Newsletter Vol. 3 # 56 – December 03, 2007


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #56 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • News and Announcements
  • New Articles and Lessons
  • Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
  • Holiday Treasures – Digging Through The Archives
  • Forum Findings
  • Blog Bulletins
  • Random Thoughts

News And Announcements

And as another year winds down, things seem to get more and more hectic. It’s an interesting time because we want to sit back and either enjoy ourselves and maybe reflecting on the past months and maybe working up goals and resolutions for the months to come and instead we find ourselves juggling no end of visits, errands, family and business matters. Life moves along at its merry pace…

It’s a little strange where I live, 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…

As mentioned last time out, we usually get a lot of emails around this time of year asking us how one can go about donating to Guitar Noise. You can find those answers here.

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 now let’s look at see how badly I’ve fallen behind since we last chatted!

New Articles And Lessons

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?

O Come All Ye Faithfull
By David Hodge

Here’s a simple chord melody arrangement of this holiday classic. And, as a bonus, it’s a great exercise for practicing your chord changes in a timely manner.

Blue Christmas
By David Hodge

Our arrangement for this moody piece uses many of the ideas from our “O Tannenbaum!” lesson. You’ll find yourself having a lot of fun even though you’re supposed to be “blue!”

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Tip: One Finger Chord Primer (cont’d)

Welcome back to the One Finger chord method. We’re going to learn the one foundation chord shape that will get us making music as fast as possible. That one shape will make it easier to learn more complex shapes later on.

To make this lesson as easy to read as it is to do, I think we’ll try to avoid tablature or other notation, and go right to pictures and sound. So let’s get to it: this is the one shape that you can start making music with almost immediately:

Place your first finger flat onto fret two, so that it’s pressing down strings 2, 3, and 4. (We number strings as follows: string 1 is closest to the ground, and 6 is closest to the ceiling.) Here’s a photo of what you need to do.

It’s okay if your finger covers more strings, but it must cover 2, 3, and 4. Now, how do we get sound? Time to look at the right hand. We’re not going to use a pick right now, but go “all natural,” or all fingers. And we’re going to pluck the strings. Again, it’s easier to see it than read it, so have a look.

Now, put the two together: press down with the first finger of your left hand on fret 2, while plucking with the fingers of your right hand. If you’re not getting sound, you may not be pressing hard enough, or your finger might be sitting atop the steel bar that separates the frets. Look for those things. If you’re still not getting sound, send an email here: [email protected] without the no-spam piece.

Now, what to do if you are getting sound? First, congratulations. And let’s save the goodies for next time.

Thanks for reading.

Darrin Koltow
Copyright © 2007 Darrin Koltow

Holiday Treasures – Digging Through The Archives

It’s time to dust off some of those holiday songs! And you can find a lot of them here on our Easy Christmas Songs Lessons.

From very easy arrangements of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas to hauntingly beautiful renditions of Celtic songs, you’ll find these songs a joy for both you and your audience.

Forum Findings

I know I’ve said this before, but it certainly bears repeating. Some of the most interesting music you’ve ever heard is being made by many of the readers of Guitar Noise. At the Hear Here Forum you can listen to anything from beginners trying out their first fledgling steps on the guitar to more “veteran” players sharing their latest recordings.

And at the Online Jams and Collaborations page you will find a chance to join in with your GN comrades in creating an online jam session. We’ve had all sorts of musical styles, from blues to rock to jazz and more.

So come on by and take part in either (or both) of these exciting Forum pages and get to know some of colleagues here at Guitar Noise.

Blog Bulletins

As you’ll note in the “Random Thoughts” section, we’re going to be posting many of the notes we get concerning “the joy of music” from our readers both here in the newsletter and at the Guitar Noise Blog as well. If you’re not aware that Guitar Noise even has a blog, where have you been?

In addition to the “Joy of Music” posts, you can also catch up on weekly repostings of “Exploring Music with Darrin Koltow” from the early days of “Guitar Noise News, Volume 3,” not to mention Paul Hackett’s current mini-series on “Unplugged Albums from the early 1990s.”

Plus, get caught up with Peter Garrett, former lead singer of Australia’s
phenomenal band, Midnight Oil, as he has been named Environment Minister for the Land Down Under. This appointment is a testament to this musician’s passion for his beliefs and it’s great to see that his concern for the world is still a driving force in his life. May we all be so inspired!

More Coming Attractions

Owing to a couple of “needs around the house that had to be dealt with before anything else” (does anyone else ever have those? I can’t be the only one…) I had to put off these two lessons for a bit. But they’ll be posted at Guitar Noise very shortly. At least as long as nothing else here at home ends up taking top priority for the moment!

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.

Plus, we’re hoping to have some lessons and articles from new writers up online in the very near future. I think you’ll be please to meet the new folks!

Random Thoughts

Even though we can certainly do it every day all year ’round, there’s something about this particular time of the calendar that makes us reflective. At Guitar Noise, we try to encourage everyone to share their music and their joy of music whenever possible. We even have a whole page devoted to stories on the Joy of Music that we’ve collected from our readers throughout the years.

This year, I’ve ask our readers to once again feel free to chat with us about their experiences and we’ll be posting some of them here in our newsletters as well as put some up online on the Guitar Noise Blog (see the “Blog Bulletins” section above). This little note comes from Peter of New York:

Mr. Hodge,
In a busy and often out of my control world I find joy in little improvements. At night the wife and kids are asleep, and I strum and fingerpick and sing the songs I like. Few of the songs are anything I would want others to hear yet, but every once in a while I notice something gets easier, something gets better and it feels really good.

I change the key the song is written into the key I sing in, or figure out where the capo should go, the barred F chord doesn’t sound like pots falling out of a cabinet, my fingers find the right strings for the Bm chord easily after more than a year of struggling, a new fingerpicking pattern takes a song to a new level. I feel I am polishing the songs I sing and discover different facets as my skills/knowledge improve.

To me the joy of music is standing alone in my living room playing something and going “wow… that sounds nice”. Thanks for Margaritaville, For What it’s Worth, Bookends, Time After Time and all of your lessons.

Take care…

Thank you, too, Peter for sharing with us!

And if you’d like to do so, please either email me directly (and be sure to include Joy of Music in the subject line) or simply log on to the Guitar Noise Blog and join in the discussion. We look forward to hearing from you!

We at Guitar Noise would like to wish each reader, not to mention his and her families and friends, a wonderful and safe holiday season. And thank you again (and always) for having us be a part of your lives.

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

And, as always,