Newsletter Vol. 1 # 30 – November 04, 2001

Dear Guitar Player,

Welcome to Guitar Noise News for November 04, 2001. Our performance topic is now well underway and we have another new performance piece for you this week as well as some other lessons on different topics. The site has been packed with new resources this week and I hope you will take the time to see what we have added. Read the lessons carefully. print them out if you have to. Then follow through and do your part. You have to work hard if you want to make progress.

In this newsletter:

  • News
  • Topic of the Month
  • Guitar & Bass Lessons
  • Recommended Books
  • 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

Teachers Page updated
The number one visitor to Guitar Noise is certainly the student. Next comes the wanna be student, the one who is interested in the guitar but wants to check it out before taking the plunge and buying that first instrument. And third on our list of visitors is the teacher. There are lots of lessons and ideas you can get here for your students, but there are also lessons for the teacher. There is a saying that if you teach you will never stop learning. One of this week’s new articles points out, “I have to teach, it’s the only way I can learn!” Hopefully the teachers among us will appreciate the article as much as the teachers who work on this site.

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 look for the “Performance” logo – and get out there and play!

As a follow up to last week’s lesson on Open Mic Nights by Alan Horvath, this week we have something along the same line for the first time performer.

Getting Up On The Stage
by John Carrahar (03 Nov 2001)
In the U.K.a musician who plays for spare change in the streets or in the subway is known as a busker. Various bars in my area hold jamming sessions known locally as “Busker’s Nights.” On these nights anyone can get up on stage, and sing a few songs. I’ve been asked to give tips to people who may be feeling nervous about performing for the first time.

If you are interested in performing at a “Busker’s Night” check out more open mike tips from Alan Horvath’s article Talent Showcases and Open Mic Nites.

Visit the complete Performance page at Guitar Noise.

Guitar & Bass Lessons

For those of you who have been anticipating David’s second Song’s for Intermediates lesson you don’t have to wait any longer.

by David Hodge (01 Nov 2001)
Today we’re going to start with that concept and then kind of warp it around a bit. The song is Blackbird by Paul McCartney (but being a Beatle at the time, it is officially a “Lennon/McCartney” piece). Not only is this a good “showing-off” song for the solo guitarist, it is also a great exercise for stretching one’s fingers.

Buying Your Second Bass Amp
Bass For beginners # 11
by Dan Lasley (03 Nov 2001)
Just about everyone who picks up the bass as a beginner has a marginal practice amp to start with. Which is why I’m going to talk about what to look for when you buy your second amp – your first real “play it loud and proud” bass amp.

The True Teacher
Guitar Principles Essay # 12
by Jamie Andreas (01 Nov 2001)
I am now going to write about something for which I feel the utmost passion. If I could only get across one message, and for some reason wasn’t allowed to say anything else, this is what I would want to say. I want to tell you what I have learned about The True Teacher, and what True Teaching is.

Fans of Jamie Andreas, make sure you check out Jamie’s exclusive article, “It’s a Jungle Out There,” which tells you the real process by which anybody gets good at anything. It is a further examination of the points of view that Jamie put forth in the essay, Natural Talent, available for free at TrueFire. It’s a Jungle Out There is available exclusively at TrueFire.

Jamie’s exclusive essays and music are available at

For more information about Jamie, her teaching, and her music, visit

Recommended Reading

Theory and Harmony for the Contemporary Musician
While learning scales is an important way of getting a grasp on music you shouldn’t get too hung up on them as David warns in his lesson Scales Within Scales. Last week I suggested you go and and buy a book on scales, this week for those who haven’t parted with their money yet because they aren’t that thrilled with scales, may I suggest something to do with theory and harmony.

Theory and Harmony for the Contemporary Musician
by Arnie Berle
This book takes you all the way from the beginner’s level up to the advanced level. If you’re looking to polish up your theory, and learn to use altered chords, this is the book for you. Arnie Berle has kept this book simple to read, chapters are short and thorough, a must for every contemporary musician.

New Links

This week all of the new links are to artists’ homepages or fansites. If you are making your own music be sure to send us your website address. We will link to you and mention your name in this newsletter.

  • Randy Jacobs – Promotion of guitarist Randy Jacobs Releasing new cd with band Jacobs Ladder cd is titled Hostile Environment.
  • Dar Williams – Dar Williams fan site.
  • Dar Williams – Official Dar Williams website.

Email of the Week

This week’s email of the week features a lengthy answer on a theoretical question that takes some getting into.

Diminished Chords
I have some questions about diminished. My first question is about diminished power chord: power chord is 1st and 5th note of scale or chord, but it’s different on diminished. For example 5th note on locrian mode. Please help me, how is diminished power chord?

And my second question is about normal chords of diminished: I know minor and major and minor 7th and major 7th barre chord, that they can moves everywhere of guitar with one style. I want to know about diminished barre chord that can move everywhere of guitar with one style too.

Please help me. It’s better to show me with Tablature.

David’s Response
First, in regard to the diminished power chord, technically speaking, there really is no such thing. A power chord by definition is, as you pointed out, simply the root and the fifth of a scale. The term “power chord” is strictly a contrivance of the electric guitarist. You can, however, play two notes, one being the first, or root, and the other being a diminished fifth. This is called playing an interval. It is also a very interesting interval, theory wise, because the diminshed fifth is as far away as you can get from the root. Take a look:

A, Bb, B, C, C#, D, Eb, E, F, F#, G, G#, A

When A is your root note, Eb (or D#) is your diminshed fifth (or augmented fourth). It is the sixth half step from either end of the scale. This is often referred to as a tritone, because it is the third full step from the root and it takes an additional three full steps to get back to the root. It is very common in jazz and classical music but very rare in most other guitar music. It is very key in what is known as the “whole tone” scale, that is, a scale that has no half steps in it whatsoever. Here it is in A:

A, B, C#, Eb, F, G, A

A diminshed chord, as I’m sure you’re aware, consists of the root, the minor (or diminished) third AND the diminished fifth. If you will, it is a minor third on top of another minor third. Since the guitar, when standardly tuned, is tuned in fourths, it is almost impossible to play pure diminished chords in a moveable style. What is usually used instead is a diminished seventh, which is a bizarre chord in and of itself but truly wonderful to work with.

This is four minor thirds on top of each other. It’s played on the first four strings and, in first position, it looks like this:


E – 1st fret
B – open
G – 1st fret
D – open
A – don’t play
E – don’t play

Now the fun thing about this is that because of the intervals, you can play this same chord up and down the fret board. Think about it, the notes involved in this chord are D, F, Ab, and B (which is Cb, hence the “diminished” seventh). Look where else I can play these same notes:

Ddim7 (variation 1):

E – 4th fret
B – 3rd fret
G – 4 th fret
D – 3rd fret
A – don’t play
E – don’t play

Ddim7 (variation 2):

E – 7th fret
B – 6th fret
G – 7th fret
D – 6th fret
A – don’t play
E – don’t play

Ddim7 (variation 1):

E – 10th fret
B – 9th fret
G – 10th fret
D – 9th fret
A – don’t play
E – don’t play

And if this isn’t wild enough, think about this – depending on what note you choose as your root, you actually have FOUR different diminished seventh chords here at your disposal:

Sevenths chart
This is one crazy subject that tends to confuse the daylights out of people. I hope to write about it sometime this winter when I have enough free time to ensure that I write it well enough for people to understand the first time!

I hope this helps. Thank you once again for your email and for your patience in waiting for a reply. I look forward to hearing from you again in the future.

David Hodge

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

(I mean it)

Paul Hackett
Executive Producer