Richard Daniel's Ezine -- Issue #1

Dear Ezine subscriber,

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the
Ezine.  I hope you enjoy the journey we are about to
embark upon together.

The goal of the Ezine is to:

"Unlock the secrets of your guitar, release the power 
in your fingers, and let the music flow from within 
your soul!"

...and become a blues/rock guitar master, in record 
time, without ever having to read a note of music!

In fact, that is the goal and purpose of everything
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This is the inaugural issue of Ezine.  
New features coming to include a HTML 
edition, downloadable audio clip examples, downloadable
video clip examples, photos of great guitars, answers
to your questions, and TAB for the songs you request.

If a friend has passed this issue along to you and you 
wish to subscribe so that you get these issues directly, 
you can do so by visiting,
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So, let's get this show on the road...


Richard Daniels speaks on the Evolution of the Guitar

I was cruising the aisles of my friendly Guitar Center 
superstore the other day when I was overcome by a funny 
feeling: Guitar Overload. Too much candy apple paint, 
too many high tech features, and to many things to plug 
into on the way to the amp. Its not that I am against 
fun guitar toys, or the exaggerated world that surrounds 
the guitar today. Actually, I am just as much a sucker 
for the "latest thing" as the next guy walking around 
wide eyed inside the local music store. It is just that 
on this particular day I felt that there was something 
missing from the overall picture. Whatever that 
"something" was, I knew that I was standing over my 
head in the middle of it. All of the glitter and shine 
that seemed to sort of radiate from the dozens of 
guitars in the racks seemed to blind me somehow. All 
of this and they weren't even plugged in! 

I couldn't put my finger on it, so I decided to remove 
myself and just think about it on the drive home. My 
contradicted feelings stemmed from trying to see through 
the overkill atmosphere at the store. I understand that 
a tremendous demand for the guitar over decades of 
growth has pushed the instrument to unforeseen heights, 
but the problem I saw is that the enshrouded mantle 
of icon/image/holy grail that the guitar has truly 
earned and accumulated over time, now tends to serve 
as a fog around the true reasons and historic 
circumstance that allowed the instrument to survive, 
flourish and adapted to any cultural or electronic 
revolution along the way to the top. I like the music 
store. That is why I was there. But the fog of 
unquestioned adoration that the modern guitar has been 
pushed into just got a little too thick for me that 
day. The whole thing left me with some figuring to do.

As a devoted guitar teacher, at some point I need my 
students to see the guitar stripped to its bare bones 
to gain access to its real nature: a scientific 
instrument. It bugs me that any new student of the guitar
(at any age) is being brought in so "late in the story" 
of the instruments' triumphant ascendancy to the world's 
most popular instrument, that the original underlying 
set of diverse reasons for the guitar's long, fortuitous 
evolution are being obscured by the trappings and 
excess of the very success it brought to itself. I had 
to conclude that anybody being presently introduced to 
guitar study is destined for an experience similar to 
tuning into a movie during the final chase scene: Lots 
of action witnessed, but very little perception into 
why the chase is taking place or where it is going.

I searched my mind for a framework that would put the 
guitar in focus, in respect to what I would say to the 
initiate to explain the overall deal of how the guitar 
arrived so full blown into our present time. My decision 
was to travel back in time and check out the 
circumstances surrounding the birth of the guitar. It is 
my way of "cutting through the fog" and hopefully 
helping you to see the guitar in a new light.

The guitar as we now know it, referred to formally as 
the modern guitar, surfaced into the capital cities of 
Europe around 1780. Bach and Handel were gone. Mozart 
was blazing and Beethoven was a child prodigy. Eighty 
years after the invention of the piano, and fifty years 
after the height of Stradivarius' violin making efforts, 
the guitar was born into the fire and the glory of the 
European Classical revolution. The six string modern 
guitar was preceded by the lute (real big during the 
Renaissance) and immediately by early guitars that 
tensioned four and five strings. What I want you to see 
is that the modern guitar came into being after 
instrument craftsmen and musicologists already nailed 
down chromaticism. This was a huge inherent problem 
that took a few centuries to work out, but was well 
understood by the time the guitar was built.

