Friday, February 20, 2009

Slack Key music

My last post on the Balalaika drew a very interesting comment from 'Wood Finery' about 'Slack Key music'. I love to go off in different musical directions so had to find out more. He sent me a link explaining it, so here's the starting point if you want to find out too.

So from there I just had to hear some and found this on Youtube

and this sweet little lady playing her own composition

So how does this possibly tie in with CBGs? There are several connections. Slack Key seems to be of Hawaiian origin and is basically played with a detuned guitar to an open chord - typically open G or D - same popular tunings that blues guitarists use for bottleneck or slide work. Same tunings as we tend to use for CBGs. The two styles, blues and hawaiian music, may seem miles apart in musical content but if you read up on the history of blues you'll find the connection. At the time that blues was gaining popularity in the early 1900's in the USA, so was Hawaiian music. Many blues players borrowed the styles of Hawaiian players, detuning guitars to open chords but playing them in their own bluesy styles. One of the main differences though, seems to be the use of a slide in blues (often attributed to the story of Charlie Paton hearing a guy playing slide with a knife on a railway station) whereas the Slack Key music I've seen on Youtube so far seems to be fingerstyle. I have also seen Hawaiian slide playing but not referred to as 'Slack Key'.

The small samples I've heard of Slack Key so far are beautiful and I shall be spending some time exploring it more. Many thanks to 'Wood Finery' for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, February 16, 2009

latest cigar box guitar

Here's a piccy of one of my latest cigarbox guitars. It's tuned to low open E. Neck is mahogany and it has a piezo pup. Bridge and nut are threaded bolts. Strap is hand made from some webbing with strong hessian twine to anchor each end.

I've had a go at a stompbox using a cool looking French butter box. I attached a piezo disk and amped it up but it sounded rubbish. Just a plain tapping sound. I want a deeper thump but as yet don't know how to get it.