Newsletter Vol. 1 # 8 – February 23, 2001

Dear Guitar Player,

Welcome to Guitar Noise News, the weekly update for Guitar Noise. This week there is some important news for subscribers of this newsletter. To expand our reach we have also added a plain text version of our newsletter. If you would prefer to receive the plain text version of this newsletter you can modify your subscription settings online. The plain text version contains the same stories and news but without some of the great features of this version. It is ideal for subscribers to AOL or other services that do not allow you to receive embedded images in your email.

If you can read this email without any problems you should not change any of your email settings.

Site News

Last week the most searched for band on Guitar Noise was “Pink Floyd.” It was almost as if some of you had premonitions of this weeks special feature.

Acoustic Floyd – Pink Floyd Unplugged

Pink Floyd is known to most of the world for spectacle. Mysterious pyriamids, flying pigs, and walls tumbling down to the delight of thousands. To the guitar world they are best known for the searing guitar solos of Comfortably Numb, Money, Shine On You Crazy Diamond and On the Turning Away.

What many fans appreciate most about Pink Floyd is that the band is equally magical in its quietest moments as it is in its loudest. While the band has written very few love songs and is light years away from MTV Unplugged, they have a large body of acoustic work from their thirty year career. This work is not always given the appreciation it deserves.

This week you can check out our online guitar lesson exploring the acoustic music of Pink Floyd. The lesson is written for guitar players of all different levels. If you are ready, you can join our Great Gig in the Sky.

New Lessons

Horse With No Name – Bass for Beginners
by Dan Lasley (20 Feb 2001)
This column is supposed to accompany David’s Easy Songs column on the same song. As you will recall, this song has a simple driving bass line, with a couple of frills thrown in.

Recommended Reading

Now that the Grammy’s are over let’s return again to another great book in the Guitar Grimoire series. In case you don’t know by now, this popular series of books contains some essential reading for all guitar players. No matter what level of player you are, if you want to understand your instrument more and get really good you will have to get your hands on these books.

The Guitar Grimoire – Progressions and Improvisations
The latest volume in the Guitar Grimoire Series, Progressions and Improvisations matches the third video in Adam Kadmon’s Guitar Grimoire Video Series. This long awaited volume covers the use of chords in progressions and improvisation. Filled with hundreds of exercises and diagrams in Adam Kadmon’s unique and path-breaking style of presentation, this book completely examines the craft and universe of progressions. Improvisation and compositional technique are explained and interwoven to create a virtual encyclopedia of melodic and chordal possibilities, styles, dimensions and potentials. With this book the user will be able to put the chords, modes and scales of The Guitar Grimoire to use in creating original music in almost any style.

Email of the Week

Believe it or not, we do get a lot of email at Guitar Noise. But you might be thinking otherwise after this week’s letter. Let me explain. Two newsletters ago we answered a letter about Blues Progressions. And now this week we are answering a question by the exact same person. It’s not that we didn’t get the answer right the first time, this lad just has more excellent questions for us to tackle. Thanks for writing in, and keep those questions coming. Here is this week’s question:

Hi, Firstly can I thank you for answering my previous question, your advice has been of great help. I’m afraid I have another query. I am studying for a grade exam in the UK, I dont know if you are familiar with our grades, but for the one I am undertaking (Grade 3) one of the topics I will be tested on is chord construction. I was talking to a friend who is a music teacher and to test me he asked me what the seventh would be in a F#maj7 chord. I eventually said the answer was F, he said the answer was actually E#. I was a bit confused by this, I am familiar with the enharmonic principle, but I had never heard anyone mention E#. So I went and dug out my books and looked up a couple of illustrations of the circle of fifths, and sure enough under F# in all the illustrations were the notes F#,G#,A#,B,C#,D#…and E#. So my question is when and why do you use E# instead of F? Very many thanks in advance of any help you can give.

Here is our answer to this interesting question:

It’s questions like this that give music theorists a bad name…

Okay, technically you are both right. But in terms of the “classical” way of looking at things, E# is considered the correct answer. Why? Because if you look at the key signature for F#, there are six sharps (F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, and E#). And it’s the same thing when you look at the key of Gb – there will be a “Cb” in there. So the rule of thumb is to think of how the key signature would be written in standard notation and then to use that as your guideline.

This sort of thing though is what tends to scare good people away from music. It’s no skin off anyone’s nose to say, “Yes you are correct, however, this is how most scholars would like you to answer this…”

And in case you are interested – it is possible to argue the case that E# and F are NOT necessarily the same note. Think about this – on a violin or similar stringed instrument that has no frets (including the fretless bass guitar), it is wholy possible to make your notes sharper or flatter than they would be on a guitar, piano or any other instrument. It is simply a matter of moving your finger an infinitesimal distance one way or the other from the core note. This is why you have to have a great ear to play one of those things…

By the way, this was a great question. I think that a lot of people will benefit from knowing this.

Thanks again for writing. Hope to hear from you soon.

If you have questions to ask, fire away. Send us your questions on any topics including music theory, guitar technique, songwriting, playing bass, sound engineering, jamming … and more.

It doesn’t matter if you are a wet behind the ears beginner or grumpy old classic rocker. We love getting your questions. And we don’t discriminate. We will send you the best answer we can regardless of the color, sex, shape, size, or brand of guitar you use.

Be kind to the trees and send us an email. And stay tuned for even more answers in next week’s “Email of the Week.”

You can review all previous answers on the help pages.

New Sites

The following new links were added to Guitar Noise on February 23:

  • Mark Knopfler Spotlight – A spotlight on Mark Knopfler, the guitarist most noted for his work in Dire Straits, and the Notting Hillbillies. There are many great Knopfler resources on the web, and I’ve highlighted the best of them… featuring freely downloadable mp3s, guitar lessons, tablature, lyrics, and more.
  • – Great guitar site with loads of lessons, searchable licks database, analyzed tab and search facilities.


Paul Hackett
Executive Producer