Richard Daniel's Ezine -- Issue #3

Dear Ezine subscriber,

Welcome to the third issue of the
Ezine.  In this issue  we look "Behind The Guitar: 
The Human Need To Create."  A look at the universal 
drive to create and the long and winding road to 
the electric guitar.

Our tuition column takes a closer look at live 
mikes, PA volume and the small Band.

See answers to questions from subscribers.  Finally,
we introduce the Universal Fretboard Call 
System to all e-zine subscribers and students: with
a Blues lesson included.

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So, let's get this show on the road...

Behind The Guitar: The Human Need To Create.
Richard Daniels speaks on the universal drive to create 
and the long and winding road to the electric guitar.

Like all good citizens of the modern world, and guitar
players particularly, I switched on the TV for a little
entertainment as I sat down to dinner the other night.
I now have over 70 channels to chose from, and as I was
surfing across the face of the great wasteland
something caught my eye: It was a show on animal
instincts and the extremes to which the various
creatures of our fair earth go to carry out the basic
drives which are hidden in their nature. Salmon swim
hundreds of miles upstream to spawn. The beasts of the
great African Serengeti plain travel together in herds
hundreds of miles in a migratory cycle just to repeat
the very same loop again and again. Birds fly thousands
of miles to turn around and fly back to where they started. 

What struck me the hardest about the show was that after
all was said and done, the animals of our planet act
out these elaborate processes, all of which take
tremendous physical exertion, yet they do it all without 
pay, without written or verbal direction, and most 
amazing of all, without complaint or question. 
Basically, I had to conclude that the creatures of the
earth work out the course of their lives driven by a 
sort of built-in auto pilot: The instinctive life forces 
found inherently in the mind of the animal. Instincts 
are the invisible, innate psychic dispositions that
ultimately propel the behavior of all life forms on
earth. Close-up shots of the eyes and faces of the
birds, land animals and fish studied in the show
revealed yet another level of the mystery at hand:
These animals are blindly driven to carry out their
goals. The unmistakable impression that you get looking
directly into their eyes is that their world/life view
is ALL ABOUT DOING IT, with very little, if any,
contemplation given to exactly what it is they are
doing. Sort of like the guys in my band.

Where does this leave us? Well, we all find ourselves in
a world where not one of us ever asked to be born, yet,
thrown into the human condition, we have to contend
with it directly or get picked over by the vultures
lower on the food chain. From the dawn of civilization 
mankind has struggled to distance himself from the 
animal kingdom. Thing is, it was recently discovered 
that human DNA shares 98.5% of its genes with those of 
chimpanzees. Like it or not, this new discovery presents 
a cold, hard indisputable fact. In centuries past, 
humans could form a self-centered unchallenged world 
view based on what they roughly deducted from 
observation, on what they thought to be true, on what 
they were told to believe, on what they felt or wanted 
life to be. 

Now-a-days, in order to be realistic, all thoughts and 
theory on our basic nature has to incorporate the fact 
that genetically we are practically the same as other 
animals on the planet. The truth, it seems to me, is 
that the 1.5% variance- whatever it is- makes all the 
difference in the world. We are without question 
uniquely human among earth's creatures. We talk through 
the air. We play guitars. We've got New York. We go to 
the moon. What a species!

Now, in light of this genetic fact, we are forced to 
look closely at our own behavior in a new light. We are 
superior (for lack of a better word) to the purely 
instinctive driven animals of the earth because we have 
greater intelligence, a higher consciousness (or so they 
say) and therefore possess a sense of self-realization, 
self-determination, and an inborn right to give credence 
to any and all personal beliefs, as far as our place in 
the cosmos goes. The way it seems to me is this: we are 
still basically instinctually driven, but we seem to be 
the first species to have figured that out for 
ourselves. Over time, we have played out our inborn 
drives in a thousand rituals and danced around the fire 
behind the faces of countless different masks. Through 
all of this, however, despite our inventions of culture 
and our tendency toward self-importance, we are still 
driven to action by forces inside of us to which we are 
basically blind. 

