Newsletter Vol. 3 # 121 – September 1, 2010


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #121 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • Greetings, News and Announcements
  • Guitar Noise Featured Artist
  • Topic of the Month
  • New Articles, Lessons, Reviews and Stuff
  • Exploring Guitar with Darrin Koltow
  • Event Horizon
  • This Date in Guitar Noise History
  • Random Thoughts

Greetings, News and Announcements

Hello and welcome to the September 1, 2010 edition of Guitar Noise News, the twice-a-month newsletter from Guitar Noise ( I’m Charles T. Cat (although I prefer you call me Charley), still filling in for David for the time being and actually enjoying it at the moment.

My thanks to everyone who’s writing to say “hello” and I hope that you’re all doing well and that you’ve had either a wonderful summer or winter, depending on where in the world you live.

It is a huge world, and a lot of Guitar Noise readers do travel with their instruments. One reader (and Guitar Noise contributing writer), Helena Bouchez (a wonderful bass player, I might add) asked that I might pass along this little item from the American Federation of Musicians. They are currently circulating a petition to hopefully make it easier for musicians to travel with their instruments on the airlines. This has been a notorious problem for many, whether they are making or trying to make a living traveling and playing music, or simply trying to visit friends and bring an instrument along on the trip. So if you’re a musician or if you’re just sympathetic to the cause, please have a look at this link: Carrying Instruments 0n Airplanes

Looking at the calendar, I find it incredible that September is already here, mostly because it means that David’s new book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guitar” hits the stores in just five weeks! October 5 is the “official” date the book becomes available and I don’t mind saying this is probably the best one he’s written (so far, anyway!). As with most of the
“Complete Idiot’s Guides,” it covers a lot of ground but still gives anyone just starting out on guitar a solid foundation in basic skills. Just to give you some idea of the contents, here is an overview of the chapters:

1 Getting Acquainted and Getting in Tune
You need to have your guitar in tune in order to play, so you’ll learn how in your very first chapter.

2 Warming Up One Note at a Time
Once you’re in tune, you can start playing! In this chapter you learn about how to hold your guitar (whether sitting or standing), about picking and placing your hand on the fingerboard. You also get a quick look at guitar tablature so you can play some warm up exercises designed to get your fingers limber.

3 And Now, A Few Chords
In this chapter, you’ll discover how easy it is to read chord charts and how it’s even easier to play some basic chords. And you’ll be playing a simple song before the lesson is over!

4 A One and a Two – Learning to Read Rhythms
Now that you know some chords, you want to learn about rhythm so that you can sound even better. You’ll be reading simple rhythm notation before you know it and you’ll also discover how to make even the most basic strumming sound very cool by adding an alternating bass line.

5 All in the Wrist – Learning to Play Rhythms
You will continue to improve your strumming abilities in this lesson by learning about sock puppets. No lie! Plus you’ll learn a new chord and get to play a very cool new song.

6 Swinging with the Blues
Discovering how triplets and swing rhythms work will set you up to play almost any blues song your heart desires! You also learn some new chords, how to play shuffles and a very cool blues-style riff.

7 Stretching Out with Three New Chords
Now that you’ve gotten your fingers loose and ready to play, it’s time to tackle the three chords that will lead to adding thousands of songs to your repertoire. Plus you’ll start working on walking bass lines to make your chord changes sound even cooler.

8 Making Your Guitar Sing with Slurs
Just when you thought you were sounding pretty good, you’re going to find yourself sounding even better! In this chapter, you’ll learn the four basic guitar slurs and how mixing them in with your strumming makes you sound like you’re not a beginner any more.

9 Strumming by the Measure or by the Note
In this chapter you’ll learn about different rhythms and strumming patterns and also find out how to play arpeggios. Plus you’ll get to learn two classic songs.

10 Stop and Go
Things start picking up speed when you learn about sixteenth notes and different muting techniques. This chapter finishes with a great arrangement of “The Gallows Pole.”

