Newsletter Vol. 3 # 87 – April 1, 2009


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #87 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • Greetings, News and Announcements
  • Topic of the Month
  • New Lessons and Articles
  • Coming Attractions
  • Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
  • Forum Finding
  • Forum Finding
  • Forum Finding
  • Random Thoughts

Greetings, News and Announcements


For those of you who do not speak Felinese, I’ll kindly translate: “Welcome to the April 1, 2009 edition of Guitar Noise News. My name’s Charley and I’m filling in for David for this newsletter.

Charley T. CatUsually David will ask me nicely to substitute for him, but this time out I (politely) told him he needed a break from the newsletter as he’s been very busy with some projects. Well, there was also the fact that he was coming up with all these dreadful ideas for an “April Fool’s Issue” of Guitar Noise News. “Dreadful” doesn’t even begin to cover it. The idea of writing up the newsletter as a stereotypical bit of “scam spam” for instance (“Dear friend, my name is Percival Bogus and as Minister of Music of Upper Fierenziastania I have acquired more than twenty-thousand 1957 Fender Telecasters, all in butterscotch blonde and all in what eBay would describe as “pristine condition.” I am writing you because I would like them to be yours. Send me your credit card information and I will ship them to you, regardless of where you live my dearest, blessed friend, at the mere cost of eighty-nine cents…”) has been done to death, don’t you think?

I did like his ideas for the various “100 Lists” issues of Guitar Noise News. Trouble is that it was hard to make them not sound real, especially to guitarists or other people who read Rolling Stone. I mean, “The Top 100 Guitarists that You Think Are Under-Rated and that No One Besides You Has Ever Heard Of” sounds like one of theirs. Or “The 100 Best Guitarists of All Time Not Counting Anyone Who Plays Any Sort of Classical Music or Jazz or Pop or Anything Our Readers Think is Lame” would have worked if we hadn’t read it in their March 2009 Issue. Personally, I couldn’t decide between “The Top 100 List of Lists To Make You Buy Our Magazine” and “The Top 100 Musicians We Worship Because Their Very Name Makes People Buy Our Magazine” (two versions of this – one with Kurt Cobain at position 3 and one with him at position 11).

Anyway, I told David to work on other things and I’d handle this issue of the newsletter. I even went and got my photo taken so that I’d look more author-like.

Not too bad, is it? Maybe I can get Paul to post it up on the Guitar Noise updates. I think I’d look good on Facebook, don’t you? So maybe you’ll see me on the Guitar Noise Facebook page, which can be found at, at some point, along with the regularly updated news about the latest lessons and podcasts. Maybe he’ll even mention this latest issue of Guitar Noise News. Come on by and see!

And don’t forget that Paul also posts updates on Twitter – and that there’s also a MySpace page, too.

Okay, I’ve covered the “Greetings” portion of the newsletter, so I guess it’s time to do the “News and Announcements.” As some of you may already know, David’s been spending a lot of time on some side projects (mostly making pitches to various publishers) and I’m thrilled to announce to the world that he’s just gotten a new assignment from Alpha Books. He’ll be writing a new book for them, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Rock Guitar.” If all goes according to schedule, this book will be out sometime around the end of this year. For more about it, check out this thread on the “News” page of the Guitar Noise Forums.

While this is all very exciting, it also means that I might have to do some more subbing on the newsletters. The folks at Alpha want this book entirely written and an audio CD recorded by the middle of August. That’s a lot of work! But I’m sure he can do it.

And I also want to mention that David would probably spend most of the time writing the book just trying to thank everyone in the Guitar Noise community for their support in making all this possible if I let him! You are all wonderful and have been inspiring him to become a better teacher and writer since he first started writing for Paul, all the way back before I was even born. This is a great way for him to celebrate his upcoming ten-year anniversary with Guitar Noise.

Topic of the Month

And speaking of Guitar Noise, our “Topic of the Month” for April is “Playing Live.” When you visit the Home Page of Guitar Noise during April, you will notice, up on the left hand side, close to the top, a list of articles all dealing with the topic of live performance as well as links to some of the many wonderful articles and lessons we have here at Guitar Noise about playing live, written by a wide range of contributing authors. You’re bound to find a lot of interesting and educational material on this topic.

And there’s more new stuff at Guitar Noise as well:

New Lessons and Articles

The Magic Triangle Of Musicianship
by Nick Minnion

Let’s offer a warm “welcome back” to Nick, who brings us a look at the interlocking relationship of three important creative aspects of musicianship – improvising, composing and transcribing – and how you can use them to move up from being someone who just dabbles with the guitar to a serious musician.

How To Instantly Improve Your Guitar Teaching Business By Eliminating These Top Nine Mistakes Guitar Teachers Usually Make
by Tom Hess

Tom discusses the business side of teaching guitar, focusing on nine problem areas in promoting and maintaining your business as a guitar teacher.

Coming Attractions

Even with the book deadlines, David is hoping to put out two to four new articles for Guitar Noise each month. Among the lessons he’s currently working on are:

Easy Songs for Beginners: Comfortably Numb, Sweet Home Alabama, Ziggy Stardust, Mister Bojangles

Songs for Intermediates: Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, If I Had A Boat, Homeward Bound, Hello In There, Fire and Rain

Plus more on the “Turning Scales into Solos” and “Beyond Up and Down” series as well as a return of our “Chord Melody Song Arrangements,” which will deal with pop and rock songs, like Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and the Ventures’ classic surf anthem “Walk Don’t Run” as well as many others.

