DIY Effects Pedals

I wanted to let it be known I'm still alive and kicking, and still playing, just not thinking about theory / vocabulary ideas at the moment so my posts here have been scarce. I feel like I have a big backlog of stuff to work on on that front and a small amount of time available to do it, so adding to the pile isn't very productive. But also, my musical activities have been slightly taken over by a new thing: building effects.

David Stern's 12-Tone Patterns

Here's one of those 10-page PDFs that will take you several lifetimes to explore, David Stern's "12-Tone Patterns". Being a Dropbox link, I recommend downloading it in case it disappears.

A New Sound from Harmonic Minor

While noodling around in the practice room today, I discovered a new (to me) application for a Harmonic Minor mode. I'm sure I'm not absolutely the first person to spot this, but I got some good sounds out of it so I thought I'd note it here, especially as I also stumbled across an exotic scale in the process.

Modulation Staging

I think the next "big thing" in effects might be modulation stacking. At first it sounds crazy to have, say, a flanger and chorus going into each other because the overall result will probably be a big, seasickness-inducing mess. But the technique offers a way to create complex effects that can be quite subtle.

Advice for Jazz Beginners

"I'm already a competent player and I want to learn jazz" is a common position for people to find themselves in, at least if online forums are any indication. Here's my compendium of advice I wish someone had given me when I was starting out.

Minor-Major 7 Arpeggios on Dominant Chords

This is a quick note on a John Stowell video, giving a summary of the idea he describes and then extending it a bit. It's pretty much the same general approach I advocate in my Arpeggio and Scale Resources. Commenters on the video express some confusion about the presentation so I thought it might be helpful to boil it down to a summary and then couldn't resist adding my own twist.

Melodic Minor Quartal Boxes

A while ago I posted some general information about harmonizing chords in fourths. In this post I want to follow up on that, focusing on melodic minor modes in fourths as a way to create surprising voicings and give your chords some harmonic motion.

Meet the Trichords

Under certain assumptions (which I'll talk about in a moment) there are only 12 three-note chords. I'm hoping to dig into some of the more unusual ones in later posts so here's a quick survey of them.

Diatonic Stacks of Seveths

Following up on a previous post grappling with stacks of semitones, here's a quick set of related fingerings. The first two are stacks of sevenths, then we do stacks of ninths, and finally a "bonus" set made by putting a second on top of a ninth.

Unusual Extensions on Major and Minor Seventh Chords

This post collects up some chords I've found by deliberately adding "wrong" (i.e. unexpected) extensions to common seventh chords. The results are often very strange and beautiful, and are sometimes heard in jazz settings such as big band arrangements where you can get away with very crunchy harmonies.