Tag Archives: Fingerstyle

Makalawena, Original Slack Key Guitar

I named this seemingly easygoing yet still restive song after a charmingly beautiful and relatively isolated beach on the Kona Coast.  Makalawena is part of that long stretch of white sandy beaches you see right before landing at Kona International Airport at nearby Keahole Point.  The beach is generally accessible via a short hike from the neighboring Mahaiʻula Bay section of Kekaha Kai State Park.  I remember camping out at Makalawena as a kid, exploring the rare anchialine ponds with their delicate red shrimp, and swimming in the waters of the bay.  Today still, the neighboring marsh is a protected nesting ground, home to rare birds such as the Hawaiian coot.  The song’s bridge seems to capture the strange sense of converging energies that I feel in special places such as these.  Hope you enjoy.

Banks of the Ohio – Thumbpick / Bluegrass

Here is my Clarence White inspired arrangement of the Bluegrass classic, “Banks of the Ohio,” played fingerstyle with a thumbpick (rather than flatpicked or cross-picked).

Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles / George Harrison

One of the classic George Harrison songs from the Abbey Road album, Here Comes the Sun is a bright, happy tune that sounds great on acoustic guitar. This fingerstyle arrangement is my take on the song – instead of opting for the bright sounds of a capo-ed guitar, I went for the sonorous tones of an open tuning. Despite the lower voice, I think the arrangement still sounds sunny. Enjoy.

Fun fact – Harrison wrote this song while walking around Eric Clapton’s garden on a sunny day in spring 1969.


Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton

Wonderful Tonight was written by Eric Clapton about his then-wife Pattie Boyd, who had already inspired great songs from Eric and previous husband George Harrison. This song has been the theme to many a high school prom, and its simple yet tasteful melody has held up over the years. In keeping with that, my arrangement here is fairly straight forward: it doesn’t move around the neck very much or have any unusual chord voicings. Hope you enjoy it.


Morning Moon

Morning Moon is a combination of two existing ideas, the first being a song I wrote shortly after watching a lunar eclipse. The second idea came years later, resulting in a song with different interweaving parts. The more energetic latter part of the song is a take on some of the ideas in the mellower first part, taking the song in a different direction. I decided to call the song Morning Moon after looking at the still-visible moon one morning, well after daylight.

I’m on Fire by Bruce Springsteen

My mom is a big fan of Bruce Springsteen and used to play the Born In The U.S.A. album a lot. Listening to it again as an adult, it’s a sad, powerful album with some great tunes. I’m on Fire is a really cool little song – almost a sketch at under 3 minutes long, but it really creates a great atmosphere in that short amount of time. I had fun playing it fingerstyle and hope you enjoy my arrangement. Here’s to The Boss.