From Old Ways to New Ways


Do you remember the song that goes “The economy was getting so bad I had to lay myself off?” There’s a small clue in the title of this post. But in any case, you’re now looking at a newly redesigned Guitar Noise. This is more than just a new look for the site – it’s also the beginning of us doing things in new ways.

With every passing moment more mountains of information pile up on the Internet. And as quickly as they rise, heaps of other information vanishes and is forgotten forever. We know better than to assume that once something gets to a certain age it’s no longer any use. If you’re looking for good examples of sonnets you’d probably reach all the way back to Shakespeare. When it comes to learning guitar, there are books, teachers, and even websites that shouldn’t be lost and forgotten. Guitar Noise fits in here somewhere.

We’ve been creating guitar lessons – both general tutorial articles and columns and specific song lessons – online for a long time now. If your comments and emails are anything to go by, we’ve been getting a lot of things right. So why did I start this blog talking about laying myself off?

Another old dude once said “the only thing permanent in life is change.” He was talking about something else, but the idea does apply to the way people learn guitar online. A year ago, less than 10% of people visited this site using a phone. Today it’s 18%. It might be 20% before you finish reading this.

Being unprepared for this and other changes in the cosmos, I’ve been watching Guitar Noise’s traffic descend into a very large abyss. There are plenty of other good websites out there, so why am I stuck believing that most of them aren’t as good as this one? If people stop reading, why not let Guitar Noise find its way to the junk pile of unused websites? I couldn’t really do that. Before getting to the point where I’d have to lay myself off, it was time to find new ways of doing things.

It was time to call in outside help.

I began by tracking down the people responsible for making some of my favorite websites. I wanted to see who was available for work and interested in helping me rethink the way Guitar Noise works. My first hire was James Dalman from Oklahoma. James is a WordPress designer, consultant, and something of a branding guru. He’s a really exciting guy to work with. He understood the site and where I’m coming from right away. His creativity and willingness to take chances surprised me and I’m immensely happy with the work he turned in. The future success of Guitar Noise is going to depend on James’ vision and creativity. You can see some of the other websites he has helped at his portfolio.

The next part of the journey involved hiring master craftsman and WordPress developer Bill Erickson. It was his job to make the site work as envisioned by James. One of the special things Bill added was making the website mobile responsive. What this means is the site is now going to look good on whatever device you use – whether it be your computer, your phone or some kind of tablet. The width of your screen will no longer make things come out unsightly and difficult to read.

Working together with these two gentleman produced excellent results. They got me excited about trying more collaborative efforts. Things worked out smoothly enough for me to think we were all playing in the same band.

So where does Guitar Noise go from here? Now that we’ve got a new souped-up engine and the exterior of the car is looking good, we’re going to be filling the tank up again with new lessons again. As we continue to head down the road, we’ll be spending more time looking ahead of us than behind us. And we want you, our loyal readers and friends, right there with us on this trip, not only tomorrow but all the rest of the way.

Here’s something you can do to stay in touch with us. We’d like you to sign up for our newsletter again. It’s great knowing that so many of you have finished school or found new jobs, but your old email addresses are bouncing things back. We take spam seriously and we want to get rid our list of broken addresses. Anyone who wants to continue getting lessons and updates from us by email, should sign up again at

About Paul Hackett

Bandmo called Paul Hackett "one of the most interesting webmasters in the online music world." Paul started Guitar Noise in the late nineties and still runs the site today. He can usually be found traveling and learning new languages. Paul's life outside Guitar Noise unfolds at

Comments [6]

  1. John Preval says:

    Hi Paul,

    Some feedback for you, when the GN website first evolved it was one of the best sites for beginners wanting to learn guitar, its main attraction was the detailed lessons David Hodge put up. They were step by step (note by note) how toos for the learner and very good they were. When the take down of all copyrighted music happened much of the reason for visiting GN sad to say went. In the meantime many other sites have appeared and the Youtube phenomena has happened, so you can find any number of people wanting to teach you how to play any number of songs (some better than others).

    At the end of the day pretty is nice but content is king.


  2. Judith Spears says:

    Paul, I like the new look of Guitar Noise. There is a change that I would like to see if possible, printing the lesson in a PDF format. I am a scribbler, I like to print off the lesson to do at my leisure mostly away from my computer & scribble my notes in the margins. If I could download a PDF that would be great.
    I agree with Mr Preval that content is essential. GN is the first place I look, but if I need a video lesson it’s YouTube.
    Looking forward to more good stuff as the new look evolves, Thanks

  3. John Gelbart says:

    Hey there David – welcome back !!! I was wondering where you’ve disappeared, and I’ve just received the answer – an awsome brand new site!! Well done! Of course I’ve re-enrolled for the newsletter. I’m happy and excited for you. Well I’m off to tour your new site!! Thanks for the effort.

    • Hi John

      And welcome back, yourself! I do have to say, though, none of the credit for the “new” Guitar Noise should go to me. It’s all been the work of Paul Hackett, who created and still owns and runs the place. The amount of work (in both time and money) that he puts in on a daily basis behind the scenes to keep this place up and running is way beyond my capabilities.

      As always, both Paul and I thank you for your support and hope that you find a lot to like at Guitar Noise. And, again as always, do feel free to write anytime with ideas, comments and suggestions. Without our readers, we’d never have gotten to this point in the first place!

      My best wishes to you, your family and friends for a warm and safe holiday and may 2013 be a great year for everyone!


  4. Wow! I’ve just seen the new site and first impressions are excellent. Thank You.
    I was missing the newsletters and competitions to win your books (which I have now bought most of).
    Guitarnoise still have the best online lessons, containing those very important snippets of theory and learning processes which means you learn far more than just the songs in parrot fashion.
    Looking forward to the new lessons this year.
    Thanks again.

    • Hi Andrew and thanks for writing.

      Thank you, too, for your kind words. Glad you like the new look and hope that you find the new lessons, like Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” as well as the ones to come. It’s not been the easiest road – negotiating and obtaining the use of copyrighted material for our song lessons, but we’re doing our best to make it work for everyone.

      As alwatsm feel free to post any questions or suggestions you may have either here or write to me directly (dhodgeguitar@aol.com_ whenever you’d like.

      Wishing you the best for 2013!


Leave a Comment