Newsletter Vol. 1 # 35 – December 28, 2001

Dear Guitar Player,

Welcome to Guitar Noise News for December 28, 2001.

In the words of John Lennon, “Another year over, A new one just begun.” Certainly it was by design that we finished off this year with the song Happy Christmas featured as our easy song for beginners lesson. It has been a wonderful year for Guitar Noise. As well as putting a new face on the site, we established our goals and it is with pleasure that we will continue through 2002 to make Guitar Noise the best we possibly can. If you haven’t already, please check out our mission statement.

Here’s wishing you all the best for the new year. But before it comes, let us get the old one out of the way. Our topic for this month and next is entitled “The Joy of Guitar,” which has given us some leeway to publish our year end lists.

In this newsletter:

  • News
  • Topic of the Month
  • Guitar and Bass Lessons
  • Recommended Books
  • CD Reviews
  • 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.

Site News

Just in case you read this I want to send a message to the hacker who contacted me on December 19. You didn’t have to hide behind a cloaked identity. I very much want to communicate with you about this website. In fact, I may even be able to pay you for your, what shall we call it, protection? Let me know how I can get in touch with you: email, ICQ, chat room, whatever.

Visit the complete What’s New page at Guitar Noise.

The Joy of Guitar – Topic of the Month

Now that this year is almost over we are going to spend this month making lists. To finish 2001 off with a bang the members of Guitar Noise are going to share their year end lists. We are calling this month’s topic “The Joy of Guitar,” something that we are glad to share with you all year round.

Happy Christmas
by David Hodge (20 Dec 2001)
In addition to being topical (both in terms of the season as well as in regard to the “topic of the month), John Lennon’s Happy Christmas is a good way to follow up on some of the lessons we learned last time out.

The Best Album Cover of 2001
by Paul Hackett (20 Dec 2001)
This year I added some great CDs to my collection. In some cases it was the cover that made the CD worth buying.
My Favorite Things
Bass For beginners # 12
by Dan Lasley (20 Dec 2001)
This month’s topic is entitled “The Joy of Guitar”, which is wonderful, because music brings lots of joy to lots of people. David Hodge’s original title was “My Favorite Things”, and since I already had an idea for that topic, I have appropriated the title.

Visit the complete Joy of Guitar page.

Guitar and Bass Lessons

I realize in not sending out a newsletter in more than two weeks the new material to report has started to pile up. There were two new articles on sound related issues since the last newsletter.

Soundcheck: A Necessary Evil
by Scott Hysell (16 Dec 2001)
A lot of people don’t realize exactly what it takes to become an accomplished musician. Through perseverance and a certain degree of fearlessness, many of us passed through difficulties and finally made it to the bright lights of the stage. And when we got there, we discovered one thing – one necessary evil – the soundcheck.
Beginning The Quest For Tone II
Guitar Amps # 2 – How To Buy A Guitar Amp
by Jeremy Ledford (16 Dec 2001)
This is the second installment on how to annoy your parents, siblings and/or neighbors. We will focus on the intermediate player and go a bit deeper into the quest for tone. It is both easier and more difficult to choose an amplifier at this level of skill. It is also a bit more expensive, in most cases.

Recommended Reading

A popular seller at any time of the year, what Beatles fan can call himself that without owning the complete scores?

The Beatles Complete Scores
A fitting tribute to possibly the greatest pop band ever. This attractive collector’s item is a must for any Beatles fan. Full transcriptions of every instrument on every Beatles song! This outstanding hard-cover edition features over 1100 pages with full scores and lyrics to all 213 titles recorded by The Beatles. Guitar and bass parts are in both standard notation and tablature. Also includes a full discography.

CD Reviews

Warren Butler – The Properties of Mercy
This man certainly has an interesting bio. He started playing the guitar at 10, teaching it at 14 and was paid to play it at 15. Then he became a policeman, and went into counter-terrorism. All in all, he spent about 18 years not playing the guitar. Then one day, as he arrived to a friend’s sons birthday party an hour ahead of schedule, he walked into a guitar store just for the hell of it. He walked out with two new guitars and started playing again.

Captain Jack – Nowhere Fast
A new album for the trio. An honest sound which, to some extent, reminds me of a very underrated band, Toad the Wet Sprocket. The promotional material describes them as a unique blend of pop-punk. I’m not sure that description fits very well. Doesn’t sound very punk to me. Pop, certainly, but in a good way.

New Sites

The amount of people requesting I add links to their sites is growing fast. Every week I get many requests. So many in fact that I haven’t had time to email all the people who sent me links. Even if your site doesn’t appear in this newsletter it may already have been added to the site.

Email of the Week

This week’s expert answer coincides with Jeremy Ledford’s second article on choosing the right guitar amp.

Choosing an Amp
I really appreciated your first article on choosing an amp. I have a US Strat and was playing through a Fender Champ 1-10 (sold it). Just couldn’t get the crystaline sustained lead sound I was looking for (e.g. Santana among many others). I want to play a blues sound and a hollow-body jazz sound eventually too. I’m really a beginner (no gigs anticipated, only play for myself at home) but would like to buy just one amp to last me a long-long time. Money is not an issue. I’m thinking Fender Pro Reverb or Hot Rod Deluxe. Will I need a humbucker pickup to really get what I want? Any comments/suggestions? I would really appreciate an answer. Thanks!

Jeremy’s Response
No problem. And thanx for the feedback. Twas my first foray into the journalistic process. hehehe

To your questions: a humbucker will help greatly with that singing, sustaining lead tone you want to get. There are exceptions to this. Listen to Eric Johnson. He uses strats with single coils. The humbuckers tend to get the bass in there and thicken up the sound a lot. You don’t need to get a new guitar or mess up your pickguard. Get a replacement guard with a cutout for a humbucker and the remaining single coils (the guitar’s cavity may have to be molded for the huumbucker to fit, some strats need to have this done some don’t) a medium to high output humbucker and some matched single coils with electronics and put on guitar. But if GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) is a chronic condition, like it is with me, a new guitar could be in order. heheheh

Another amp…..Yes. You won’t get the sound you are looking for from your current amplifier. Sorry. Aantana uses either mesa mark IIC plus a boost pedal in front (usually a tube screamer of some sort) or a Koch. These are a new amplifier out that i hear he is going nuts over. good luck and i hope i have made sense. Later and good luck.

Jeremy Ledford

Now that Christmas is passed I have taken down the lights for another year. If you are going to make any guitar related resolutions this year, let Guitar Noise be one of them.

Happy New Year everyone!

Paul Hackett
Executive Producer