## MonoNeon Rig Rundown

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# Digging Deeper: How Many Chords Are There?

### Put 35 different chords to work for you in interesting and unusual ways.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
ā¢ Develop a wider chord vocabulary.
ā¢ Understand the theory behind chord construction..
ā¢ Discover practical uses for unusual chords.

As you explore new shapes and sounds on the guitar, do you ever wonder exactly how many chords are possible in standard tuning? Or even how many chords there are in the spectrum of the musical universe? First, letās clarify. You can, of course, play only six notes at a time on a 6-string guitar. For the purposes of this lesson, weāll only talk about chords with at least three different notes. (Sorry power chords, no offense.)

As it turns out, this question can easily be answered with a math equation. Iām horrible at math, but I have a couple of friends who are math whizzesāNick Didkovsky (a guitarist who is also a mathematician) and John Charpie (who is a physicist). To them this equation is simple; to me not so much, but I get the basic idea. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for helping me figure some of this out.

Using the 12-note chromatic scale, here are the combinations available to us.

1 note = 12 ways (not a chord) 2 notes = 66 (not a chord) 3 notes = 220 4 notes = 495 5 notes = 792 6 notes = 924 7 notes = 792 8 notes = 495 9 notes = 220 10 notes = 66 11 notes = 12 12 notes = 1

Total = 4017 Total playable guitar chords = 2341

Now you might be asking, are these stats of any practical use? Well, perhaps not directly. But they do illustrate how many possibilities musical notes have to offer, and suggest how very little musical territory has been explored so far. Of all the music in the world, 99 percent is derived from essentially the same harmonic theory and half dozen scales. The unexplored musical possibilities these statistics illustrate comprise a topic that requires a longer conversation and more complex theoretical understanding. For now, I just wanted to help you understand that thereās more than one way to carve an octave, melodically and harmonically. And while itās open to debate whether many of these options sound good, keep in mind that we tend to like what sounds familiar, and composers and players have experimented with only a handful of these choices.

The Chords

Fig. 1 contains 35 different three-note chords that live within the C major scale (CāDāEāFāGāAāB). Disclaimer: I think there are too many chords on this chart! It has been proven that the more options humans have, the more difficult it is to make a decision. Itās highly likely you will play through this chord chart and then never look at it again because its practical application is vague at best. I donāt want that to happen.

Play through all the chords, then pick one (only one) you like and start using it. Heck, play through the first five chords, then pick one you like and start using it. Donāt let this chart overwhelm you. While it can be fun, it can also be a lot like reading a dictionary.

Be aware that the example above contains only one voicing possibility (i.e., the order of notes) for each three-note chord. There are actually six different ways to voice each one of them. You also have the option to duplicate notes in different octaves. While this does not make our options infinite, I think you get the point without asking my math buddies to compute them. I have laid the chart out somewhat systematically; see if you can figure out how it works.

The reason I have only identified the chords C, Dm, Em, F, G, and Am is because those are the traditional triads (three-note chords formed by stacking thirds or every other note from the scale) that are not open to debate. C, E, and G will always make a C major triad. The same goes for the other triads. On the other hand, chords that are not strictly stacked thirds are open to interpretation and naming them depends on their relationship to other chords. For instance, the third chord in this chart looks like a Cmaj7 (CĀ­āEāGāB) to me, even though it has no 5th. But it could also be thought of as an Am9 (no root), Em6 (no third), and even Bsus4(b9). This last one is a bit obtuse, more theoretical, and less practical.

A Chord by Any Other Name

Okay, okay, I can hear you out there yelling, āName the rest of those chords!ā But how should we go about naming all those other triads/tri-chords? At the risk of contradicting what I said earlier, Iāve decided to go with what I consider to be the most common function of each chord (Fig. 2). Some are easier than others, the Fsus2 in measure two is obvious to me, even though we could also call it Csus4, G7sus4, and a few others without root notes! If you know your theory, you should feel free to disagree with me on some of these names, otherwise youāre just going to have to trust me.

A very common example of a chord having more than one name is the second chord of the fifth measure. Even though I called it a G7, itās more of a B diminished because that chord contains no G note! But the other three notes imply the sound of G7. If you find this a difficult concept to grasp you are not alone, this is somewhat complex, but if you use your ear, you can tell that this G7, even without a G, sounds and functions the same as a full G7.

