Newsletter Vol. 3 # 36 – December 15, 2006


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #36 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • News and Announcements
  • New Articles and Lessons
  • Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
  • Emails? We Get Emails
  • Event Horizon
  • Reviews
  • Random Thoughts

News And Announcements

Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Holiday Season and a safe and joyous final two weeks of 2006. It’s been quite a year and it’s kind of hard to believe it’s already about time to start another one.

I’d like to start out by thanking everyone for your support of Guitar Noise and for your participation in the Guitar Noise community. I hope that the coming year gives you much joy, in all areas of life as well as those concerning guitars and music.

This past week we had another giveaway of autographed copies of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Bass Guitar.” The original plan was to give out ten copies, but I got an unexpected windfall playing for a performance last week and used that to get five more copies for the giveaway. So we had fifteen winners.

I’m still waiting to hear back from some of them, but in the meantime, let me extend congratulations to:

  • Catherine of Hamilton, Ontario (Canada)
  • Dan of Janesville, Wisconsin
  • Derek of Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada)
  • Frank of Long Island, New York
  • Harold of London, Kentucky
  • Phyllis of Camden, South Carolina
  • Ray of Jennerstown, Pennsylvania

I’ll post the complete set of winners in our next email, and you can also find the list on the Forum pages.

As I mentioned last time, I know that there are many of you who’ve already purchased a copy. If you’d like an autograph, please let me know. I’d love to send you a thank you note over the holidays. Just write me at [email protected]

And now let’s see what’s gone up online since we last chatted…

New Articles And Lessons

Begin At The End
by Tom Hess

If you’re having troubles achieving your goals, it may be that you’re going about things backwards! Tom Hess talks with us about the importance of starting at your goal and working your way back in order to truly achieve it.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Tip: for those with small hands

This tip is for players with small hands (or those who think they have small hands). We start off with a letter and then my response follows. I hope you get something from this.

Hello Darrin,

My name is C. and I am just beginning to play the guitar. I know some beginner chords but would like to go beyond that. I was wondering if hand size has anything to do with playing the guitar. It seems impossible for me to put my index finger on the first fret, middle finger on the second fret, ring finger on the third fret and little finger on the fourth fret. I am also considering some lessons to help me along.

Please write back. Thanks.

[Here’s my response:]

Hi, C. Thanks for your message. First, I definitely recommend lessons for you at this stage – but not with just any teacher. Look for a classical teacher, because he/she will be better able to show you the proper technique; this is really important when hand size is an issue, because as you are looking at your hands and saying “No way are my hands going to be able to do THAT,” the teacher is looking at the same thing and will point out things you had no idea were important; these things will prove you can play, and that you can get your hands to do what they need to do.

The scale length of the fretboard is an issue. Get a smaller guitar. There are such guitars made for adults, not kids, with small hands. Not every great guitarist had great hands.

Highly recommended: go to – make sure its Groups in there, not regular Google – and enter this search phrase exactly as written here;

“small hands” group:*guitar*

From the results of that search you’ll learn a lot about playing with small hands. More important, I think, you’ll be encouraged.

Also highly recommended: the book The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar. See

Good luck.


Thanks again for reading.

Darrin Koltow

Copyright © 2006 Darrin Koltow

Event Horizon

I got this note from Guitar Noise Member Millard:

Hi, David. Hope your holidays continue to go well.

The Marsh Mellow Stone Band ( recently got airplay on the Pulse Now radio network’s “Debut Disc” program and was quickly picked up for a couple other program segments. Guitar Noise friends who are interested, can vote for us at

We’ll be playing a New Year’s Eve “warm-up” show on Friday, December 29 at diPiazza’s in Long Beach, California from 7PM-9PM. Then we’ll be doing a big “birthday” show at Martini Blues in Huntington Beach, California, on Saturday, January 13, from 8PM-midnight with some special guests.

Thanks for supporting gigging musicians!

And if you’re in the Berkshires this weekend, you can come say hello to me as I’ll be back at the Monterey General Store in Monterey, Massachusetts tonight, Friday, December 15. This time I’ll be providing backup for local singer/songwriter Joel Schick. Yes, it’s really a general store. Yes, there will be Christmas songs. Show is from 7 to 9 PM but come early if you don’t want to sit in the Spam aisle. Also, they serve terrific sandwiches.

And tomorrow we take the show to the Card Lake Inn in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. We’ll be playing from 7:30 to 10 or so.


eMedia Essential Rock Guitar
DVD Review by David Hodge

If you’re someone who feels you learn better with visual aids, there’s a lot here to help. You get good views of both the left and right hands play cool features like interactive chord charts (not to mention a two hundred and fifty chord dictionary) and animated fretboards.

Random Thoughts

This past week I finished up with my adult group classes at the Berkshire Community College for the fall semester. These are always a lot of fun (at least for me!) because people seem to want to learn and have fun playing guitar. It’s great to help someone get started on what will hopefully be a lifetime of learning about music and creating and sharing that music with the world.

But so many people pick up the guitar (or other musical instruments) only to drop it later in life. Sometimes it’s a matter of making time for it and that’s a topic for another day.

Often the two causes of giving up a musical instrument are frustration and impatience. The enjoyment one gets from playing plays second fiddle to the sense of disappointment at not being as good as one expects. And it’s hard to tell where those expectations come from.

If there might be any one wish that I could wish for everyone, it would be to find the ability to play with utter abandon. It’s hard for people to appreciate to joys music can bring when they are focused on their mistakes and perceived shortcomings.

New Year’s is often associated with making resolutions and setting goals. Musically, mine usually revolve around finding time to practice and then to practice smarter than I usually do!

But I’d like to challenge all of you to spend more time enjoying your music. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on it or work less hard on correcting mistakes in technique or forgoing learning some theory or memorizing a song or two. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t perform!

But do take the time to enjoy your musical journey. After all, it’s going to last the rest of your life.

Until next time, play well. Play often.

Stay safe.

And, always,