Archive and Resources for GuitaroJam Members

Newsletter Home:  2006 | 2005


4th May, 2006


  • Health:  Environmental Issues For Musicians
  • Audio Hi Fi:  Analogue Is Good!
  • Artist:  Gordon Giltrap - Double Vision!
  • Performing:  Tips For The Solo Musician: The Power Of Sound
  • Learning:  You Need Stronger Fingers For Guitar Playing
  • Performing:  How to Fake Being a Better Guitarist In Five Easy Steps (Part 1 of 2)
  • Music:  Downloading MP3s Legally and Not-So-Legally
  • Songwriting:  Lyric Writing 101 - Part 1
  • Webmasters:   How DO Spammers Get Your Email Address?
  • Recommendation: Musicians Friend


    Environmental Issues For Musicians

    By Dr. Timothy Jameson

    Copyright © 1998-2004 Timothy Jameson. All Rights Reserved.

    The amateur or professional musician must become aware of their environment before they begin playing. "Environment" means such things as temperature where you will be playing, sun exposure, dry ice exposure, lighting, and noise exposure. A musician who investigates these aspects of his/her environment beforehand will be more apt at maintaining optimum health, while at the same time be prepared to perform at the highest level possible. Let us take a look at each of these different factors.

    Ambient room or outdoor air temperature: Where you will be performing your gig? Is it in a concert hall with regulated air temperature? Or will it be in a cold damp church on a winter morning? Make an attempt to visit the site where you will be performing ahead of time. Determine how you will need to dress. Are you going to be subject to direct sun exposure on a hot summer day? If you are, don't plan on wearing that flashy hot red polyester suit. You'll suffer from heat exhaustion if you do.

    Here's some suggestions: If playing in cold environments, wear clothing that will keep your core body temperature maintained. If your band or orchestra has standardized clothing, then consider long underwear to keep you warm. Also, consider how the cold will affect your finger dexterity. Temperatures below 62º will lead to decreased dexterity and clumsiness. For cold weather performances purchase a pair of gloves with the fingertips cut off (If playing your particular instrument allows this). Maintaining hand warmth is critical to preventing repetitive strain injuries to the tendons and muscles. Besides that, your speed and dexterity are much better when your hand and fingers are warm. If you are playing in warm environments, such as outdoors in the summer, remember to take with you at least two water bottles filled with spring or filtered water. Take sips between every song or at least every 10 to 15 minutes to maintain hydration. Wear clothing that will "breath" - will allow air flow to the skin, while allowing heat from the skin to escape. Avoid costumes and suits if at all possible. Have two towels handy - one to wipe off perspiration, and one that is dampened with cold water to wipe your head and face with. This will help keep your body cool. Maintaining proper hydration days before the performance is just as important. Drink six to eight glasses of water daily in preparation for the hot climate.

    Sun Exposure: Everyone knows, or should know, that sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancers. Musicians who are continually performing outdoor gigs throughout the summer must take preventative measures to reduce the risk of overexposure to the sun. Use sun screens with SPF 30 or greater. One application should keep you protected through a typical two hour performance. Wear sunglasses that block UV rays. It has been proven that sunglasses without a ultraviolet ray block can actually cause retinal damage in your eyes. Just because everything seems darker doesn't mean your eyes are being protected. Most sunglasses made today offer protection against UV rays, but if you are using your favorite sunglasses from 1975 then take a good look at purchasing some new "shades."

    Dry Ice: Dry Ice is gaseous Carbon Dioxide. Blocks of frozen carbon dioxide are put into water and the solid form goes immediately to the gaseous form to create those clouds that reflect lighting so well and create that misty appearance on stage. Many performers state that this dry ice irritates their throat and affects singing. Breathing in large amounts of carbon dioxide over a long period of time can affect your overall health and throw off your blood gas levels. (Such as the carbon dioxide/oxygen ratio) If you are involved in stage performances that include dry ice use, consider the location where the ice will be blown from and attempt to position your equipment away from that location. Talk with the production manager about pointing the dry ice machine away from the performers. In most cases, working together with the stage crew can provide the desired affects of the dry ice, while at the same time preserving the health of the musicians.