Fig. 3 is an example of the common G7 ācowboy chordā moving to C. Then you can hear the G7 tri-chord moving to C. Can you hear it functioning in the same way? Finally, we have the same G7 tri-chord moving to a different C triad, with smoother voice leading.

I find the easiest way to put any chord into immediate, functional use is to play it in the context of a common chord progression. Fig. 4 is your everyday IāIVāVāI in the key of C. These particular voicings and the arpeggio pattern provide a certain ā90s pop sound to the progression.

Next, in Fig. 5, is a minor ImāIVmāVm, to which I have added open-string bass notes to emphasize the harmony. This would work nicely as an intro to a late ā80s metal tune.

Finally, Fig. 6 demonstrates some alternative voicings for the ubiquitous IāIVāVImāV found in so many pop songs from the last 60 years.

These common points of reference are just the beginning. You donāt have to use these everyday progressions in your own songs. Develop some new, unique sounding series of chords that will leave listeners wondering, āWhat chord is that?ā The more harmonic ambiguity the better I say!

## Strymon BigSky MX Review

### Big time processing power in a reverb that you can explore for a lifetime.

An astoundingly lush and versatile reverb of incredible depth and flexibility. New and older BigSky algorithms included. More elegant control layout and better screen.

Itās pricey and getting the full use out of it takes some time and effort.

\$679

Strymon BigSky MX
strymon.net

5
5
4
4

Strymon calls the BigSky MX pedal āone reverb to rule them all.ā Yep, thatās a riff on something weāve heard before, but in this case it might be hard to argue. In updating what was already one of the marketās most comprehensive and versatile reverbs, Strymon has created a reverb pedal that will take some players a lifetime to fully explore. That process is likely to be tons of fun, too.

Grinding out impressive DSP power via an 800 MHz tri-core ARM processor with 32-bit floating-point processing, the BigSky MX introduces seven brand-new reverb algorithms, allows users to load any compatible convolution reverb (or impulse response) as well as to use two reverbs simultaneouslyāin series, parallel, and splitāplus it delivers several other mind-bending features. Given this wealth of goodies, itās impossible to test and discuss every sound and function, but what we heard is exciting.

### Infinite Space

The updated MX will look very familiar to those who know the original BigSky. The form factor is nearly identical, though the MX is a bit larger. Its control interface is similar too, albeit rearranged into a single row of knobs that looks more balanced. Rotary controls include decay, pre-delay, tone, mod, parameter 1, parameter 2, and mix. A value knob enables effect-level manipulation on the larger, clearer OLED screen. It also allows you to select between the older or āclassicā algorithms from the original BigSky and the seven new ones. Three footswitches allow for preset selection, bank up or down (two switches pressed together), and an infinite hold/sustain switch thatās always available. The rotary ātypeā knob in the upper-left corner spins between 12 basic reverb voices. As with most things Strymon, many of these controls are multi-function.

Also very Strymon-like are the top-mounted, 5-pin DIN MIDI I/O connections, which come in handy if you want to maximize the pedalās potential in a MIDI-controlled rig. But you can access more than enough right from the pedal itself to satisfy the needs of most standard pedalboard-based setups. A USB-C port enables computer connection for MIDI control via that route, use of the Nixie 2 editing app, or firmware updates.

There are stereo jacks for both input and output, plus a multi-function 1/4" TRS/MIDI expression jack for use with a further range of external controllers. The standard center-negative power jack requires a DC supply offering at least 500 mA of current draw.

It is utterly hypnotic and addictive once you settle in and work a little more intuitively.

### Skyās the Limit

The BigSky MX was, initially, a bit mind-boggling on account of the seemingly endless possibilities. But it is utterly hypnotic and addictive once you settle in and work a little more intuitively. Suffice it to say, the core quality of the reverb sounds themselves are excellent, and the sheer variety is astounding. Beyond the standard emulations, I really dug several permutations of the cloud reverb, the chorale mode (which adds tenor and baritone harmonizing tones), and bloom mode (which generates deep synthesizer-style pads), and I could have gotten lost in any of these for hours if there wasnāt so much more to explore. Among the highlights: There is now an option to pan reverbs across the stereo field. The MX also uses audio design concepts borrowed from tape delays to create rhythmic pattern-based reverbs, which is an excellent compositional tool.

