The Heartwood Beat, Issue 6: Campfire Courtesies

One of the great rewards for becoming a skillful guitar player is being able to sit down with a total stranger at a campfire, bus stop, wherever—and make music. I recently had an experience like this leading a singalong up at Diablo Lake, Washington. The other guitarist in our group, who I’d never met until that night, just sat down …

The Heartwood Beat, Issue 5: Chord Families, Part 3

In the last newsletter, I showed you how you can play a I – IV – V song in five different keys. Today I’d like to introduce you to the four other members of a chord family. At the end of this lesson, you should be ready to transpose a simple song into a different key. But first, a song …

The Heartwood Beat, Issue 4: Chord Families, Part 2

That’s right folks. Henceforth, the newsletter shall be called The Heartwood Beat. Thank you everyone who submitted ideas! I liked many of them very much, and many of the ones I didn’t like made me laugh anyway. I chose “The Heartwood Beat” for its simplicity and multifaceted meanings: Heartbeat, musical beat, a reporter’s newsbeat, “Beats me what the heck Rob’s …

Newsletter Issue 3: Chord Families, Part 1

And now, it’s time for a Heartwood Headscratcher(TM)! What do these four recordings have in common: “Wild Thing” by The Troggs “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles “La Bamba” by Los Lobos “Always With Me, Always With You” by Joe Satriani A) Each has been banned by radio stations for having obscene lyrics. B) They’re the four songs most likely …

Newsletter Issue 2: String Bending

Bending is the art of stretching a string to raise the pitch. Bends create a moaning or wailing sound associated with the blues, but can bring expressiveness and style to pretty much any type of music. A few well-place bends can turn “Mary Had a Little Lamb” into “Mary Had a Little Lamborghini.” Don’t know a bent string from a …

My Newsletter's First Issue – Why I Love Power Chords

As some of you may have noticed, I’m now writing a weekly newsletter. If you’re interested in subscribing, you can learn more here, or just scroll down on the main blog page and find the form in the right-hand column. I hope you’ll check it out. I’m really psyched about it. When I think that the content of the newsletter …