    Noise Exposure: Noise exposure is not only a consideration for rock musicians. Every musician must plan carefully how they will handle the sounds on-stage or in the orchestra pit. Are you sitting directly behind a brass section that can reach over 100 decibels? Are you an electric bass player standing right next to a drummer? Consider the health of your ears. Prolonged exposure to loud noise WILL cause damage to the sensitive structures of the ears. Many types of earplugs exist for musicians that maintain adequate range of tones, while dampening the total decibels entering the ear. For comprehensive information on hearing issues, visit our links page and go the HEARNET. This site offers many great articles about hearing loss and prevention issues.

    Lighting: If you are reading music on-stage, will you be able to see the music with the lighting that's available? Or will you be straining every muscle in your face trying to see the music? Some music stands come with small lighting for this issue, but many do not. Again, planning ahead will prevent a great deal of discomfort, and will keep your eyes healthy.

    A musician who is serious about maintaining health will take a serious look at these factors as well as many others when preparing to perform. Don't go into a performance with no knowledge of your playing environment. Knowing your environment is as important as the amount of practicing you have done over the past few years. Poor preparation can ruin your performance and even lead to health complaints down the line.

    About The Author:
    Dr. Timothy Jameson has been in private chiropractic practice for 15 years and has spent the last six years focusing on the care of the musician population. He is the author of “The Musicians Guide to Health and Wellness, which is available for download at

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    Analogue Is Good!

    by Ray Hogan

    30.4.06....A luncheon visit by an English friend prompted the playing of some 60s and 70s music such as "The Best Of The Pirates" and The Who - "A Quick One", and even Frank Zappa's - "The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life". All very nice. On cd of course.

    A request for The Green Manalishi by Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, (Yes there was a Nicksless FM), led to the dormant vinyl collection. No, not that sort of vinyl - LP records and singles!! Unfortunately, turntable set-up has been a work-in-progress for some time and we could not play the track.  But no more! The Thorens is up running again and sounding great with the new moving coil cartridge, Vibrapods and cones, and a few other performance enhancements.  Click here for more on this.

    About The Author: Ray Hogan is an avid music collector and audio hi-fi buff, who believes there are only two types of music - rock and roll!  He is co-owner of the popular guitar resource site,

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    Gordon Giltrap

    Gordon Giltrap is a British virtuoso acoustic and electric guitarist and composer, whose musical styles span multiple genres - folk, blues, folk-rock, pop, classical and rock.

    Gordon Giltrap was born in 1948 and started to learn the guitar at age 12. Never receiving any formal tuition on the instrument, he gradually developed his own style and technique, considered unique by many other guitarists. His musical career started to take off in the 1960s, playing live in London in the burgeoning folk scene, alongside contemporaries such as Bert Jansch (who greatly influenced the young guitarist), John Renbourn and Mike Oldfield.

    At age 18 he signed to Transatlantic Records and released a couple of albums. While popular on the folk and university circuit, the 1970s marked a turning point and much greater recognition. At this time Gordon started to concentrate on more purely instrumental pieces, and in 1976 released the album Visionary, based on the art and poetry of William Blake. The success of this album prompted Gordon to give up the singer/songwriter approach and form the Gordon Giltrap Band, which toured extensively in the UK at that time. A follow-up album, Perilous Journey, consolidated his success, being named at one of the best albums of 1977 by The Sunday Times. A single taken from the album, Heartsong, received extensive airplay and became a top twenty hit. The track was later used as the signature tune of the BBC TV series Holiday. The album Fear of the Dark was released in 1978.

    By the end of the 70s, Gordon was recognised as one of the most accomplished composers and performers, and was commissioned to write a number of notable pieces, such as the classically inspired The Brotherhood, based on the art of the Pre-Raphaelites. In the 1990s, Gordon played a key role in Cliff Richard's Heathcliffe musical, playing the musical narrator. He also composed a number of pieces for the show.

    In 2001, he met renowned classical guitarist Raymond Burley   when they were both lecturing at the London college of music for the Registry of Guitar Teachers. Ray expressed an interest in Gordon's music with a view to possibly adapting some of the pieces for classical guitar.

    Within a short time Ray became completely 'captivated' by the music and suggested they take things several stages further, this has led on to them forming the duo DOUBLE VISION, and their debut CD was recorded in 2004
    . The CD features many of Gordon's compositions which Ray has skilfully and passionately arranged for two guitars

    Here's what some fellow musicians have said about Giltrap:

    Jimmy Page in Guitarist Magazine .....
    “ People would tell me about (American guitarist) Sandy Bull and I'd say, I don't know about Sandy Bull; you want to start listening to some of these people over here; Bert Jansch, Davey Graham and Gordon Giltrap for heaven's sake.”

