Newsletter Vol. 3 # 54 – November 02, 2007


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #54 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

I’m going to turn the newsletter over to Paul, who has some news about our Queensryche contest:

The winners in our Queensryche – Sign of the Times Deluxe Edition CD Giveaway are Thomas Sneed and Dale Schmucker. Congratulations to both of you!

Recently we’ve given away prizes for George Thorogood and Ringo Starr fans. Keep an eye on the blog for even more cool contests coming up.

And let me add a hearty “Congratulations” to our winner!

Now let’s take a look at what’s new here at Guitar Noise since we last chatted:

New Articles And Lessons

A Beginner’s Guide To Soloing – Part 1
by Josh Urban

Josh Urban takes you through the very first steps of soloing, making the process a little less mysterious than many of us think it is! And less scary, too…

Songwriting ~ Part 1
by Tom Hess

Tom takes a look at the various methods of songwriting, with a focus on instrumental electric guitar pieces, This is a great introduction to creating new music by looking at how you approach your writing. Small changes in your thinking can produce very interesting results.

Sundays Will Never Be The Same
An Interview with the SSG’s Bob Mothers
By David Hodge

November 4 marks the end of Bob’s four-year tenure as leader of Guitar Noise’s Sunday Songwriters Group. As we look toward the start of Year 6 of the SSG, not to mention the debut of the Sunday Composers Workshop, what could be better than to spend some time with the man who has made the SSG the cool place it is?

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Welcome back to the playing by ear lesson series. We continue learning melodies in C major — and take it a little further.

Besides the approach we took last time to learn melodies in C major, here’s another way: an online program. This program plays melodies in C major, which you play back on a simulated keyboard. After you successfully repeat one melody, the next is harder.

Another option is to get a midi file for a simple tune with a clear melody, regardless of what key it’s in, and use the all powerful, free Power Tab ( to convert the melody to C major. Check out the Power Tab help file for more on this. Use to find the midi files.

A guitar scale

Once you feel pretty comfortable with playing melodies in C major on a piano, it’s time to play those melodies on the guitar. To do this, you’ll want to know at least one major scale pattern. The pattern we’re going to make use of in a short bit is this one:



These are all eighth notes except the last, which is a whole note.

Practice this until you can play it smoothly with a metronome. You don’t need a blazingly fast tempo. Any tempo that you could walk comfortably to will be just fine. Do make sure you can play the pattern without reading the

Once you can play this pattern, let’s figure out the Noel tune with it. First, here’s another version of the tune. It’s transposed down one octave, to fit the notes we’ve decided to work with. It’s still in C major.

Now, here is where you play the first three notes for the melody.

Begin playing the tune, note by note, on the guitar now. Using the procedure we went over in the last lesson. Here’s a summary of that procedure again:

Listen to the midi file. Sing along several times. Close the midi file, and sing the tune a cappella – just you, no backup. Use the above picture to play the first three notes. Choose the fourth note by answering this question: is the fourth note higher or lower than the third? Use your singing, and your knowledge of the major scale pattern above to find that fourth note. Then, do the same for the remaining notes in the melody.

Remember that the more text you read, the more confusing this simple, easy, joyful process may seem. So, quit reading and start playing.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2007 Darrin Koltow

Blog Bulletins

Heard about David Gilmour’s and GHS’ new line of guitar strings? Read any some scary stories, not to mention some simply outright weird tales, from the guitar community? Looked at the latest installment of Darrin’s tips from the early days of “Volume 3” of Guitar Noise News? You’ll find all this and more at the Guitar Noise Blog.

The Guitar Noise Blog tells you all about the latest news going on at Guitar Noise, from contests to “why’s the forum down?” as well as mini-lessons and general musings on all sorts of topics for guitarists of all styles and experience.

Come on by and say hi. See you there!

Forum Findings

This Sunday, November 4, the Guitar Noise Forum’s Sunday Songwriters Group will be beginning its sixth year of existence. We’ll be celebrating by unveiling a companion forum, known as the Sunday Composers Workshop, which will focus on the music aspect of songwriting. It’s going to be a lot of fun, so if you’ve an interest in songwriting, come on over. You’ll find the SSG here.

We look forward to your company!

Event Horizon

Kathy Reichert will be playing at the Gallery Cabaret (2020 North Oakley in Chicago) twice in the next few days. In ddition to her usual first-Monday-of-the-month show (7:00 PM on Monday, November 5), Kathy will perform a set on Saturday evening as well. So be there at 9:00 on November 3. Last time out, Kathy was backed up by Helena Bouchez on bass guitar and Anne O’Neil on percussion and that’s a trio not to be missed!

And on Sunday, November 11, I’ll be playing back-up for local singer / songwriter Todd Mack, along with bassist Will Curtiss for a jaunt across the Hudson River to Palenville, New York and the Second Sunday Music Series, held at the Gloria Dei Church on Route 23A. Show starts at 3:00 PM.

Coming Attractions

These two articles should be up online within the week:

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 move the song along by shadowing the melody. Once the basics are in place, you can make the rest of the arrangement as simple or as complicated as you’d like.

Plus, we’ll also be seeing an Intermediates’ Song lesson (or two) and the start of our holiday song lessons within the next few weeks!

Random Thoughts

It’s Halloween as I write this. Where I live we don’t get trick-or-treaters and that seems weird, even after being here close to four years now. If someone were to come by tonight and knock at the door, I’m not even sure what we’d give our costumed guests. There’s no candy in the house. Maybe some of the chili peppers we’ve grown and dried this year…

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

And, as always,