Newsletter Vol. 3 # 29 – September 01, 2006


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #29 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • News and Announcements
  • New Articles and Lessons
  • Guitar Noise Staff Picks!
  • Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
  • Emails? We Get Emails!
  • Event Horizon
  • Off Site Sightings and Works In Progress
  • Random Thoughts

News And Announcements

And here it is, the First of September already. My best wishes go out to those of you going back to school, whatever level it may happen to be.

My thanks to all of you who took time to enter in our giveaway for my first (hopefully of many) tutorial book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Bass Guitar. The deadline for entering the contest is officially over and the drawing for giving away ten autographed copies will be held September 10. I will personally notify everyone, whether you won or not, just as I have personally notified you of receiving your entries.

We will be having a second giveaway later this month and all of you who do not win on September 10 will be automatically entered into that giveaway. So when you see a notice about it on the Forum or Home Page of Guitar Noise, don’t worry about entering again! You’re all set.

“BOB,” or “Book on Bass” as I’m starting to call it, should be arriving in bookstores next Tuesday, September 5. It’s also available through as well as many, many other online book services.

I’ve some book news of a different nature to relate to you, but let’s save that for last and continue on with the important stuff:

New Articles And Lessons

How To Become A Professional Guitarist & Musician
Myths and Facts

by Tom Hess

It’s a big question, no? Tom Hess looks at the traditional answers (or, as he calls them, myths) and goes beyond those for a hard look at the real answers.

Playing Chord Melodies With A Pick
by Peter Simms

Here’s an original song from Peter Simms – Key West – a perfect song for lounging on a lazy summer afternoon. Peter wrote this specifically for those of you who want to play chord melodies with a pick, so enjoy!

Guitar Noise Staff Picks!

I got an advance copy of Sheryl Bailey’s latest effort – The Sheryl Bailey 3: Live @ The Fat Cat and it is an awesome album. Look for a review of it, plus a short interview with Sheryl, coming up on the Home Page this coming week.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

THE “5”

In a previous newsletter we tinkered with a chord’s 9. This time we take a look at a major chord’s 5.

Five, Nine? What are these? Quick refresher. Let’s see the notes of a chord and the numbers we refer to them with:

C, E, G
One, Three, Five

Take a look at the bigger picture: ONE of the scales that includes the C major chord:


If you count to the D, you’ll see it is nine. But back to the fifth of the chord. Here’s what happens when you increase the fifth of a C major chord by one half step, or one fret:


That’s a C Major Augmented or a C+5. What can you do with such a creature? How about put it in place of a regular C major chord:


You won’t find a C+5 in any major scale — that’s one of the reasons it might sound kind of surprising to you. You will find it in these two minor scales: harmonic and melodic minor. And because it shares two notes with the minor chord whose root is a third below the root of the plus 5 chord, you can experiment with substituting the plus 5 for that minor chord. Here’s an example:


Have fun exploring the Major Augmented chord. Thanks for reading.

Darrin Koltow

Emails? We Get Emails!

Good morning, Mr. Hodge

I can’t explain how much I appreciate your lessons. It’s wonderful to have someone like you teaching, step by step, all the “secrets” of those marvelous songs. Thanks! Thanks a lot !

I have to report a little error in Wish you were here – The Intro Solo – Song for Intermediates #13. After the second TAB picture (phrase one )……at the 18th written line after that TAB picture….you say “…your ring finger on the B note at the fourth fret “…instead I think that you wanted to say ” B string at the fourth fret”……only a little error!

If one day you will write a lesson on Jimmy Hendrix ” Little Wing ” (in my opinion the most beautiful song of ever)…I will sign a blank cheque for you! Anyway the most difficult thing would be to find somewhere a drummer like Mitch Mitchell available to play with me…

Thanks again and best regards from a reader in Italy

Thanks for writing. There is a mistake but it’s not in the text, it’s in the TAB and I wouldn’t have found it without your writing me this email. So many thanks again.

Since this is part of a double pull-off involving three notes going from B to A to G and all played on the open G string, You definitely want your ring finger on the fourth fret of the G string, because that’s where the B note is.

