Aloha Plenty Slack Key in a Hanalei Taropatch
                                               "Tuning Your World To Aloha!"                            Photo Courtesy of Steve Alterman
Doug & Sandy McMaster's     Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar & Ukulele

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1. Is buying safe through Your website? Yes. Buying our CDs is 100% safe! Buying direct from us with PayPal enables the use of all major credit cards and EChecks and they guarantee secure online shopping. Our official on-line retailer, CDBaby, accepts all major credit cards and guarantees secure online shopping too.

2. How much does it cost to ship the CD? Shipping is calculated in the shopping cart. We sometimes run specials where shipping is free or discounted. For ordering by mail, there's basic shipping charges on the order form.

For CDBaby shipping rates & specials, please click here!

3. I am uncomfortable with using my credit card online. Can I still buy your CDs? Yes you can. We understand Your concerns. You can order by mail direct from usOrder by Mail Form Or you can place Your order by phone, fax, or regular mail with our official retailer

4. I don't use credit cards. How do I order CDs without one? You have several options. PayPal accepts E-Checks and if you have a PayPal account, you can just pay with your PayPal balance. You can Mail Order direct from us with check or money order. Order by mail form CDBaby accepts checks, money orders, international money orders, and cash in addition to all major credit cards. Orders can be phoned, faxed, or mailed. 1-800-BUYMYCD

5. When will my CD arrive? When ordering direct from us with PayPal or Mail Order, we ship within 48 hours of receipt of the order excluding holidays. For 1-2 CDs, we ship with first class mail. With more, we ship using US Postal Priority. Because it's coming from Hawaii, it can take 3-5 days.

With CDBaby, check their current shipping policies Click Here

6. What happens if my CD arrives damaged in the mail? Just let us know and we will send you another one immediately. Free of charge. True for direct and CDBaby orders.

7. Can I buy more than 1 CD with one order? You bet! When you buy CDs direct from us using PayPal or Mail Order, we have several 'bonus' packages that give you great value and savings! These are listed on the Shop & Order page! If you plan to order more than 10 CDs, please contact us to negotiate a better discount.

When ordering through CDBaby If you buy more than one of any of our CDs, You will receive a 10% discount. Also, when you purchase multiple copies of the CD, our retailer CDBay will ship them by priority mail.

8. I would like to be a bunch of CDs for gifts for family and friends. Can I get a discount? Sure can! We appreciate your help in spreading the aloha of ki ho'alu (slack key) around the globe! What a wonder-full gift you are planning for your loved ones. Just contact us to let us know how many CDs you require, when you need them, etc. We'll work out a good value for you. Email: 1-808-826-1469

9. Where can I buy other CDs by Doug & Sandy McMaster? When you click on the Shop & Order link, once you choose your preferred ordering resource (PayPal, Mail, or CDBaby), you will have an order form that includes all the CDs.

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1. Is there duplication of songs between the CDs?
No. Each is unique, all traditional style slack key. The live studio release Green Flash Slack Key does have songs from all of our CDs plus 5 unique songs. The Hanalei Tradition II - LIVE CD is a live concert and of course, songs are from a variety of CDs.

2. Are the ocean sounds from Hawaii?
Yes. We've recorded Hanalei Bay, Kauai and Kepuhi Bay, Molokai live with digital recording equipment. IN MY HEART, Hanalei Tradition, and Green Flash Slack Key CD do not have the ocean or Hanalei River in the background.

3. Are the CDs all instrumental?
Yes. Except where noted. Hanalei Tradition II - LIVE is a concert CD so you get the full ambience of the concerts... even a few cock-a-doodle doos from our community center rooster, recently named 'Bob' by one of our guests. Slack Key Story is an audio documentary which has Sandy telling the story of slack key in excerpts along with 17 tracks of music. Feel Better Music is a guided relaxation CD and has the soothing sounds of Hanalei Bay, slack key guitar, and Sandy's voice guiding you gently into full relaxation.

