By Greg Olwell

Without a doubt, Ledward Kaapana is one of the guitar’s greatest fingerstyle players. For over four decades this master of Hawaii’s unique slack-key guitar style has delighted audiences with his music.

Kaapana gave us this special Acoustic Guitar Session while he was visiting our studio to shoot a session for our sister publication Ukulele magazine. (Led was on a West Coast tour supporting his latest album of slack-key, Jus’ Press Vol. 2, his first album of ukulele music.)


Advertisement


After playing a few ukulele songs, Led re-tuned one of our office guitars, a Collings D41, to open G (D G D G B D) to play “Kolomona Slack Key” as a duet with Northern California guitarist Fran Guidry. In this clip, Guidry plays an early Composite Acoustics OX, tuned to open F (C F C F A C) and capoed at the second fret to back up Kaapana’s G tuning.

Slack-key guitar, or kī hōʻalu, is based on open-tunings and relies heavily on Travis- and Atkins-style picking to improvise over a steady bass line and melody. (Peel back a few layers and there is a direct connection between the technique of trad pickers in Nashville and Hawaii.)

Watch Ledward’s Ukulele Session here.

For more AG Sessions, check out the archive.

This article is free to read, but it isn't free to produce! Make a pledge to support the site (and get special perks in return.) LEARN MORE...