Newsletter Vol. 3 # 89 – May 1, 2009


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #89 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • Greetings, News and Announcements
  • Topic of the Month
  • New Lessons and Articles
  • Exploring Music with Darrin Koltow
  • Emails? We Get Emails!
  • Event Horizon
  • Random Thoughts

Greetings, News and Announcements

A Happy May Day to all! And welcome again to Guitar Noise News, your free twice-a-month newsletter from Guitar Noise. I hope to enjoy it by watching some Morris Dancing at the May Day Festival at one of our local schools.

Things are busy, even though there’s not a lot of news to report. So let me just get right on to the latest happenings here at Guitar Noise…

Guitar Noise Featured Artist

First off, though, some of you have been astute enough to notice that in addition to our “Topic of the Month,” Paul has been running a “Featured Artist” section each month since the start of the year as well. Usually these consist of a bit of a bio, plus links to Guitar Noise song lessons of that particular artist’s work.

Well, to mark his birthday, not to mention to celebrate the release of his latest studio album this past week, we’re going with Bob Dylan as the Guitar Noise Featured Artist for the month of May.

If you go to the Guitar Noise Home Page, or any of the “What’s New” pages, you’ll find a little picture of Mr. Dylan that you can click on and that will take you to the Artist showcase that Paul has prepared. You can also check out our past Artist Profiles here.

Topic of the Month

And since today marks the beginning of a new month, we have a new “Topic of the Month” for you, too. The focus for May is “Songwriting” and you will find all sorts of articles here at Guitar Noise on that particular topic, including some gems from the Guitar Noise Forum’s Commander-in-Chief, Nick Torres.

And don’t forget that when it comes to songwriting, getting feedback from your peers (and potential audience) is one of the best ways to improve at your craft. So take advantage of both the Sunday Songwriters Group and the Guitar Noise Songwriters’ Club, both of which you’ll find on the Guitar Noise Forum pages.

New Lessons and Articles

How To Transition From Your Day Job Into A Successful Music Career
by Tom Hess

Most people in the music business didn’t start in the music business but came into their careers while working their “day job.” After all, it’s important to have some income, right? But the choice of the “day job” can sometimes mean not being able to get into the career you want. Tom Hess looks at typical “safety net” strategies and the problems that can arise from them. Plus, he gives great tips on how to avoid most of the problems of transition by focusing on the end goal from the start.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps
A Finger Style / Chord Melody Arrangement
by David Hodge

Here’s a song arrangement that no one has to sing! Take aspects of “chord melody” arranging and mix them in with fingerstyle playing and you’ve got yourself a version of one of George Harrison’s terrific songs to perform. It’s not all that hard to learn and you can easily adapt it with your own embellishments and style.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Tip for May 1 – Practicing Modes (Part 7)

Let’s continue our study of modes in this issue. We’ve been playing the C ionian or C major sound with chords whose melody notes sit on string 1 or string 2. Let’s try out some C Io chords that cover all twelve frets, and whose top notes are on string 3. Keep in mind the following: we’re staying within the key of C major, though we might get into chromatic notes later; maybe not all the chords we’re playing here will be pure C major, but may be a substitute for C major. In other words, they’ll sound similar to C or complementary to C major. Here are my picks:


Remember to play these ascending also, not just descending

Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2009 Darrin Koltow

Emails? We Get Emails!

This arrived in the email-box shortly after Paul posted our lesson of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “All I Can Do Is Write About It” done in DADGAD tuning:


Great lesson as usual. I’ve been trying to learn this song in standard tuning but I’m hung up on the rhythm. I’m trying to think beyond “strumming patterns” to gain a more organic sound to my playing. Any advice you have on this song or rhythm playing in general would be appreciated.

Keep up the great work. I’ve probably learned more from the GN site than anywhere else.


Hi and thanks for writing.

Things have been very busy around here and I’m way behind on my email correspondence.

Have you ever played “Knocking on Heaven’s Door?” You can use that particular strumming style on “All I Can Do Is Write About It” – sounds great, in fact. I know that one of the Guitar Noise Podcasts goes over this pattern. I’m fairly positive it’s Guitar Noise Podcast #9 (“Adding Fills”). Listening to the beginning of that podcast might help you out with the rhythm for this song.

I hope this helps. Thank you again for writing and I look forward to hearing how things are going with this.


Event Horizon

I time out I mused about making it over to England and now it turns out there even more of a good reason to do so. Turns out that our own Guitar Noise Moderator Alan Green has got a gig at The Fox Inn on the village green in Finchingfield, Essex, every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday lunchtime until further notice, playing a program of light classics and the occasional movie theme but mostly, as Alan puts it, “stuff by a bunch of dead guys.” No cover and the music starts at 12:30 pm each day. Now I’ve got to go dig out my maps of England for sure!

Also the last time out I mentioned New York guitarist Jason Ennis who is still hanging out here in the Berkshires. He and his quintet (Jason Ennis on guitar, Michael Zsoldos on saxophone, Mike Eckorth on piano, Michael O’Brien on bass and Conor Meehan handling the drums) will be at the Ochards Hotel as part of the Williamstown Jazz Festival Brunch, this coming Sunday, May 3, 11am-2pm. The Gala Restaurant at The Orchards Hotel is at 222 Adams Road Williamstown, Massachusetts and reservations are highly recommended. To reserve a table, call 413.458-9611. Tickets are $18.95.

Random Thoughts

I do have to say that I’m going to miss our “Topic of the Month” from April. Whether you’ve been reading the lessons and newsletters here at Guitar Noise for a while now or even if you’ve just recently found our website (and a big welcome to you, too!), you probably already know that we’re very keen on the idea that music is meant to be played. For others, with others, whatever works. Just don’t keep it to yourself.

Now a lot of folks may wonder when it’s the “right” time to start playing with others, or even perhaps join a band. There’s no one answer for this, but usually it’s safe to say that it’s before you think you’re ready. More often than not, beginners will use their beginner status as a safe haven and not venture out into the musical world. But doing this can actually keep you from getting better as a guitarist and a musician.

If you can make chord changes close to “at speed” when playing with recordings, then you’re ready. If you know at least three or four chords, you’re ready.

This is not to say that it’s going to be easy. That is usually up to you and up to the people with whom you’re playing. Most musicians are very gracious and accommodating to beginners, so hopefully that will be your experience as well.

You should end up learning quite a few things – first, that you can play with others and that doing so is (again, hopefully) a lot of fun. Second, you find out why what you’ve learned is important. And you also will learn just where you need to improve and why.

Not to mention you might learn some new songs, new chords, new ways to strum, new ways to integrate your guitar part with others and maybe you will have made some new friends in the process as well.

So just because it’s no longer “Playing Live” month, don’t make excuses and sit around until it becomes a “Topic of the Month” again. Get out there and play. Play as well as you can and play as often as you can. I know that’s usually the tag of the newsletter, but I think it needs a little push every now and then. After all, I want to one day have the honor and pleasure of hearing you play.

Until our next newsletter, stay safe.

And, as always…