4. Are there multiple guitar parts?
No, with the exception of when Doug and Sandy play a duet on guitars. Doug records each song 'live' from beginning to end... no editing, no overdubbing, no patching.

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1. What is Hawaiian slack key guitar?
Ki Ho'alu -- Hawaiian slack key guitar, is a fingerstyle guitar artform created by Hawaiians in the late 1700's when guitars were first introduced to Hawaii. The traditional form combines altered tunings and a method of self-accompaniment (thumb plays rhythm and fingers play melody) to make music that is soft, sweet, and very soothing.

2. How did guitars come to Hawaii?
The popular story is that three Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) were hired on contract to come to Hawaii and teach the Hawaiians how to manage cattle. Mexican longhorn cattle had been introduced as a gift to Kamehameha I in the 1700's. The first two Mexican cowboys arrived in 1781 in Lahaina, Maui. Around the same time, three Mexican cowboys were brought to the Big Island. These cowboys taught the Hawaiians the Hawaiians to manage cattle. When they returned to their families on the mainland, they gave their guitars to their Hawaiian friends. The Hawaiians didn't know the chord fretting positions on the guitar neck or how to tune the strings relative to each other... so they loosened the keys (tuners) until the strings sounded nice strummed open... and then because there were only a few instruments and none to accompany, they created a technique of self accompaniment described earlier.

3. When did singing become a part of the music?
Before the guitars arrived and slack key was created, there were only percussive instruments and chant (3-5 note monotone range). Original slack key was used to accompany hula and chant. It was primarily a solo instrumental style. Singing came to the islands with the missionaries in the mid 1800's. Singing began to be added to the music of Hawaii in the 1870's. It became popular in the early 1900's when the 'entertainment' industry began. Slack key was always a family tradition. The style was contemporized with other instruments, singing, foreign rhythms and chords to make it palatable to hotels, lounges, and other entertainment venues. In particular, the proprietors wanted music the visitors could dance to, similar to music on the mainland yet with a Hawaiian flair. Some even brought music teachers from the mainland to train the Hawaiians in western music and music theory. The traditional style of slack key was kept in the families and would sometimes be played after the venues closed.

4. How many tunings are there in slack key?
To my knowledge, no one really knows. Over 75 tunings have been with about 25 being fairly common. Many families, including our own, have special family tunings that are rarely shared. In the old days, if you came upon someone playing slack key and they didn't know you, they would stop playing and even de-tune the instrument so that their family music and tunings would remain exclusive to the family.

5. Is a special instrument/guitar needed for slack key? No. Slack key can techniquely be played on any stringed instrument. Nylon stringed guitars are beautiful for slack key although steel strings are more convenient for playing in many tunings. This is due to the memory of the nylon string. After retuning, it will try to reshape itself to the original tuning causing the instrument to go quickly out of tune on the next song. Today there are special instruments that are designed just to be played in a slackened tuning. They are called baritone guitars. Their neck is slightly longer and the design allows the soundboard to receive enough tension and vibration even in the slackened tuning to create the most beautiful sounds and frequencies.

6. Can you play slack key on the ukulele?
Certainly. Sandy does. She plays in a particular slack key tuning for rhythm and uses another for fingerstyle slack key ukulele (GCEG instead of standard ukulele tuning GCEA).

7. Why is slack key so endangered?
This artform was only passed on within families... from an elder master... to a chosen child. So much was lost when a master passed on without having found the apprentice to carry the tradition forward. Slack key, in it's traditional form, is a lifetime commitment to learning, playing, and creating. Getting your fingers and thumb on the same hand to do two different things (thumb playing rhythm and fingers playing melody simultaneously) is not easy and so many players become frustrated by the learning curve. When you change to a new tuning, all the relationships of the notes on the neck, the chords, the harmonies, the bass notes... all changes... and it's like learning a new instrument. This is much more difficult than learning new songs and techniques all in the same tuning. One final reason is that slack key, in the old style, is less commercially acceptable for radio, hotel, lounge and other entertainment formats which means it's not financially lucrative for young players starting out. It's much easier for them to quickly learn and play modern forms of music and get paying gigs.

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