Modern scientific breakthrough discoveries offer us a 
fantastic window into the quantum/magnum "real world" in 
which we exist, free of the confines of the human 
dimension's perspective. The difference between us and 
the men and women of history is that we know about 
genetics, the atom and the galaxies of our universe. We 
know, they did not. This new found knowledge allows us 
to experience removed, temporary glimpses of a constant, 
dynamic universe and our place in it. Because our 
vehicle of realization, the mind and body, is directly 
tied to the workings and callings of an instinctive, 
survivalist, inborn core from which we can't divorce 
ourselves, I have to report that even though our present 
human condition offers episodes of insight, it is never 
too long before we are called back to the basics: Potato 
chips, TV, bed (O.K. Diet Pepsi for those watching your 

Still, my point is that humans inherently long for 
bigger and better things, thoughts and feelings, above 
the dirt. The drive towards a vision beyond the base 
human condition is natural, practically unconscious and 
as we will see, directly responsible for our species 
creation of music. That special drive, surpassing the 
drive for physical survival, is the 1.5% difference that 
forges the human spirit and makes it long to soar. It 
comes built into the territory of being human. The other 
98.5% is the monkey business part of our lives, of which 
you are probably already familiar. 

Now in order to rope this essay in a little bit before 
all of the sheep get out of the corral (or the bats from 
the belfry, if you prefer) I now direct your interest to 
a book written by Robert Jourdain called Music, The 
Brain And Ecstasy. What I drew from the book is this: 
Human beings are, by their very nature, hard wired to 
universally apply music to heighten their senses, change 
their mood and ultimately achieve an ecstatic state 
which transforms the individual past the mundane use of 
the senses, and into a world of transcendence. From the 
book:"For a few moments music makes us larger than we 
really are, and the world more orderly than it really 
is. We respond not just to the beauty of the sustained 
deep relations that are revealed, but also to the fact 
of our perceiving them. As our brains are thrown into 
overdrive, we feel our very existence expand and realize 
that we can be more than we normally are, and that the 
world is more than it seems. That is cause enough for 

One outstanding premise of the book is that the 
environment of the human mind is practically starving 
for the hypnotic effect that music presents to the 
listener. Like water on a dry sponge, the mind is ready 
for music. It drinks it up. The mind loves the way music 
makes it feel. It goes beyond a nice fit: the human mind 
wants music. It senses that music straightens thinking 
out, somehow. Music makes the mind feel whole, strong, 
complete and at times, even noble. The human animal 
seems to be unique in this respect.

Since we are the only species to ever really develop an 
intricate music that saturates all of our cultures the 
question remains "Why? What purpose does music really 
serve, what is the reason that it is so universally 
woven into the fabric of human experience?" Well, having 
won the war of the species, humans' instinctual drives 
were free, in part, to develop to"the next level" 
propelling individual behavior towards the creation of 
art, invention, and a very real need to use music to 
express one's inner emotion.

One thing is for sure. When Western civilization set 
their ships out to explore the globe in the middle of 
the past millennium, the reports back to Europe were 
universal in many respects. First off, there were 
already people living all over the world. Secondly, the 
peoples of the world all carried out certain common 
rituals of behavior (birth rites, death rites, marriage, 
coming of age rites etc.) through the particulars of 
their different cultures. But the real news was that 
they all used music in one way or another as an integral 
part of their lives. Music was discovered to be 
universal among all cultures spanning all periods of 
human history, even though many cultures were completely 
independent of each other. African shamans were 
discovered to use stringed instruments to drive the mood 
for trance induced religious ceremonies, while other 
parallel reports came in from around the world. People 
USE music. Always have. Always will.

There are many behavior patterns that are specific to 
certain cultures, but beyond basic human needs, the 
creation of music and the drive toward artistic 
expression are in a universal and exclusive category of 
their own- right up there along side of survival and 
eating. This means that music was discovered 
independently, again and again and again, throughout 
time and place, and used as a tool to carry out the 
inner drives of mankind's higher natural calls. It is 
not important to categorize the history of music at this 
time. What thrills me is the concept that we are driven 
to create music by our very nature. Witness our own 
species, leveraging our successful survival instincts, 
forging past their initial base parameters in order to 
see through them, beyond the animal state and into the 
expanse of the universe of feeling, seeing and knowing 
our own world, and who we really are at heart. The means 
to this refined end: Music.