11 Finger Picking with Style
You give your guitar a totally new sound when you learn how to finger pick. This chapter shows you how easy finger picking can be and teaches you three different styles. Plus you get your first taste of classical guitar music.

12 A Major Step Forward
If you can count to twelve, you can learn music theory. It is truly that simple! In this chapter you learn how to make any major scale and also learn cool ways to incorporate them into your playing.

13 Building Chords from Scratch
This chapter teaches you how to make any chord you can possibly think of, plus a dozen or so you didn’t even know existed! You will never need chord charts again!

14 Barre Tending
Once you know how to play basic barre chords, the entire length of the fingerboard becomes your playground. And you’ll get plenty of practice with them as you will be learning three new songs in this chapter.

15 Using Your Intelligence
With all the musical knowledge you’ve gained in the last chapters you can start to come up with some very interesting song arrangements of your own. Your next big leap forward starts here.

16 Clipping on a Capo
With a capo and a bit of transposing (which you’ll learn in a heartbeat in this chapter), you can rearrange songs to fit your vocal range or even come up with second guitar parts to make playing with your friends more rewarding.

17 Beyond Standard Tuning
Alternate tunings have been around since guitars themselves. They can make your guitar sound heavy or harp-like. This chapter teaches you about many alternate tunings and you’ll also get to hear how a single song can sound when played in two different tunings.

18 Filling in the Blanks
Adding fills (short melodic phrases) to your playing makes you sound more like a seasoned guitarist. You will learn how to create and use fills to make your playing your best yet in this chapter.

19 Bringing Chords and Melody Together
In this chapter you learn how to make your guitar sing for you. Through chord melody, you’ll find how easy it is to turn your single guitar into a whole band.

20 Making a Solo
Soloing doesn’t have to be scary if you take the time to prepare first. This chapter walks you step by step through the process of creating a guitar solo and also teaches you about playing scales further up on the fingerboard.

21 Picking Up Speed
Getting comfortable with alternate picking can help you develop more speed in your playing. You’ll also discover the frenetic sound of crosspicking in this lesson.

Chapters 22 – 29

The final eight chapters take you on a mini-tour of the many genres and styles of guitar playing that wait for you. You’ll get two song lessons each on Country, Rock, Blues, Classical, Folk, Celtic, Jazz and Pop music and learn how to put all the knowledge you’ve gained from the first part of the book to use in your playing. And you’ll learn more cool tricks and techniques as well.

Additionally, there will be tips on buying instruments and handling string changes, day to day maintenance and minor repairs available as “Book Extras” or “Quick Guides” at the Complete Idiot’s Guides’ website and David will be posting lessons here that will supplement some of the song lessons from the book (such as our lesson on “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” and the latest “Turning Practice into Play” lesson, which you’ll read about a little later.

The current “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Guitar,” by the late (and great!) Frederick Noad, is the third best selling Idiot’s Guide that Alpha puts out. We’re hoping that this totally new version will surpass that. Yes, it would be totally cool if it made the New York Times’ “Best Seller” list – it probably would make it the first (and possibly only) guitar tutorial book to ever do so – but that’s probably dreaming way too high! But you never know, if anyone could make it possible it would certainly be the readers of Guitar Noise.

In the meantime, though, we’re also giving away autographed copies in our current giveaway contest. Our latest winner is Tod from Washington State who took a very interesting photo of himself and his copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Rock Guitar” that you can see at

An autographed copy of the new “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guitar” will be going to Tod in just a few weeks and a new winner will be announced in the September 15 newsletter.

Guitar Noise Featured Artist

New month, new Guitar Noise Featured Artist! John Fogerty, truly one of the legends of rock guitar and rock music, gets the nod for the month of September. Read all about him on the Guitar Noise Profile Page.

Topic of the Month

There’s also a new Guitar Noise Topic of the Month. In September we’re putting the spotlight on “Songwriting.” It’s amazing how many articles we have on the subject and you’ll find links for all of them by clicking on the Topic Banner on the Home Page.

