Welcome to Volume 3, Issue #82 of Guitar Noise News!
In This Issue:
- Greetings, News and Announcements
- Email of the Moment
- Topic of the Month
- Another Email of the Moment
- New Lessons and Articles
- Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
- Podcast Postings
- Email? We Get Emails!
- Tutorial Tips / Blog Bulletin!
- Event Horizon
- Random Thoughts
Greetings, News and Announcements
If you didn’t get (or didn’t read) our last issue of Guitar Noise News, then let me wish you a belated “Happy New Year!” May 2009 be good to each and every one of you.
And, while I’m thinking of it, let me wish you a Happy “Year of the Ox,” as Chinese New Year falls on January 26. If you’re 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72 or 84, then this is your year! Have a great one!
Email of the Moment
First I want to tell you that I love your lessons on Guitar Noise. I am teaching myself to play guitar as my work schedule does not let me set up regular lessons in person. I have tried DVD lessons and they work fine but do not give me the ability to play songs that I like as quickly as your lessons have let me. I am up to about lesson #10 in the Easy Songs for Beginners series and love it. I have a couple of questions though. First I want to ask if the intent is to follow along lesson by lesson as it is numbered on the website. That is what I have been doing so far but wanted to make sure. I have noticed you mention other articles that are not about a song that are more general in nature (like Picking Your Poison). I only know to look at these articles when they are referenced in the song lessons. I want to make sure I am following along in the way it was intended. I have also looked to skip ahead to songs I like but do not want to get “lost” and not know the background of a lesson. Is this OK or should I follow along by lesson number to make sure I know what is going on.
The other question I have is on “Three Marlenas – The Wallflowers – Easy Songs for Beginners # 5.” I like this song a lot but have one problem. I can play the song melody well based on the instructions but I can not match up the words with music. I noticed that on most of the following lessons you write out the chords in measure form with the words. I would love to have it this way for this lesson so that I can sing along. I am struggling matching the music and words up.
Thank you so much for writing this site it has been a huge inspiration to continue in learning guitar.
Thanks for writing and thank you as well for your kind words concerning my work at Guitar Noise. I’m more than provide what help I can when it comes to getting someone to put some music into his or her life.
Something that I should let you know right from the start, though, is that there is no set order or “lesson plan” when it comes to the articles and lessons at Guitar Noise. You see, the odd thing (or one of the odd things) about our website is that it didn’t start out to be a tutorial site. Just kind of grew into one. When I first started writing here (back in 1999), the object was to write about what people asked for or seemed interested in.
Because of this, we don’t have a “lesson plan,” and yes, we know that makes things a little difficult. Problem is, with over two million readers a month, it’s hard to write for everyone’s specific desires.
The “Easy Songs for Beginners” are numbered, but that’s strictly chronological. And I’ve been adding new lessons, such as Eleanor Rigby and Folsum Prison Blues/Your Cheatin’ Heart, that can easily fit in between some of the very earliest lessons.
I do try, whenever and wherever possible, to add other lessons for “cross referencing.” but you should always feel free to write and ask if it seems like you’ve missed a page in the discussion at hand.
As for matching up the words with the chords, you don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that chords change on specific words. It’s about the beats and the timing of the song. Often times singers will not sing in perfect timing and words can fall on or off any given beat. That’s part of an artist’s interpretation of a song. Sometimes the chord changes come on a beat where nothing is being sung. So if you get in the habit of changing on a specific word instead of a specific beat, you’re setting yourself up for not being able to keep time well. And guitar, any musical instrument for that matter, is all about timing. You have to remember, too, that quite often when a song is recorded, the vocals are added separately from the playing. A lot of professionals have trouble playing and singing at the same time.
I can certainly write out a sheet for you (and would be more than happy to do so), but I can’t stress enough that keeping the beat first and foremost is the important part. Also, and this is purely coincidental, Paul is featuring all our Guitar Noise articles on “singing and playing at the same time” on the home page of the website. You’ll find a little box at the top left called Singing in the New Year with links to all of these lessons. Plus, with luck, we’re expecting a few more new lessons on this very topic to go up online later this month.
I hope this helps. Thank you again for the email and please feel free to write anytime, whether with more questions, suggestions or simply to update us on how things are going. We look forward to hearing about it.
And I also hope that you, your family and friends are off to a great start this New Year.
