Newsletter Vol. 3 # 24 – June 15, 2006


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #24 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • News and Announcements
  • New Articles and Lessons
  • Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
  • Buried Treasure Of The Internet
  • Email Of The Moment
  • Emails? We Get Emails!
  • Event Horizon
  • Reviews
  • Random Thoughts

News And Announcements

Hello and welcome to the June 15, 2006 edition of Guitar Noise News. The summer solstice is a mere week away and I hope this newsletter finds you all in the best of health and spirits. And for those living in the Southern Hemisphere, here’s to watching the days get longer soon!

Enter to WIN a copy of guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa’s new album You & Me.

And now let’s take a look at what’s new here at the site this month:

New Articles And Lessons

Oh Pretty Woman
by Joe Morgani

Guitar Noise Forum Member Joe Morgani gives us an easy song lesson on this Roy Orbison classic. A big thank you to Joe not only for the lesson, but for his patience in dealing with me in getting it up online!

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

The dangerous Dom7 b9

Here’s a dangerous sound for us to try out. Get our your guitar, and play this with open position chords.

Dm, G7, C, Dm, E7b9, Am

Play the E7b9 like this:


That’s the dangerous sound of the dominant seven, flat 9. We used an E7b9 specifically. Here are the notes: E, G#, B, D, F. The b9 is the F in this case.

What *is* a flat nine? Do you remember how we come up with the assignment of the numbers to the notes of a chord? For our E7b9, the root, third, fifth, and seventh correspond to E, G#, B, D. And going to the next letter name after D, we’d get another E. E would be the 8th note, since D is the seventh, correct? So go one more note: E is 8, F is 9.

The F note is a *flat* 9, because, thinking in terms of an E major scale, an F# would be the natural nine. Knock that down a half step to F, and you have a flat 9.

What makes this E7b9 sound so dangerous? What is it about that one little note, the b9, that makes us know we’re going into a minor key? Think about what the b9, the note F, is in terms of the key center we’re going to. And then you will begin to understand why the F sounds scary.

Most of the time, when we hear any kind of E7, we expect to hear some kind of A chord right after it. Let’s think about what our scary note, F, is in relation to that “some kind of A chord.”

The F is the b6 of two very common minor scales: the A Natural Minor scale and the A Harmonic Minor scale. A major scale does not have a b6. Therefore, when we hear the F in the E7b9 chord, our ears say “whoa: minor key center coming up.” That’s one reason why the E7b9 sounds dangerous: it’s giving us a sneak preview into the somber sound of the A minor key center coming up.

Digest that point for bit. Then try this progression.

Dm, G7, C, Dm, E79, Am

Same progression as before, except for the E natural 9. Play it here:


That was an E9 with a natural nine to it. When we hear that E9, it doesn’t sound as dangerous as the E7b9. The reason is that the natural nine will become the major 6 of the next chord: F# over a chord whose root is A; and our ears are more accustomed to associating the major scale, not minor, with the natural 6. So when we hear that F# in the E7, we think, “Hey, we could be going to a major key center next.”

More on the dom7b9 next time.

Thanks for reading.

Darrin Koltow

Buried Treasure Of The Internet

A terrific new site got up and running just this week. It’s called Play Jazz Now and it features downloadable jazz play-along tracks for those who want to practice, whether guitarists, bassists, drummers, pianists or other instrumentalists. Yes, it’s a pay site. But it offers a lot of very cool things.

I’ll be doing an interview with Bill Harrison, the “trackmeister” of, which should be up online in the next two weeks. Look out for it.

Email Of The Moment


I am a fledgling guitarist (electric), just getting started. I really enjoyed your Guitar Noise article “Before You Accuse Me”…it opened my eyes to so many of the blues songs I enjoy listening to and hope to play some day. Do you have any MP3 files that you could share with me that demonstrate the 12-bar blues shuffle that you introduced with this article? I really could use an audible guideline as validation.

Thank you! Please continue to submit your wonderful articles.

Thanks for writing and thank you as well for your king words about my work at Guitar Noise. I’m in the process of making MP3 files for all of the old lessons, not to mention some of the Guitar Columns as well. Unfortunately, it does take time and time’s been of a premium of late.

