Newsletter Vol. 3 # 126 – November 15, 2010


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #126 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
  • Random Thoughts

Greetings, News and Announcements

A good day to all of you! It’s November 15 and this is your latest issue of Guitar Noise News, the free twice-a-month newsletter from Guitar Noise ( The year 2010 is winding down very quickly it seems. Where I live it’s getting harder to find some nice sunny spots to lie in for any length of time!

I’m Charley and I hope you’ve been having a good November so far.

In our November 1 newsletter, we mentioned the kickoff of Year 9 of the Sunday Songwriters’ Group here at Guitar Noise. The SSG, as we usually call it, started out in October of 2002 when Nick Torres and GN Forum member Ryan Spencer created a page on the Guitar Noise Forums to give songwriters a way to practice. After all, writing songs is much like playing an instrument in that you won’t get better without practice. Vic Lewis has had an exemplary run managing the SSG for the past two years and this year David’s taking the reins.

Each week a new “assignment” is posted in the hopes that it will both challenge and inspire the readers to create a new song. Yesterday the assignment for “Week 3” went up online. And even though there have only been two weeks’ worth of assignments so far, there have been some incredible songs created by members of the Guitar Noise community. Treat yourself to a listen by visiting the SSG. If you’ve always had the itch to write a song, you won’t find a friendlier group of people to
help you out.

And we’ve another big announcement concerning bringing the wonderful songs of the SSG to the rest of the Guitar Noise community coming December 1.

Reviews for “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guitar” are starting to pop up on and other places on the Internet. And David would like me to mention (made a big rambling monologue about it, actually) how much he appreciates the fact that people took the time to do this. Everyone at Guitar Noise has known for ages that he’s a good teacher and writer, and giving recommendations has been very helpful. After all, it was the Guitar Noise readership which led to these books being written in the first place. So a big thank you to all who have taken the time to put reviews up online.

And our latest Guitar Noise giveaway winner comes all the way from India! Punith will be getting the November 15 autographed copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guitar” and we wish him a hearty congratulations. You can check out his photo, as well as all our past winners, at David’s blog.

Guitar Noise Featured Artist

He was certainly one of the most influential songwriters, musicians, producers and performers of the 1980s, and he is the November Guitar Noise Featured Artist of the month. Read all about Prince on the Guitar Noise Profile Page.

Topic of the Month

And we’ve got a very cool Guitar Noise Topic of the Month for November called “Now and Zen.” It’s a look back ten years ago, to what the Guitar Noise site was like back in the year 2000. If you visit the Guitar Noise Home page and then click on the Topic Banner, you’ll get to visit some of the earliest articles ever written for Guitar Noise, way back in the days before audio files!

It’s actually amazing how great many of those lessons still are today!

New Articles, Lessons, Reviews and Stuff

David’s put together three mini-lessons about tuning for the “Music Guide” pages and Paul has gone one step further by embedding online tuners for each lesson! Now that’s very cool!

Standard Tuning and Tuners
by David Hodge

Standard tuning is tuning each string of your guitar to a specific note. It makes learning the guitar easier by allowing you to play the various chords in the same way that other people do.

Open Tuning
by David Hodge

In open tuning, the guitar’s six strings are tuned to the notes of a single, easily identified chord. Open tuning is used a lot by slide guitar players. It’s also a favorite of Keith Richards.

Alternate Tuning
by David Hodge

Alternate tuning involves changing any or all of a guitar’s strings to a different note than in standard tuning. “Drop D” and DADGAD tunings are frequent choices of alternate tuning but there are many to choose from.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Tip for November 15 – Practicing Modes (Part 41)

Let’s pick up from our last tip, which was a walk through all fretboard positions using a four-note C Dorian arpeggio. That run was a bit predictable because the downbeats always got the same notes. This next run mixes up the assignment of notes to downbeats just enough to make your ear work a bit to figure out what it’s hearing. A super easy way of achieving this reassignment is to play a five-note pattern instead of a four-note one. Here’s a run using a five-note C Dorian pattern.


Thanks for reading.


Copyright 2010 Darrin Koltow

Event Horizon

Slightly Offensive, with GN Member Tommy (“Tommy Gunz”) McLaughlin on guitar, will be playing this Saturday, November 20, at Chicago Blu Bar and Grill at 19917 LaGrange Road in Frankfort, IL. Show starts at 9:30 and goes until 1:30 in the morning. Keep up with all Tommy’s shows at the Slightly Offensive website (

And that same Saturday, all the way over in Stuttgart, Germany, Australian band Wishing Well will be performing at Cafe Galao starting at 8 PM. They’ve even got a return engagement booked for April already!

Read more about the band and their ongoing tour here:

The day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 26, GN Forum member Doug (“Moonrider”) James will be playing with his group, Southern Roots at Hooah’s Sports Grill in Hopewell, Virginia. Music begins at 8 PM. You can follow all their shows on their Facebook page (

Random Thoughts

It’s been a tradition the past few years here at Guitar Noise to stress what Paul and David call “The Joys of Music.” They even have a lot of stories about it sent in by Guitar Noise readers, which you can read here.

The Guitar Noise website has always been about creating and sharing music. It’s our belief that being able to play and then giving that gift to others can’t help but make the world a better place. Jamie Andreas has a wonderful quote on her Facebook page – “What you are as a person is what you will be as a guitarist.”

But I’d like to add to that, simply based on observations of the many, many musicians I have met while living here with David. I think that in its way, music makes most people better than they may be. Musicians and songwriters who are more concerned with themselves than their audiences don’t seem to get anywhere near the satisfaction and joy from playing that those who make the communication of music a priority. There is a bigger return in sharing than in displaying, if you will. At least, the musicians I’ve met who do seem a lot happier than those who don’t.

As the world heads into one of its biggest holiday seasons, holidays that are meant to invoke the best out of all of us, see if you can’t find ways to bring your music to others simply for them to enjoy. Those of you who already do know that you get all that joy and more back in return.

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

And, as David would say…


(Charles T. Cat)