Newsletter Vol. 1 # 26 – October 06, 2001

Dear Guitar Player,

Welcome to Guitar Noise News for October 6, 2001. In this issue, I would like to show off our new design, recap the previous month’s lessons, give a complete list of new links added, and answer one of your letters. Your feedback on this newsletter is important.

In this newsletter:

  • News
  • Topic of the Month
  • Amps & EFX
  • CD Reviews
  • New Links
  • Email of the Week

This week the newsletter is a little longer than usual as there are many things to catch up on.

Site News

By now you have probably seen the design for both this newsletter and the website. The main improvement to the website is in terms of navigation. The material on Guitar Noise has always been outstanding, now it is easier to find what you are looking for.

Also, A-J has designed a new logo for us. It looks great and hopefully you will be seeing more of it in other places soon.

To match our new design we have also added new content. A new section dealing with Amps & EFX has been added. Stefan Leonhardt will be the leader of this regular column. Also, due to the popularity of David Hodge’s Easy Songs For Beginners lessons, we are putting together a section of Songs for Intermediates. We have taught so many beginners with fantastic results that it is only fair we continue to guide them through the next level of their study.

Finally, you can find out more about us on our new set of pages about ourselves. I have included some pictures, contact information and a brand new mission statement that is sure to keep us all working hard.

Music Genres – Topic of the Month

For the past two months we have been continuing the theme of “Music Genres.” Before we get into a new topic for October I would like to use this space to wrap up the previous topic and go over all the lessons and articles.

Here are brief descriptions of all the Music genres lessons and articles published over the course of August and September.

Evening News
by Paul Hackett (24 Sep 2001)
If you have never thought about or heard music from mainland China before you may be in for a surprise. The current generation of musicians grew up listening to as much blues and rock from the west as they did traditional Chinese music. The Beijing based band Evening News combines rock, folk and traditional Chinese music for a sound, as you might expect, that is all their own.

A Celtic Air
by David Hodge (25 Sep 2001)
Traditional Celtic music is way older than the guitar. Contrary to what you might think, there is no such thing as a “Celtic scale” or “Celtic notes,” any more than there are scales or notes used exclusively by any genre. So when someone is talking about playing Celtic style on the guitar they are actually talking about playing the guitar in a way which makes your mind think of things Celtic.

No Stairway
by Paul Hackett (27 Sep 2001)
How many of you remember the movie “Wayne’s World?” You know the scene where Wayne Campbell goes into his local music store and tries the guitar of his dreams? He only plays one note before the guy working there makes him stop for breaking the store’s rule: No Stairway. So many novice musicians make the social faux pas of trying to play the first few bars of this song in local music stores around the world.

by David Hodge (18 Sep 2001)
This is the first installment of “Songs for Intermediates.” What we’re going to do one these pages is to take the next logical step in moving from being a strict beginner to being a well-rounded guitarist. This will eventually cover a lot of different topics. And, if you’ve read any of the “Easy Songs For Beginners” pieces, you already know that I prefer to teach lessons by using specific songs as examples.

A Brief History Of Progressive Rock
by A-J Charron (01 Sep 2001)
Prog Rock is a musical genre that almost lives in its own universe. If you ask two people to define the style, you’re likely to get two very different answers. But everybody agrees on who’s Prog and who’s not.

Interview With Dar Williams
by Laura Lasley (27 Aug 2001)
Dar Williams is a folk singer who started her career playing in Boston coffee houses. This summer, our intrepid Other Side correspondent, Laura Lasley, was able to catch Dar for an interview in a Manhattan diner.

Generic Genres
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.

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.

I Shot The Sheriff
by David Hodge (13 Aug 2001)
Today’s song is Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff, which will not only serve as a delightful introduction to reggae rhythms, but I’ve also managed to get very sneaky and throw in some transposing as well.

Reggae Style On Guitar
by David Hodge (25 Jul 2000)
Playing reggae on guitar, particularly if you’re not overly familiar with it, can seem very daunting. But like just about anything, the more you play around with it, the more it becomes second nature.

Tales From the Ili Valley
by Paul Hackett (19 Oct 2000)
Recently I traveled to an isolated corner of northwest China to produce a film. While I was there I met some cool musicians who I filmed and recorded. This article will fill you in on some of the details.

Visit the complete Music Genres page at Guitar Noise.

Amps & EFX

Amps & EFX is a regular column that discusses different effects and what they do. Since this is a new column your feedback and comments can help the authors decide what to write about in the future.