    Brian May.....
    “ Gordon Giltrap is one of an elite few who truly have become legendary in their field in their own lifetime. I am proud to call him my friend.”

    Bert Jansch.....
    “ A wonderful guitarist, I just wish he would slow down so that I could copy (play) with him”

    Ritchie Blackmore.....
    "Thank you for continuing inspiration" -

    Steve Howe.....
    "Gordon has created his own niche, combining single notes, chords, counterpoint, harmonic and harmony, into his own style."

    Check out Gordon Giltrap's wonderful website to find out more - you can find it at

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Ed:  Thanks to Brian Broadhurst for bringing Gordon to our attention!

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    Tips For The Solo Musician: The Power of Sound

    By Kevin Brown

    Copyright 2006 Curse Buster Sound

    Let's talk about sound. Not just any sound though. Let's talk about YOUR SOUND!

    Ahh!...The power of sound,...The things that are possible to do with sound,...All of the people, and places that sound can reach. Yes, sound is a very powerful force. Sound can heal, or, sound can destroy. Sound can pass right through most things, or, sound can be totally abrasive, and bounce off of just about everything. Sound can tell you many things, it can reveal things, and it can tell blind people were they are. Sound is a very complex thing, yet, it is also one of the simplest things.

    I personally, love the texture of sound. I love its richness. I love to experiment with it. I love to surround myself with it when at all possible. As a blind person, sound is a very important aspect of my day to day life. As a musician, it is doubly so!

    Now,...As a solo musician, solo artist, solo instrumentalist, or, vocalist,...probably the one most important thing, aside from your health, is your personal sound. Yes,...Your personal sound! This is what will set you apart from others. This is what brands you as desirable, or undesirable. This is what will make, or break you. This is what will get you into the many doors, and venues that you are seeking. Yes,...We have those people who inspire us,...we have the mentors who guide and teach us. We all have the ones who we admire and would like to mold ourselves after. But,...when it comes down to it! When it comes to the moment of truth! When it comes to the moment of the solo,...there is only you. You are the one in that final moment that the sound you have molded and shaped, comes from.

    What comes out of your heart,...your instrument,...your mouth, is the end result of your efforts, or, lack of efforts. Your personal sound will tell the whole, and true story of your inner most being. Your personal sound will draw people to you, or, repel them away from you. That is the important reason for practice! You can never get enough practice,...there is always room for improvement, and there is always room for perfection.

    So,...we have the musicians, artists, and vocalists that inspire us. That is a great, and important aspect of the learning and growing process. The accomplished musicians, artists, and vocalists are on top of their particular niches because they spent the time, and put forth the ultimate effort to get there. There are no shortcuts here my friend! I can guarantee you that fact!

    There is nothing wrong with admiring the talent of the artists who inspire us. In most cases, that is what we need. Sometimes we need to listen, study, and learn just how it should be done. But, aware that there is a big difference between admiration, and envy! The former is constructive, and the ladder is destructive. You definitely want to stay away from destructive influences.

    Remember,...the artists, instrumentalists, and vocalists who are on top of the industry, and most successful are who they are, and you are who you are! They have their own personal sound, and you have your own personal sound. You can desire to sound like them, but, you are not them! They are where they are because they know this fact.

    You need to find your personal sound. You need to find that something that says "Yeah! This is who I am!" That is, as you already know, or will find out shortly, an ongoing process. Once you find the direction you want to pursue,...once you find your personal sound, will be nurturing it for the rest of your life. That is, if you want to be successful like those you admire.

    One thing though, is the positive, and proper attitude. I personally think the best attitude to adopt, is one of humbleness. We must remember that we do not hold the monopoly on talent! There is,...and will always be someone who can do it better, play it louder, faster, higher, or lower. When you can realize that we are all different, but we all live on the same planet,...we will be better off. I personally don't like competition. I realized some time ago that everyone has something to offer. I love to hear someone who has paid the price, and put forth the sacrifice, and made the extreme effort to show themselves worthy of the praise, and admiration of others.