Many early stringed instruments had some of the guitar's 
attributes, but the eclipse of perfections in technology, 
instrument construction, and the need for a universally 
chromatic chord/melody vehicle to adapt to the intensity 
of classical application is what led up to the forced 
creation of the guitar. Know that the eclipse was 
unique. One of a kind.

The guitar is an ingenious invention that up to one 
point in time did not exist. Hard as it is to imagine 
today, there had to be one fine earth day of human 
history where the sun rose above the horizon and it 
The very day before, it did not exist. Somewhere in 
Europe around 1780 the sun came up one day and there 
on the finishing bench of an instrument laboratory laid 
the first modern guitar ever made. Please understand: 
the new guitar had a whole lot going for it. Our guitar 
is a perfected instrument that stood on the shoulders 
of all that went before. To me personally, that special 
day in history marked the production of the crown of 
creation of all human endeavors. The guy that made it 
walked up to the bench, picked up the first guitar in 
the world, blew off the sawdust, and with the birds 
chirping outside, he strummed the very first open 
E chord form across the six strings. Never before in 
music history had a stringed instrument held so much 
future potential. Never had a stringed box incorporated 
so many clever inventions, so many figured puzzles, 
into one finished universal piece. The guitar was 
created out of a very real need and demand for the 
perfect chordophone.

Well known was the fact that the string shook in half, 
and that the study of music involved fixing (fingering/
fretting) the string between the open string note and 
the next higher octave produced at the halfway mark 
along the strings length. The dominant (fifth) was 
discovered to occur when the string shakes in thirds, 
and the mediant (third) was discovered to occur when 
the string shakes in fifths. From these discoveries came 
the grand invention. Cultures around the world knew for 
centuries that the major chord, natural to the overtones 
of the singing string, played out over the first half of 
any string (open string, 4th fret, 7th fret, 12th fret). 
So the major chord 1, 3, 5, 1" plays out over the first 
half of the string. The original design goal of the 
makers of the first guitar was to take these critical 
proportioned points found on the low E string and 
reiterate them on adjacent strings in such a way that 
the left hand can easily finger the resulting 
configuration. The end result of everything about the 
guitar's original map revolved around the fact that an 
E chord can easily be made, held and manipulated with 
the left hand. I'm telling you- it was centuries in 
the making! 

The open E form: fits the hand perfectly, allows easy 
conversion to the minor chord, outer open strings sing 
two tonic notes two octaves apart, allows easy open 
playing of the E major scale; the eclipse of these 
features, first witnessed in a wood working instrument 
studio more than 220 years ago, were the seeds that 
allowed the tree of blues/rock to grow untethered into 
our present exploded world view. The other open chord 
forms of A, C, D and G also fell coincidentally into 
handy, usable constellations. The birth of the modern 
guitar signaled a long sought after "breaking of the 
code", much like the hard road of discovery that led 
to the discovery of DNA, the periodic table or the 
electromagnetic spectrum: once the problem was 
singularly solved all other searching parties dropped 
their efforts and yielded to the obvious superior 
breakthrough. Stand by me and see the first guitar 
as the finish line, after which all other applications 
of style on the instrument are mere reflections of 
cultural adaptations. Style followed the instrument.

Although the piano is the ultimate chromatic machine, 
the guitar allows for bending a note, a right hand 
staccato attack, the sliding a note and the vibrato 
technique all of which can't be performed on the piano. 
The effect of the guitar's sound is ultra-sensual because 
every movement of the finger along the strings' length 
directly prints the musical tone with the artist's 
personal signature. The flesh of the finger touches 
the musical vehicle itself at all times. The strings 
of the piano are hidden away in a wooden box. The 
guitar is portable. One hand goes over the strings 
while the other goes around them. Shorten the string 
length and you force the player to contort like a 
violin player. Longer strings lengths... check out a 
cello player. The guitar is perfect because it allows 
the player to sing, to jump around, to strum hard, to 
play soft... well, you know. The dawn of electricity 
allowed the player to move up the neck, to play sax 
lines, leaving behind the original design goal of 
universal bass chordophone. The equal proportion of 
the frets and the fixed distance between the strings 
present a homogenized system to the casual observer. 
But we know that everything about the guitar's layout 
was determined to produce the primary E form at the 
bottom. Everything else, including its ultimate 
adaptability to the music of future cultures, fell 
into place after that single determination.

