Newsletter Vol. 1 # 22 – August 10, 2001

Dear Guitar Player,

Welcome to Guitar Noise News, the weekly update for Guitar Noise. This newsletter will keep you up to date with the latest news and developments on our site, including all our new lessons, advice, and links added within the past week. Subscribers to this newsletter are warmly invited to be active in our growing guitar community.

Here is an announcement for acoustic players and visitors of the Acoustic Guitar Workshop.

Due to popular demand, AGW has started tabbing songs and instrumentals from their CD’s. So far they have Glory Of Love and Kilkenny Castle, ragtime and celtic slide tunes respectively. There’s also high quality mp3 support for these tabs. Find them here:

In the community spirit of things we would like to keep posting guitar related announcements here for free. If you have something to announce to the guitar world please send me an email.

Music Genres – August Topic of the Month

August has been declared “Musical Genres” month here at Guitar Noise. What does this mean? Well, Webster’s defines “genre” as ” a kind or type.” Music is, as you are all well aware, incredibly diverse. There are more kinds and types of music than we realize. And new ones are being created (or simply brought to the public’s attention) all the time. We will spend the month celebrating and exploring some of the world’s various styles of music (because we couldn’t obviously cover them all!). This should be a lot of fun because it will involve history and theory and lessons and we’ll even throw in some “Easy Songs for Beginners” and “Songs for Intermediates” at you as well. And who knows? If you like this approach, maybe we’ll devote an upcoming month to one genre in particular. Let us know.

Look for new articles throughout the month.

The Importance Of Knowing Different Genres
by Ryan Spencer (08 Aug 2001)
Today we will talk about something that not many new guitarists take the time to learn (no, its not theory). It’s genres. If you don’t know what a genre is it simply means a classification of a certain type of music such as blues. Now, when I started playing the guitar I mostly liked to play metal, but after meeting friends and other musicians I learned how important it was to learn the different genres.

Indie Music Reviews

Original Cast Recording – Leonardo: The Absolute Man
This album, a rock opera on the genius that was Leonardo da Vinci, has been in the works for years. Trent Gardner wrote both the music and the lyrics for the whole project. Gardner’s Leonardo is about the man, the artist.

Bjorn Lynne – The Gods Awaken
Based on the novel of the same name by author Allan Cole, Bjorn Lynne chose for this album to follow the storyline closely. Each song refers to a chapter in the novel. There are no lyrics on this album, but you wouldn’t want any. The instruments tell the story more clearly than any lyrics could ever do.

Glass – No Stranger To The Skies
A mix of Orchestral Rock and Jazz Fusion, No Stranger To The Skies has more than enough to please many people. As a trip down many roads of musical experiment, No Stranger to the Skies won’t let you down.

Guitar Principles

Through the use of these principles, anyone can learn to play the guitar correctly, from the beginning, so that bad habits and playing problems do not appear, as they do for so many guitarists and would be guitarists. Likewise, longtime players can learn how to undo the bad habits they have unknowingly acquired over the years, bad habits that are preventing them from improving

Stage Fright: Part 2
Guitar Principles Essay # 9
by Jamey Andreas (01 Aug 2001)
Now that we have this stage fright thing more properly defined as what it really is, People Fright, we are in a position to get some where with it. Many people, including professional performers, never slay this dragon. They may learn to live with being in it’s presence, and learn to perform even though they must do it while their knees are wobbling!

New Sites

  • UK Manson’s Guitar Shop – Number one for service, Hugh builds the bass guitars for John Paul Jones, guitars for Martin Barre and does guitar repair for Steve Howe. Manson’s are completely dedicated to your total satisfaction.
  • ProSoundWeb – is a web community for all aspects of the professional sound industry including live sound, installed sound, recorded sound, lighting, and industry business trends.
  • Chris B’s Music – Fender and Fender custom shop guitars, amps, accessories. Also, Gibson, PRS, Epiphone and more.

Recommended Reading

How To Write Songs On Guitar: A Guitar-Playing and Songwriting Course by Rikky Rooksby
Now you can write your own songs on the guitar–with no prior training. Using well-known songs as examples, this inspiring handbook teaches you how to transform your guitar playing skills into positive and creative songwriting techniques. Easy-to-follow descriptive text and clear graphics explain and demonstrate the songwriting essentials: lyrics, melody, harmony, and rhythm. This book’s straightforward style will have you up and writing on your guitar with ease.

If you are interested in writing songs I also recommend you read every single one of A-J’s columns on songwriting. Just about any question you could ask about songwriting has been answered already and is waiting for you on the Songwriting pages.

Email of the Week

This week our Email of the Week is a simple, yet often asked question.

How do you know what notes you can use in a solo, I know it is to do with what key the song is in, but how do you tell what key a song is in?


Thanks for writing. Okay, there’s actually a little more to it than this, but let’s start simply. The easiest way to tell what key a song is in is to look at the sheet music. The number of flats or sharps will pretty much tell you. Chances are, though, that you rarely use sheet music. You’re more likely to have a sheet which has the chord progression. (And to be honest with you, the chord progression is a lot more important than the key but we’ll come back to that…) If you look at the chord progressions of a song, the chances are pretty likely that the song is grouped into patterns of progressions. Usually, but not always, a song will begin and end on the chord of its key. Also, if you listen to the song, there are places where it just sounds like it comes to a conclusion and that will almost always be the same chord.

Knowing what I call the “primary and secondary chords” of any major key can be very useful to you. For instance, if you see that a song has G, A, D, Bm and F#m chords in it, you can make an educated guess that it is in the key of D major. Bm and A major are also possibilities and you’d have to listen to the song to know for sure, but look – you’ve narrowed it down to three of the twenty possibilities! That’s a great start. If you want to know more about how to figure out the primary and secondary chords of any key, read my article The Power of Three.

But you will find out that knowing the key is not always an indicator of what notes to use. This is why knowing some theory will help you out a lot. Take the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil. This song is in the key of E but the chord progression is E, D, A, E. I’m sure you know that the D note is not part of the E major scale. So what do we do? Well, if you know modal scales, an E Dorian scale (E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D, E) will work very well. You may not think that the G would work but it provides what is called a “blue note” that gives some nice tension to the proceedings provided you do not just sit on it for a long period of time. Sometimes it is a lot easier to look at the chord progression and think, “Okay, what key would normally have all these chords” and then work from there.

Another thing that works quite well fairly often is to use the relative minor pentatonic scale. If you know a song is in G major, for example, soloing in the E minor pentatonic scale (E, G, A, B, D) will sound perfectly fine.

I hope that I’ve demonstrated here that while knowing the key of a song is very important, it’s also just as important to carefully examine the chord progression when trying to figure out what notes you want to use to solo. We’ll be examining this later this fall.



If you are looking for more hints on sales check out our Scales and Modes page.


Paul Hackett
Executive Producer