    They have in fact, found their personal sound! They have bridged the gap between their soul, and their instrument, or vocal chords! That is what it is all about. The world needs these ultimate artists, instrumentalists, and vocalists!...The ultimate soloists. This is just as important as a great teacher, a doctor, an engineer. The Ultimate Soloists, Instrumentalists, and Vocalists are in fact,...the embodiment of all that makes us human. What sets some apart from others,...What makes some worthy of that high calling, and responsibility is their total commitment, passion, determination, and sheer desire! They realize the Power of Sound,... and they take their responsibility seriously.

    About The Author: Kevin is a blind, jazz saxophonist, his intense, improvive style of playing is both soothing, and captivating to the listener. Kevin owns, and operates a Texas based recording studio: Curse Buster Sound. You can hear, and contact Kevin at: Peaceful Solution Character Education Program: CurseBuster Market Place:



    You Need Stronger Fingers For Guitar Playing

    By Ian Williamson

    Guitar playing is one of the most popular ways to personally play and enjoy music. The appeal of the guitar is mostly due to its presence in practically all popular and rock music recordings. Furthermore, it is an instrument that is very portable and versatile enough for many kinds of songs and occasions, and is practical as an accompaniment to vocalists or other instruments.

    Playing the guitar requires more than the requisite musical ability, dedication and practice. A guitar player's fingers must be dexterous and agile to allow quick single string or chord changes in rhythm or solo musical performances. Those fingers also need to be tough and strong to be able to press the strings enough during quick changes to produce clean tones.

    All beginners will remember the first time they played the guitar for an extended period. Our fingertips are originally soft at the very end, with thin skin protecting them. First we feel pain after pressing down on the strings too hard when playing the fretboard, especially all of the fingers except for the thumb. If the aspiring musician hasn't given up by then and continues to practice playing the blisters will eventually dry up and leave calluses on the fingertips. These calluses will protect the fingertips from the pain of playing for a little while but eventually the pain builds up again as the calluses keep building you end up with thick rough fingertips on a guitarist's left (or fret) hand. Graduating to full chords, the entire 1st and 2nd fingers, which form bar chords across the strings, will also go through the process of pain, blisters and calluses. This process toughens up the fingertips, and makes it easy to press on the strings to produce the needed musical tone on the guitar.

    The most effective way to strengthen the fingers and improve dexterity is to practice scales and chords on the guitar itself. Chords and scales will help the beginner become familiar with the different chord progressions and musical configuration of the fretboard - it will help the student master the instrument. Knowing and playing chords and scales will embed the musical secrets of the guitar to the player and make it easier to read, learn and perform music, and to create or write your own music for the guitar. As an added bonus, all that practice will greatly improve the strength and agility of the fingers. With the dual advantage of musical training and strength and endurance improvement, a guitarist can develop the ability to perform several full pieces or songs necessary for a long performance event.

    However, there is a danger of over-training. Tendonitis is a common affliction of over-exercising and is prevalent in professional athletes and musicians alike. Tendonitis is caused by a repetitive action of a limited set of muscles, causing inflammation and possible damage to tendons and joints. Because certain athletes and musicians tend to use a focused set of muscles in their activities, they share a certain propensity to this injury. But this can be easily avoided. Many persons over-train when they choose to ignore pain during practice and instead continue to perform the activity which directly leads to tendonitis.

    For guitarists, once you feel pain in your wrist or the tender part of your hands, stop. You should incorporate 5-15 minutes of rest between sets of scales or chord practices. Put the guitar down and shake your hand for a few seconds. If you are not tired but still feel pain, change the practice method: if you are doing scales, switch to slow strumming with full chords.. Changing the set of muscles you exert can help avoid injury and increase the strength of your fingers.
    Finally, like an athlete, a guitarist should take care of his body with exercise.

    Following are two stretching exercises that will improve the flexibility and strength of your fingers:

    1. Stand straight with your arms at your sides and hands facing forward. Stretch your fingers down and outward as far as you can and count to ten. Relax and rest for a few seconds and do three repetitions.

    2. With the same posture, hold the four fingers of your left hand (except the thumb) with your right and push them towards the back of the hand. Hold the stretch for ten seconds then relax and continue by doing three repetitions.

    Remember, strength and agility is achieved by practice, proper rest, and stretching exercises. Now play on!

