Newsletter Vol. 3 # 9 – November 01, 2005


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #9 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • News and Announcements
  • A word or two from Paul
  • New Articles and Lessons
  • Exploring Music with Darrin Koltow
  • Forum Findings
  • Off Site Sightings and Works In Progress
  • Completely Random Thoughts

News And Announcements

Last night was Halloween here in the USA. Picture this if you will:

Costumed people are standing ’round the door, goodie bags in hand.

Slowly it opens.

‘Trick or treat’ they all yell.

‘Oh, my, what have we here?’ says the little old lady.

‘I’m pretending to be a pirate.’ says the first one.

‘I’m pretending to be a werewolf.’ says the next.

‘I’m pretending to be a spaceman.’ says another.

‘AAAAAYYYYIIIIIIEEEEE!!!!!!!’ the old lady screams. ‘What the heck are you?’

To which I reply ‘It’s me Nick. I’m pretending to be DAVID HODGE.’


Scary isn’t it?

On with the show…

A Word (Or Two) From Paul

Help Wanted: Reviewers Needed

We need 5-10 reliable people to do reviews.

Send us a sample of your writing, for instance a review of a recent CD purchase or book purchase. No more than 2-3 paragraphs.

What do you get?

You get access to a private forum. You get first shot at free promo CDs and other materials we receive for review.

To get started send a message to [email protected].

Guitar Noise Wiki

Do you think you can improve Guitar Noise? Now is your chance to prove it.

Together we are building a guitar wiki where you can edit and create articles. This Guitar Noise Wiki is a collection of articles and information on playing guitar. Users familiar with the website Wikipedia will have little trouble using it as it uses the same MediaWiki software.

You can feel free to write anything you think would be helpful for other users. If you see a section lacking content, feel free to add on to it. If you wish, you can also create a whole new section of useful information. As with the forums, you must register before doing anything to the wiki.

Don’t be afraid to edit pages on Guitar Noise Wiki – anyone can edit, and we encourage users to be bold! Find something that can be improved, either in content, grammar or formatting, then fix it.

Check out the Guitar Noise Wiki and get started fixing articles.

Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the October CD giveaway. The winners picked are: Tom Maxfeldt, Dennis Day and Lisa Cletcher. You will each be receiving a copy of Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon’s new CD Sixty Six Steps. We hope you enjoy it.

Keep an eye on the homepage for a new contest beginning in November.

2005 Donation Drive

Do you want to give something back to the Guitar Noise community? This year we’d like to try something different.

Throughout November and December we will be posting links to some worthwhile charitable institutions, like the Red Cross, for your consideration. Maybe it’s because we started the year with a tsunami, maybe it’s because of all the hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, or maybe it’s because it’s impossible to live in this world without knowing that everything could disappear in a heartbeat – whatever reason works for you, pick one.

We urge all Guitar Noise visitors to donate generously to ongoing disaster relief efforts. “Generously,” of course, will be different for each individual. The point is to give what you can. Every donation, no matter how big or small, will be greatly appreciated. We are creating a list of some organizations that are accepting donations directly to aid those who have suffered from recent disasters. If we have missed any valuable links please let us know.

See the Guitar Noise support page for more.

New Articles And Lessons

Removing The Barriers To Musical Expression
by Jamie Andreas

It’s the age-old argument – style versus substance, or, in the case of the guitarist, technique versus emotion. While everyone admits that we truly need both, we’re quick to point out any number of technically gifted, yet ‘soulless’ players. Yet it is not possible to express musical feeling without technique adequate to the task. Jamie Andreas takes a look at this seeming paradox and offers some much needed advice and encouragement.

More Tips And Riffs From The “Forty-Something Guy”
by Allan Abbott

Allan’s back and this time he’s got a lot of good advice to pass along on the subject of power chords and double stops. As in his first article, “Forty-Something Guy Learns Guitar From The Internet,” this piece includes a lot of links to other helpful articles as well as numerous musical examples.

The King Of Love My Shepherd Is
by Doug Sparling

Doug Sparling brings us another wonderful Celtic melody, arranged in DADGAD tuning for fingerstyle guitar. This is a beautiful little piece, which, since it’s not too technically demanding, can allow you to explore putting some feeling and emotion into your playing.

The Future Of Music Careers
by Peter Spellman

Peter Spellman is director of the career development center at Berklee College of Music, Boston and the author of The Self-Promoting Musician, The Musician’s Internet, and several other career-building books. In this first in a series of articles for Music Careers, he reflects on where things are at and where things may be going in the music industry.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

You know I’ve always missed Darrin’s newsletter. I can’t tell you all how much it pleases me to present it here.

We’re exploring the melodic minor scale for soloing over dominant 7 chords. Please see archives of this newsletter on Guitar Noise for details.

The last time we looked at playing the D melodic minor scale over a G7 chord. We saw how that D scale contains all the notes in a G7.

Now we’ll see that D melodic minor is not the only scale to contain a G7. Look at the C melodic minor scale:

C D Eb F G A B C

Just one note different from the C major scale. Once again, G7 is present: notes G, B, D, F. We’re going to use this C scale to solo over G7. Here’s a pattern:


Record yourself strumming the G7 chord onto a tape recorder and then play back the recording. Play around with the C melodic minor pattern just given.

Let’s cap this exploration of using the melodic minor scale for soloing over dominant 7 chords by adding one more point:

It’s possible to use two other melodic minor scales over the G7 chords, besides the D and C scales mentioned. Without getting into details here, you can try the F melodic minor scale and also the Ab melodic minor scale. Neither fully contains the G7 notes, but both may still sound good to you.

