Newsletter Vol. 3 # 128 – December 15, 2010


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #128 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

It’s hard to believe that 2010 is winding down to its last days. For some reason it seems to have been a very long year even though looking back I don’t know how it managed to go by so fast.

Welcome to the year’s last issue of Guitar Noise News, the free twice-a-month newsletter from Guitar Noise. My name’s Charley and it’s been my honor and pleasure to be your personal Guitar Noise News correspondent these many months.

We are still, and will be giving away two books a month until the end of the upcoming New Year, 2011. To enter the giveaway, take a picture of yourself holding a copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Rock Guitar” someplace relatively interesting. As Dorothy might have said in “The Wizard of Oz,” you don’t have do go any further than your own back yard! But do try to be creative or at least entertaining.

Dean from Georgia is our December 15 winner and here’s hoping his autographed copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guitar” gets to him before Christmas. He made quite a striking photo and can see it, as well as all our past winners, at David’s blog (

Guitar Noise Featured Artist

We’ve got a two-for-one deal on guitarists for you this month as we profile Metallica as the December Guitar Noise Featured Artist of the month. Read all about Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield on the Guitar Noise Profile Page.

Topic of the Month

And it being December, it’s time to take out the Guitar Noise Christmas lights and to pull all the many wonder holiday song lessons we’ve got out of storage. So pay a visit to the Guitar Noise Home page and then click on the Topic Banner showing “Holiday Songs” as the Guitar Noise December Topic of the Month and treat yourself, not to mention your family and friends, to some magical music.

New Articles, Lessons, Reviews and Stuff

Song Structures
by David Hodge

Knowing how songs are structured can help you with learning songs and with communicating with other musicians. Here’s a brief run down of the basic parts of songs.

Chord Melody
by David Hodge

Chord melody is a way of arranging songs so that the single guitar does all the work of providing melody and harmony, and usually includes a bass part as well! Chord melody arrangements can be as simple or complex as you choose to make them.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Tip for December 15 – Practicing Modes (Part 43)

Our last installment featured a chord walk in F mixolydian (AKA F dominant 7) around position V. Not all the chords in that walk were pure F7 though, so some ‘splainin’ is called for.

Here’s the run again for handy reference:


The first chord here is nothing special: plain F7, to tell your ear “We’re playing F dominant 7” and not some other chord. But the second chord, with Bb in the melody, is not an F7. It’s an Eb minor 6 (notes Eb, Gb, Bb, C). The notes of an F7 are Eb, F, A, C, so we have two notes in common. The Bb can be explained as the tonic of the parent scale that the F mixolydian scale comes from–Bb major. But where does this Gb come from? This is the note that gives this chord all its “juice,” so the better you understand it, the juicier you can make your music.

The Gb makes a tritone interval with the C, and we know how dynamic a sound the tritone is from hearing it in dom 7 chords. But the Gb-C tritone isn’t the one found in the F7’s default notes, so it throws your ear a bit of a curve. Plus, you can look at the Gb as being the b6 of the Bb tonic scale. Major scales don’t have a b6, but harmonic minor scales do. You therefore hear that b6 and say “Hey, we just changed to Bb minor from major. Sweet!”

More theory tidbits to come. Thanks for reading.


Copyright 2010 Darrin Koltow

Event Horizon

Jason Ennis, an amazing and incredibly friendly guitarist whom David met at one of Jason’s shows in Great Barrington, Massachusetts last year, is performing with vocalist Natalia Bernal and pianist Mike Eckroth tonight (December 15) at The Garage, 99 7th Avenue South in New York City. Show runs from 7 to 10 PM.

The trio will be at the Pizza Place, located at 92 Main Street in Yonkers, NY this Friday, December 17, from 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM.

Slightly Offensive, with GN Member Tommy (“Tommy Gunz”) McLaughlin on guitar, will be this Saturday, December 18, at O’Leary’s, at 14650 South Waverly Avenue in Midlothian, IL. Tommy says be sure to come up and introduce yourself as a Guitar Noise reader!

Random Thoughts

And as 2010 comes to a close, I also find myself moving on. It’s been fun sitting in and writing these newsletters for David, but I think it’s time for him to step back in with the next newsletter. Maybe I’ll pop in every now and then (I especially like being around on April 1), so don’t think you’ve seen the last of me!

I would like to thank everyone for the emails of support and encouragement, not to mention just the general camaraderie the is such a part of the Guitar Noise community. It’s been a blast.

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

And, as David would say…


(Charles T. Cat)