What all of this leads to is the need for music as a 
necessity of the human condition. Of course, it can't 
compare with hunger or reproduction for immediate 
attention. It is just that at this point in time, 
history shows that humans, left alone to their own 
devices, will use music in every aspect of their lives. 
They will use it to worship. They will use it to dance. 
They will use it to sell. They will use it to march to 
war. They will use it to hurt. They will use it to mark 
themselves. They will use it induce a drug-like trance. 
They will use it to lift the public spirit at weddings, 
or set the mood of a burial and rituals of all kinds. 
The individual will use it while alone to change the way 
he feels, to elevate himself, to expand his immediate 
horizon. Above and beyond all other things, people have 
always used music as a way of expressing their inner 
feelings to the world outside of the self.

It is important to see that once civilization got 
rolling that the "whole shooting match"of historical 
expansion feed on itself. One development led to the 
other. Discoveries in the field of instrument making led 
to better execution by the players. More refined 
instruments led to deeper musical discovery, which 
spawned more refined styles. As world population grew, 
so did cross-cultural spill over. Discoveries applying 
to all things musical were shared, exchanged and 
embraced, accelerating the process which eventually 
brought on the great episodes of music history: Ancient, 
Middle Ages, Baroque, Classical, Modern and all we 
personally have known and experienced.

I have found that the documented history of musical 
style, instruments and performers is always heavy on 
precise details of who, what and when things actually 
happened, but I have found that most studies usually 
fail to address the human drive that was responsible for 
the entire deal in the first place.

Once you recognize the human compulsion to create 
expressive art as the force behind all music application 
and invention, the doors open which permits us to see 
all related subject matter in a clearer light. For 
instance, the development of the six string electric 
guitar is a well documented affair, but knowing that 
there was a very real human need that invisibly forced 
the events to occur helps us to see past the dates, 
names and places listed in the history books to the real 
underlying cause.. Recognizing the existence of"the 
drive" facilitates our true understanding of the 
instrument, why it was constantly refined, why it was so 
adaptable through its history and why it remains the 
most popular instrument in the world today. The history 
of candy is clear: the name and the type are not as 
important to understanding its nature and effect as the 
common fact that people will crawl a mile just to be 
near a sugar bar of any kind. 

The guitar started out as an ingenious gut stringed 
chromatic based chordophone invention around 1780. It 
was the demand of the expressive performer that brought 
the instrument into being. The highest technology that 
each period of history had to offer was always applied 
to the guitar because the obsession of the performers of 
history for more and better instruments never let up as 
time rolled through history. The first modern guitars 
appeared sixty years after the height of Stradivarius' 
violin making perfection. What looks like a dusty 
antique in a faded picture today was actually the "crown 
of creation" of musical instruments to a world without. 

Born into the world to satisfy the human need to 
express: witness the invention of the modern guitar, 
classical Europe, around 1780. Perfect in every way for 
individual exposition, the guitar was considered the 
finish line by those that first embraced it. It took 
centuries of development, driven by the individual's 
demand for a more perfect means of voicing his 
imagination, to bring the guitar into existence.

The invention of the steel string was applied to the 
guitar not simply because technology allowed it, but 
because the steel string helped the performer to more 
easily create vastly broader musical visions. Once guys 
heard that steel sting sing, they were all down trying 
to get one. Why? Because they loved steel strings? No, 
it was because the steel string opened the flood gates 
of expression. Understand the underlying compulsion of 
the human to create, and you will better understand the 
real story of the guitar. 

