Various Locations on Waikiki Beach: "Slack Key Guitar" Honolulu Nightlife Tip by atufft

Honolulu Nightlife: 73 reviews and 157 photos

  Slack Key Guitar and Ukelele
by atufft
  • Slack Key Guitar and Ukelele - Honolulu
      Slack Key Guitar and Ukelele
    by atufft
  • Rooftop Hotel Venue for Slack Key Guitar - Honolulu
      Rooftop Hotel Venue for Slack Key Guitar
    by atufft

The Slack Key Guitar music derives it's name from the low key tuning of the bass (bigger) strings relative to the other strings. Thus, this string is slack and provides a repetitious bass sound almost as if it were a different instrument. Along with the ukelele and falsetto singing, the slack key guitar makes a full ensemble, providing a lilting sound that resembles a sequence of Hawaiian waves on a sunny day or moon lit night. I had a distant relative who was one of the first to record Hawaiian Slack Key musicians, via the Trade Winds label that she created. At the time, the music was found among virtually homeless minstrals that serenaded couples along Waikiki Beach. Because the musicians were unreliable for studio time, she had to literally wine and dine the musicians before bringing them into the studio for live recordings. Today, new groups that play at hotels of Waikiki and elsewhere in the Hawaiian Islands have more systematically researched their musical traditions and provide excellent value in terms of musical performance. The self-deprecating lyrics provide amusement and a relaxed way to enjoy the evening.

Dress Code: Hawaiian shirts are what's in style. Flowery patterns of tropical colors, full scene across the entire garment, and fine linen fabrics with embroidered flowers patterns are typical of the relaxed atmosphere of Waikiki. Formal dress is strictly forbidden, as far as I know, unless possibly one is part of a wedding party. Even then, the proper wedding planner will provide for Hawaiian style (see my wedding tip on the Kauai page.

Directions: Along Waikiki Beach. Listen for the music coming from garden balconys and rooftop gardens.
Theme: Live Music

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Mar 14, 2006
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