Newsletter Vol. 1 # 24 – August 30, 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.

What are you listening to?

Every week I get to sit down and write this newsletter about the latest news on Guitar Noise. It is one of the nicer jobs I do each week, because as I start to write I usually put on some tunes and enjoy the music while I work. What sort of music do you listen to while you work? Does it affect your work?

This week while writing the newsletter I was listening to Bob Marley. As we are spending a lot of time discussing different genres this month, and David has written a lesson on I Shot The Sheriff I was interested in checking out more of Marley’s work. I have been familiar with Marley’s hits for years. Who hasn’t heard the Bob Marley Legend CD? To get a better understanding of Marley I decided to check out the earliest material I could get my hands on.

Fortunately there is no shortage of Marley compilations these days. So I picked up the box set Early Years 1969-1973. Some people had warned me that this was just an excuse to repackage and put out some mediocre material to add to Marley’s posthumous earnings. But I was surprised to find music that was stamped with Marley’s distinct sound and not at all like the familiar radio hits. Genres other than reggae are very much a part of the early Marley sound. Everything from soul to gospel and reggae works its way into the early songs. Despite what people had told me about this is a box set, it is worth listening to. While Marley was still developing his trademark sound he was already writing politically charged songs that show Marley what he was all bout. Some especially interesting older Marley tracks worth checking out include: Soul Rebel, You Can’t Blame The Youth, Them Belly Full (But We Hungry), War, Trench Town Rock and Burnin’ and Lootin’. It’s powerful stuff.

Music Genres – August Topic of the Month

This month we have been exploring different genres. While we just wanted to give you a sampling of what different genres offer this topic has proven to be too large for one month. So we will continue for another month to bring you articles and lessons about Music Genres.

This week from the Other Side Laura brings us an exclusive interview with folk singer Dar Williams.

Interview With Dar Williams
Other Side # 8

by Laura Lasley (27 Aug 2001)
Dar Williams is a folk singer who started her career playing in Boston coffee houses. She has played at the Newport Folk Festival and at Lilith Fair. She’s shared a stage with Joan Baez, who has also covered Dar’s music. This summer, our intrepid Other Side correspondent, Laura Lasley, was able to catch Dar for an interview in a Manhattan diner.

Guitar Noise Interviews

Also in interviews, this week A-J gave us an interview with Chris Thompson in Guitar Picks.

Guitar Picks features interviews with guitarists and other musicians about their songwriting techniques and experiences with independant or major record labels. These frank answers by people who have already made it often deal with songwriting, inspiration, working within the limits of record companies’ wishes, and guitar techniques.

Chris Thompson Guitar Pick # 8
by A-J Charron (24 Aug 2001)
I’ve had the honor of having a conversation with Chris, and discovered a very nice person, a man who knows his place, but doesn’t let it get to his head. Chris has had a very busy career, writing, doing albums, playing concerts, working with such artists as Manfred Mann, Alan Parsons, Jeff Wayne, Steve Hackett, Ozzy Osbourne, and the Doobie Brothers.

Bass for Beginners

This week Dan gave us the ninth installment in his Bass For Beginners series.

This series of articles is designed to give the beginning bass player enough tools to get started and play competently in a band. Each column focuses on a different aspect of playing the bass, but they are intended to be read (and practiced) in order. It is assumed that the musician can read music and knows how to find the notes on the guitar.

Generic Genres Bass For beginners # 9
by Dan Lasley (22 Aug 2001)
Even though a band claims to be “hard-rock” or whatever, they probably play a lot of different genres (consider Van Halen did Ice Cream Man and The Who did Squeezebox). The point of this column is to help you realize you need to know how to handle band situations.

Indie Music Reviews

Silent Exile – Dancing With Death
Having discovered this band’s music through their live show, I was eager to listen to the album. Some bands sound great live, but are just awful on disc, and vice versa. But this album really captures the live experience of the band.

Rick Payne – Blue River Blues
From our friends at Acoustic Guitar Workshop comes a pure Blues CD. Rick Payne accompanies his voice only with an acoustic guitar. And he plays it marvelously!

SAS Band
This is what you get when ex members of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Duran Duran, Jethro Tull, and too many others to mention, get together and decide to have fun.

New Sites

The following new links were added this week.

  • Weezer – Official site with all the albums, bsides, compilation, and unreleased songs
  • Barrios Guitar Quartet – Founded in 1996, the Barrios Guitar Quartet combines the skills and devotion of four young musicians from various parts of Germany. Their concert programs range from the Baroque era to contemporary music. They consist of original compositions as well as arrangements. In 2000, the Quartet was first prize winner at the 9th International Guitar Competition “Simone Salmaso”, held in Viareggio, Italy.
  • Metal Guide – The Heavy Metal portal. Daily updated.

Recommended Reading

How To Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great by Dan Erlewine
Whether shopping for a first guitar or setting up a vintage treasure to get the right action, this book offers the keys to electric guitar ownership for beginning, intermediate, and advanced players. Respected Guitar Player columnist and expert guitar builder/ repairman Dan Erlewine explores and explains the basics, emphasizing a do-it-yourself attitude – on a modest budget. This player’s primer covers: choosing the right guitar, based on construction, price, and shopping savvy; techniques and more.

Email of the Week

This week our email was written to Laura our Other Side writer and expert.

Dear Laura; Perhaps you can help moi…..I guess you could say that I am stuck…..what I mean is, I started out playing the acoustic. No problem concentrated on the popular chords….about 15 or so…that took me 4 months a-c-d-aminor…..e-a7- well you get the picture…now that part was fine, then I heard classical style…oh boy, that did it! I when out and got one right away, along with alot of pricey books…’s the dilemma, I am stuck, the exercises in the books….has me…well not really progressing…i am puzzled, not to mention frustrated….I am learning theory as best as I am able…I really have not problem picking that up….I guess I believe I am not progressing as quickly as I would like to… I am relocating to the country…..and I am afraid I’ll never succeed at mastering my guitar…. not even mastering it, just being able to play in what ever key I want, or, Oy i don’t know… what!


Here’s my secret: I’m just a beginner myself. OK, I’ve been playing 5 years relatively steadily (as much as you can with a full time job, two kids, a husband and a cockatiel…) but I get just as frustrated in progressing. It seems like I can put hours in, and not much happens. Then sometimes I walk away for a few weeks, and pick up my guitar again, and Voila! great sounds come out! It’s part of the mystery of the instrument. I think your fingers need time to input all the learning into your creative brain, or something like that. I’m terrible about practicing scales (regular or chromatic!) and stuff like that. I know I need to spend more time with the basics. I find that learning songs that I’m passionate about is the best way for me to learn. And sometimes I work so hard on a piece, and then give up, because it sounds like dog doo. I find coming back to it later, my fingers have somehow adjusted and it flows much more easily. I too, love the sound of classical style, but I despair of ever being able to play that easily. I know if I keep working on it, it will eventually come to me. Remember that the neck is different than your acoustic, and your fingers will take a while to adjust to it.

Have you looked at Jamey Andreas’ stuff on the website?? He’s got some good theories for practice and I know he plays classical style. He had a nice article about feeling stuck in a certain place in developing your guitar skills, and how to get around that. It’s on guitar noise: Changing Bad Habits.

I find that the guitar is the master, not me!


Paul Hackett
Executive Producer