But the TAB shows you to play the third fret! That’s definitely wrong and I’ll be taking steps to correct that.

In fact, let’s take a moment and talk about corrections. Because Paul and I do almost all of the work ourselves, there are a lot of mistakes out and about on Guitar Noise. We’re in the process of trying to do a bit of an overhaul on the older lessons (okay, all the lessons if possible) and we know that some things are bound to escape notice. So if you’re going through our lessons pages and something strikes you as being odd or just outright wrong (like my misnaming the Lydian mode as the Mixolydian mode in the Guitar Column, A La Modal), write and tell me. Use the regular email address ([email protected]) and be sure to write “Lesson Correction” in the subject line.

My thanks in advance for helping us to improve Guitar Noise and make it better day by day.

Event Horizon

Tonight, at least according to what I’ve been sent, Hap Hazard (band of Guitar Noise forum member Bish) is performing at both the 11th Street Bar and Grill and the Bettendorf (Iowa) J.C.s on September 1. If you’re in the area, you might want to call the venues first! Also, if you want to check out Hap Hazard playing at the Mississippi Valley Fair in Davenport, Iowa, there’s a link to a video file on the Gigs and Jams Forum page.

I’m not sure if it’s still summer, at least as far as gigs go. But assuming that summer does indeed run until September 21, then the David Ray Band with Bob Bartlett still plays every Wednesday at the Rustler’s SteakHouse in Porterville, CA from 6:00-9:30 outside on the deck during the summer.

Late Calling, Dennis “Corbind” Corbin’s group will be playing this coming Saturday at the Annual Pig Roast in Matteson, IL. I believe that gig runs from 4 PM ’til 8 PM, even though Dennis’ note said 8 AM!

If you’re in the neighborhood of any of these shows, drop in and meet some of the people you’ve been chatting with online. And be sure to say that I say hello!

Off Site Sightings And Works In Progress

Acoustic Guitar’s October 2006 issue hits the newsstand any day now and I feel very lucky in that they’re running two lessons of mine. In the “Here’s How” section, you’ll find an Introduction to Ear Training, where you can get started by recognizing different basic chords and voicings. The “Basics” lesson, Read Tab Intelligently, was written to help make your tablature reading more efficient, which (hopefully) leads to more playing enjoyment.

Random Thoughts

First and foremost, my heartfelt thanks go to all the readers of Guitar Noise. It’s because of you that I got both my magazine contacts and my first book contract. In case you don’t know, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Bass Guitar is scheduled to come out September 5th. I couldn’t have done it without you.

And while I’m sure you’re already tired of my talking about the damn book, I’d like to ask you help once more. I don’t know how many of you have read or seen The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Guitar. It was written by the late great Frederick Noad and, as such, is truly geared for someone wanting to get started from the classical guitar approach to things. While it is a good book for what it does, it’s not for everyone. Particularly if you’re not interested in classical style playing. It doesn’t even mention strumming or playing rhythm in any of its 258 pages.

Even before I got the bass book assignment, I’ve been trying to pitch a guitar book to the folks at Alpha, but they (and bless their hearts for this) stand by the books they have. One of the many problems I had in writing the bass book was not “stepping on the toes” of the other “Idiot’s” books, especially the one on music theory.

So I looked at the Guitar for Dummies series and discovered two important things. First off, they have a Rock Guitar For Dummies book, which deals specifically with (surprise) electric guitar. So I’ve put together a pitch for what is essentially a Complete Idiot’s Guide to Electric Guitar that I envision as a primer for rhythm and lead guitarists.

And what does this have to do with anything? Well, the good news is that my acquisitions editor is taking my proposal to the “big board meeting” in late September. AEs don’t usually do that unless they think they’ve got a real good shot at getting a go-ahead on the project.

What can help tip the scales immensely are good initial sales figures for the bass book. But since the meeting is so soon after that book is released, sales won’t really be mean all that much at this meeting. So don’t worry, I’m not asking you to buy up copies for everyone you know (but they do make great Christmas and birthday presents…

The other thing that can really help is good, thoughtful reviews. So if you want to, and only if you (a) bought the book and (b) think the bass book was good, please post a review of the book up somewhere online, especially places like or Barnes & Noble’s website and even at Penguin Books (Penguin owns Alpha Publishing). And if you don’t like it, please feel free to post that as a review as well. Try to be specific about your likes and dislikes.

