play in C. My favorite F tuning is F wahine/Mauna Loa, which is kapakahi on the 5th string: you can play F & C bass for the F chord, F & Bb bass for the Bb chord, and Bb and C bass for the C7 chord.
The tunings I use a lot have an *.
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