Double Stops in Slack Key (Guitar Lesson)


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Mark Kailana Nelson

Double Stops in Slack Key

Mark Nelson demonstrates how double stops are used in Hawaiian slack key guitar.

Taught by Mark Kailana Nelson in Hawaiian slack key seriesLength: 22:00Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (02:22) Introduction Music Welcome to the latest installment of JamPlay's slack key guitar lessons! Mark gets things started with a fine rendition of a slack key tune.
Chapter 2: (06:32) Learning Double Stops A double stop occurs when a string player plucks, or bows two notes simultaneously. A double stop is less commonly referred to as a "multiple stop." The two most common intervals used to comprise a double stop in slack key music are diatonic sixths and thirds. In this lesson, Mark demonstrates how diatonic sixths are used in the slack key style. Diatonic sixths enable a fingerstyle guitarist to perform open voiced chords. A chord is open voiced when the two lowest notes span a distance greater than an octave. Do not confuse open voiced chords with "open" chords. Remember that the term "open" is loosely applied to chords that contain open strings.

In previous lessons, you learned a turnaround that made heavy use of diatonic sixths. If you have not yet memorized this turnaround, do so now.

Tuning Check-Up

All of the musical examples in this lesson are performed in Taropatch tuning. Tune each string of your guitar to match Mark's. You want to make sure that you are perfectly in tune with him. Later in the lesson, you will have an opportunity to play some slack key along with him.

Sixths in the Intro Music

Mark plays some excerpts from the introduction music that use of diatonic sixths. Listen to these excerpts very carefully to get the sound of diatonic sixths established in your ears. Often, he plucks each note that comprises the sixth interval individually. However, notice how he simultaneously frets both notes with the left hand. This eliminates unnecessary movement of the left hand. Also, it allows one note to ring over to the next in a legato style. Do to the relaxing, flowing nature of slack key music, most tunes are played in a legato style. The term "legato" means that each note in a phrase continues to ring until the next note is struck. The polar opposite of legato is staccato. Staccato indicates that each individual note value is played sharply and is separated from adjacent notes.

Double Stop Exercise 1

Note: Open the Supplemental Content tab for tablature to this exercise.

This exercise combines a bass note with a diatonic sixth interval. The bass note is either played on the low D string or low G string. The sixth interval is fretted on the third and first strings. Notice how the sixth interval combined with the bass note forms either a G or D7 open voiced chord. For example, take a look at the first chord notated in this exercise. The bass note is G. The diatonic sixth is comprised of the notes B and G. This chord structure implies a G triad with the fifth degree omitted. If you have been watching Matt Brown's jazz lessons, you know that the fifth is frequently omitted from chords.

Now, take a look at the second chord in the exercise. This chord is comprised of the notes D, C, and A. This structure implies a D7 chord with the fifth and third omitted.

Right Hand Fingering of These Chords

Use the following fingering to pluck each open voiced chord:

Bass note: Thumb
3rd String: Index Finger
1st String: Ring Finger


Do not play third string notes with your thumb. The thumb is almost always needed to pluck a bass line in slack key guitar music.

Mark demonstrates how these chords can be arpeggiated with just the thumb and first finger. Although this technique is possible, it is not very practical.

The exercises in the following scenes expand upon the concepts outlined in this scene. Make sure that you are comfortable with playing Exercise 1 before continuing to the following scenes.
Chapter 3: (03:30) Second Double Stop Example Note: Open the Supplemental Content tab for tablature to this exercise.

The second exercise adds an alternating bass line to the first exercise. When this occurs, the double stop comprised of a diatonic sixth is broken up. The lowest note in the sixth is played on the first beat of the measure. The higher note is then combined with a different bass note. However, remember to simultaneously fret both notes comprising the sixth interval at the beginning of the measure.

Be patient when practicing this exercise. If you are a beginning fingerstyle player, you might find this exercise quite difficult. It requires a great deal of mental and physical coordination.

This exercise is divided into two distinct sections by a double bar line. The second section is a slight variation of the first. In this section, the higher note in the sixth interval is plucked first.