Topic of the Month
Here at Guitar Noise, the start of the New Year also saw the return of an old friend of sorts. If you happen to visit the Home Page of Guitar Noise, you may notice, up on the left hand side, close to the top, a list of lessons under the header, Singing in a New Year. Yes, Paul has resurrected the old “Topic of the Month” and we’ll be seeing a new one each month of 2009.
Under the “Singing in a New Year” header, you’ll find links to some of the many wonderful articles and lessons we have about singing and playing at the same time. And in addition to these pieces, we’ll probably be adding one or two more before January is out. Plus, the next two Guitar Noise Podcasts are also going to be devoted to discussing this important topic.
February’s topic of the month is scheduled to be “Practicing,” and again, you’ll find us highlighting the numerous articles and lessons Guitar Noise has on practicing as well as bringing you new lessons on this subject.
If you’ve any requests for future “Topics of the Month,” feel free to drop me an email about it. My Internet address, as I’m sure you know, is firstname.lastname@example.org and please try to put “Topic of the Month” in the subject line of your email.
Alright then, shall we move along and see what else is new here at Guitar Noise since the first of the year? But first…
Another Email of the Moment
Love Guitar Noise, your lessons and podcasts. Didn’t you mention awhile back that there would be a lesson on “Behind Blue Eyes?” Is that still in the works?
Indeed it is! And you’ll read all about it in a moment. First though, I’d just like to say that I’m putting the finishing touches on the text and then double and triple checking the lesson and music notation / guitar tablature files. And I’m doing this while also trying to get the newsletter done! So if “Behind Blue Eyes” is not up online when you get this issue of Guitar Noise News, don’t panic! It will be available within hours.
New Lessons and Articles
Behind Blue Eyes
Songs for Intermediates #25
by David Hodge
Don’t be put off by the “Intermediate” tag as beginners should have little problems putting this classic Who song into their repertoires. This is a great lesson on why playing strictly “by the record” can tie you up in knots and how important it is to simply have a good feel for the overall flavor of the song.
Exploring Music With Darrin Koltow
Tip for January 15 – Up and Down
Here’s a melodic idea you might enjoy exploring. You might want to brush up on your arpeggios before working on this tab:
|-------------6-4-8-|-4-------------| |------6----6-------|---6-----------| |----6----6---------|-----8--5------| |--8----------------|----------8----| |-------------------|---------------| |-------------------|---------------|
The idea behind this fragment is pretty simple: go up with one kind of arpeggio, and come back down with a different but related one. As ever with melodic work, we’re interested in giving our ears something intriguing to hook into, but not something totally foreign.
In this particular case, we go up with a Bbm arp and come down with an arp built on Bb’s fifth, which is F minor, or F minor 7. The two arps share only 1 note in common, the F, but they’re related by both being in the same key: Ab major.
There’s a ton you can do with this idea to create some colorful lines. Instead of subbing an arp with its fifth, try is third or 6th or 7th. Or go up with an arp and come down with a scale or mode. Descend with a pentatonic and ascend with an arpeggio. The ideas are endless.
Thanks for reading.
Copyright 2009 Darrin Koltow
With many apologies for it taking so long, let me say with a huge sigh of relief that Guitar Noise Podcast #22 is finally up online. In this latest Guitar Noise Podcast, the second part of our look at the old Irish folksong, “The Star of the County Down,” we’ll make an arrangement for the last half of the verse and also do something fun with the chorus. When you’ve finished with this podcast, you’ll have a complete song for your repertoire.
And, as mentioned in the last newsletter, it’s our hope that we’ll be posting new Guitar Noise Podcasts on a weekly basis through March! All recording systems are go and we’re fairly certain that all the potential snags have been cleared. So get ready to have some fun with strumming and rhythm, as well as a more in-depth look into chord voicings and other topics, such as “singing and playing at the same time,” which we’ll start looking at on Monday, January 19.
Emails? We Get Emails / Blog Bulletin!
Hello David and the rest of the team.
I’m sending you a big THANK YOU.
We sat around the fire on the weekend while down at the farm and I played the guitar and my wife played the ukulele and with the kids and all.
We had a great time. It’s just what I have been working towards, and thanks to your podcasts and lessons we are doing it. A little bit of Horse with no name, and Feeling groovy, and just strumming along. It was great.