The delta blues played out on the steel string. The well 
worn story is that the steel string fit the haunting 
ordeal of the African man, playing a refined Euro-
instrument on American soil against all odds of a good 
life. It could all seem like a lot of loose ended 
history, an effort to understand, if we don't consider 
"the drive" in the overall story. Once you see the 
obsessive inner human drive to exhibit as the underlying 
reason for all music culture, it is easier to see a 
particular incarnation of musical history, such as the 
delta blues, in its true perspective, removed from the 
fog created by romance, legend, indulgent reverence, and 
the inevitable distraction caused by naming the Gods who 
carried the hammer: Son House, Robert Johnson, Muddy 
Waters, and so on.

The only things that really carried through the entire 
history of the guitar, from its inception to the present 
day, are "the drive" of the performer and the instrument 
itself. All else is the stuff of singular historical 
episode. Once again, it wasn't really the guitar that 
"went electric." It was the pent-up insistence of the 
performer for a more versatile vehicle on which to shoot 
for the stars that really stirred the pot. Thousands of 
years in the making, born on American soil, popularized 
during the 40's, mass produced during the 50's, Ladies 
and Gentleman, the most expressive-friendly chordophone 
in the history of the universe: the electric guitar. 
Just custom made for playing out your instinctive inner 
drive to create. Les Paul and Leo Fender have their 
names on the guitars, and history has given them their 
due, but I am sure that they both knew somehow that 
their timely inventions served as grease on the wheels 
of a greater overall movement of causation. Elvis, The 
Beatles, Led Zep, Van Halen, Stevie Ray, all of these 
characters had "the drive" before they picked up a 
guitar. Even icons, now seemingly forged in stone 
forever and ever, once employed an original portfolio, a 
scheme to simply show off.

So the guitar is a shadow of human need. Way before the 
actual invention of the instrument there existed the 
hidden, subconscious human agenda of necessity that 
brought all musical property into the light of day.

Richard Daniels



Live Mikes, PA Volume and the Small Band

What I really know about microphone volume setting and 
PA equipment I have learned from the direct experience 
of setting up my three piece band over the years.  I 
move my PA out of the basement music room every now and 
again, and I have a few pointers about setting volume 
levels that may help you avoid some of the pratfalls of 
getting the PA to a good working level. Up to about a 
year ago I had a cheap minimum level model, an old 
Custom with pleated upholstery around its casing. Do you 
remember those old things? I had all kinds of problems 
with it, so I bought a brand new Fender with 325 watts, 
six channel input, with 30 digital presets for the 
reverb, delay, special effects etc. It has one setting 
that adds a third and a fifth above the note sung. Then 
I got two Yamaha 15" speaker cabs.

The basic thing to know about mike volume is this: After 
all is said and done and the speakers are set up, and 
the wires are run, and the power amp is turned on and a 
live mike is in the stand- the two most important 
settings are the raw master volume and the treble 
setting on the mike channel. Oh, I know, there are dials 
galore, and a spectrum of things to consider, but what I 
am defining here is the soundman's greatest enemy: 
Feedback. All other settings fall behind the volume and 
the treble when it comes to understanding the deal on 

Things to know: After a mike is turned on and live, and 
the volume knob is slowly increased incrementally, there 
will be a point where, after running through the usable 
range of volume on the set knob, the response from the 
mike will become highly sensitive, and after a certain 
point will start to scream with feedback. The usable 
volume parameter (for example between 2 and 4) is 
commonly defined on the high end by what is known as the 
"threshold of feedback." Here is the thing: the optimum 
setting for a mike's volume is just before the mike 
starts to feed back. It is sort of like looking over a 
cliff: it gets more exciting closer to the edge, but you 
dare not go to close because you could lose the whole 
The very best way I know to describe this critical 
setting is to tell you what I do when I am alone and 
setting the mike up myself. I put the mike in the stand, 
adjust it to my singing height and position it 
diametrically away from the main speakers as much as I 
can (usually directly toward the back of the stage with 
the speakers on each side facing outward favoring each 
side) and after setting the treble and bass flat (at the 
zero point usually at 12 noon) I then start with a 
reasonable user setting that I can feel is considerably 
under the peak threshold. I walk up to the mike for a 
test, and then just go back and forth resetting the knob 
and testing the mike until I start to approach the point 
where the mike starts to report a full warm, louder 

At this point you are entering the "warm zone" This is 
ultimately where you want to be. From here your goal is 
to creep- in tiny instruments on the sweep of the knob- 
ever closer (louder-higher volume) toward the peak. Go 
ahead and let it feed back a little when the time comes 
for you to experience it. Dare yourself to enter into 
the "danger zone." See what happens first hand. You have 
to know how far is too far to back off from it, right? 

