Slack Key

In the 1970s Hawaiian slack key guitar was still a rare art form. (It would be another 20 years before the style hit the mainstream with a series of solo recordings by its masters.) So slack key was not in Bill Wynne’s plan. It was more a happy accident.

The pick-up in Wynne’s Kamaka tenor `ukulele ceased to function, necessitating a trip back to the tech who installed it. While awaiting a diagnosis, a six-year-old Wynne was spinning the rotating racks of music lesson books when he spied the first edition of Keola Beamer’s Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. Since the `ukulele had to stay in the hospital for a while for a repair and since there were guitars laying all about Wynne’s musical home, he asked his father to buy him the book.

And in about a week, Wynne was a budding slack key guitarist.

Flash-forward nearly 20 years when in 1996 Wynne was asked to take his slack key prowess to Carnegie Hall to open for a concert titled A Portrait of Hawai`i’s Music and which featured such Hawaiian music legends as Robi Kahakalau, Cyril Pahinui, the Mākaha Sons, Loyal Garner and Dennis Pavao. Bill continued to perfect his unique slack key style over the years. And two decades later, Wynne would be asked not once, but twice to tour with the Milton Lau-produced Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key tour with such legends as Kevin and Ikaika Brown, LT Smooth, Ian O’Sullivan, Danny Carvalho, Stephen Inglis, Blayne Asing, and Michael Keale.

Enjoy the slack key guitar of Bill Wynne by clicking on the titles under “PLAYLIST” below.