Thanks for reading. Next time: soloing over minor chords.

Forum Findings

This coming Sunday, November 6, marks the start of the fourth year of the Sunday Songwriter’s Group. I was a bit stunned by the math – it seems like yesterday that Ryan and Nick came to me with the idea of putting together a weekly songwriting workshop and here we are, some one thousand and fifty-six songwriting assignments later, starting in on a new year of work.

While the SSG was Ryan and Nick’s brainchild, much of the credit for its continued success goes to Bob, who has been chief moderator of the SSG for the past two years. This means coming up with all the weekly assignments as well as handling his other moderating chores. I think that everyone will agree he’s done a superb job.

I’m proud to say that Bob has told me that he intends to continue to manage the Sunday Songwriter’s Group for the upcoming year. So, in honor of both the SSG’s anniversary as well as in thanks to Bob for his great work, I’ve managed to coax him into giving a short interview for the November 1 issue of Guitar Noise News.

If you’ve never visited the SSG before, I highly recommend taking the trip. Who knows? You might get the songwriting bug yet!

SSG Year 4 Interview

Q: This may be old history, but people would probably like to know just how you got involved with the SSG in the first place. What brought you to it? What was your first “assignment?” How’d you end up moderating the place?

BOB: I got involved in SSG as I was exploring the wider GN site. I came across GN whilst searching for the TAB for Van Morrison’s Have I Told You Lately. At that time I was also writing a little poetry and some cringe-worthy songs. It was then I stumbled into the forums and found Ryan and Nick leading the SSG. I watched from the outside for a while until I was confident enough to take part. The forum seemed friendly but not overly sweet, in fact I remember the song I produced in my first assignment contained one verse Nick particularly disliked and he was honest enough to tell me. Far from discouraging me, it actually spurred me to do better and the next assignment I took part in was written from somebody else’s title. From then on I was hooked and started to try to take part more regularly. My own writing improved over this time, as did my playing.

I became a moderator when Nick asked for help as Ryan’s commitments outside of GN and Nick’s commitments inside of GN grew to the extent they have. Ventures such as GN and SSG only survive if people give as well as take, so I felt I needed to give some time to help out something I felt had rewarded me.

Q: How do you feel that the SSG has improved your own songwriting? Do you think that this can be true of anyone who posts his or her material at the SSG?

BOB: I take a more considered approach to writing now. SSG taught me to stay away from the obvious and the clichéd, something I’d found hard to do before. I think about what I want to say and try to make it meaningful. I’m nowhere near as prolific as some of our regular contributors, who still amaze me with what they can turn around week in week out. Personally, l find it incredibly difficult to marry music to lyrics which is the most frustrating aspect of my own songwriting journey.

Anyone who posts material onto the SSG is taking the first steps in becoming a better songwriter. By posting, people realize they’re going to get critiqued and probably have things pointed out to them they hadn’t considered before. We don’t rewrite their song for them but give a personal opinion of what works and what doesn’t. It gives that person something to think about when they look at the song again.

Q: Many people who start writing and posting assignments for the SSG take a little time to learn that posting critiques of other peoples’ material is also a great way to learn about writing. Do you have some words of encouragement along those lines?

BOB: Just jump right in with comments. Do try to make them constructive. Don’t just say ‘I don’t like it’ or ‘I really like it,’ try to explain why. People want to know where they’re falling down or where they’re making a strong impression.

Q: Not to put you on the spot, but what are some of your favourite SSG memories? Are there some SSG submissions (your own included) that you still find memorable?

BOB: Nick’s song written about the time of the sniper hiding in the boot of the car (in Washington I think) indiscriminately taking pot shots at people – I think it was called Take The Back Roads. That was a powerful piece of writing.

Ja’mir writes some lovely Celtic style songs and it’s always a pleasure to hear them.

Scratchmonkey wrote a fabulous piece about a hobo who played the bones, which really stood out.

The contributions we get each week never cease to make me feel humble as a songwriter because the quality is usually so high.

Personally, I have a song called The Preachers of which I am immensely proud.

Q: What assignments have you thought worked very well? Do you have any favourite assignments, ones you look forward to posting because you think you’re going to get some great responses?

BOB: Collaborative ones work well. They take some of the pressure away from individuals and let them build on someone else’s ideas. I’d like to do more of these and have some finished products that people can hear. But organizationally, they’ll need thinking about.

Anything that moves you out of your ‘comfort zone’ of writing is good. Just to stretch your mind and write in a different style adds depth to your song writing, which rewards you back.

Both of these approaches are particularly useful for band members.

Completely Random Thoughts

Well it’s November 1st. You know what that means. Christmas catalogues and merchandise and store displays. I used to be put off by this crass commercialism, but now I just use it as a reminder that I need to start practicing my Christmas tunes. So just in case you forgot, start breaking out those carols and start now.

I don’t follow football all that much, but last week the hometown team beat up on the visitors by 35 points. This week they lost by 36. Sometimes things go completely your way. Sometimes they don’t. Keep playing. Go with the flow. It evens out in the end.

It’s been a year of natural disasters, then last week three bombs go off in India. I don’t know about you, but I’m all death and destructioned out. Can someone tell me what the point is? Not just India, but anywhere. Sometimes I just want to hide in a mountaintop with the trusty guitar. I’d probably end up breaking a string.

I didn’t play guitar from Tuesday until Friday. You know what? It was a good thing. I feel refreshed. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t play, but when it seems like it isn’t fun try putting it away for a day.

My son got out of bed last night and came downstairs. Before I could tell him to turn around and go right back to bed, he told me he forgot something. ‘I love you, Daddy.’

It’s all going to be okay.