After running through this procedure a few times 
you will come to realize that all of the other PA 
settings are academic compared to this one. If you can 
get the knack of setting the volume just short of the 
critical edge where feedback starts, you will be on your 
way to truly getting the most out of your PA. Try 
bringing up the treble knob and you will find that it 
works practically like the volume knob does in respect 
to taking you towards the feedback threshold. The higher 
you can sneak the volume/treble knobs, the clearer, more 
vibrant your mike will sound. Go to far, and you will 
know it.

I understand one problem is that the conditions under 
which you set a PA up may be social situations. The 
other band members making sounds. People vying for your 
attention, singers telling you what to do, or drummers 
setting up their cymbals. All of this works against you. 
There is a fine art to setting the system just shy of 
the feedback point, and it might be best for you to fool 
around with it when you have the place to yourself. 

Once you do establish the point for a common band set 
up, and your gig is successful, go ahead and mark the 
knobs with colored masking tape tabs right on the knob 
position. Mind you that the markings will only give you 
a rough idea for one stage for one night, but it will 
serve as a starting point none the less. When in 
question, always go shy of the mark and slowly test your 
way up toward the point of no return. One complaint I 
always have about equipment volume knobs is that, 
although the knob sweeps from 0 to 10, it is always a 
very small sliver of that spectrum that is actually 
usable. On my guitar amp the volume knob is way to low 
at 1, and way to loud at 1.5. Go figure. I can't imagine 
why the knob goes between 3 and 9 for. I have never 
gotten over 2.

Find the usable parameter on your volume knob from 
experience. Check it out. Mark it. After the volume 
knob, the treble is the second most important. Go up to 
the point where you are getting the rich, expanded sound 
that you are after, and then back off just a little and 
leave it there. Sing a few songs. Figure out if you can 
go higher without the feedback factor and try to sneak 
it up a hair. If you hear a complaint, back down again. 
That is how it works in the end. 

Short story: I am jamming down at Jodie's house as 
normal on Friday night. We take a ten minute break after 
an hour of playing. Just 30 seconds after we put our 
instruments down and leave the room the feedback starts. 
It came slowly out of nowhere, but within ten seconds 
was peaking and screaming no end. We all ran over 
ourselves running to the master knob to kill it off. 
What happened? The main mike was set so dangerously 
close to the threshold of feedback that as long as the 
mike was processing a signal of any kind (people talking 
in the room, the bass player tuning up, or somebody 
actively singing) the thing seemed to be happy and shy 
of the mark, and giving good sound. As soon as everybody 
making noise left the room, the system began to hear 
itself, and started to process its own basic hum. This 
was enough to "teeter" the system over the threshold. So 
keep in mind that if a mike is not feeding back on a 
stationary stand after fine considered "quiet stage" 
adjustment, you are safe at that setting during a 
performance because you are processing a signal, pushing 
you just a bit back from the threshold point.

Everything will be fine then. That is, of course, until 
you have a "special guest artist" (as we have had down 
at Jodie's any number of times) and with a beer can in 
one hand and your mike in the other, Mr. Friday Night 
Fever proceeds to swing the mike directly in front of 
the PA speaker. Of course, this results in instantaneous 
feedback of the highest order. Everybody in the band 
starts screaming over each other and the guy with the 
mike is oblivious to the fact that he is causing the 
problem- so he keeps singing Wild Thing. This, my 
friend, is the price of the special guest artist. Just 
keep him away from the guitar rig.