String Squeaks

Shifting sixth intervals up and down the neck produces a string squeak that may or may not be favorable. Mark prefers to use Elixir coated strings in order to keep string squeaks to a minimum. The natural oil from your hair also creates a nice lubricant. Run the tips of your fingers through your hair then return to playing. You will notice fewer string squeaks. In the course of a live performance, nervous energy will make your hands slightly more lubricated as well.
Chapter 4: (03:54) Third Double Stop Example Note: Open the Supplemental Content tab for tablature to this exercise.

Exercise 3 increases the quarter note harmonic rhythm in the previous exercise to an eighth note pulse. Harmonic rhythm is the metronomic rate at which chords change.

Similar to the exercise in the previous scene, this exercise is divided into two sections by a double bar line. Isolate and practice each of these sections individually. Make sure you are aware of the proper bass note that corresponds to each double stop. The descending pattern of this exercise features a repeating "D" bass pattern that lasts until the final tonic chord is reached. Although many of the double stops imply a G chord sound, these G chord double stops occur primarily on the weak beats within the context of a run that implies the dominant chord, D7.
Chapter 5: (05:56) Lesson Wrap Up As Mark mentions, the best way to learn slack key guitar is by listening to as many recordings as you can. He also mentions some additional sources to check out. www.mele.com is an excellent source for slack key information. www.Taropatch.net is another great slack key site. Also, make sure that you check out Mark's own site: www.mark-o.com

If you ever get an opportunity to travel to Hawaii, you may want your trip to coincide with a slack key seminar or camp. Information about these programs can be found at www.alohamusiccamp.com.

Mark closes this lesson with a beautiful slack key tune.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


tarocattarocat replied on November 4th, 2016

Right click on the image and then choose, "open image in a new window". This should work for you. I am able to print all the files no problem.

artist8811artist8811 replied on March 10th, 2016

Don't know if this is a problem with this site or not, but I am having a lot of trouble printing off the sheet music under "supplemental." I check the sheet, hit print, and it does not print! Then, I try "print preview" but instead of it showing the sheet music, it gives a 3 - 5 page written explanation of the lesson, but does not show the music. All I could print was "Double Stops EX 1" - - I could not print off the next two examples!!! This is very frustrating as I am wasting time trying to solve PC printing issues rather than using the time to practice.

berserkoidberserkoid replied on April 19th, 2014

these lessons have improved my guitar playing by vast amounts over all other lessons. fantastic approach.

slackeyslackey replied on September 3rd, 2009

Kinda funny someone brought up uku, I got my baritone in hand and am trying to adapt all this... its not going well. the lack of the extra bass string is quite limiting. Although it works for some songs. Mark, if you ever put out lessons for slack key uku, I'm first in line!

djgoodmandjgoodman replied on August 24th, 2009

Just back from Kaua'i and newly inspired. I bought a uke but strongly prefer the sound of slack key. Uke is great travel instrument and does not require nose grease with its nylon strings.

crawoodcrawood replied on August 13th, 2009

I learn something from all your lessons, Mark, but never anything like the nose grease trick!

Mark.NelsonMark.Nelson replied on May 29th, 2009

Ya know, that would be great! Maybe if enough people ask about the uke...?? BTW: I did a fingerstyle uke book for Mel Bay, check it out.

gregdiehlgregdiehl replied on March 15th, 2008

mark, why don't you do uke lesons here too. I bought one last time I was on the Big Island and would appreciate lessons. I bought a song book but without real music. Just chords and words. without actually knowing the song it's impossible to play. Please think about it. Thanks

Hawaiian slack key

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Hawaiian slack key is a beautiful style of guitar that originated in Hawaii. By blending relaxing melodies with intricate fingerstyle playing, this traditional genre of music is sure to please.



Lesson 1

Intro to Slack Key

Mark Nelson introduces Hawaiian slack key guitar and welcomes you to his lesson series.

Length: 9:11 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Basic Slack Key

Mark delves into the world of slack key guitar. He discusses basic concepts such as open tunings and chords.

