Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar/ falsetto to bass voice

(Ki Ho’alu, leo ki’eki’e, a me leo nui)

Mike McClellan
News and Events Schedules
  Hawaiian Language Class, 2006
  Hawaiian Program in Local Libraries for Children, 2006

OK, so who is this guy anyway?
Mika'ele (Mike to the haoles) spent much of his early years in Hawaii where he graduated high school and attended the university. While there he developed his love for the slack key guitar and its diverse music. Mika'ele has both recorded and published in this genre.
Read more about Mika'ele

Lessons and Instruction from Mika'ele
Mike McClellan has been teaching instrument classes since 1961. Currently he teaches guitar, ukulele, and banjo classes at Pierce College Community Education. He has performed throughout Southern California and at Calabash Elementary School as part of The Going South Band (through the L. A. Music Center). He’s done short freebies at the same school for his individual children’s classes. He sings and almost speaks Hawaiian, Spanish, French, and English. He is recognized as a "Los Angeles Treasure" by the L. A. Craft and Folk Arts Museum for his work in preserving Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar in this region. His publications include a book on Slack Key and a booklet on Cajun accordion. He has been a judge at the Topanga Fiddle and Banjo Contest. He is currently a member of the American Federation of Musicians and the Association of Engineers and Architects (he also has a day job!)."
Take Lessons from Mika'ele

Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar for film or TV
Do you have a film or a TV script that needs Hawaiian music? Do you know about Slack Key guitar? Do you know we have a Hawaiian Slack Key guitarist right here in the Los Angeles area?

Hawaiian Slack Key is an old style that predates the Hawaiian steel guitar. In recent years it has flowered to a virtuoso style. It is used both as a solo style or to accompany singing and dancing. It brings thoughts of both old and new Hawai’i. Unfortunately, most of the good players are or were in Hawai’i.

Mika’ele McClellan is located in the San Fernando Valley. He received an L. A. Treasures award in 2004 from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department for his work in preserving Slack Key in this region. He’s been playing Slack Key since 1957. He is an accomplished musician that has taught or performed on 30 instruments, from folk to classical. He knows music theory and notation, as well as the music and the language of Hawai’i. He has written
"An Advanced Workbook for the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar"
which is vailable by contacting Mika'ele You can hear him instrumentally on the Aim Recordings CD A Slack-Key Vagabond" . He is the only Slack Key Guitarist in AFM Local 47. In this style he can play traditional PD material, his own compositions, Bach, J. P. Souza, or Hoagy Carmichael! If you hear Slack Key in your work, he can probably play it.

He can further supply Hawaiian feeling on ‘ukulele (melody or strums - he teaches it at Pierce College Community Education), autoharp (melody or strums), or Hawaiian steel guitar.

Mika’ele graduated high school and college in Honolulu, but he is stuck in Los Angeles now - his house and day job are in the San Fernando Valley. The cost of living is less here than there! Take advantage of his playing and singing!


The CD  Slack-Key Vagabond

The CD cover
Slack-Key Vagabond
Buy it on Amazon.com

Sample MP3,
"Mallonee Slack Key March"

Hear a cut by Mika'ele from the CD, A Slack Key Vagabond.
Mika'ele used to play for a hula schol taught by 'Opu'ulani Mallonee, from Oahu. He wrote this march and named it after 'Opu'ulani's family. In Hawaii, marches were considered native form - witness Kohela March, royal Hawaiian hotel March, and Kameha,eha March.
Tuning is Taro Patch, (open G) DGDGBD

Listen to "Mallonee Slack Key March"


A vagabond is a drifter, someone who wanders with no specific course. A Slack-Key Vagabond, on the other hand, is someone who drifts with the purpose of collecting tunes for the Hawaiian-style guitar. Mika'ele McClellan, in fact, traveled all over the world, gathering instrumentals from Israel, Scotland, and Japan. The album begins with the self-penned "Mallonnee Slack Key March," a catchy piece that floats along like a lazy fall day, while the lovely "Gaelic Medley" includes "A Londonerry Air," which many will identify as "Danny Boy." On the majority of the cuts, McClellan plays solo, giving the music an intimate quality. His clean, quiet style also carefully emphasizes the melody of each piece, making sure individual notes are full and clear. Several tunes will be familiar, even if one has never heard of slack-key guitar. "Never on Sunday" comes from the 1960 movie of the same name, and "Waltzing Matilda" qualifies as Australia's informal national anthem. Since there is no standard tuning for slack-key style, McClellan utilizes a number of different alternations, the most common being D/G/D/G/B/D. One doesn't need to be crazy about Hawaiian guitar or an aspiring player to enjoy Slack-Key Vagabond. McClellan's gentle approach is always tasteful and easy on the ears.
  Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., All Music Guide

Another Sample Slack Key MP3
"'Elua na Pua ia ke Ao"
Sung in Hawaiian - Tuning C Wahine (CGDGBD)
From the Top Soil tape, "Some New Things" TSC 9083
Mika'ele, voice and guitar
Kimokeo Holtwick singing second voice

Listen to 'Elua na Pua ia ke Ao



A Page of Common Slack Key Tunings
The art of slacking the strings of a guitar into an open tuning has been widely used in adapting the guitar to Hawaiian music. Many noted performers have closely guarded secret tunings.
This link contains audio samples of many of the more more common slack key tunings in use today and needs to pre-load. Please allow time.


Home phone: (818) 999-3129
22283 Cass Av, Woodland Hills CA 91364
Day job (slack key doesn’t support him!): (818) 756-9086

Additional Information
Slack key MIDI


Slack Key midi
Papalolea midi