Beginning The Quest For Tone
Guitar Amps # 1 – How To Buy A Guitar Amp

by Jeremy Ledford (19 Sep 2001)
This is the first installment of two articles that will try to help you choose an amplifier. I will focus on beginning players today and intermediate players in the next installment. You go into the store and buy it right? Yes, it could be that simple. But, without proper information, one could end up making a very costly mistake.

Breaking the Law?
Amps & EFX # 2
by Stefan Leonhardt (18 Sep 2001)
Ok, you have a gig next weekend. Your band has enough songs, you and your bandmates have your parts down and rehearsals are sounding great. You’re confident that you’ll pull it off without a sweat, nothing can stop you. Nothing? Nothing except a phenomenon called Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s Law says that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. The more electronics and gear are involved, the greater the chance of something not functioning.

Visit the Amps & EFX page at Guitar Noise.

CD Reviews

California Guitar Trio – Rocks The West
Formed by guitarists Bert Lams (Belgium), with full Classical training, Paul Richards (USA), effects specialists, and Hideyo Moriya (Japan), surf guitar specialist, who met in Europe in 1987 during a series of Guitar Craft courses offered by Robert Fripp (King Crimson).

Forgotten Suns – Fiction Edge 1
A story about mankind and the endless… evolution? This is the first part of Forgotten Suns’ story on evolution. This Portuguese quintet have made a very fine album here. From strong instrumental pieces to complete, songs. The music will always keep you listening and wanting more.

New Sites

It has been about three weeks since I added any new links to the site. Now that I’ve caught up there are too many new links to mention in this newsletter. Here is a sampling of the best sites from the past month.

  • is devoted to promoting the guitar in China, helping more people to learn and love this instrument. Available in both Chinese and English.
  • Girl Player-For the female musician – Resources and exposure for the female musician. Extensive artist photo gallery, reviews, interviews, classifieds/gig swap, many valuable resources.
  • – Enjoy the exclusive video guitar lessons, feature articles, lesson and gear maintenance columns, guitar-related discussion boards, local artist MP3s and teacher spotlights, and more at

Email of the Week

Music Theory
First I would like to thank you for putting together a great website I’ve really learned a lot, I thought would never be possible without paying too much money for lessons.

My question is that I’ve read through your music theory lessons and I see how they will help me become a better player in the long run, but it seems like I have a tremendous amount of things to practice and memorize before they really help me is this true or am I missing something? Also what types of things should I do to become a better player should I memorize all the notes on the fretboard or the scales I would like to learn to solo with my friends.

David’s Response

Thanks for writing and for the kind words concerning Guitar Noise. I should tell you, though, that I don’t put the site together. I simply write for it. All the hard work is done by Paul Hackett, who owns and operates the site. Any and all praise should be sent his way.

One of the biggest problems that faces any beginner, Jimmy, is worrying about what you call the “tremendous amount of things to practice and memorize.” I’ve been playing for over 25 years and I am still finding out new things to practice and memorize! No lie.

Like it or not, you cannot learn everything at once. No one can. But as long as you are enjoying playing you will keep practicing and you will one day wonder if there ever was a time when you didn’t know the things you know now.

What you need to do is to develop a practice plan, a way to focus on a few things at once. If you haven’t done so, you might want to read my piece on practicing called A Question of Balance. It might give you some help in this area.

You should definitely learn where all the notes on the fretboard are. I tell my students not to memorize the whole fretboard right off. Start with the “main frets” – the notes on the fifth and seventh frets, for instance. See, if you know what the notes are at certain point on the fretboard, you’ve taken away a lot of the “tremendousness” of the task. How much of a stretch would it be to then learn the third and ninth frets? You’ve got a third of it already down!

And you might want to start out with a simple pentatonic scale (I recommend learn the Em pentatonic (E, G, A, B, D) first since it’s one of the easiest to memorize) but you should do this in such a way that it’s fun. Work a practice based around some songs you like or make a tape recording of yourself playing the blues in E and then try to come up with some leads.

The more you enjoy yourself the more you will want to learn.

I hope this helps. Thank you again for the email and I look forward to hearing how things are progressing with you.

Previous Email of the Week letters have been archived online. Visit the complete list questions and responses at Guitar Noise.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed this newsletter. Please let me know what you think about the new format.

Peace everybody,

Paul Hackett
Executive Producer