Newsletter Vol. 3 # 71 – August 1, 2008


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #71 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • Greetings, News and Announcements
  • Coming Attractions
  • Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
  • Forum Findings
  • Podcast Postings
  • Random Thoughts

Greetings, News And Announcements

I have to say that I’m not really good at time traveling. Recording a message for an answering machine is always a trial. I’ll hit play and start in:

Hi! This is David and we’re not here now. Actually, we are here now. But not the “now” when you’re calling. Actually, that may not be true, either, as I might just be in another part of the house and not able to get to the phone before the required amount of rings sends you to the answering machine saying “I’m not here now.”

Anyway, assuming I am not here at the “now” when you’re calling, please feel free to leave me a message now. That’s your “now,” and not the “now” when I’m recording this and telling you that I’m not here “now” even though I certainly am, otherwise how would I be recording this? Your “now” is my future, but it will sound really silly saying “Please leave a message in the future,” because you’ll probably be even more confused than I am now.

And that’s “now” now, when I’m recording this.


Anyway, leave a message “now” and I’ll return your call later. At least we can all agree on that! Until we realize, when I call you back, that it’s become “now” again…

This should go a long way to explaining that I have an incredibly boring message on my machine, but not do much about explaining why I’m discussing this now…

Today, as I write this, is Tuesday, July 22, and I am leaving bright and early tomorrow for a bit of a summer road trip – visiting family in Chicago for the first time in almost two years, moving up to the northwest suburbs to play a show with some friends, former band mates and former students, and then saunter home with a side trip to Quebec City.

Today, as you read this, is Friday, August 1 and I am hopefully somewhere in the general vicinity of Quebec City, taking in the sites and making new friends.

It can all be a bit confusing, no?

The gist of it all is that the coordination for this trip turned into a bit of a nightmare at one point and, owing to a great many circumstances beyond my control, there are a number of lessons and articles that are in the “almost ready to go” pile. But no new ones.

It’s enough to make me long for the “old days,” not that many years ago, when Paul used to go on “sabbatical” once a year and give us a bit of a vacation. But nowadays, computers (not to mention the Internet) can follow you everywhere and you have to make a decision as to whether or not you’re going to spend the time you are with friends actually being with your friends or being somewhere else.

For the next ten days, I’m going to be with my friends.

So this is going to be one of those notoriously short newsletters, but rest assured that there’s a lot in the pipeline and you’ll be seeing it online within the next few days.

First among the newest lessons will be the following:

Coming Attractions

The Major And The Minor
Turning Scales into Solos (Part 3)

by David Hodge

While it’s vital to use a chord progression to help you decide on a scale, knowing the style or feel of both a song and a scale is just as important. This lesson focuses on the minor pentatonic scale and why it is used so much for blues (and other genres) in major keys.

The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)
Songs for Intermediates
by David Hodge

We’re going to combine a very simple walking bass with some of our Travis picking and create a light, lilting arrangement of this Simon and Garfunkel song. Even beginners can tag along as we’ll be using chord shapes that involve only one or two fingers of the fretting hand!

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Tip on Inversions

How do some guitarists seem to barely move their hand when they change chords? The answer is inversions. Learning how they work can give you a “slowhand.”

If you know where to find a chord’s root, and the importance of roots in a chord progression, understanding inversions should present no huge challenge.

Here’s an example of a simple chord progression:


Instead of playing it that way, try this


That sounds better and is easier on your hand. But, how do you transfer your knowledge of the first place to play the second chord to find the second, easier place? I’m assuming you don’t know note names.

To answer this question, we do need to know about chord roots. The root of the first shape we used for the progression’s second chord is fret 10, string 3. Play that note and now look for it on string 2. You’ll find it on string 2, fret 6. Among the chord shapes you know, which have their root on string 2? The 6-5-7 shape is one of several possible answers.

The point of this discussion is to get you aware of the importance of knowing the root for each chord shape you play.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2008 Darrin Koltow

Forum Findings

Last time out, I mentioned that Paul had totally redesigned the Home Page of the Guitar Noise site, totally neglecting that it was a site-wide revamp. As usual, things did not go as smoothly as hoped. There were more than too many times when the site went down, especially in that busiest-of-all-Guitar-Noise-places, the Forums.

So we (“we” again meaning “Paul”) did a server upgrade last night (“my” last night, which would be more than a week before you get this…). As Nick posted on the forum:

Hello faithful Forum members,

I wanted to give you all a heads up that we are upgrading our server. It will be faster, shinier, have more memory, with a nice Solid Brazilian Rosewood case and Waverly Tuners and tuned to concert pitch. Oh it’s nice and it has nice low action.

The upshot of this will be that we may have some BRIEF downtime, but we’ll have a faster processor, more RAM, etc to handle our ever increasing web audience and to minimize any more outages like we had this past couple of weeks.

Thanks for your patience…

I hope that things have been going fine since it’s gotten back up. I won’t really be able to spend any quality time on the Forums until I get back (sometime in your very near future…), but I trust that Paul and Nick have done their best by everyone.

So, being seeing you on the new and improved Forum very soon!

Podcast Postings

Guitar Noise Podcast #13 – Getting Some Swing

In our thirteenth Guitar Noise Podcast, we move into the realm of swing. First, we’ll look at the feel of swing and of how “swing eighths” differ from the “straight eighth” notes that we’ve been using in our strumming up to this point.

And, since swing eighths are the basis of blues shuffles and rhythms, we’ll use our new strumming style in the “twelve bar blues” format as a way to get ourselves comfortable with the use of swing eighths in strumming. Then, as we have in past lessons, we’ll explore this rhythm further by combining it with a very cool walking bass line. You’ll be sounding like a Texas blues legend before you’re done!

As always, I’ll be walking you step by step through the lesson. And, as always, please let us know what you think.

Paul and I try to post a new Guitar Noise Podcast every other Monday, so look for the next one this Monday, August 3, 2008.

And, in case you’re interested, you can find all our Guitar Noise Podcasts (the current one as well as the first twelve) up online. As always, feel free to give us your feedback. You can post your thoughts here, at the Blog, or even PM or write me directly at [email protected]

Random Thoughts

As mentioned, I’m going to have to make this newsletter a bit short. In less than eight hours I’ll be out on the road and I’ve still got to pack.

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

And, as always…