Newsletter Vol. 3 # 55 – November 15, 2007


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #55 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • News and Announcements
  • New Articles and Lessons
  • Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
  • Digging Through The Archives
  • Forum Findings
  • Coming Attractions
  • Random Thoughts

News And Announcements

How did it get to be the middle of November already? And is Thanksgiving (in the US anyway) really just a week away? If I had the time, I’d spend it worrying about how fast it seems to go these days…

Usually around this time of year, a couple of things start happening. First, we tend to get a lot of emails asking us how one can go about donating to Guitar Noise. You can find those answers on the donation page.

And we’d also like to add that, while we appreciate the donations, there are many other causes and charities that we think you should consider as well. Even though there haven’t been many huge catastrophes in the news (and depending on how you get your news, some catastrophes may never even pop up), places like the Red Cross and others can always use help. There are numerous charities specially geared towards music, some on a big scale, some being very local (such as the PR Kellerman Foundation, which provides free music scholarships in the county where I live), some geared toward tuition and others toward necessities like health care. They all can use some help – not only at this time but pretty much any time!

And it’s even more important than ever that one knows that a gift of money is far from the only way of making a difference. Time, volunteer work, materials, simply spreading the word around about organizations that help others, is a big part of helping them do what they’ve set out to do.

And this kind of ties into the second thing…

Quite often as the year is winding down, we tend to take stock of things. Of life, of the goals we’ve set out for ourselves, of the new goals we want to strive for. As always, I want to challenge each of you to include your love of music, and the sharing of that love of music into your goals. It’s amazing how a little music can bring a lot of life and light into a heart.

In the past, one thing that we did was to get stories from our readers about the “joy of music” in their lives. Little (and big) things that demonstrated how powerful and how important a force music can be in the world. If you’ve a story you’d like to share, please send it on to me and please include “joy of music” in the subject line.

And now let’s take a gander at what’s gone up online since our last newsletter. Paul and I have had some crossed wires getting a couple of lessons up, so if they’re not online yet, they will be very, very soon:

New Articles And Lessons

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.

Songwriting As A Learning Tool
(or is it “learning as a songwriting tool”?)
By David Hodge

For many guitarists, playing and songwriting go hand in hand. Since both skills improve with practice, why not try practicing on both simultaneously?

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

tip: One Finger Guitar Chord Primer

We’re going to take a little break from the Playing By Ear series to get into some very basic basics. This is going to be for newbies, total guitar neophytes just starting out. Let’s call this the One Finger Guitar Chord Primer series. Here’s a tentative outline of the start of this series:

  • the One shape
  • tuning your guitar down — incl. cautions
  • songs with it (3 chord tunes: Happy birthday, Louie, Louie, etc.)
  • adding one more inger
  • dominant
  • minor

This is a rough, rough outline subject to change. The idea here is to give you the absolute easiest shapes to begin making music with, as opposed to the standard open C, open G, and other open chords that can be tough to finger, remember, understand and see.

I invite your comments and suggestion on this approach. You can send them here: [email protected] Remove the _NO_SPAM when you type out the email address. Okay, first thing is tuning.

Tuning down: optional step

You don’t have to do this step, but I highly recommend it: Tuning your guitar DOWN. One of the biggest problems beginners face is lack of finger strength. We’re going to minimize that problem by making the strings as easy to press down as possible — while still enabling us to produce sounds, obviously.

A caution in doing this: Keeping your guitar tuned like this may not be very good for your guitar over a long period of time. So, you may want to tune down per the following instructions, practice the lesson, and then tune back to regular tuning.

We’re just going to tune three strings here: 2, 3 and 4. As you hold the guitar these are the strings second, third, and fourth nearest the floor. Yes, we’re ignoring string 1 for now. Tune the guitar to the sound files on this web page.

And that’s all we have time for now. Remember to send any questions and comments to [email protected] without the no-spam piece.

Next time out: the Pushbutton shape. Thanks for reading.

Darrin Koltow

Copyright © 2007 Darrin Koltow

Digging Through The Archives

Around this time every year, I find myself rereading articles from our Joy of Music page.

There are some great stories from our readers from the past eight years and about what music means to them and about how it’s touched their lives.

It’s not that one has to wait until now to find a joy in music! A day doesn’t go by without finding it somewhere…

And if you have a story you’d like to share, please pass it along. See the “News and Announcements” section for details.

Forum Findings

The new Sunday Composers Workshop, or “SCW” for short, is up and running.

The SCW is a companion forum page to the popular Sunday Songwriters Group, now entering its sixth year of existence. The SCW focuses on the music aspect of songwriting while the SSG still highlights the development of lyric writing.

Come on by and take part in either (or both) of these exciting efforts and get to know some of your songwriting colleagues of the Guitar Noise Forums.

Event Horizon

Things seem a little quiet with the upcoming holidays. If you happen to be in my neck of the woods at the end of the month, I’ll be playing back-up for local singer / songwriter Todd Mack, along with bassist Will Curtiss and a whole bunch of other talented locals at the Monterey General Store, in Monterey, Massachusetts, on Friday, November 30. Todd’s shows, especially in this venue, are always a bit magical. He tends to bring out the best in his band, even if they’ve never played together before! Show runs from 7 to 9 PM. Come early!

Coming Attractions

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.

Stretching Out
Soloing Part 2
By Josh Urban

In his follow up to the basics of soloing, Josh demonstrates the major scale and the pentatonic and their usefulness in helping you improve your lead playing.

We’ll also be seeing more song lessons, both in the Easy Songs for Beginners Section and the Songs for Intermediates page, as well as getting a number of holiday song lessons, done in chord melody style. I believe that Silver Bells and Blue Christmas are two of the six or so lessons we’re hoping to get up online this season.

Random Thoughts

No rest for the weary, I’m afraid… A couple of big projects that I hope we’ll be able to chat about next time. Plus I have to get going on finding a turkey. There are quite a number of wild ones that live around here, but I think I’ll do my hunting at the store…

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

And, as always,