Newsletter Vol. 3 # 57 – December 16, 2007


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #57 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
  • Coming Attractions
  • Random Thoughts

News And Announcements

It’s so hard to believe that this is the last newsletter of 2007. Next time you’ll receive the Guitar Noise News will be January 1, 2008, and shortly thereafter will be Chinese New Year, the Ides of March, May Day, Bastille Day, the first day of the new school year in September, Halloween and then I’ll be wondering where all of 2008 went to!

Here in the Berkshires we’re digging out from just shy of a foot of snow with another foot or so predicted to fall in the next forty-eight hours. So I’m kind of dividing my time between finishing the newsletter and shoveling and laying down grit (a mixture of sand, very small gravel and rock salt – not to be confused with “grits,” although some folks might tell you they’re composed of the same material) so students can get up and down our road.

Also on the “to do” list is wrapping and sending gifts to family, writing out cards, the usual sort of holiday stuff that always seems to get done later and later each passing year. Fortunately, it’s all fun to do!

Seeing as it’s still the “season of giving,” I’d like to remind you that if you’re of the mind to contribute to the Guitar Noise website, you can find out all about doing that on the Donation page.

And, again and verbatim, 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!

We’ve got a two new Christmas chord melody lessons up online, and more on the way the next few days, so let’s take a look at what’s new at Guitar Noise as the year winds down…

New Articles And Lessons

O Come All Ye Faithful
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 guitar primer. Last time, we introduced the single, foundation shape you need to start playing chords on the guitar. Please refer to the Guitar Noise newsletter archives for that lesson. I’ll summarize the lesson here: press the first finger of your left hand onto strings 2, 3, and 4 of your guitar. Do this on fret 2. Then, pluck those same strings with your right hand.

You can slide this single shape to any fret. Just be sure your finger is on strings 2 through 4, no matter what fret you’re on. In this lesson, we’re going to play a chord progression that slides our single shape to different frets. Before I try to explain it in words, have a look at the video here.

A necessary note about viewing this file: you can play it with QuickTime, but not with Windows Media Player. There’s another player, which I recommend over both those two. It’s free and it takes up much less space on your hard drive:

After you get the VideoLan player, download and watch the aforementioned file Then, play around with the shape: change the rhythm, use different frets, pluck a single string at a time instead of all three. Use your imagination. The important thing is NOT to be musical at this stage, but to create ideas, and to have fun doing so. By doing this, it’ll be much easier for you to build onto the foundation shape.

Let me know if you have any trouble with the lesson, including downloading or accessing the .mov file. I also want to hear about your success with this chord primer, and suggestions for improvement. Send mail here: [email protected] Remove the no spam bit.

Next time, we may continue with the one finger idea, but moved to strings 1 to 3.

Thanks for reading.

Darrin Koltow
Copyright © 2007 Darrin Koltow

Holiday Treasures – Digging Through The Archives

Just a reminder that you can find all sorts of wonderful holiday songs lessons here at Guitar Noise at 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.

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.

Organizing Practice For Better Results
By Tom Mariotti

In his first of hopefully many pieces for Guitar Noise, Tom Mariotti looks at how to go about organizing your practice sessions in order to get the most out of the time you put into them.

Open C Tuning
By Benjamin Lucas

Another new Guitar Noise writer makes his debut with this introduction to the wonders of open C tuning.

Silver Bells
By David Hodge

Another holiday classic, presented in an relatively easy chord melody arrangement for your playing pleasure.

Random Thoughts

As I’m writing this issue of Guitar Noise News, I’m also engaged in another chore, listening to tracks that I’m hoping will go into a CD of live performances that were recorded at various times during this past year at my gigs at the Monterey General Store. And I’m also thinking about goals for the upcoming New Year. That may seem an odd combination, but there’s a rhyme and reason to it.

And it’s kind of funny, because when I was starting out the year, one of my goals was to get out and perform a bit more than I had been doing up to that point. Not because of any great inner drive, simply because playing out was something that I was missing. So I turned up at open mikes, got a couple of bar gigs (courtesy of Guitar Noise Forum Moderator Wes Inman), had a few gigs at the Monterey General Store, backed up a number of local musicians in the area, played back up with Kathy Reichert, one of my former Chicago students at another show at the MGS, and also got my adult group classes out and playing at local Farmers’ Markets during the summer. And that’s not even counting hosting the Riverside Jam 2007 here in the Great Barrington area in August.

I’ve said it before, but there’s something about this particular time of the calendar that makes us reflective. Makes me reflective, I guess I should say…

And at the risk (not to mention the dated pun) of sounding like a broken record, it’s hard to know how to even start to thank all the people in my life who’ve been kind enough to share their love of music with me. From Guitar Noise folks – such as Wes, John (“the Celt”) Roche, the totally awesome (and awe-inspiring) Nick Torres, just to name a few – to old school friends and students (Greg, Kathy, Anne, Dan and Laura Lasley) to my latest crop of students and all the wonderful musicians I’m meeting on a seeming every day basis here, I can’t begin to tell you all what you mean to me.

And that goes to everyone who writes in to say hello or ask a question or to tell me a little about what music (and playing guitar) means to them. All this goodwill makes me into an insufferable “silver lining” sort of person sometimes, but I can’t help thinking that this is a good thing, too.

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.

And I personally want to thank you all for making 2007 such a wonderful and memorable year. May you always find the world a magical musical place…

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

And, as always,