    About The Author:  For More Information on Guitar Techniques by Ian Williamson please visit

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    How to Fake Being a Better Guitarist in Five Simple Steps  (Part 1 of 2)

    By Chris Watson

    You spend five hours a day playing your guitar. You run your scales, master your legato, your two hand tapping would make EVH blush. So why is it that every time you see a band playing at a bar with a guitarist with only a smidgen of your technical ability he is the centre of attention, garnering the praise of all the punters in the crowd?

    Wait a minute. Isn't that the band that you tried out for the other week? The same band that said "don't call us, we'll call you"? The same band that was witness to your smoking 32nd note Lydian masterpiece solo?
    Yeah it is, and you got smoked because the guitarist on stage knows how to fake being better than they actually are.

    It's not a hard thing to do. I should know, I've done it for years. I'm the first to admit to being an "average" guitarist (actually, I've been practicing a lot lately and now would call myself an "above average" player, but that is another column in the works). Despite being average, I would get a lot of people, drunken punters, other musicians, women, all approach me after shows proclaiming how good I am. Like most of my ex-girlfriends, I've been faking it all along. And now I am going to teach you how to do the same.

    Over the next two weeks, I will share with you my five secret tips to help you Fake Being A Better Guitarist. We'll start today with tip #1 an #2.

    1. Decent equipment is a must and look professional

    Sorry boys and girls, it's time to spend some money. A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to music your image is worth a thousand notes. There is nothing quite as satisfying showing up to a guitarist cattle call with your Marshall half stack on a trolley as you pass all the little Peavey Bandit combos and the like. Straight away you give the impression that you know what you are doing.

    But this is not just about your amp. Guitars, effects, leads, the whole lot. This means guitar cases, if you have multiple effects a decent pedal board system set up and ready to just plug in. You need to look somewhat professional without looking like a complete tosser.

    It's even more important on stage. Standing on stage with a nice looking guitar and a cool backline is confidence building to say the least. Plus it makes you look damn sexy to boot.

    This doesn't mean spending a fortune though. I have an amazing sounding Fender Twin, but it stays at home while my Marshall AVT150 half stack hits the road with me. The half stack with my Epiphone Les Paul with classic tri-tone sunburst finish and some decent threads make me look the business.

    2. Learn to sing

    I can't stress this enough. An average guitarist who is an average singer will get more gigs than an awesome guitarist who sounds like a dying dolphin. It makes you are more versatile, worthwhile musician for any band if you can step up to the mic and sing as well. It makes you look like a musician, rather than just a guitarist. It's also a hell of a lot of fun.

    Of course, some people just cannot sing, and this is you then don't try to. Be honest with yourself on this one. If you can't sing and you try to then you just look like a fool. And looking like a fool will not make you look like a good guitarist.

    A good way to improve your singing is start singing along with your favourite artists. It's a cliché, but start in the shower / bathroom with a small stereo cranking out some of you favourite songs. The natural reverb will make your voice sound better and give you some confidence (it's an old studio trick to feed a wet mix back to the singer as they are recording). Then progress to the car while you're driving. It's private and you can just belt it out while you are in between your normal routine. Then the hard part comes. Listen to some music with harmonies and try to sing the different parts. I found Alice In Chains is especially good for doing this. And finally add harmonies to songs that don't have them.

    When you are confident you can do that, then, and only then, try to sing when you are playing. When you can do that (and that will take a while) you can start to think about doing it with your band.

    Wrap Up

    So there are the first two tips, looking the part and learning to sing. These two things alone will make you look more like a real musician and come across as a real guitarist. Remember that being a guitarist is more than just playing well, it is a persona, a way of being. By rounding out these other facets of your guitarist personality, the way others will perceive you skills will rise dramatically. Next week I'll look at the next three tips and by then you'll be able to fake it just like that guitarist on the stage.

    About The Author: Chris Watson is a professional musician hailing from Newcastle, Australia. He also runs and

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    Downloading MP3s Legally and Not-so Legally

    By Blake Daniels

    Today there are countless ways in which to download music off the Internet, as well as countless options of where to download MP3s. One may download their MP3s from a service such as the iTunes Music Store, Yahoo Music or eMusic that charges per song or album. Or one may take advantage of "cereal box" specials that offer free music downloads with the purchase of a certain product.

    Or one may download MP3s for free through BitTorrent, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), or Peer-to-peer (P2P) services, such as Kazaa. These are the gray areas, if you will, when it comes to the legality of downloading MP3s.