QUESTION: What is the most common open tuning on the 
electric guitar?

A basic cornerstone of my teachings is that the guitar 
was first and foremost a chordophone that was designed 
to play an E chord. It is no accident that the two outer 
strings are both E notes, two octaves apart. For this 
reason, the most common open tuning is the "open E." The 
six strings, usually tuned to E, A, D, G, B, and E, are 
opened tuned to E, B, E, G#, B and E. In the key of E, 
E=1, G# = 3 and B = 5. 

This was the favorite open tuning of the old blues 
fathers. You could take a bottleneck and run a chord 
straight across, adjusting leadwork to the pattern, 
while always knowing that you can always remove the 
slide and get that perfect ringing, full E chord. George 
Thurogood always goes out on stage with two guitars: One 
tuned to standard, one tuned to E, both white Gibsons.

QUESTION: What are the most common fretboard woods for 
use on the electric guitar?

Rosewood is probably the most commonly used fretboard 
wood because it has a nice natural finish, not oily to 
the touch but with a natural oil finish from the wood 
itself. Warm, open grained and burgundy in color, 
Rosewood comes in a great variety of colors, and 
textures including the rarer Brazilian.

Ebony is a dark, tending to black hardwood that is 
widely used for violin and cello fingerboards. On the 
guitar the ebony fretboard is less used than Rosewood, 
but remains a favorite because of its hard, unforgiving 
face and its slick feel with a steel string. A side 
benefit of the ebony board is that a set of new frets 
looks "absolutely fabulous" gleaming against the black 
wood in the bright stage lights.

Maple neck Stratocasters are my favorite thing in the 
world. Maple is a blonde/yellow and very hard. The thing 
to know is that maple neck Strats are basically one 
piece of wood. The "fretboard" is the same piece of wood 
as the neck, and the frets are cut directly into the 
same piece of wood that handle the machine heads at the 
headstock. Maple fretboards usually require a special 
"poly" finish to prevent the strings from contacting the 
raw wood.


========================= Ezine TAB

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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:

We will start featuring your requests with the 
commencement of the HTML version Ezine,
coming next month.

Richard Daniels introduces the Universal Fretboard Call 
System to all e-zine subscribers and students: Blues 
lesson included.

First off, I really want to thank you personally for 
joining the very special, limited group of friends and 
students that subscribe to my online e-zine, Welcome. 

Since I started teaching guitar professionally twenty 
years ago, a rather persistent, seemingly simple problem 
continues to raise its head: communicating to the 
student exactly where to play an example on the 
fretboard. Both teacher and student both have 
practically identical fretboards, but there always seems 
to be a difficult bridge to cross when it comes down to 
the real nuts and bolts of getting the student's fingers 
into the correct position. 

Nobody knows the limits of the various media used to 
teach guitar better than I. You can't hear books, but 
they are great for charts. "Running time" media like 
video, CD etc. have the problem of running past your 
attention. Moving or still pictures of the hand playing 
a note on the fretboard naturally hide the real action 
of the string being pinched under the finger: The hand 
is between the camera lens and the real action, and the 
pick hand is two feet away making the action happen. You 
see, I have thought this whole thing over for many years 
and here is what I have come up with to work towards a 
solution: A Universal Fretboard Call System that simply, 
quickly spotlights a specific note's position and makes 
it clear to both student and teacher precisely where on 
the board a study is taking place.

Here is how it works: The system employs a three word 
"call", where the first word indicates the string used, 
the second word indicates the fret employed, and the 
third word indicates the finger used to play the note. 
This is a simple "string/fret/finger" call system that I 
am going to use universally for all future teachings 
that appear in e-zine lessons, and my print and video 
media presentations.

 First word: 	String
 Second word: 	Fret
 Third word: 	Finger

Now all of this seems simple enough at first, but to 
effectively use the system we have to explore a few 
points. First, the six strings are numbered from high to 
low, from thick to thin. High E is 1, the second 
thinnest B string is 2, G is 3, D is 4, A is 5, and the 
low E is 6. Bigger string-higher number, thinner string-
lower number. The good news is that there are only six 
numbers here to consider.