### The Verdict

This latest evolution of the already impressive and super-capable BigSky is the kind of pedal that could cause you to disappear into your basement studio, never to return. The sounds are addictive and varied and can be configured in endless creative ways. The programmability and connectivity are also superb. Additionally, the new algorithms werenāt added at expense of the old BigSky algos. Thereās no doubt that it will be flat-out too much horsepower for the guitarist that needs a few traditional sounds and, perhaps, a few more spacious options. And it would be interesting to know what percentage of the pedalās customers end up being synth artists, engineers, or sound designers of one kind or another. If youāre the kind of guitar player that enjoys stretching the sound and capabilities of your instrument as far as they will go, the BlueSky MX will gladly ride along to the bounds of your imagination. It may test the bounds of your budget, too. But in many ways, the BigSky MX is as much a piece of outboard studio gear as a stompbox, and if youāre willing to invest the time, the BigSky MX has the goods to pay you back.

## An Introduction to Expression Pedals

Itās this easy!

### This convenient, easy-to-use controller can open up an entire world of sonic shape-shifting. Here are some tips to either inspire you to try one or expand how youāre currently using this flexible, creative device.

If youāre not yet using expression pedals, you should consider them. They have the power to expand and control your sonic universe. For the uninitiated, expression pedals are controllers that typically look like volume or wah pedals. Of course, traditional volume and wah pedals are expression pedals, too, but they are dedicated to controlling only those two effects.

Modern expression pedals allow you to assign and control parameters of your stomps or modelers by moving the expression pedal as you would a volume or wah. Dunlop, Boss, Ernie Ball, Yamaha, Behringer, Mission Engineering, and other manufacturers make these handy devices.

Many, but not all, of todayās stompboxes and modelers have expression pedal inputs that allow for manipulation of one or more parameters of those devices. In the past, this required bending over and turning a knob, or trying to turn a small knob with your footāboth of which can hamper your playing. The freedom of an expression pedal is the control you have over more aspects of your sound, especially in a live setting.

Although some of the uses for expression pedals below can also be accomplished by creating multiple presets, that will not allow real-time control over the parameters like an expression pedal will. Here are some notes about expression pedal use that might get you thinking about how one could help you.

Delay Repeats: Controlling the timing of a delay with tap tempo is very common, but how about controlling the number of repeats? With an expression pedal, by setting the expression control on your delay to control the number of repeats, you can easily go from a few for your rhythm sound to more for your lead sound, and then back off again.

Reverb and Delay Mix: The mix control on reverb and delay pedals allows you to balance the amount of wet to dry signal that you hear. There is often a delicate line to having just the right amount of wet signal with these two effects. If you have too much, your sound can be washed out and undefined. Too little and it can be dry and lack space. The part you are playing, and the venue you are in, can also change the amount of mix you need for these effects. By using an expression pedal for the mix control on reverb or delay, you can alter the sound on the fly to compensate for the part and the room, including turning down the mix for busy parts and up for parts with fewer notes.
āSome uses for expression pedals can also be accomplished by creating multiple presets, but that will not allow real-time control over the parameters like an expression pedal will.ā

Modulation Depth: The depth of a modulation effect, like a phaser, can drastically alter your guitar sound. A light amount can create a feeling of subtle movement, while a heavy amount can give a thick, underwater-type sound. An expression pedal can help you create a constant feeling of change throughout a song, allowing you to build up and break down the depth for different sections as you see fit.

Tremolo Speed: While the speed of tremolo can often be controlled by tap tempo, using an expression pedal for the same parameter offers other creative uses of the effect. With an expression pedal, you can easily speed the tremolo up to make subtle increases to the energy of a part or slow it down to decrease the energy. You can also create drastic changes in the speed that sound like a fan accelerating or slowing down. Or you can abruptly turn the tremolo off. This last option can be an exciting way to end a song or part.

EQ Change: Every guitar player uses EQ to sculpt their soundāwhether via the tone controls on your instrument or amp (modelers included), or a dedicated equalizer used as part of your rig. Subtle tweaks can help you do things like balance out different guitars, cut through the mix more, or compensate for a boomy stage. Real-time control of EQ with an expression pedal is more common in the modeler world than the amp and pedal world, but it does exist in both. For example, increasing the midrange can give you more clarity and cut for solos. Decreasing it can create a flatter sound that can help you stay in the mix with the rest of the band. An expression pedal allows you to have one setting and alter it for multiple situations or guitars as opposed to having separate presets.