The bottom line is that the guitar was born into a 
classical world and stood as an answer to a series of 
long standing problems on the day it was born. The 
solutions that the guitar provided to the players of 
the 1780's (friendly E form, highly adaptable 
6 string/12 fret/72 digit repeating chromatic pattern) 
are the very same mechanisms that allowed the guitar's 
acculturation through time and space as it was removed 
from Europe, taken to the South of the United States 
and you know the rest (Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, 
Elvis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, 
Van Halen, Yngwie, Stevie Ray and so on.) So next time 
you are in the local music store, and Johnny-come-lately 
starts playing too loud on a guitar that he just 
picked up for the first time, just simply leave the 
store, drive around in the car and think hard about 
the first guitar player, gazing out the window of the 
first REAL guitar shop, never knowing what lay ahead 
for his new friend. 

I am sure that you have figured out by now that I love 
the guitar, and that I am blind out sold on the thing 
lock, stock and barrel. Please know that there is a lot 
more that I want you know about our instrument of 
choice, and I intend to relay that insight to you 
in future newsletters. 



Since this is our inaugural issue... I do not have 
questions from you to answer.  So I have come up with 
a few questions I know many of you have.

For our next issue, please email me at, and send me your questions.
I will address as many of them as I can in the next 
issue of Ezine.

QUESTION: What is the blues scale?

The blues scale is a hybrid, five note minor scale 
that has several distinctive characteristics. This 
scale is formally called the minor pentatonic and 
contains the degrees: 1 -3  4   5  -7. This unique 
scale is a subset of the natural minor scale 
(1  2 -3  4  5 -6 -7) and is technically known as a 
"gapped scale" because it has two intervals of a minor 
third (three fret distance) in its makeup between the 
1st and -3rd and the 5th and -7th.

The core of the scale is the 1st and the 5th. These two 
degrees are found in all common scales and form the 
elements of the powerchord. The 4th is a sister degree 
of the tonic and along with the 1st and 5th comprise 
the three points that comprise the blues song form of 
1,4,5. It is the "blue notes" of the -3rd and -7th that 
give this scale its special sound. These two minor notes 
are normally bent upward during blues lead guitarwork. 
The end result is that the blues scale is not 
particularly melodic, but its use carries a characteristic 
hard hitting direct sensation: a contrast of minor and 
major effect. The early rock guitarists employed this 
very same blues scale used by the founding delta and 
Chicago blues fathers, but forced this abbreviated, 
convertible minor based scale into a new diverse 
world of use.

QUESTION: What determines a strings frequency?

First of all, the term frequency commonly refers to the 
number of times a second that a tensioned, singing 
string completes its full up and down movement over 
the time period of a second. This number reading is 
usually given in hertz (hz) which is the number of cycles 
per second (440cps or hz.) and is referred to as the 
fundamental frequency of a note. This frequency number 
determines a note's tone, and its relative position in 
the musical range (treble/bass). 	Three common factors 
normally determine the frequency of a singing string. 
The mass-per-unit length, or the gauge of any given 
string, directly affects the string's resulting 
frequency. The thicker a string, the more resistance 
a string offers the force of vibration, which results 
in a lower frequency. With all other factors constant, 
a thinner replacement string will vibrate at a higher 
frequency. The greater the length over which a singing 
string is tensioned, the lower the resulting frequency 
sounded. This is a handy thing to know when you set out 
to intonate your guitar, which involves micro-
adjustments to the string's vibrating length using the 
six individual string mini-saddles built into most 
guitar bridges.

Of course the tension of the string is the single most 
convertible factor that affects the frequency of a 
string. The greater the tension from winding the string 
tighter, the greater the resulting frequency. Have a 
reputable guitar technician set up your guitar's string 
height and intonation. Be aware that if you change the 
gauge of your strings that the resulting accumulative 
change in tension from the pull of all six strings 
may require a sting height, bridge, nut or truss rod 
adjustment to the neck of the instrument.

