Newsletter Vol. 4 # 12 – October 1, 2011


Welcome to Volume 4, Issue #12 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • Greetings, News and Announcements
  • Guitar Noise Featured Artist
  • Topic of the Month
  • New Articles, Lessons, Reviews and Stuff
  • Great Advice from Great Teachers
  • Events Horizon
  • Random Thoughts

Greetings, News and Announcements

Hello and welcome to the month of October! That, of course, means that this is the October 1 edition of Guitar Noise News, your free twice-a-month newsletter from Guitar Noise.

And I’d like to kick off this month with more of a note than an announcement. Throughout the remainder of 2011, Paul and I will be trying out some new things at Guitar Noise. Some will be fairly obvious, others hopefully not so. For instance, since our “Events Horizon” feature in this newsletter is meant to help generate interest in shows being performed by members of the Guitar Noise community, we’re going to start posting a weekly “Events Horizon” calendar on the Guitar Noise Blog, which will also be picked up on our Facebook page. The idea being that we can make the events more immediate, as opposed to weeks away.

When you think about it, the Internet is becoming more and more of a place where things happen in any given moment and less of a place where one can say,”I think I’m going to sit down and read this and learn something.” That makes what we do best at Guitar Noise, namely teach guitar and music, a little tricky, to say the least! So we are going to try to do our best to integrate both the tutorial world and the “quick hit” Internet mentality that exists today.

Wish us luck!

One thing that won’t change, though, is the quality of the lessons and information that you will get here at Guitar Noise. And you also won’t lose your ability to tell us exactly what you think and what suggestions you might have! As always, feel free to write me directly at any time. I look forward to chatting with you.

Guitar Noise Featured Artist

Great musicians are always exploring and expanding and Carlos Santana is certainly a testament to that! And that’s just one of the reasons why he’s the Guitar Noise Featured Artist for the month of October Read all about him on the Guitar Noise Profile Page.

Topic of the Month

We’re highlighting our “Practicing” lessons as our Guitar Noise Topic of the Month of October.With all the great guitar teachers we have contributing to this website – folks like Tom Serb, Tom Hess, Alan Green, Jamie Andreas, Nick Minnion, Paul Andrews and more – you can find a lot of great lessons full of tips on making your practice as productive as possible.

Visit the Guitar Noise home page and check out all the lessons and articles you’ll find about practicing by clicking on the latest “Topic of the Month” up at the top of the middle of the home page, just below the blue banner.

New Articles, Lessons, Reviews and Stuff

Transcribing – Part 1
by Paul Andrews

A few years ago figuring out songs by ear was the primary way of learning guitar. Let’s see how you can develop your musical ear through transcribing songs.

How To Discover The Best Guitar Learning Material
by Tom Hess

There are lots of guitar tutorials. Tom Hess explains how knowing precisely what you should be practicing will help you get the results that you want.

Ten Ways For Beginner Guitar Players To Improve In A Hurry
by David Hodge

Teaching yourself guitar runs the risk of developing some potentially harmful habits Avoid many common beginners’ mistakes with these helpful tips from David.

Great Advice From Great Teachers

We’re thrilled to have Tom Serb rejoin us for this issue of Guitar Noise News. Here is the first of a two-part piece on “Language Based Soloing” and I hope you both enjoy it and learn from it:

Language-Based Soloing (Part 2)

Now we’ll add two more words. In terms of language acquisition, maybe you can picture “give,” “me,” and “now.” In terms of musical acquisition, the two notes you’re adding are the ones just above and just below your first note, in whatever scale you’re working with.

Before you start to play, imagine the possibilities: give. Give, give, give. Give me! Give now! Give me now! Now give! There are lots of possibilities. Combine them with the nuance of emotion in your mind: pleading, begging, demanding, asking. Is your musical child curious or angry? Hungering or relatively indifferent?

Now go to it with the backing track and your three word vocabulary. See what you can do. See how it feels. Notice how you’re becoming familiar with what the notes are going to sound like over each chord. Become aware of what you hear when you go from the first note to the second, or the first to the third, or the second to the third. Is it different when you reverse the order? How?

After you’ve got three notes down, add the other scale tones one at a time. In a half hour, you can easily go from using one note to using three or four, maybe even five, and being confident about what they’ll sound like.

When that happens, you’ve started soling deliberately. It’s no longer a “poke and pray” situation. You are saying something with music!

I’m a big fan of learning music theory. But theory follows function: some composer did something, and theorists created rules to describe what happened. In English (or any other language), grammar follows usage: people learn to speak first, and then learning grammar helps them speak ‘properly’. If they choose, they can speak ‘improperly’ – doing it for effect. It’s their choice.