    From photocopying a page from a library book to recording a television show to TIVO and transferring to a DVD, therein lays a gray area of what is acceptable and what is down-right illegal. Napster became hugely popular not because it offered a great way to share files but because one could download countless MP3s without paying for them.

    Either way one sees it, downloading MP3s is incredibly popular with music lovers. Apple Computer Inc. recently sold their one-billionth song through its iTunes service. This proves consumers are willing to pay for their music, but what if they already purchased the music on cassette tape or compact disc? Is there a need to pay for it again to have it in MP3 format?

    Therein lays another issue within the gray area. Is downloading an MP3 from a bittorrent illegal if you already own the song? The arguments for this issue go on and on. The music recording industry states it is stealing because consumers paid for the song in one particular format (e.g. cassette tape) and are not entitled to another format without paying for it. Music fans argue they paid for the private use of the song, not the format it resided in.

    Condoning illegal activity, I am not; however, as long as you're not distributing this content either online or selling it on the streets, it's extremely unlikely you'll actually be caught and prosecuted for simply backing up your media files or downloading occasional songs from the Internet.

    Music artists are even encouraging this by offering some of their songs on their Web sites available to download for free. It's a great way to build up a fan base and attract new listeners.

    In conclusion, have fun with your MP3 collection and don't let all the lawsuits and negative press keep you from purchasing an MP3 digital music player or from downloading music off the Internet. Play by the basic rules and you'll be surprised at how much fun you can have.

    About the Author:  For more information on MP3s, visit Blake Daniels is the creator and author of

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    Lyric Writing 101

    by Chyna Dolores

    Lyric writing is much like any other style of writing, the more time you spend working on it, the more you will grow as a writer. So what exactly are lyrics? Song lyrics can basically be thought of as singable poetry. The Oxford dictionary defines the word 'lyric' as 1) (of poetry) expressing the poet's thoughts and feelings, usually briefly and in stanzas, songlike (a lyric poem) 2) (lyrics) the words of a song. By using this definition, we can assume that the process of writing lyrics draws from some of the same techniques used in poetry.

    Why write lyrics? This may seem like an odd question, there are literary hundreds of answers to this, but it is something you will need to ask yourself before you start. Is it because you have a story to tell, because you want to express a particular emotion to your audience? Some write purely for themselves, like a kind of personal therapy. Or perhaps it's simply because the human voice is an important part of the style of music they are written for.

    What do you want to say? Most lyrics are written with a message or some kind of effect in mind. You will need to have a clear idea of what you want out of the lyrics or you will run the risk of creating weak lyrics. Weak lyrics tend to resort to clichéd, generic and boring phrases when they are written solely to 'fit' the tune. On the other hand, don't be carried away with the message, make it a point for the lyrics to be somewhat cryptic. Do not 'spoon feed' your audience, plant the seed of your idea and let the audience come to their own conclusions.

    As with all forms of creativity, lyrics are an expression of personal ideas, beliefs and themes. Lyric writing is just a matter of expressing these beliefs and feelings. As with most forms of writing, it is best to write about what you know. Because everybody has their own experiences, emotions and beliefs, it becomes hard to give an exact instruction on how to write, everyone has their own opinions on how it should be done. The most I can do in this series is give a guide about how to go about finding your own style by learning from the music that you listen to. This is a great way to learn, as many of the bands you listen to have learned, and draw influences, from other established artists.

    There are several ways you can write lyrics:

    * Create a melody & write lyrics to accompany it; or
    * Write a set of lyrics & add the melody to it; or
    * A combination of the above two examples, i.e. do both at the same time.

    So, where do you actually start with the writing process? Well, there are countless possible ways (too many to mention here). It really is a matter of preference; every lyricist has his or her own style, much like any artist. A couple of simple ways that are an excellent way to begin are as follows:

    1) Start with a possible hook line or chorus and work around it

    An example of this can be taken from Coldplay's hit "Yellow". The song was derived from a first line that came about from where the band was on the night, as explained in October's SOS: "'Yellow' was written at Rockfield when we where there. The studio we were in is called the Quadrangle Studio - the studio is along one side of an open courtyard, and we went out one night, and because there were so few lights, the stars were just amazing. Guy just came up with the line 'Look at the stars.'"

    2) Start with a title and work around it.