QUESTION: What is the difference between the Fender 
Stratocaster and the Gibson Les Paul?

Because today's market place offers such a wide variety 
of customization, aftermarket products and spinoffs that 
apply to both of these guitar models, my answer will 
address only the historic perspective in which these 
guitars are held. While both of these models came to 
prominence during the 1950's, the traditional hallmark 
difference between these guitars is the Les Paul 
employed two double coil pickups in its design while 
the Stratocaster came with three single coil pickups.

A tremendously popular recording star of the late 40's 
and early 50's, Les Paul was compensated for his 
services as an advisor to the Gibson guitar company in 
exchange for the use of his name on a line of 
specialized guitars. The resulting masterpiece, the 
Les Paul guitar, employed a laminated mahogany top solid 
body, dark wood fretboard and an angled head stock with 
three tuning machines on each side. Several of the 
overall design features of the Les Paul hark back to the 
era of the hollow body arch top acoustic guitar: The 
strings carry over the bridge to an anchor on the face, 
the wood of the top and back of the guitar is carved to 
mimic the "bulge" of an arch top, the thickness of the 
instrument's body remains uniform around the perimeter 
of the single cutaway body, and the pickplate is fixed 
a quarter inch or so above the actual painted top of 
the guitar. The input jack of the Les Paul is along the 
lower back edge, directly into the side of the guitar.

The dawn of the Stratocaster during the mid 50's marked 
a true departure from the telltale characteristics of 
the acoustic guitar. The very first Strat ever sold had 
a patented multi-spring, pivoted wammy bar. The double 
cutaway, one piece solid body sported a specially 
shaved "thinned down" top edge to fit the performer's 
body. The bolt-on neck of the Strat was offered only 
with a one piece maple neck/fretboard during the 
vintage years of the late 50's, with a distinctive head 
stock that ran all six tuners along the upper edge. 
The face of the rounded top headstock ran flat and 
parallel to the fretboard. This required the top four 
strings to be pulled under small metal "string trees" 
on the way to the tuners in order to get enough 
tension over the nut. The pickplate of the Stratocaster 
is screwed directly to the top of the guitar, and 
three single coil pickups are placed directly in 
elongated holes in the pickplate. The input jack is 
placed at an angle in an indented metal housing 
excavated into the face of the guitar just off the 
pickplate by the control knobs.

Comparing the playing and trademark sound of the two 
guitars, the double coils of the Les Paul have always 
offered a softer, mellower midrange sound when compared 
to the cutting treble output of the single coils of a 
Stratocaster. Of course, the question of which guitar 
is "best" has always been a matter of preference to 
each performer that owns one. I have found that when 
the subject is brought up that brand model loyalty can 
be downright fierce and a matter of sworn alliance. 
The truth is that at this late date in the evolution 
of these two models, the availability of custom 
hardware, advancements in electronics, high tech body 
parts, and a vast diversity of choice concerning every 
aspect of the design makeup of both the Les Paul and 
the Stratocaster, has created a world where each 
particular guitar is unique to itself. 

Nowadays when you see a "Strat" or a "Les Paul" on stage 
or TV, the chances are that what you are actually seeing 
is a facade of a vintage model's body shape outfitted 
with hardware that has little or nothing to do with the 
original traditional characteristics associated with 
the ideal, historic model. 


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chance.  Request and receive the most accurate TAB from 
the hottest fret-burning classic rock masters, or the 
latest releases.

Please email your requests to:

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of Ezine.


Dear reader, that wraps up the inaugural issue of Ezine.  Please send your questions, and 
your TAB requests.  We'll see you next issue.

If a friend has passed this issue along to you and you 
wish to subscribe so that you get these issues directly, 
you can do so by visiting,
or send a blank email to

I encourage you to pass this issue of
Ezine to your friends!

Cordially, Richard Daniels, Heavy Guitar Company /
Richard Daniels Productions. Voice: (610) 869-5885 
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