New Articles, Lessons, Reviews and Stuff

Paul and David came up with a great idea but (at least as of when I’m writing this) they haven’t given it a name yet! Starting with the new “Swing Eighths” lesson, you will soon be finding these “mini-lessons” – short guides to help you understand basic musical concepts, guitar techniques and other topics that occur over and over again in your day to day playing – linked to various “full lessons” here at Guitar Noise. The idea is to give you a quick refresher should you happen to need it on any given topic.

And if you’ve got a request on a topic like this, just drop David a line at [email protected] and put “mini-lesson” in the subject line.

Swing Eighths
by David Hodge

Learn how to recognize and play swing eighth rhythm in less time than you’d imagine! David walks you step by step on this vital part blues and jazz rhythm that you will find in almost all genres of music.

Turning Practice Into Play (Part 2)
“The Chromatic Quick Change Blues”

by David Hodge

Here’s a very cool single-guitar finger style instrumental blues piece that will teach you about driving, single note bass lines and creating cool melody lines and fills.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Tip for September 1 – Practicing Modes (Part 36)

Welcome back to our exploration of the C Dorian mode. We’re now hovering about the fifth position and about to dive down into arpeggios, starting with this one:


Notice how un-minor this run sounds. The reason for this is the order in which you’re playing the notes. You’re starting the run with C, A, and F, which spells out a major chord. And though you’re hearing A, F, D (the D minor triad) right after the major triad, you’re playing the A and D on upbeats, which feel much weaker than downbeats. Ergo, D minor loses this battle with the F major sound. But we’ll champion the D minor next time.

Thanks for reading.


Copyright 2010 Darrin Koltow

Event Horizon

Guitar Noise Forum Moderator, Dan “Laz” Lasley plays bass in a blues band called “Cruisin’ for a Bluesin” and they have their first real gig this coming Saturday, September 4th at the Spence Remedy Cafe, located at 29-31 East Gay Street right in downtown West Chester Pennsylvania, which is about forty-five minutes west of Philadelphia. West Chester has lots of cool, funky restaurants, many with sidewalk tables, so Dan says come on down for the whole evening. Crusin’ for a Blusin’ starts at 10 PM and plays until 1 AM.

Doug (“Moonrider”)James’ group, Southern Roots ( will be playing two shows later this month:

Saturday, September 18 at Namaw’s Country Diner (located at 16121 Goodes Bridge Road in Amelia Court House, Virginia). Show starts at 6:00 PM

Friday, September 24 at the Hopewell Moose Lodge (4701 Western Street in Hopewell, Virginia) beginning at 7:30 PM

Guitar Noise Moderator, Wes Inman’s former bandmate Lee Hodge and his band, Doesn’t Madder, play at many spots in North Carolina. They’re going to be at Horsefeathers Roadhouse in Sherrils Ford on Saturday, September 18. Music starts at 9 PM. You can keep up with Lee and the band on their MySpace page:

And September is also going to be a big month for Guitar Noise Forum member JWMartin, who steps out under the lights as “J. Ghouls,” bassist for the band Spookhand. They’ve got gigs in their home of Nashville but will also be venturing out to Atlanta. Here’s the calendar:

Thursday, September 16th 7:30pm Spookhand will be opening for The Independents (they used to be managed and produced by Joey Ramone) at The Muse (835 4th Avenue South in Nashville, TN).

A week later, on Friday, September 24 7pm they’ll be one of four bands (Psycho Charger, The Creeping Cruds, Spookhand (that’s them!)) and a local, not yet named Atlanta band) at The Shelter, located at 2101B Tula Street Northwest in Atlanta, Georgia

And then the next day, Saturday, September 25 7pm Spookhand and two of the other bands – Psycho Charger and The Creeping Cruds as well as and Alucard (that’s “Dracula” backwards in case you missed it) will be back at The Muse, performing at Dr. Gangrene’s 7th Annual Horror Hootenanny. Sounds like Halloween is getting a very early start in Nashville and I’m sure it will be a lot of fun!