Length: 34:24 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Bradda John

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Length: 14:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

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Mark Nelson teaches a beautiful Hawaiian piece that he calls "Old Style Slack."

Length: 30:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Vamps and Turnarounds

Turnarounds are very important to the slack key genre. Mark explains what they are and how they are used in this lesson.

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Salomila

Mark Nelson teaches a beautiful Hawaiian slack key piece called "Salomila."

Length: 19:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Double Stops in Slack Key

Mark Nelson demonstrates how double stops are used in Hawaiian slack key guitar.

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

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Mark Nelson teaches a beautiful piece of music he calls "Ki Ho'Alu Slide."

Length: 15:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

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Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

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Mark Nelson returns to the song "Salomila." Learn an altered version of this song that will put your slack key skills to the test.

Length: 14:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

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Mark Nelson provides you with more slack key building blocks. He demonstrates some new turnarounds that involve playing double stops in sixths.

Length: 23:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Return to Old Style Slack

Mark Nelson returns to the song "Old Style Slack." In this lesson, he teaches a more advanced arrangement of the song.

Length: 23:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Double Stops and Chords

Mark demonstrates some additional double stops and discusses common slack key chords.

Length: 18:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

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Mark Nelson teaches an original song called "Taropatch Blues." He also explains how improvisation is used in the slack key genre.

Length: 19:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Series Review

Mark Nelson reviews the lesson series up to this point and discusses its future.

Length: 16:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Aunty Style Slack

Mark Nelson introduces the G Wahine tuning, also known as double slack. He teaches a song in this tuning called "Aunty Style Slack."

Length: 21:10 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Clave Bass Studies

Mark introduces the concept of the clave rhythm. He explains what the clave is and provides some fun Hawaiian themed exercises to play.

Length: 15:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Malasadas

Mark Nelson will teaches a slack key piece called "Malasadas." This lesson applies the clave bass pattern from lesson 17.

Length: 14:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Double Stops and Chords

Mark expands your knowledge of double slack tuning. He introduces some common chords and double stops in this tuning.

Length: 13:57 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Playful Popoki

Mark Nelson teaches a beautiful Hawaiian slack key song entitled "Playful Popoki."

Length: 23:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

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Length: 25:17 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

C Wahine Tuning

Mark Nelson introduces C Wahine tuning.

Length: 10:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

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Mark Nelson expands on Drop C / C Wahine tuning. He explains how familiar chords and double stops can be played in this tuning.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Hi`ilawe

Mark Nelson teaches a classic Hawaiian slack key piece entitled "Hi`ilawe."

Length: 18:12 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

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Mark "Kailana" Nelson covers the Drop C / C Wahine tuning again in this lesson. This time around he introduces more chords and variations.

Length: 10:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

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Length: 13:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Kowali

Mark Nelson teaches a Hawaiian slack key piece entitled "Kowali" in this lesson.

Length: 13:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Kowali Modulation

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Length: 11:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Sanoe

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Length: 17:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 30

Sanoe Modulation

Mark revisits the beautiful song "Sanoe." He explains how the song modulates in this lesson.

Length: 11:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 31

Catching up & Moving on

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Length: 14:00 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

F Wahine Tuning

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Length: 29:37 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

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Length: 14:55 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 34

Mauna Loa Part 1

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Length: 10:26 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Mauna Loa Part 2

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Length: 12:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 36

Kawohikukapulani

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Length: 9:19 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 37

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Length: 27:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 38

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Length: 11:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 39

He Aloha No'o Honolulu Part 2

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Length: 20:17 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

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Mark Nelson shares his beautiful rendition of the song "Makee Ailana" in this lesson.