    For example, using "Written in Sand" as your title, you can brain-storm around this idea: The phrase suggests that which can be washed away; it also brings the phrase 'written in stone' to mind; the word "sand" brings to mind the words like flowing & changing, which brings the words time & water. The word "written" suggests fate or destiny. So a possibility that the song will be about how you can change your destiny. Now there is a basic theme that you can work around.

    Tools Of The Trade

    What are the tools of a lyricist? One would obviously think a pen and paper (or a computer & word processor) plus the creative mind of the lyricist and the possible use of a musical instrument. There are other tools available for the lyricist to take advantage of, these may seem painfully obvious, but they are quite often overlooked by many people.

    Dictionary - A dictionary is an essential tool for any writer, not only for spelling but word meanings. English is a dynamic language, words are constantly being added so it is important to keep an updated dictionary on hand, a 20-year-old dictionary may' no longer contain the latest words and meanings. It is important not to be too abstruse for your audience but neither is there the need to overuse the same monosyllabic words. It may be of use to keep a couple of different dictionaries (i.e. Oxford & Macquarie) this is because some word meanings may differ slightly, and can be used to colour your lyrics.

    Thesaurus - A good dictionary can be supplemented with a thesaurus. The use of a thesaurus is a great way to avoid over-using words and can even inspire your ideas leading them to new directions. This can be very usefully whilst brainstorming.

    * -- * This is just a simple word-association game; that you can easily apply to any word. Look up the word 'remains' in your thesaurus, you are shown: debris, fragments, leavings, leftovers, remnants, and scraps. Now look up 'debris' and you will find it also has: flotsam, litter, pieces, refuse, rubbish, rubble, ruins, wreckage and waste to add to your word list. You can do this with as many of the words you like. Some of these extra words will have no use for what you are working on but there may be those one or two words that will fit perfectly.

    Rhyming Dictionaries - These particular dictionaries are specifically generated for poets and lyricists. They do not define words as most dictionaries do; they merely list words that rhyme. Some scorn the use of this particular tool, sighting that it is all too easy to rely solely on the list of rhymes than to put a little thought into your rhyming structure. It is also true that many people waste a considerable amount of time listing the words they know to rhyme only to lose the train of thought they were on thus, killing the creative process. If used sensibly, like a thesaurus, a rhyming dictionary can be a very useful tool.

    Other Dictionaries - There are other dictionaries available that may be of use to a lyricist. One that comes to mind is the 'slang' dictionary. I've only seen an "Australian Dictionary of Slang". Most countries use their own form of slang so I would assume that there are others available. It really depends on what you are working on and who your target audience is, but they may help to put that finishing touch, or stamp of authenticity on a piece. Check your local bookshop for the range of other dictionaries available.

    Other Means - What other tools are available? There are many other ways to help with the creative process. Listening to a wide range of music can be helpful, don't just listen to your normal 'style' of music, there are thousands of different music styles around, explore these possibilities. Music has been inspiring people for thousands of years, so it seems logical to turn to it when it comes to your own musical venture.

    You may not like some particular styles of music, but you can get an idea from them that you can convert or merge to your chosen genre. If done correctly, it has the potential of being a powerful piece of music that is unique. This is why it is important to be open to all styles and ideas. Some of the most 'controversial' bands have reached the popularity they have, simply because they have a unique sound and the 'message' they want to convey is something that their fans can relate to.

    Bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, Staind, Linkin Park and Disturbed are given the music 'title' of nu-metal (or nu-music) simply because they utilize a wide range of musical sub-genres within the 'rock' genre. This can be seen in other more established merges such as 'country-rock', 'pop-rock' and the recent surfacing of 'Latin-pop/rock'. If you look throughout music history (particularly that of 'rock & roll') you can see this trend more clearly. What do I mean by mixing the different genres? Below are some examples of what I mean.

    * 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen is a perfect example of genre mixing. The song has three distinct phase changes within it. It starts off similar to many ballads, then phase changes to a 'light opera-ish' stage, and phase changes to 'rock' before changing back to the 'ballad'.

    * Another trend that is starting up is adapting a song from one style of music and transforming it to another. An example of this can be taken from many of Staind's songs. The album version of their song 'Can't Believe' has a distinguished 'rock' sound. But if you listen to the MTV: Unplugged version, you will notice that (although the music has the same tune) it is acoustic and is sung in a more ballad-like tune.

