Newsletter Vol. 3 # 5 – September 01, 2005


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #5 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • News and Announcements
  • New Articles and Lessons
  • Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
  • Notes From Nick
  • Buried Treasure Of The Internet
  • Digging Through The Archives
  • Reviews
  • Off Site Sightings and Works In Progress
  • Random Thoughts

News And Announcements

Since this is the latest edition of Guitar Noise News, Volume III, it’s a good bet that today is September first, or pretty shortly thereafter if you’re reading this a day or two later. I hope that you are having a great summer and making the most of these last days of it. And, of course, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, then I should be wishing you the prospect of a beautiful spring.

Some of you may have noticed a small change concerning the Guitar Noise site this past summer. Usually we take a bit of a sabbatical – either Paul has a big project going on or we simply could use a vacation. This year we’ve managed to keep the site up and running while handling numerous tasks – big, small and in between. Part of this is owing to experience and part is pure luck.

Be that as it may, we’ve recently posted a lot of new material (with much more on the way) and we’ll take a look at that in just a moment. But first, the news:

One last thing to mention is that I’ve recently been getting a lot of interest from folks about writing articles and lessons for Guitar Noise. As a result, you’re going to be seeing quite a few new contributors to our site. Remember that feedback is always welcome, not to mention helpful!

Also, more contributors means more editing chores, so please don’t be discouraged if it takes me a little time to get back to you concerning your proposal or if it takes a more time than you’d like to get your article up online. Reading and following our submissions guidelines would be a big help but some of it is simply trying to get everything going at once.

And speaking of getting things going, let’s see what new pieces have gone up online since we last chatted. We’ll also have the latest from Darrin and Nick and I’ll even get you updated with things in my neck of the woods. Shall we?

But before we do, I’d like to note that those of you who’d like to enter the Sibelius G7 Give Away (see the International Songwriting Competition section further down) want to send your entries to the International Songwriting Competition. And not to me or Guitar Noise. Those of you who’ve already sent in one to me (or Guitar Noise), don’t worry. I’ve already forwarded your information on to the proper folks. Of course, doing so again probably couldn’t hurt!

All right then, onward!

New Articles And Lessons

Rocking The Rest Home
by Chad Andrews

If you’re looking for an appreciative audience or looking for a way to give back to the community or even just looking for a way to fine-tune your performance, chances are you can do all this very close to home. Here Chad Andrews tells of his experiences and advice concerning this easy way to make a lot of people happy!

Building A Relationship With Your Guitar
by Chris Standring

Having musical knowledge in your mind is important, but so is having it in your hands and fingers. And sometimes, quite often, in fact, it takes more time for that to happen than it does to get it into your head. Chris talks about how vital it is to get the “feel” of your instrument so that it can truly sing.

Work And Play
by Jamie Andreas

“Work” and “Play” may seem to be two separate activities, but the guitarist must learn to combine the two. Jamie Andreas’ latest piece discusses the importance of both work and play and details how to use both to get the most out of your practice and performance.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

This week Darrin gives us Part Two of Scales and Soloing:

We’re looking at scales to use for soloing. Here’s the progression we’re working with

||: C major, A minor, D minor, G7 :||

Last issue we improvised over these chords using the C major pentatonic (see the newsletter archives for details, including the pentatonic pattern we used).

Is the C major pentatonic the only scale you can use over a progression in C major? Thankfully, no. We have many choices. Listen carefully to how this next scale plays over the aforementioned changes. This is the G major pentatonic:


The G major pentatonic has none of the notes — F and C — that could cause unacceptable dissonances. Specifically, the F, if present, would clash over a C major and A minor chord, and the C, if present, would clash over a G major and E minor chord.

Let’s generalize this finding so we can play in other keys: if you know a phrase or progression or sub-progression is going to stay within a major key and not stray outside it, instead of playing the major pentatonic from the root of the key center (e.g. C penta within C major), play the major penta from the V of the key center (e.g. G penta). For D major, this means you would use the A major pentatonic pattern, and for G major, you’d use the D major pentatonic pattern.

Next time: Improvising with the Blues

Notes From Nick (or “The things you don’t know you know”)

So I’m sitting around on the porch, guitar in hand, working out the final wrinkles of “Here Comes the Sun” and I think, “Well the neighbors have probably heard enough of that, what’s next?”

And you know I couldn’t think of a single song.

I sat and thought a while and absolutely nothing came to mind.

“That’s impossible. I have to know at least twenty to thirty songs, don’t I?”

Then I had a thought. David had printed up some books for the Riverside Jam. (Thanks David, by the way). So I went inside and got the book. There had to be a hundred or so songs in there, just the chords and words printed out, but it’s a great resource.

I leafed through the book, and lo and behold there were twenty to thirty songs that I knew well. I was right. But that couldn’t be all could it?

Now I was on a mission, so off I went to the computer and wrote down all the songs in the Guitar Noise song lessons for beginners and intermediates. Hey whadda ya know, I’m up to almost fifty songs that I can play well.