The good news is that Before You Accuse Me is the next one on the list and, if all goes well, there should be audio files up for this lesson before the end of this month. I hope that’ll work. And also be on the lookout for more throughout the summer. Anything new will be getting a mention in the newsletter.

Please feel free to write anytime. I look forward to chatting with you again.

Emails? We Get Emails!

Received earlier this week:

Subject: my opinion about Guitar Noise

I just wanted to tell you how fantastic I think your website is (I honestly think it is the best guitar website site around). It exactly represents what I was looking for, for ages now.

Indeed, when I started learning the guitar “on my own,” I kept fearing that I would just learn songs from tablatures, and play them back. I really wanted to learn about music theory, but didn’t know quite how, since I don’t have the time/money for real lessons. Guitar Noise is exactly what I was looking for : extremely interesting and comprehensive theory lessons, and brilliant “song” lessons. This is just what one needs to learn the theory (and technical aspect) behind everyday songs and/or musical genres such as blues or jazz. It is simple, yet instructive.

Long live Guitar Noise, please keep on …

Thank you kindly. We hope to keep keeping on!

Event Horizon

The David Ray Band with Bob Bartlett will be playing Rustler’s Steakhouse in Porterville, CA each Wednesday from 6:00-9:30 outside on the deck during the summer.

And from Dennis Corbin (“corbind” on the Forum pages), comes a note that his new band, Late Calling is playing this Saturday, June 17 from 9:30 to 2 AM at

Club 30 West
7905 W. Lincoln Hwy (Rte. 30)
Frankfort, IL 60423
(815) 464-0364

All those of you who’ve read Dennis’ posts about his gigs know that this should be a great time. Wish I was going to be in the area!


Evil Beaver: Models of Virtue
CD Review by Jimmy Caterine

An EP from the new lineup of Evil Beaver, with Gene Trautman (Queens of the Stone Age) replacing Laura Ann Beaver as Evie Evil’s partner in music. Raw pounding music produced by veteran Mike Terry (Foo Fighters).

Nicolas Hernandez: Buscando Mi Voz
CD Review by David Hodge

Nicolas Hernandez’s debut CD is a skillful blend of flamenco and other world genres. His guitar playing is exquisite and you will find yourself captivated by the songs on this album.

Joe Bonamassa: You & Me
CD Review by David Hodge

Joe Bonamassa has been playing since he was four years old. It sounds it. He’s got excellent chops and a great feel for the blues. His latest CD, You & Me, infuses his evident love of the blues with more of a southern, swampy sound.

Random Thoughts

Things have been rather hectic here these past few months owing to many factors. Many of you are already aware of the various writing projects I’m doing. The folks at String Letter Publishing, who publish Acoustic Guitar Magazine and Play Guitar! Magazine, have been very kind in giving me assignments on a regular basis.

And I’m pleased to announce that (fingers crossed) all the writing and recording and music notating for the upcoming bass book (The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Bass Guitar, published by Alpha Books) is also done. Should all go well in this phase of the work, the book will be hitting the shelves of your favorite bookstore (not to mention in early September.

But, surprisingly, the biggest impact on my schedule has come from something outside of music. Since April, I’ve been serving Grand Jury duty – at the county level, not federal. As I write this, I’m about to serve my final three days of what’s been a three-and-a-half month stint. It’s been incredibly interesting but I’m very happy at the prospect of getting my life and schedule (such as it is) back to relatively normal.

Paul recently sent me a note saying that I should celebrate by “doing something that I like” and I’m taking his words to heart. There’s little I like more than writing and sharing music and lessons, so I’m hoping to be spending some quality time with my computer and recorder in the very near future. But nowhere near as much time as I’m going to be spending just playing guitar.

On the occasions I manage to pop in over at the Forum, I’m pleased to see so many folks are getting out and playing with other people. Congratulations go to “One Winged Angel” for playing her first time out last weekend. And many others are in the process of their first gig or performance. Next newsletter, I’ll try to get you all caught up with all the various events that you might find interesting.

For now though, it’s off to court right after I send this on to Paul. I hope that you’re all having a great month. Stay safe and play well.

And, as always…