Obviously the sooner the reviews get out, the more reviews I can get to the attention of my acquisitions editor who will in turn present them to the big cheeses.

By the bye, I’ve an advanced copy of the bass book and there are some mistakes in it. We’ll be putting together a page where you can get some corrections and, as always, you can write me directly ([email protected]) if you’ve other questions.

Now, I mentioned that going through the Dummies catalog brought two things to my attention. You’re going to love this. Everyone knows I’ve been pitching publishers to do a book version of our online “easy songs” or “intermediates” lessons here at Guitar Noise. Imagine my surprise when looking through the Hal Leonard catalog and finding Acoustic Guitar Songs for Dummies and Rock Guitar Songs for Dummies. According to the literature, each book contains about three dozen songs complete with “music notation, guitar tablature and performance notes.”

So I figure someone’s beat me to it and gone and done something smart. And I order the books. Turns out the “performance notes” consist of fifteen to twenty-four lines of “instructions,” and all the performance notes for every song are written at the very beginning of the book. Here, for example, is the entire Performance Notes section for I’d Love To Change The World…

The legendary guitarist Alvin Lee has worn many musical hats, most notably as the frontman for the prolific British blues-rock band Ten Years After. Their 1971 album A Space in Time featured their biggest hit “I’d Love To Change The World,” a sort of anti-establishment hippie anthem for the Vietnam Era.

Our favorite word
This song is built largely on chord arpeggios (chords played one note at a time) with chromatic passing tones. It’s always best to learn the chord shapes first, then get into the picking.

Starting on the Em chord, use your middle and ring fingers on fret 2. That makes it easy to do the following chromatic run, one finger per fret. (Chromatic notes are just as you see – one fret, or half step, away from each other). Then you get chromatic on the A string. After the B7, you’re in position to start over.

Power chords
A chord labeled with a 5 after it, as in the verse, is known as a power chord (or simply a “five” chord), and it owes that distinction to the fact that it’s neither major or minor. It only contains two notes, the 1st and the 5th (and higher octaves of both) and is missing the all important 3rd – the note that determines the mood: major or minor, happy or sad. Without that note, you get a “powerful” sound.

The verse gets into rhythmic strumming and “dead notes” – for all the Xs in the tab, lay your fretting hand over the string and strum for a percussive “chick-a-chick.”

The rest of the book is the typical guitar tab book that you pick up at a store. I strongly suspect that just about every song is also covered in Hal Leonard’s “Play Along” guitar series (a great series, by the way).

Now all of that is great as a bit of a capsule, but it truly doesn’t walk you through playing the song. Also, this is the twelfth song in the book and this is the very first mention in the performance notes (or anywhere else in the book) of “1st, 3rd and 5th.” So I guess folks just automatically know that stuff these days.

It’s just enough information to make someone think they know what they’re talking about. Which means that they’ll come here and have a lot of questions, I guess! And that’s certainly a good thing!

There aren’t any fingering suggestions in any of the tab. No chord charts either, just chord names. There’s a generic chord chart at the very end of the book, but that’s it. It doesn’t even contain a good number of chords used throughout the book. And, except for the tab, you can’t tell if you’re supposed to play a G in open position, as a barre chord or in a D shape up the neck.

The thing that intrigues me is that the Dummies people got together with Hal Leonard in order to use their catalog and could have come up with a killer tutorial to end all tutorials and they settled for pretty much nothing. (Note to self: I need to send Hal Leonard another proposal pronto!)

So if anyone wants to take a look at either of these books in a store (I can’t recommend them in and of themselves) and post a review saying “how come this book doesn’t have real teaching value like…” and feel free to post a link to your favorite lesson, please be my guest.

Again, and always, my thanks to all of you who come to Guitar Noise, whether you’re a regular at the forum, someone who goes through all the lessons or just someone who reads these newsletters twice a month. Thanks for taking the time to read this and thank you as well for all your past support of our site.

Until our next newsletter, please stay safe and play well.

And, as always,