    * -- * In Australia, the radio station Triple M's Breakfast Show has a 'Musical Challenge' in place where they put musicians (both local & international) "to the test". The Challenge: give a song to a band which is the total opposite to their normal style and get them to 'remake' it. Triple M has released some of these songs on CD (proceeds going to charity) if your interested in listening. Some of the songs used: Radiohead's "Creep" performed by country singer Gina Jeffreys (one of the stations most requested songs); Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" performed by rock musician Richard Clapton, Men At Work's "Down Under" performed by The Russian Red Army Choir (now one of their most popular songs); Silverchair's "Freak" performed by country singer Troy Cassar-Daley; the list goes on. It's well worth the listen.

    Apart from listening to these different forms, you could simply go to a site like and just read the lyric form of different musical styles. You can easily use the above example and apply it to just the lyric process of some of these artists and merge it to your own music. There is a wealth of knowledge to be discovered from established artists, only if you are willing to look. It may not be 'conventional' but then, throughout history, music has been about breaking down pre-existing barriers

    As you can see, there is a lot more available to the lyricist besides the simple pen and paper. If used wisely these various tools can help to hone your skills as a lyricist, bringing the best out of your work. Naturally, there may be other tools available that haven't been mentioned here that the lyricist can use. By all means, use whatever comes to mind. You are only limited by your imagination.

    Look out for Part 2 of this series, where you will learn how to accompany words with music by writing Alternate Lyrics.

    About the author: Chyna Dolores is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Writers. You can view her personal work at

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    How DO Spammers Get Your Email Address?

    By Rosalind Gardner

    As much as I try to stem the seemingly endless flow of spam, the crap just keeps arriving my Inbox.

    For example, this week I received "New affiliate programs from 2004-02-10 to 2004-02-14 :: Subscription from".

    I'd never heard of, let alone subscribed to the newsletter. But the address used explained exactly how the spammer reached me.

    I've set up numerous 'special' addresses for customers, affiliates, subscribers, merchant partners and others.

    For example, if I join XYZ's affiliate program, I might set up and give that address to them to contact me. If I suddenly start to receive spam at that address, then I know EXACTLY who the 'leaky' culprit is.

    Here are other ways spammers get your address.

    Web Pages
    Spammers use scavenger bots, programs that 'harvest' email addresses contained in "mailto:" HTML tags. Those are clickable email links that open your email program with the address already placed in the "To" field.

    Web Forms
    Some sites request various details via forms, e.g. guest books & registration forms. Spammers get email addresses from these because the form is publicly available on the web, or because the webmaster sells the list.

    Paper (Offline) Forms
    Some companies sell lists of addresses obtained from convention participants or contest entrants.

    Whois Searches
    Unless the domain registrant has paid an additional fee to make their registration private, a simple Whois lookup reveals the registrant's address.

    Although most registrars have enhanced the security of their WHOIS databases, by requiring a special code be entered before information is displayed, many spammers take the time and trouble to grab addresses this way.

    From Web Browsers
    Some sites use various tricks to extract a surfer's email address from the web browser, sometimes without the surfer noticing it.

    Chat Rooms
    This is another major source of email addresses for spammers, especially as this is one of the first public activities newbies join, making it easy for spammers to harvest 'fresh' addresses.

    Sending Test Messages
    Have you ever sent a message to an invalid address? You get an 'undeliverable' or 'failure' notice back.

    Some spammers use this to guess email addresses by sending test messages to a list of made-up or guessed addresses. They know they've got good addresses for those that did not result in failure messages.

    Online Yellow Pages
    What could be more alluring to a spammer than a directory of names and email addresses filed by category?

    Chain Letters
    These are ingenious. I tell five friends, and my friends each tell five of their friends, and so on and so forth. The email addresses all build up in the cc field and are a spammers delight.

    Buying Lists
    Spammers buy lists of email addresses usually passed off as those belonging to people who opted-in to to obtain information in a specific category.

    Let's put spammers out of business.

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Use 'throw-away' addresses whenever you're not sure of the source, and don't sign up unless there are clear 'Privacy' statements on the site.

    If worse comes to worse, and you're fighting your way through a mountain of spam, install anti-spam software on your computer.

    © Copyright Rosalind Gardner, All Rights Reserved.

    Article by Rosalind Gardner, author of the best-selling "Super Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797 in One Year Selling Other People's Stuff Online". To learn how you too can suceed in Internet and affiliate marketing, go to:

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