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This article was supplied as a photo copy. Please excuse quality of the images as they were scanned from this second generation source.


Dave Guard's
Colour Guitar


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Brought to you in living color!
By Michael Brooks

David Guard, formerly of the Kingston Trio, left the United States for Australia six years ago and while he was "Down Under" he compiled and invented a colorful system for learning musical theory on the guitar.

Traditionally, guitarists learned musical theory from the piano. Dave feels that with his COLOUR GUITAR system, the guitarist will not have to subordinate his instrument to the piano.

Dave's first step in developing the color system was to retune the guitar. As you know, the guitar is usually tuned from 6th to 1st string in E, A, D, G, B, E; Dave chose to tune his guitar system to E, A. D, G, C, F, which is perfect fourths in musical terms. To tune this Way, One just works through the fifth fret. Another step in preparing the guitar for the "COLOUR GUITAR" system is to affix a colored label to each position on the guitar fingerboard. Probably the most creative aspect of the system is the color wheel. Using the standard wheel of (cycle of' fifths) F, C, G, D, A, E, B, Gb, Db, Ab, Eb, Bb, Dave, with the help of his artist wife Gretchen, designed a color wheel that complies with the standard wheel. In the color wheel, the warmer colors are the whole notes and the cooler colors are the sharps and flats.

The system is set up in such a way as to allow the guitarist, professional or beginner, to find all the positions of one note on the fingerboard quickly and easily; for instance yellow denotes all the F positions on the fingerboard, so in order to play an F, the guitarist needs only to position his finger over any Of the yellow labels on the fingerboard. The color system also operates by patterns of colors that correspond to chords.

Dave recently began teaching the "COLOUR GUITAR" in California. He currently has 17 students. In his teaching sessions, Dave explains the "COLOUR CUITAR" kit and then proceeds to instruction. He describes the system as "A map of the job, on the job." So while the student is reading and playing the map, Dave plays along -- harmonizing at times. Dave said, "I really feel that it is self-correcting to play along with the instructor." After the formal instruction session ends, he conducts what he calls his "Goof-Off" session. These "Goof-Off sessions consist Dave and the Student developing creative music, sort of' an anything, you like affair, which show the versatility of the "COLOUR GUITAR."

Dave described his color system's versatility: "When Pete Seeger was at my home in Australia we tried it out. We each took an instrument we had never played before and played them by color, and really made some music; even my little three-year-old daughter played along on the piano." When asked about the originality of the system, Dave commented: "it is not entirely new, but I am the first to translate the system into the learner's terms. The instructor, instead of telling the student to 'Play B flat,' can now tell him to play a color or pattern of colors, and if he wants to, the student can teach himself." He explained, "This is not only for the beginner. My lessons range from the baby player to the most advanced jazz or blues musician."

-- Many thanks to Gary Starling of the 
Jacksonville University Music Dept.
for providing a photo-copy of this article

The following posted by Ken Bradshaw to the Kingston Crossroads board on 1/8/2002, 9:42 pm:

I wonder if the University would transfer film to a tape and what they would charge for it. Maybe there is a copyright limitation on it. There is only one way to find out, if someone is interested enough to ask them.
As for Dave Guard's "Colour Guitar" (he did use the Anglicized spelling), you may be aware that it is not a book in the traditional sense. Dave gave a copy to Andy Sundstrom, who advised me last year that he still has it and that the cover is a cassette in heavy cardboard measuring 1.3 x 41.5 x 41.5 cms containing 11 unattached double sheets measuring 39 x 39 cms in light cardboard, one letter-named tone matrix-board in heavy cardboard and two tone-matched colour matrices to be affixed to the guitar fingerboard.

What could be named page two is actually the inside of the front page showing the key to patterns used throughout and the following credits:

for the world by Dave Guard - Whale Beach, Australia. 

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole part or in any form.

Published in USA by Britannia Enterprises Limited c/o Brobeck, Phieger and Harrison, 111 Sutter St. San Francisco, California.

Cover design by Gretchen Guard - Whale Beach, Australia.

Musical calligraphy by Dr. Eric Schwandt - East Palo Alto.

Art direction and production by S.D. Stancliff & Associates - Los Angeles.

Lithography by Blair Lithograph - Los Angeles.

Additional copies fifteen dollars post paid.

A dedication - SOLI DEO GLORIA - is in large print on the first page of the introduction-sheet.


The latest additions to the LINER NOTES with direct links added for your convenience
Last revised: February 23, 2006.