Newsletter Vol. 1 # 28 – October 20, 2001

Dear Guitar Player,

Welcome to Guitar Noise News for October 20, 2001. This week was a busy one for how-to lessons. We added three new how-to lessons covering the topics of tuning, heavy metal and reading music notation. Find out about each below.

In this newsletter:

  • News
  • Topic of the Month
  • Guitar & Bass Lessons
  • New Links
  • Email of the Week

You can recycle this newsletter by passing it on to a friend you think might benefit from Guitar Noise.

This newsletter is available online.

Site news

Printing so you can read
At times people have written to us with questions like “How can I print the lessons so I don’t need a magnifying glass to read them?” You have no idea how long I have been trying to work out a solution to this problem. All computers, software and printers are configured differently. So it is a tricky task to make things look beautiful on everyones printer. Sometimes a lesson may come out so small that you have to use a magnyfying glass to read it. Other times the text runs right off the page. Please don’t worry. You are not doing anything wrong. You shouldn’t have to change anything on your computer.

After much work (too much work) I have come up with some ways to help you correct the problem. If you aren’t happy with the way the lessons look when you print them you will find some help with printing here.

Just remember that everyone’s computer is different. And keep in mind that this is ongoing work. If you know any tricks that make our lessons look better when printed please share them with us.

Visit the complete Help Topics page at Guitar Noise.

Performance – Topic of the Month

In the months of October and November, we will be exploring many aspects of Performance. After all, that is what it’s all about – standing up and playing in front of others, either on stage, or in your basement. Most of the columns published this month will explore the things that make performing easier and more enjoyable. In addition, we will begin to publish reviews of live concerts. In anticipation of the Performance topic, we have expanded one of our forums to encourage you to post your own concert reviews, as well as announcements of your own gigs. So get out there and play!

This month’s topic is being coordinated by Dan Lasley. If you have any suggestions about this topic please contact Dan.

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 complete Performance page at Guitar Noise.

Guitar & Bass Lessons

Here are three new “How-to” lessons. In the first, A-J Charron guides you step by step through tuning a Floyd Rose or floating bridge. Next is a beginners introduction to reading musical notation by David Hodge. Last but not least is a lesson on palm muting by Ryan Spencer.

Tuning A Floyd Rose (or other similar floating bridge)
by A-J Charron (16 Oct 2001)
Once you know how to tune a floating bridge you will realize it’s a very simple process. I’ll start off by explaining how to do it from scratch, but if you take good care of your guitar, you won’t need to go through all these steps the next time.

Your Very Own Rosetta Stone
A Guide to Reading Musical Notation – Part One
by David Hodge (18 Oct 2001)
Today I’d like to give you a quick guide to reading music notation. This is something that many of you have asked for. It is also something that any and every serious musician needs.

Palm Muting
by Ryan Spencer (18 Oct 2001)
Today we will talk about a crucial technique used in many different genres. Palm muting, aside from chunkiness, adds a nice percussive sound to metal, rock, and believe it or not, blues. You can always come up with your own uses or tricks for palm muting as well.

New Sites

This week there were only two new guitar sites to add. Here they are:

  • ‘Learn to Play The Beatles To A Tee’ Instructional Guitar Video – ‘Learn To Play The Beatles To A Tee’ Instructional Guitar Video is the most comprehensive study into the Fab Four’s guitarmanship available. Exclusively features a spectacular split-screen that shows all guitar parts that were used in each song. A MUST HAVE for ALL guitar playing Beatles fans everywhere!

Email of the Week

Let’s get back to some music theory for this week’s email of the week. We get a lot of questions like this and I think the answers make for interesting reading. Even if you haven’t thought of the same question the response can help you out in terms of music theory. One of our goals at Guitar Noise is to let you know the reason behind why something works. Incidentally, if you want to know more about our goals you can read our mission statement.

A9 or Asus2?
I would be grateful if you could tell me which is correct…I keep coming across the 2 chords and when I look them up they are the same! Which one is correct or are they both?

David’s Response

Thanks for writing. One of the problems in music is that people often ignore (or simply don’t know) the “standard” notation. I have been guilty of this myself simply because it can be very tedious to write out “Aadd9” all the time! There’s also another problem that is less apparent and we’ll come to that in a moment. First, let’s define the notes of the chords involved, shall we?

Okay, technically, there are very big differences between A9, Aadd9 and Asus2. If you’ve read my column Building Additions (and Suspensions) you might already have a handle on this. Let’s start with an A major chord:

A: A, C#, E

Any “suspended” chord means that you are replacing the third of the chord (in this case the C#) with something else, normally the 2 or 4. So an Asus2 is this:

Asus2: A, B, E

An Aadd9 is adding the ninth (in this case the B) in addition to the rest of the A major chord. To me, there is no difference between a “2” chord and an “add9.” So the Aadd9 is as follows:

Aadd9: A, C#, E, B

And finally, any “9” chord should, technically speaking, include the 7th. Usually it is the flatted (or dominant) 7th but it could easily be the major 7th as well:

A9(usually): A, C#, E, G, B

A9(w/major 7th): A, C#, E, G#, B

Okay, I hope that clears up what these chords actually are. Now let’s look at why there is often confusion as to what to call the chord. Suppose you see a chord written out as follows:

E – open
B – open
G – 2nd fret
D – 2nd fret
A – open
E – don’t play

Here the notes are A, E and B. Technically, this would be an Asus2, since there is no C# to be found. But the guitar is not like the piano where you always have all the necessary notes (relatively) close at hand. Often, especially with chords that have more than four notes, you end up leaving one or more off. If you were playing this chord with a pianist, you would sound okay whether the pianist were playing an A9, an Aadd9 or even an A11 or A13. If you wanted to play a true A9, then you’d need the G and C# notes so this would be one possible fingering:

E – open (E)
B – 2nd fret (C#)
G – 4th fret (B)
D – 5th fret (G)
A – open (A)
E – don’t play

And you can see where that might be a pain. This is why it’s important to not only know what notes a chord is made up of but also what voicings will give you exactly what you are looking for. For instance, when I see A2 or Aadd9, I tend to play it like this:

E – open
B – open
G – 6th fret (C#)
D – 7th fret (A)
A – open
E – don’t play

I hope that this has helped. The bottom line is that whoever is writing out the chords often calls it whatever he or she thinks it is. For better or worse. The best thing is to also have in your power to know what else it could be. Sometimes it is up to you to make the call but, as always, knowing what choices you have at your disposal helps matters immensely.

Thanks again for the email. Please drop me another line if you’d like to discuss this further.

Just to let you know that David has other hobbies aside from answering questions about music theories, here is a joke he sent me a few weeks ago.

Q: What do you call a guitarist without a girlfriend?

A: Homeless

If you have similar jokes feel friend to send them in and maybe we will make a page for everyone.

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

That is all for this week. Any suggestions you may have for improving future issues are appreciated.

(I mean it)

Paul Hackett
Executive Producer