But the point here is that they learned to speak before there was ever a distinction between proper and improper speech – you start by learning to say something, and then refine as you gain experience and knowledge. And you learn to speak with meaning by starting with one word.

Try it. I’ve heard students make amazing progress in just one or two lessons with this approach (and they’ve heard it too!) Even if you consider yourself pretty expert at soloing, I think you’ll find the exercise pretty eye opening.

Events Horizon

We’d like to wish Tom McLaughlin a belated “Happy Birthday” (it was yesterday) and also pass along that he’s once again playing out tonight, Saturday, October 1 with the Odd Pops at The Irish Legend (8933 S Archer Ave, Willow Springs IL). He’s sitting in with group and will be playing some different styles (Classic Rock, Island, Reggae – think Santana, Matchbox 20, Buffett, etc).The show is from 9:00pm-1:00am. You can check the band out at their site,

And an early alert for Lee Hodge and his band Doesn’t Madder – they will be at George’s on the Lake, located at 101 Catawba Avenue in Rhodhiss, North Carolina on Saturday, October 15. Show goes from 8:30PM until midnight.

Finally, you can catch Australian band, The Wishing Well, as they tour America for the first time. They’ll be in the great Southwest this month with a show at the Cowgirl BBQ i Sana Fe,.New Mexico (located on 319 South Guadalupe Street) on Wednesday, October 12 (9PM start) and then in Albuquerque at the Winning Coffee Company on 111 Harvard Drive Southeast for a 9PM show the following night, Thursday, October 13.

Random Thoughts / Email of the Moment

With your permission, I’d like to go into the “mailbag” this month and look at a recent email. Since Paul has posted my old article, “The Underappreciated Art of Using a Capo,” I’ve been getting quite a few notes like this and thought it might be good to share the whole thought process behind transposing:

Hi there,

I’ve just read your articles about using a capo and transposing songs into different keys. However, I’m struggling with this particular song:

He’s playing with capo on the 4th fret, but I’m wondering what chords the other guitarist (Gem ;) is playing. I know that he plays the guitar with capo on the 2nd fret.
How do I transpose this song?

Thank you in advance!

Hello and thank you for writing.

There are a couple of ways of figuring out the chords the second guitarist is using. You could either figure out what key the song is in (meaning the chords you’d play without a capo) and work from there or work from the chords you have (for the guitar with the capo on the fourth fret) and figure out how they relate to a guitar with a capo on the second fret.

Whichever way we go, you first want to take a look at the song with the chords you have, namely with the guitar having a capo on the fourth fret. Just listing out the intro and first verse we’ve got this (and I’m simply listing the chords as they appear in each line of the song):

Capo on 4th fret

G Cadd9 G Cadd9

Verse 1
G G/F# Em7
G/B Cadd9
G/F# G Em7 G/F#
G G/F# Em7
G/B Cadd9
G/F# G Em7 G/F#

It’s pretty safe to assume this song in in the key of G. But with the capo on the second fret, you’ve raised the G two whole steps (four half steps and every fret is a half step) up. So therefore when you play G with the capo on the fourth fret, you’re playing in the key of B.

Now let’s take a moment and imagine if we were playing G on the second fret. Why? Because the difference between a guitar with a capo on the second fret and a guitar with a capo on the fourth fret is two frets, right? So if the guitar with the capo on the second fret was playing without a capo, the guitar with the capo on the fourth fret would have to play with the capo on the second fret in order to be playing the same. as the second guitar. And if you play a G with a capo on the second fret, you’re playing an A because A is one whole step (two half steps) higher than G.

And now let’s assume that the guitar with the capo on the second fret is playing in A. That would make perfect sense because when you play an A with a capo on the second fret it’s B because B is one whole step (two half steps) higher than A. So that totally jives with what we know about the song. The “real” key is B. If we have a capo on the fourth fret we should play in G and if we have a capo on the second fret we should play in A.

Now we look at the chords that we have and raise them all one whole step to put them in the key of A. It would look like this:

Capo on 2nd fret
A Dadd9 A Dadd9

Verse 1
A A/G# F#m7
A/C# Dadd9
A/G# A F#m7 A/G#
A A/G# F#m7
A/C# Dadd9
A/G# A F#m7 A/G#

I hope this helps. It’s really just a matter of writing it down and thinking it through.

Until our next newsletter, play well and play often. And for those of you going out and about, my best wishes for safe travel.

And, as always,