Newsletter Vol. 3 # 58 – January 01, 2008


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #58 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • News and Announcements
  • New Articles and Lessons
  • Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
  • Emails? We Get Emails!
  • Event Horizon
  • Reviews
  • Random Thoughts

News And Announcements

A Happy New Year greeting to all of you! Welcome to 2008 and please accept my best wishes to all of you for a wonderful upcoming year.

We’ve been pretty busy at Guitar Noise, even with the Christmas and New Year holidays, so let’s check in on all the new lessons that have been put up online since we last chatted…

New Articles And Lessons

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.

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.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Tip: One Finger Chord Primer (cont’d)

Welcome back to the one-finger guitar chord primer. Last time, we used the one-finger foundation shape to play a simple chord progression. We’re going to do the same basic thing this time, except we’re going use the one-finger shape to make a new type of chord.

I’ll give a brief explanation of the shape, which is just as easy as the shape we’ve been playing on strings 2 through 4. Then, I’ll refer you to the video for this lesson, which I think may be clearer than written explanations.

The original shape has the first finger covering strings 2 through 4, on any fret. Now, we’re going to use the one finger to cover strings 1 to 3. Try this now: press the first finger of your left hand on strings 1 to 3, at fret 3. Here’s a graphic to help.

And, very similar to how we plucked the original chord, we’ll use our right hand fingers to pluck strings 1 through 3 instead of 2 through 4. Here’s a graphic of the right hand.

Once you get sound from this chord, compare the sound of the original chord and the new chord, by playing them one after the other. The particular thing you’re listening for is this: the original chord sounds kind of cheerful or upbeat. It’s called a _major_ chord. But the new chord we just learned sounds kind of somber. It’s called a _minor_ chord.

If you’re not picking up those cheerful/somber sensations yet, don’t worry. The more you play, the better your ear gets.

Now let’s look at the chord progression in action.

(This is playable in the free and reliable VideoLan player, available at .)

By the way, it may reassure you to know that I have been trying out these exercises by pretending I’m left-handed, which involves fretting with my “wrong” hand. I never practice like this and have zero skill playing this way, but I am able to get decent sounds from the instructions in this lesson series.

But that’s no guarantee that you won’t have some challenges. If you are having difficulty, send your comments to [email protected] Remove the no spam bit.

Next time we may cover a longer chord progression that uses the two basic chord shapes we know. Thanks for reading.

Darrin Koltow

Copyright © 2007 Darrin Koltow

Emails? We Get Emails!

Boy, do we ever! And I’ve somehow managed to (finally!) get caught up with almost all of the ones I’ve gotten these past four months…

Hi David,

I have really benefited from your beginner lessons for the guitar – learning Neil Young and Jimmy Buffet and some other amazing artists.

I began the guitar about one and a half months ago – so this is a very new thing for me! I do, however, have a background in piano so it’s been easier for me to pick up another instrument as I already have a solid background in understanding musical theory, language, and all the rest.

I have to say – I love the guitar! It brings out a different part of me…allows me to express something that’s always been there. I am diving into these songs and lessons that you have created – they are VERY challenging at times. I have to admit that I haven’t done every song in order but rather have gone to the ones I really know and love – as I know I will practice them religiously and improve my guitar skills. It is always true we need to have passion about what we play.

Right now I am working on Neil Young’s Heart of Gold (I might even pick up the harmonica just so I can chime in with those solos!) and Pink Floyd’s Wish you Were Here. They are a stretch – but I am starting to make some progress as my fingers finally don’t hurt all that much while playing! (Do you remember those days….?)

Would you ever consider writing a few more beginner lessons for guitar using some more songs? They have truly blessed me- especially because you encourage creativity and development of our own style through examples. It’s really lessons in mentorship. If you also have any other suggestions for resources as a beginner I would appreciate it! Thanks again,

Thank you for writing and my apologies for not replying sooner. It’s been very hectic between my teaching schedule and the things that need to get done at home (and still need to get done at home) of late and I’m so far behind on my email correspondence that I’m wondering if I’ll ever catch up!

And thank you as well for your kind words concerning my beginners’ lessons at Guitar Noise. I’m always glad to know that they are being helpful to someone and it’s very cool to find out that people from all over the world are reading them and learning from them as well.

By the bye, if you ever get going on the harmonica, there’s a great beginner’s “harmonica for gutiarists” website and, if I remember correctly, they have a lesson on Heart of Gold. The harmonica part, that is.

As far as more beginners’ lessons, I’m hoping that I’ve (finally) managed to get my teaching schedule set up so that I can contribute on a much more regular basis to Guitar Noise. Ideally, I’d like to be posting two or three new ones a month. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thank you once more for the email and for your patience in receiving a reply. I look forward to chatting with you again.


And I’d just like to add a brief note – I am going to try to do my best to get back to answering every email that I get. But in order to do that I’ll need your patience and assistance. Sometimes my computer either eats email or I hit the wrong button and lose it or who knows what happens. So if you write to me and don’t get a reply with a reasonable time (and a month is, seriously, a reasonable time), then please write me again. Don’t think you’re being a pest. I truly enjoy getting email and corresponding with everyone. Some days are just easier than others!

Event Horizon

Sometimes I miss being in the Chicago area a lot, especially when I’d get a chance to see some good friends play great music. Case in point, you can catch singer / songwriter Kathy Reichert at the Border’s Books & Music store, located at 595 Central Avenue in Highland Park, Illinois on Friday, January 11. The music starts around 8:30.


We’ve no new reviews this time out, but I’m currently working on two that should be up online before we next chat.

Reviews are one of the hardest parts to keep up with here at Guitar Noise. We’re continually getting requests to review things, such as CDs and tutorial books and even the occasional bit of gear, but we don’t have anywhere near enough staff interested in taking the time to write reviews.

So we’d like to ask the Guitar Noise community for help. If you have something you’d like to review – doesn’t matter if it’s a review of an album, concert, DVD (tutorial, concert or otherwise), book or even a guitar or guitar/music product, feel free to drop me a line and try to put “proposed review” in the subject.

For those of you who are always thinking about “giving back to the community,” this is certainly a fine way to do so. And it’s a great way to let people know what you think about your Christmas presents!

Seriously, please feel free to contact me about any aspect of reviewing. Or anything else concerning writing for Guitar Noise, as you’ll read about in just a moment…

Random Thoughts

I’ve been thrilled to note that we’re getting more and more new folks contributing to Guitar Noise these days. One of the things that sets this website apart from the others is that it is a community. People gather together to help each other create music in their lives and to share that music with the rest of the world.

And I’m always amazed at how many people are willing to offer ideas, to share their musical knowledge and expertise. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take part as well. If you’ve some thought about sharing what you can with your family of Guitar Noise readers, take a look at our submissions guide.

You don’t have to have a huge article. Don’t forget that we also now have the Guitar Noise blog, which nicely accommodates small pieces. So, why not make a New Year’s Resolution to become a bigger part of the Guitar Noise community? Feel free to send along an email to me and try to put “proposal” in the subject line. I’ll be more than happy to chat with you about your ideas and to see whether we can bring them out to the rest of the Guitar Noise community.

Once again, I personally want to thank you all for making 2007 such a wonderful and memorable year. May 2008 be even more magical and may you always find music and happiness wherever and whenever you can.

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

And, as always,