I know you’ve seen this list before, so it should give you some idea of what’s coming. I know, for instance, that the lessons on “Comfortably Numb,” “Don’t Think Twice” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” should be out before the next newsletter. Don’t worry – I do my best to make sure that David won’t burn out or miss a deadline.

And if you have ideas or suggestions, don’t hesitate to send them along to him. Just try to be considerate of his time and understand that he may not be able to get to things as quickly as either you or he would like.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Tip for April – Practicing Modes (Part 5)

We’ve been exploring modes, the C Ionian mode in particular. So far, we’ve communicated the C Ionian sound through chords, arpeggios and scales. We’ve done all this in one position. Let’s take a look now at moving from one position to another, as we stick to making the C Ionian sound.

We’ll start with C Ionian chords, with melody notes on strings 1 and 2 at least. We might dig a bit deeper and also do up to (down to) strings 3, and maybe 4, too.

Plus, we can break this exploration into two categories: (1) straight diatonic C Ionian chords and (2) chords with melody notes that are chromatic to the C major scale — but that relate to the C major scale, and C Ionian sound.

Let’s dig in. Here are C Ionian chords with the melody note on string 1:


Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2009 Darrin Koltow
Pardon the obvious pun, but he’s a cool cat!

Forum Finding

Speaking of cool, have you ever read or watched the “Beginners’ Videos” thread on the “Hear Here” page of the Guitar Noise Forums? Still going strong at fifty-seven pages and turning eighteen months old this week!

If there was one thread that summed up the heart and soul of all that Guitar Noise is about, this would be the one. People learning guitar and sharing what they’ve learned to help encourage beginners like themselves to play and not be afraid of making mistakes.

People, for some reason, sometimes like to believe that there’s this magic answer that will allow them to not have to learn things, to not have to go through the wonderful process of acquiring knowledge and skills that help you along. Any cat could tell you that the learning process itself is often more important than what you learn.

This people who have contributed to the “Beginners’ Video” thread, as well as those who have been offering advice and encouragement, totally get it. Here’s to looking at another fifty-seven pages of learning and wonder!

Emails? We Get Emails!

One of the many pleasures of living here with David is that he shares his emails with me, and I’d like to share a few with you:

Hello, David!

I have no musical talent whatsoever. In fact, I can’t play music without the written notes even after years of practice, although my fingers do have a memory even if my brain doesn’t.

Consequently, I compensated by buying all types of books, videos and DVDs to see if could overcome my limitations. In this regard, I consider myself almost an expert on the learning tools for guitar.

I stumbled across your sessions at Guitar Noise a few weeks ago and I am must tell your presentation is the best I have ever encountered both in terms of interest and effectiveness. I am completely amazed, although grateful, that you provide everything for free.

Your work has definitely made the world much richer.



As an aspiring guitarist I want to thank you for the lessons that you have posted on the Internet, especially “I Shot the Sheriff” and “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.” Your teaching style is clear and straight forward, and very much complements the type of guitar playing that I am enjoy.

Thank you for make your work available to us faceless masses who are learning from you on the Internet. Nice work!

Speaking for David, I would like to extend you thanks for what he would undoubtedly call your “very kind words” about his lessons. He spends a lot of time working on them, more than he’s probably ever admit, and I can also tell you in confidence that he truly enjoys writing the lessons for Guitar Noise probably more than anything else besides just simply spending time playing music with friends or just sitting and relaxing with me, Lily and whoever happens to be hanging out here at the house.

Event Horizon

(Note – I’ve “cut and pasted” the introduction to this section because I think it says what it should!)

And while this isn’t a “gig alert” per se, it is certainly about a gig. My thanks to Pancho and Lefty Reichert for sending it to my attention.

I don’t know about you, but Lily and I are hoping to catch this act sometime soon!

Random Thoughts

I’ve mentioned Lily a few times and if you are not familiar with our story, this may be a good time to fill you in. First, let me show you my companion.

Lily and I first met in foster care at Animal D.R.E.A.M.S – a cat rescue organization in Berkshire County, Massachusetts (find out more about them at She was born a feral cat while I was a pet that somehow was abandoned. Yvonne Borsody, who founded the organization interviewed David and Karen and determined that both Lily and I might be very happy living with them. And she couldn’t have been more right about anything. We love it here.

So while reading the Guitar Noise Forums over David’s shoulder the other day, I noticed a thread titled “Gave One Away” and nudged David into clicking on it so that we could read it. You can find it here.

Even though this ended up not being at all about cats, it still made me very happy to see a person doing something so nice for another person. Earlier I mentioned that people seem to think that there is a “magic” way to learn guitar and I don’t want to give you the impression that I don’t believe in magic. Rather I would like you to understand that the magic comes from what you do with music, what you do with the tools and gifts you have. All the practice and preparation is part of that wonderful journey of learning that I wrote about and it is incredibly important. But what you have in your heart is what makes the whole thing magical.

Some people go through their lives without giving and sometimes that’s a conscious choice. But often it’s because of a misguided notion that they’ve nothing to give. And nothing could be further from the truth. You may not have money, you may not have time, but you do have hearts. And your heart will help you find the time and effort if you will let it.

Even if all you can give is a smile, know that that is a wonderful start. And that’s what makes life magical.

As David tells Lily and me, “Thanks for being here.”

Oh, and if you’d like to write me, just send a note in care of David ([email protected]). I keep nudging him about getting me an email account. Maybe one day soon!

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