There must me more! Down to the basement I went, into my studio/teaching area. Let me grab those Acoustic Guitar magazines from the past ten years. Wow, I forgot I knew “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” and “Caleb Meyer”, and “Makin’ Pies” and “Forgot that it was Sunday” and about 20 others. The total number of songs I know and can play is now seventy-seven!.

Hold on don’t I have Hal Leonard’s acoustic Beatles, the one with the excellent acoustic transcriptions? Well yes I do. We are up to eighty-eight songs. Which reminded me, didn’t I see some Beatles thing on the easy song forum?

Back to Guitar Noise and the easy song forum, uh-huh here we are. Now we are over one hundred and five tunes.

Hold on a sec, didn’t I create a bookmark of all my favorite tunes I know? Well yes I did.

This went on for the better part of four hours. Think, find, print, hole punch, stick in the book and think some more.

I went from not being able to think of a single song to having over two hundred tunes to play that I can play well.

You know the very cool part about it? I didn’t have to learn anything new or practice. I just had to remember the things I didn’t know I knew.

The point being, make yourself a book and keep it up to date. It’s a heck of a lot easier than what I just went through.

Buried Treasure Of The Internet

I already mentioned, which has a very broad selection of tab. Sometimes you just want to find a bunch of tunes by your favorite artist.

Here are two of my favorites for Neil Young tab:

If you can’t find them there, they don’t exist

If you don’t know who John Hiatt is, you should. If you haven’t heard him, I guarantee you’ve heard him covered; Angel Eyes, Have a Little Faith, Thing Called Love, all Hiatt tunes. Check them out here:

Click on the download tab and then click chords.

Do you have a tab site for a specific artist? Let me know about it and I put it up here next newsletter.

Digging Through The Archives

Tom’s article, Standard Notation, is a terrific way to get started on reading music notation. You can also check out Your Very Own Rosetta Stone and I’ve Got Rhythm on our Absolute Beginners page if you want more material on this important subject.


George L Cable Checker
Product Review by A-J Charron

Got a problem with a cable but don’t know which cable? With the cable checker you can test the shields and check for shorts. No more guess work!

Black Diamond Strings
Product Review by A-J Charron

In the world of guitar strings, it’s often hard to come to a decision regarding which ones you want to use. Black Diamond Strings may help you with that decision!

The D’Angle
Product Review by A-J Charron

The D’Angle is a neat little guitar stand. It’s very small and can be easily carried into a gig bag. You place it on a shelf, atop of a counter, or on any stable surface and hang your guitar from it.

Off Site Sightings And Works In Progress

Folks have written in asking to be updated on my latest writing activities, so I thought it would be a good idea to post them in a separate section, one where we could include all the Guitar Noise Staff and contributors. So if you’ve spotted one of our writers (or readers) outside the realm of the Internet, write me and I’ll post it up.

As for myself, I am hoping that my latest article for Acoustic Guitar Magazine will appear in one of the next two issues. It’s a piece on the “Basics of Crosspicking” and will feature a single-guitar crosspicking arrangement of the Counting Crow’s’ song Rain King. I also just turned in a lesson on sustained notes, which will hopefully turn up in their January issue. Included in this lesson will be a short transcription of Green Day’s Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life).

Speaking of Green Day, I’ve been asked to write up a beginners’ lesson on Wake Me Up When September Ends for Play Guitar! Magazine, which (if accepted) should also be out towards the beginning of next year. In the meantime, I will have an article on basic alternating bass patterns for their upcoming fall issue.

Random Thoughts

I’d like to take the time to thank everyone who’s written these past few weeks concerning another project of mine. If all goes well, I hope to be meeting sometime this month with the Editor-In-Chief of a big music publishing house to discuss the possibility of a book (or, hopefully, a series of books) based on the Guitar Noise Song Lessons that I’ve written. The idea will be to have the book (or books) contain fifteen to twenty songs, broken down piece by piece just as we do here at Guitar Noise. Each book will also contain an audio CD with the songs played in pieces (and at various tempos) as well as a “finished product” song to play along with.

The reason for going through a big music publisher is pretty obvious – I’d like to use songs people want to play, and why not go right to the song-rights source?

It’s my intention to try to come up with a tutorial book that will work on as many levels as possible, again, much like our lessons here at Guitar Noise. So if you’d like to chip in and tell me what you think works and doesn’t, that would be terrific.

One idea that a number of folks have written is to make certain that there is a “bare bones” version of any given song. Something that almost anyone can play with a minimal amount of effort. From there we’d add more to the arrangement of the song. Our lessons on Horse With No Name or Margaritaville will give you an example of this style of teaching.

Will this book project come off? I honestly don’t know. In the publishing world, it helps to have a strange combination of hard numbers (who will buy the book, why will they buy it, how will the book be different than all the others out there) and luck.

So, if you’d like the chance to tell a publisher what you’d like to see in a guitar lesson book, here’s your chance. I will be putting together a presentation for the Editor and the more information I can give her the better.

Send any comments at all to me and I’ll make sure they get used in my presentation.

And keep your fingers crossed!

Until we see you again on September 15, stay safe and play well.

And, as always,