You can keep up with some of the Guitar Noise Community’s fairly regularly performing bands at these websites:

Slightly Offensive – with GN Member Tommy (“Tommy Gunz”) McLaughlin on guitar: (you can also join their mailing list there)

This Date in Guitar Noise History (September 1, 2005)

I don’t know about you, but I constantly find myself thinking, “What was Nick thinking about five years ago?” Yes, being a cat I have lots of time to think about things like that. Fortunately, I can also answer this question by looking back at a wonderful “NOTES FROM NICK” that he wrote back then:

So I’m sitting around on the porch, guitar in hand, working out the final wrinkles of “Here Comes the Sun” and I think, “Well the neighbors have probably heard enough of that, what’s next?”

And you know I couldn’t think of a single song.

I sat and thought a while and absolutely nothing came to mind.

“That’s impossible. I have to know at least twenty to thirty songs, don’t I?”

Then I had a thought. David had printed up some books for the Riverside Jam. (Thanks David, by the way). So I went inside and got the book. There had to be a hundred or so songs in there, just the chords and words printed out, but it’s a great resource.

I leafed through the book, and lo and behold there were twenty to thirty songs that I knew well. I was right. But that couldn’t be all could it?

Now I was on a mission, so off I went to the computer and wrote down all the songs in the Guitar Noise song lessons for beginners and intermediates. Hey whadda ya know, I’m up to almost fifty songs that I can play well.

There must me more! Down to the basement I went, into my studio/teaching area. Let me grab those Acoustic Guitar magazines from the past ten years. Wow, I forgot I knew “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” and “Caleb Meyer”, and “Makin’ Pies” and “Forgot that it was Sunday” and about 20 others. The total number of songs I know and can play is now seventy-seven!.

Hold on don’t I have Hal Leonard’s acoustic Beatles, the one with the excellent acoustic transcriptions? Well yes I do. We are up to eighty-eight songs. Which reminded me, didn’t I see some Beatles thing on the easy song forum?

Back to Guitar Noise and the easy song forum, uh-huh here we are. Now we are over one hundred and five tunes.

Hold on a sec, didn’t I create a bookmark of all my favorite tunes I know? Well yes I did.

This went on for the better part of four hours. Think, find, print, hole punch, stick in the book and think some more.

I went from not being able to think of a single song to having over two hundred tunes to play that I can play well.

You know the very cool part about it? I didn’t have to learn anything new or practice. I just had to remember the things I didn’t know I knew.

The point being, make yourself a book and keep it up to date. It’s a heck of a lot easier than what I just went through.

Random Thoughts

Maybe Nick is coming to mind because of the upcoming release of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guitar.” One of the things that David wanted to stress in writing this book is that the guitar is often used to accompany a singer (and yes that singer is often ourselves or rather “yourselves” as my guitar playing skills are, sadly, meager at best). So there are many examples in the book and on the CD that comes with the book, of the guitar being the accompanying part of a song. Therefore it was necessary to have someone singing the songs and David picked the best person he knew to do it.

So Nick came up last spring to lay down the vocals for the songs in the book and he did some incredible work, creating new and exciting arrangements of songs that everyone knows. Each time I heard the CD – and I have heard it a lot over the past four month while David was continually checking and rechecking it against the music examples written in the book – I had a new favorite.

Personally, I think that Nick is truly the right person to have on the CD because he is wonderful about playing with others. All those stories you hear about singers and their egos? It’s like Nick is the antithesis of that. He works with people of all talent levels and makes them all sound better. Having his voice on “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guitar” CD is going to give every listener the confidence to play his or her best and to not fret about mistakes. And that’s exactly what you want for a book like this. Be sure to check it out for yourself.

Until our next issue of Guitar Noise News, play well and play often.

And, as David would say…


(Charles T. Cat)