Newsletter Vol. 3 # 53 – October 15, 2007


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #53 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • News and Announcements
  • New Articles and Lessons
  • Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
  • Blog Bulletins
  • Forum Findings
  • Coming Attractions
  • Random Thoughts

News And Announcements

Man, it’s the middle of October already and I am not ready for this. Personally, Paul and I are in the middle of a very busy few weeks, so forgive the brevity of this newsletter. There’ll be more than enough to make up for it next time!

We did manage to get two new articles up online you might have read about in our last newsletter:

New Articles And Lessons

How To Become A Professional Guitarist And Musician
Part 4 ~ “Making It”
by Tom Hess

Everyone knows the extreme ends of the bell curve – either you’re a multimillionaire rock god (or goddess) playing for hundreds of thousands of people at a time or you’re playing at the local bus depot hoping to get enough spare change to buy your next meal. But there’s a huge number of musicians making a living, a comfortable living, playing music. Tom Hess takes a look at this “Silent Majority” and helps you to see how you might find your niche, doing what you love.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Welcome back to the playing by ear lesson series. We’re going to continue playing simple melodies by ear this lesson, and we’re going to do it on the guitar.

In the last lesson we learned how to play the familiar Noel Christmas tune by ear on the piano, and saw that it only needed eight different piano keys. We ignored the black piano keys, because the tune stays totally in C major. The white notes on the piano represent all the notes in C major.

Ideas for practice

Playing that one melody by ear feels terrific, but once you can play it smoothly you’re going to want to learn more melodies by ear. Lots more. And you’ll learn each one more quickly than the last, watching your musical ear develop.

If you want to continue using the simulated piano to learn simple melodies by ear, which I strongly encourage you to do before picking up the guitar, you’ll want to keep on working with tunes in C major, at least at first. The reason you want to stick to C major is that it lets you figure out tunes using just the white keys on the piano.

So the question is, where do you find more melodies in C major? Here are a couple of strategies to answer that:

Finding C major melodies

Ask a buddy or someone else who can play by ear, or at least has been studying music for a little while, to transpose a tune for you. Tell your buddy the name of the melody you want to learn, or give him a sound file with the melody. Then, offer to bake him those blue brownies he likes so much in exchange for his transposing the melody to C major for you, and playing it. When your buddy plays, record him. Then, it’s time for you to listen to this melody, which is now in C major, and then play it by ear. Once you have your piano available, go through the same procedure we covered last lesson to play by ear: listen to the recording, sing, and pick out the melody on the piano’s white keys.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2007 Darrin Koltow

And I’d like to add one more thing about finding C major melodies. If you have access to any music books, even those beginner guitar books that you might have tossed into the closet, they’re bound to be full of songs with C major melodies. This will not only sharpen your ear, but your sight reading skills as well.

Blog Bulletins

In case you’ve not been keeping up with things, we’re reposting Darrin’s tips from the early days of “Volume 3” of Guitar Noise News every Friday at the Guitar Noise Blog, which is located here.

The Guitar Noise Blog tells you all about the latest news going on at Guitar Noise, from contests like the Queensryche Greatest Hits Deluxe Edition CD giveaway (ends on October 25, so better hurry!) to news about the upcoming new year at the Sunday Songwriters’ Group and the new Composers’ Workshop. There are also mini-lessons and general musings on all sorts of topics for guitarists of all styles and experience.

Come on bye and say hi. See you there!

Forum Findings

The folks who frequently visit the Guitar Noise Songwriting Club Forum page recently put together a songwriting contest and the judges have begun to announce their findings. You can find links to the song entries, as well as critiques from the panel of judges here.

Pop over and listen to some great music. Maybe we’ll be hearing your songs posted up online soon!

Coming Attractions

Coming very soon to the Guitar Noise website:

Connecting The Dots (Part 3)
Walking Forwards and Backwards
By David Hodge

We continue our study of walking bass lines, looking specifically at how the timing and distance become our guideposts, helping us to map out our journey from one target note to the next. Examples from many songs, including a little of Bob Dylan’s You Ain’t Going Nowhere and Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day will serve as demonstrations in our lesson.

As Tears Go By
Connecting the Dots (Part 4)
By David Hodge

Here’s another Easy Song for Beginners’ Lesson, using our continued study of walking bass lines to help us create an arrangement where the bass line also helps us lock into the melody of the song. Once the basics are in place, you can make the rest of the arrangement as simple or as complicated as you’d like.

In addition, we’ll be seeing new lessons from Tom Hess and Josh Urban in the upcoming weeks. And possibly a few from brand new writers as well…

Random Thoghts

As you all know, Guitar Noise has become a haven for many guitarists of all ages and playing abilities. I think this is mostly because of the incredibly friendly and fostering atmosphere. It’s our hope that everyone can be part of the community. It’s not about how much you know or how long you’ve played or what style you favor or who your favorite group is or how much gear you have or what type of guitar you prefer. It’s about helping everyone enjoy making music to the best of his or her ability.

Recently, there’s been a very interesting trend at the Guitar Noise Forum pages. Many beginner guitarists are posting links to videos of themselves playing (or attempting to play) various songs and pieces, such as you’ll find on this post in the “Hear Here” page.

There are also people posting on the Guitar Noise Lessons page, performing their covers of some of the songs from the “Easy Songs for Beginners” lessons here on our website. This is not only pretty cool, but also incredibly wonderful – beginners often tend to shy away from playing in public.

So I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who’s been helping to encourage others to play by showing them that learning is a process. No one is born knowing how to play guitar. It’s not only encouraging to all beginners, it’s also humbling for those of us who’ve been playing so long we think we were born knowing how to play a G chord.

Until our next newsletter, play well. Play often. Stay safe.

And, as always,