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 41

Tiare Tahiti

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Length: 20:22 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 42

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Length: 17:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 43

Series Wrap-up Part 1

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Length: 12:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 44

Series Wrap-up Part 2

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Length: 21:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 45

Series Wrap-up Part 3

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Length: 19:51 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 46

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Lesson 47

Nanea Kou Maka i ka Le‘ale‘a

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Lesson 48

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Length: 19:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 49

'Ulupalakua Part 1

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Lesson 50

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Length: 25:02 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 51

'Ulupalakua Part 3: Variations

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Length: 29:23 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 52

'Ulupalakua Part 4: Three Songs

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Lesson 53

Hula Blues Part 1

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Lesson 54

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Length: 23:33 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 55

Hula Blues Part 3: Singing

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Length: 15:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 56

‘Opihi Mo‘emo‘e Part 1

Mark Nelson introduces a new slack key tune called "‘Opihi Mo‘emo‘e" in this lesson. As usual, Mark starts off by going over each section of the song and asks that you to get it down before moving...

Length: 23:41 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 57

‘Opihi Mo‘emo‘e Part 2

Mark Nelson shows off some fun variations for the catchy slack key tune "‘Opihi Mo‘emo‘e." His primary goal for this lesson is to help make this song unique to your personal style.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 58

‘Opihi Mo‘emo‘e Part 3

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Lesson 59

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Lesson 60

B Flat Tuning Part 1

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Length: 14:09 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 61

B Flat Tuning Part 2: Green Rose Hula

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Lesson 62

B Flat Tuning Part 3: Pua Lilia

In this lesson, Mark Nelson takes a look at more complex harmonies while teaching the beautiful song "Pua Lilia".

Length: 12:57 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 63

B Flat Tuning Part 4: ‘Ulupalakua

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Length: 10:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Mark Kailana Nelson View Full Biography Ki Ho `alu, or slack key guitar, is a uniquely Hawaiian music. Legend has it that Spanish cowboys hired to teach cattle handling in the 1830's brought the first guitars the Polynesians had seen. Until very recently, slack key was almost unknown outside of the Islands.

Mark's lifelong interest in slack key led him to write "Learn to Play Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar" (Mel Bay Publications), with legendary Hawaiian musician Keola Beamer – the first widely available instruction method for this gentle art. Keola and Mark co-host the Aloha Music Camp – an immersion into the music and culture of Hawaii held each summer in the Hawaiian Islands.

Mark's 2004 CD, "The Water is Wide," brings together the nahenahe sounds of slack key guitar with the sweet sounds of the dulcimer. In 2006 he released "Old Time Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar," nineteen classic Hawaiian songs recorded live in the studio. A book of note-for-note transcriptions in Tab and standard notation facilitates learning the songs.. His most recent book and CD set, "Ke Kukima Polinahe," is the first-ever recording of traditional slack key music arranged for the dulcimer.

Mark began playing guitar and bass professionally at the not-so-tender age of 12. Over the years he's added a number of instruments, including mandolin, `ukulele, bodhran and the Appalachian dulcimer and its European kin.

In the early 1970's Mark was one of a handful of free-spirited musicians who created a whole new vocabulary for the Appalachian dulcimer and guitar. He created a driving flatpicking dulcimer style, playing the instrument with a force and passion seldom heard before. A first place win at the National Mountain Dulcimer Championships in Winfield, Kansas in 1979 led to appearances at festivals, colleges and coffeehouses across North America and Europe, and a recording career spanning over 25 years.

He's an engaging performer, artfully weaving stories and humor with heartfelt music to transport the audience. Mark has performed just about everywhere from Barrow to Boston; Sligo to San Diego. He's shared the stage with performers as diverse as Grover Washington, Jr.; Norton Buffalo; Phoebe Snow, Doc Watson, George Winston and many others. He once worked as a banjo playing gorilla in Dublin, but that's another story...

"Nelson is a musician who possesses that rare combination of insight and talent necessary to successfully transcend conventional concepts of genre and culture."
John Berger, Honolulu Star-Bulletin

"Every once in a while a musician comes along who can make an instrument speak in tongues"
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

"Mark Nelson seems to be on to something new and sweet with his marriage of Appalachian dulcimer and Hawaiian slack key guitar. Drizzle is one of the most achingly beautiful slack key numbers heard in years."
Danny Carnahan, Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"It's my sunset-have-a-martini-on-the-lanai soundtrack every night!"
Duke Walls, Hana, Maui

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Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"
 

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!


Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"
 

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


Bill

"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."
 

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on JamPlay.com. Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.



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