The second word of the call indicates the fret position 
numbers spanning from 0 thru 19 (24 for extended 
fretboards). The number 0 will refer to a sting played 
open. Common fretboard markers are placed at the 3rd, 
5th, 9th, and 12th frets on most guitars. 

The third word of the call, which indicates the finger 
employed, will use the words index (I), middle (M), ring 
(R), pinky (P) in order to get the information across. 
Understand that most of the time that the call will be 
reduced to just two words, and that the finger reference 
will only be used when necessary. Techniques such as 
bending or pulling are not addressed directly in the 

The reason that I am using the word Universal to name 
this system is because I want to be able to use our 
system to commonly name a note on anybody's fretboard no 
matter what guitar they may play. A call of 3/12/index 
will always refer to the same note. You can begin to see 
why, after all this time teaching, I am seeking out and 
developing a system that ties all fretboards together. 
When you are speaking to a friend on the phone, do you 
want to say "I am talking about the note played on the 
second thinnest string, at the 12th fret, playing with 
the index finger" or do you want to say "go to 
3/12/index." After we use it a while, you will see that 
it is not only more direct, but it is easier to focus or 
"see" a note in your mind using the system. 

Another reason for using the word Universal to describe 
the system is that I want to apply the call across the 
board in all of my teaching that requires me to explain 
hands-on playing, as opposed to general theory. In the 
future, the call will be used in:

1. The paragraph text of e-zine lessons, books, and 
papers that are part of my teaching. All printed matter 
will employ the call.

2. Spoken word CDs will employ the call in the common 
narration. The call will then usually refer to a 
cross-referenced printed diagram, or use of the same call 
in a printed text.

3. The narration of digital video publications will use 
the call to clarify a note position, and once again 
cross-reference other places where the call appears 
in text or diagram form.

The use of the Universal Fretboard Call System is an 
"acquired taste." You will become familiar with it only 
through use. I look forward in the future to producing 
plenty of essential discourse that uses our Universal 
system to help you to truly understand the playing of 
your instrument. Now we will look at a tab example that 
spells out the A blues scale to see how the call system 
works, and get a quick lesson in blues guitar to boot.

Bar #1

 8    5
        8    5
                7    5
                        7    5     
                               7     5   
                                   8     5

In the above tab diagram you see the most common 
pentatonic blues scale box in the key of A across the 
5th fret. The tonic A notes are located in three 
positions: 1/5/index, 4/7/ring, and 6/5/index. The fifth 
of the A major scale and the second basic ingredient of 
the A major chord is located in two positions on 2/5 and 
5/5. The A power chord is found on 6/5/index and 
5/7/ring. There is a lot of info in the first bar if you 
really pick it apart. This simple box represents one of 
the cornerstones of basic rock lead guitar. You must 
know this box if you are going to go forward with your 

The second bar shows the "passing" note between the 4th 
and the 5th of the major scale that is frequently used 
by blues guitarists and piano players to roll between 
these two primary major scale degrees. This "middle" 
note is often included in common blues scale usage. Do 
understand, however, that this note is not actually in 
the blues scale. Technically, this note is named the 
flatted 5th and appears on 4/6 and 5/6 in the second bar 
of the tab.

The third bar demonstrates the inclusion of the two 
notes presented in the second bar into the blues box 
outline shown in the first bar. Play the first bar 
through enough times until you get the hang of it. Then 
try the third bar, which includes the flatted 5th in its 
makeup. The note on 4/6/ring is commonly bent upward a 
half step until it sounds the "real" fifth played 
normally on 2/5/index. This, of course, is the heart of 
the famous Chuck Berry lick we all know. The note on 
5/6/middle is usually not bent, but is quickly run over 
as the middle note of a triplet between 5/5/index and 

I hope this short lesson gives you a quick look into the 
mechanics of the blues scale, and introduces you to the 
Universal Fretboard Call System which we will be seeing 
more of in the next e-zine. Talk to you then

Richard Daniels


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

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