The Heartwood Beat, Issue 12: Site Update

Townes Van ZandtHi Heartwood Beat Subscribers,

I hope you’re all enjoying February. I want to let you know about several updates I’ve made to the website.

Print or Save Function

One of the fun things about having a popular guitar instruction website is bumping into people (usually at guitar camp) who’ve printed music from my site to make songbooks. But I wince when I see what their web browsers did to my careful formatting—chords aren’t aligned with lyrics, margins are miniscule so that binder ring holes obliterate information, and there’s tacky-looking text at the top and bottom of every page.

I recently started doing some limited advertising on my site, and realize that this will make printed song pages even more cluttered. So I’ve added a “Print or Save” link to the top of every song page that links to the original MS Word document. Click the link, and either save the song on your hard drive or open it in Word and print it.

Now go make a songbook, if you don’t have one already. Print twenty of your favorite songs and keep them in a binder to bring to parties, camping trips, etc. Punch holes in both sides of each page, and orient them so that both pages (most songs are two pages long) face one other. No more frantic page flips to take the oomph out of your orgasmic pre-choruses!

Better yet, make two or three binders so that other musicians can get in on the fun, page numbers and a table of contents for easy navigation, and a stack of lyric sheets for singers (paste all songs into one document and delete all guitar information, just leaving lyrics). And when it’s time to play, don’t forget music stands and light sources (headlamps work well) if your eyes are like mine.

All the songs can be found on my Free Guitar Chords page.

And if you don’t have MS Word, or have an old version that won’t read your song file, you don’t have to go out and buy it. Bill Gates will still be able to pay his mortgage if you use this great free online service that converts Word docs to PDF docs (chances are good you have Adobe Acrobat, which reads PDF’s). Download song, convert, and print.

Guitar Pro

For the past few years, I’ve been using the tablature editor/player Guitar Pro to teach myself new songs and write out music for my students when chord charts don’t show enough detail. Being able to play back written music so that you can hear how it’s supposed to sound makes learning so much more efficient. If you’re interested in learning how to pick individual notes, add a cool riff to your repertoire, or learn your first guitar solo, Guitar Pro makes it a lot easier. Experts and teachers love this program, too.

I’ve started adding links to Guitar Pro song files on some of my more popular song pages. Think of the chord charts as Cliff’s Notes, and the GP songs as the unabridged versions. I’ll also be supplementing all future blog guitar lessons with GP files.

Click hear to learn more about Guitar Pro and watch my little video tour of the program.

Chord Chart Update

I just added seven new songs. Hope you enjoy them. They are…

All-American Rejects – It Ends Tonight
David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust
Islands – Creeper
Pedro the Lion – I Am Always The One Who Calls
The Presidents – Naked and Famous
Bonnie Raitt – Love Has No Pride
Townes Van Zandt – Pancho and Lefty

All the songs can be found on my Free Guitar Chords page.

That’s it! Please feel free to leave comments, especially concerning the advertising I’ve added to the site. I want Heartwood Guitar to be a pleasant place to visit, so let me know if I’m harshing your mellow.

Enjoy the music,


Comments 15

  1. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for that Bowie song! I’ve been hoping you’d get some David Bowie on this site because other sites don’t usually list strum patterns, which I find difficult to figure out.
    Also, you rock.

  2. i’ve found your web-site really helpful. while i’m not attempting to become a “guitarist”, i did and do want to be able to strum, pick, and play to accompany myself with some songs i enjoy and even to write a few of my own. i found that your chord tables have provided me with great “jump off” points to take my own somewhat limited skills a bit further . . . you probably won’t ever ever me on the radio (unless you happen to be in my house while i’m standing on one, ha!), but, the truth is, i’m gettin’ better and better every day . . . much thanks go to you and this web-site. 🙂

  3. a song suggestion that maybe you might one day add to your list:

    Johnathan King – “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon” (this song is from 1965 and has a very moody melancholy poetry about it, both in lyric and melody . . .i’ve always loved this song.)

  4. it is very good to me all things you
    show me,i have a little problem, i have forgot a lot words about english , but i try to understand
    but i want to tell you congratulation for all that

  5. A brilliant list of pieces for teaching all skill levels- thanks for them, the new ones in particular, and for all the hard work that goes into your site.

  6. Just a little note: for those who do not have Windows but Linux (like me) and/or do not want to pay for Guitar Pro, there is a program called TuxGuitar ( that is compatible with .gp* files.
    Even if does not support everything of Guitar Pro (or even of Power Tab), it does its “dirty” job.

  7. The adds are fine, much prefer the google text ones to any other and you definitely deserve some income from this great site.

    Traveling at the moment but cant wait to get back and start learning bowie.

  8. hay guys im new here!
    was looking around for easy songs to play and i found this and its GREAT
    Im playing a classic guitar for a year and a half now but i seem to have a problem with training i was wondering if you could give me some tips on how to train more often

    1. Ithamar: Glad you’re enjoying the site! Here’s an article I wrote about how to practice guitar.

      Siv: Cool, thanks! And I forgot to mention Power Tab–it’s another good tablature reader, though a bit clunky, and less song files available. It’s free, though!

      Michael: Thanks for your kind words. I’m sorry I can’t take song requests–all the songs on the site are requested by my private students. I just don’t have time to write out songs for everyone else.

      And thanks to everyone else for your feedback. I’ve been coming up with a lot of ideas for improving the site now that I’m making some money on it through advertising. Pretty exciting.

  9. thanks for the advice it really helps!
    but 1 more thing what i ment was that i have a problem with picking up my guitar sitting down and playing it
    to train for some reason i just cant get myself to sit for more then 15 mins at a time and sometimes i dont train for more then 1-2 times a week and i was wondering if u have advice about where to put my guitar or what to do so i remeber to train and for longer amounts of time
    ill be very glad if u have any advice!

    ++ is there anywhere on this site that is more forum like then this? if not i think it would be a good idea so that ppl have an easier time to talk with each other here

  10. Hi Ithamar,

    I your difficulty motivation, or are you getting physically tired or uncomfortable?

    I don’t have a forum on the site. I’ve considered starting one, but am worried it’ll take me away from my teaching. If I had an army of volunteer moderators to help, I might. 🙂


  11. i have difficulty with motivation
    =P thow i really do like to play my guitar ill be glad if u have tips

    i really think u should open a forum here it could be very nice and im sure lots of ppl here would be glad to be moderators for u (pick me im open =] )

    Thanks again!

  12. this may be a really dumb question . . . but i’ll post it anyway . . . as i’ve been learning to play the guitar, i find that i can play the melody notes best when i play them using my thumb (is this common or is it just a quirk of mine?) . . i don’t seem to do well using a guitar pick, so i generally don’t use one, . . is there such a thing as a “thumb pick” (i know they have finger picks for banjo) . . .

  13. p.s. that’s okay about not being able to accept suggestions for songs, i know that time is always so limited . . . i do pretty well getting the melody lines down ‘by ear” (as theyy say) and most chords just follow and flow from that . . . every once in a while, a chord can throw me! ha! (i can’t play most “Beatles” songs because they seem to have invented some chords that aren’t even on the guitar frets! ha!) . . . but i appreciate being able to visit your web-site here and pick up some great tips mow and then. 🙂

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