And thank you for making my day! It sounds like all of you had a lot of fun and I hope that it’s the first of many, many, many such weekends for you and your family and friends.
Thanks for writing and thank you as well for your kind words. And thank you for sharing your music with your family! That’s how it’s supposed to be. This is the greatest news I ever get!
Tutorial Tips / Blog Bulletin!
I have a question for you, how can you tell what key a song is in? I thought that it was in the key of the first note or chord of the song, but that does not seem to hold true. I have a Fender GDEC Amp that has drum and bass background and there is a key switch to set what key the song is in. At times if I set it to the first chord the bass sounds fine, but at other times the bass notes seem not to match the chord I would be playing, so I am wondering if I am wrong for how to tell what key the song is in. I also have a song book that all the songs are suppose to be in the key of C, but some songs start with an Am chord or an F chord, etc.
Hope you can help me with this question. I really enjoy the Newsletter and the Pods that you and the people at Guitar Noise put out. Keep up the good work – it has helped me and I am sure many others.
Hello and thank you for writing.
This is a question that requires a bit more than a quick explanation, so I’ve taken the liberty of making it the first “featured question” at my own blog, www.davidhodge.com. At the time of writing this newsletter, I still need to add a bit about songs in minor keys, but I hope that you find the discussion helpful. I’ve also included numerous links to articles here at Guitar Noise that can help explain more about the various aspects to this topic.
If you’ve only been playing for two months and can already move between the basic chords with relative ease, you’re doing fairly well. But now it’s time to ask yourself a question – why do you want to play the guitar? What do you want to do with it?
This may seem a simple question and, for most people, there is a simple answer; they want to play songs. With the skills you already have, there is no reason not to be starting in on songs. And there’s an even more important reason. Learning chords is how beginners, most beginners anyway, start out. But there is a bit of a danger in learning just chords. Rarely will you come across a song where you where you don’t change chords. It’s easy, starting out, to think of chords themselves as being static, but when you play music you want to move fluidly from one chord to another. Plus you want to do it rhythmically, fitting into the tempo of a song. Plus you might want to throw in various flourishes, riffs and fills if you will, while both playing and changing chords.
This is one reason many teachers get their students into songs immediately. There are always going to be more chords, not to mention various voicings and embellished chords, to learn. The sooner you get working on integrating the chords into music, into songs, the better. You will develop all these skills – changing chords, developing rhythm and hand strength while playing songs. It’s not an either / or situation. It’s putting things to practice and learning as you go. And, again for most people, it’s the best way to go. You don’t know how many people that say they play an instrument and can’t play any songs. It’s kind of frightening, actually.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to write anytime if you’ve more questions. I look forward to hearing how things are going with you.
GN Forum member “Moonrider” and his band, the Southsidas, have gotten a slew of gigs that will be happening in the next two months. If you’re in the Richmond, Virginia area, you can find them at the following dates, places and times:
Friday – 01/16/2009 08:00 PM – The Triple
3306 W. Broad St.
Richmond, Virginia 23230
Description: The Southsidas with Special Guest Houston Scott will rock the Triple.
Saturday – 01/17/2009 09:00 PM – Benny’s Tavern
Colonial Heights, Virginia 23834
Description: The Southsidas appearing with Special Guest Houston Scott on Harmonica at this well known venue south of Richmond.
Wednesday – 01/21/2009 09:00 PM – Emilio’s Tapas Bar
1847 W Broad St
Richmond, Virginia 23220
Description: Join the Southsidas for a night of RockaFunkaBluesabilly good times!
Saturday – 01/31/2009 08:00 PM – Plaza Bowl
521 E. Southside Plaza
Richmond, Virginia 23224
Description: Duckpin Bowling and Rockafunkabluesabilly!
And if you’re in my neck of the woods, I’ll be playing an increasingly rare solo performance at the Marketplace Cafe, located at 18 Elm Court in Sheffield, Massachusetts on Friday, January 23. Should be from 5:30 or 6 until 8:30. Come on by, have some great food and say hello.
As mentioned earlier, I’m still in the finishing stages for the new lesson on “Behind Blue Eyes,” so I’m going to get back to making sure that it makes in online before you get this newsletter!
So, until our next newsletter, play well. Play often. Stay safe.
And, as always…