Newsletter Vol. 3 # 90 – May 15, 2009


Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #90 of Guitar Noise News!

In This Issue:

  • Greetings, News and Announcements
  • Guitar Noise Featured Artist
  • Topic of the Month
  • New Lessons and Articles
  • Coming Attractions
  • Exploring Music with Darrin Koltow
  • Podcast Postings
  • Random Thoughts

Greetings, News and Announcements

Time keeps on moving along, so once again I bid you welcome to Guitar Noise News, your free twice-a-month newsletter from Guitar Noise.

One of our latest articles, a chord melody / finger style arrangement of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps, has generated a lot of interest. Not just as an article, but also as an example of the process of learning. Guitar Noise Forum member, Dylan Barrett, is using it as an example in his latest series of videos, called “How Long Does It Take to Learn and Play a Song?” where he’s posting his progress with learning this piece at regular intervals. It’s a fascinating study and you can find the Guitar Noise Forum thread, as well as a link to his video, here.

I was also thrilled earlier this week to get an email from Jamie Andreas, the founder of Guitar Principles, who asked if she might put together a few video lessons about how best to make finger placement transitions for this song arrangement and have Paul post them up here at Guitar Noise. Of course, I readily agreed and you should be seeing the first video online sometime early this coming week.

Moving on…

Guitar Noise Featured Artist

In case you never visit Guitar Noise’s Home Page (or the “What’s New” Page, for that matter), you might 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.

Since he’s having a birthday this month, not to mention to his just releasing his latest studio album of more than forty years of recording, Bob Dylan is 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

Also, we’re putting a spotlight on “Songwriting” as the “Topic of the Month” all during May. Up at the top left hand corner of the Home Page, you’ll find links to some great 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

Dusty Road Two Step – A Fingerstyle Song
by Peter Simms

This lesson is for anyone who is looking to go beyond background finger-picking. Peter Simms shows us a few new tricks in this fingerstyle arrangement

Get More From Your Guitar Practice
Eight Steps to Develop a Highly Efficient Practice Schedule
by Tom Hess

It’s easy to know that you want a practice schedule. And it’s easier to abandon it fairly early in the game for all sorts of reasons, most of which are merely matters of perception. Tom Hess demonstrates that a highly efficient practice routine doesn’t have to be boring and can actually generate creativity. Having fun practicing usually leads to more practice and more practice leads to getting better faster.

Taking Care of Choices
Turning Scales into Solos Part 8
by David Hodge

In our latest lesson in this series, we look at a basic rock progression and examine the choices we can make in terms of scales for soloing. Plus we get a look at the Mixolydian mode as well as discovering a new use for the Dorian.

Coming Attractions

In addition to Jamie’s video lesson, that should be up online next week, also be on the lookout for a song lesson on Bob Dylan’s Buckets of Rain, which should also be up online before Monday or Tuesday. This will be in the “Songs for Intermediates” section, but beginners may find it a good challenge, especially to get going on their fingerpicking. Because the song is done in open D tuning, it’s nowhere near as difficult to do as one might think.

Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow

Tip for May 15 – Practicing Modes (Part 8)

We’ve been exploring C major chords as part of the mode workout. We covered C major chords with melody notes on string 3; we’re playing chords on string 4 this time. Note that the sound is a bit muddier — that’s the nature of bass chords.

In the following tab, we’re playing a Dm instead of a true C chord, for the F melody note. I chose Dm because it sounds good with the whole progression.


Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2009 Darrin Koltow

Podcast Postings

Owing to my book deadlines, not to mention keeping up with my private students and all the other little things that have to get done as part of the course of life, it’s been a little tough of late putting together enough spare time to do everything. So, for a little while at least, I’m trying to keep the Guitar Noise Podcasts going on a once-a-month basis. If all works well, there will be a new one up online the first Monday of each month.

Guitar Noise Podcast #26 did get posted on May 4. It’s a lesson on a song I’m sure most of you know and maybe learned in some summer camp or musical get-together. It’s a lot of fun to play and we’ve kindly provided the words and chords to the first verse and chorus over on the Guitar Noise Blog.

For this Guitar Noise Podcast, we’ll work on getting the basics down, plus have a little fun with the bass line. Next time out, we’ll add the challenge of playing along with a second guitarist.

Thanks for listening, and (again as always) thank you for your support.

Random Thoughts

People often write in requests for song lessons and I always try to answer each email. As most of you who have been reading these lessons and articles for close to ten years now probably already know, the last thing that either Paul or I want to do with a Guitar Noise lesson is simply post up a bunch of tablature and then say, “okay, it’s all yours!” Each song lesson is meant to be a lesson first and a song second. And that’s pretty funny, considering that I’m always talking about how the song has to the focus when working out arrangements and leads.

But lessons, and our song lessons in particular, should give you some tips or techniques or advice that you can use in all your playing. And that’s what we try to do first.

Sometimes, though, I will have a great idea for a lesson and it takes ages to make it all work out. It’s worse than actually writing songs! Take the upcoming (one day!) lesson on Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” for instance. Every time I sit and work on it, another angle comes up and I start thinking, “I should cover that, too,” and then all of a sudden the lesson is longer than a short piece by Tolstoy and the focus of the lesson is probably best described as “a new definition of “focus” that means entirely the opposite.”

So while I was working my way through the winding twists and turns this lesson was taking me on, I took time out to just sit and play. The guitar I picked up was in open D tuning and I was in a Dylan mood, so I first played “Shelter From the Storm” and then “Simple Twist of Fate.” Then goofiness set in and I found myself working out “Buckets of Rain,” the closing song from the sublime “Blood on the Tracks” album. Thankfully this was around one or two in the morning, so that when I found myself still totally mesmerized by it three hours later, I’d only lost out on sleep and little else.

Long story short – I realized that using “Buckets of Rain” to introduce some important fingerstyle stylings, particularly hammer-ons, pull-off and syncopations, would make the lesson on “Don’t Think Twice” regain its focus, since it wouldn’t have the onus of teaching eight million different ideas.

So that’s why your Dylan song to celebrate “Bob Dylan Month” at Guitar Noise, got totally derailed and then replaced. To those of you still waiting on the “Don’t Think Twice” lesson, don’t worry. It’s coming.

In the meantime, though, I truly hope you have a lot of fun with “Buckets” when it hits the website in a few days. And if you find yourself up at three or four in the morning playing it, drop me an email. I’ll probably respond immediately!

Until our next newsletter, stay safe. Play well and play often.

And, as always…