While this is a very short list of options for expression-pedal use, it should give you a good place to start. The most important thing is to always be creative, have fun, and find your own voice. An expression pedal can help you do all three.

## Linkin Park Announce Emily Armstrong As New Singer, Unveil Album and Tour

Photo by James Minchin III

Linkin Park introduce new vocalist Emily Armstrong (of Dead Sara), new drummer Colin Brittain, and share their first brand new music in seven years.

Linkin Park share a new single (HERE) and video (premiering HERE at 4pm PT/7pm ET), for āThe Emptiness Machine,ā plus a global livestream performance (happening now HERE and available only for 24 hours), and the launch of 6 upcoming arena shows in Los Angeles, New York, Hamburg, London, Seoul, and Bogota as part of the From Zero World Tour. LP Underground fan club exclusive pre-sales start September 6 and general on-sales September 7. Go to LinkinPark.com for more info.

These surprises herald the arrival of LINKIN PARKās first album since 2017, FROM ZERO, on November 15.

Tomorrow, Friday September 6th, the band joins long-time friend and Apple Music host Zane Lowe for an in-depth candid conversation about the incredible legacy of Linkin Park, the 7-year long journey to new music and their excitement for the future.

Without expectations, Shinoda, Delson, Farrell, and Hahn quietly began meeting up again in recent years. Rather than ātrying to restart the band,ā their instinct was to simply spend more time together, and reconnect with the creativity and camaraderie that has been at the core of their friendship since college. During this time, they invited various friends and cohorts to join them in the studio; among the guests, they found a special kinship with Armstong and Brittain. A natural chemistry drew these musicians back into its gravitational pull as they logged more and more hours in the studio. It was the sound of lifelong musicians rediscovering the uncontainable energy of a new beginning once again. Over this season, FROM ZERO was born.

FROM ZERO

FROM ZERO TRACKLIST

1. From Zero (Intro)
2. The Emptiness Machine
3. Cut The Bridge
4. Heavy Is The Crown
5. Over Each Other
6. Casualty
7. Overflow
8. Two Faced
9. Stained
10. IGYEIH
11. Good Things Go

About the new era, Shinoda stated, āBefore LINKIN PARK, our first band name was Xero. This album title refers to both this humble beginning and the journey weāre currently undertaking. Sonically and emotionally, it is about past, present, and futureāembracing our signature sound, but new and full of life. It was made with a deep appreciation for our new and longtime bandmates, our friends, our family, and our fans. We are proud of what LINKIN PARK has become over the years, and excited about the journey ahead.ā

Right out of the gate, āThe Emptiness Machineā channels the DNA of LINKIN PARK, harnessing the bandās explosive energy and retaining the hallmarks of their instantly identifiable and inimitable sound. A chameleonic and catchy anthem, Shinodaās hypnotic melodies hand off to Armstrongās blistering chorus, over distorted riffs and head-nodding drums.

Shinoda elaborated, āThe more we worked with Emily and Colin, the more we enjoyed their world-class talents, their company, and the things we created. We feel really empowered with this new lineup and the vibrant and energized new music weāve made together. Weāre weaving together the sonic touchpoints weāve been known for and still exploring new ones.ā

FROM ZERO WORLD TOUR 2024

September 11, 2024 | Kia Forum - Los Angeles, CA

September 16, 2024 | Barclays Center - New York, NY

September 22, 2024 | Barclays Arena - Hamburg, Germany

September 24, 2024 | The O2 - London, UK

September 28, 2024 | INSPIRE Arena - Seoul, South Korea

November 11, 2024 | Coliseo Medplus - Bogota, Colombia

## Yngwie Malmsteen and MXR Announce the Yngwie Malmsteen Overdrive

Tailored for Yngwie Malmsteen's signature sound, the MXR Yngwie Malmsteen Overdrive is designd to offer simple controls for maximum impact.

Working closely alongside Yngwie, the MXR design team created a circuit that delivers clarity, expressive dynamics, and rich harmonicsāall perfectly tailored for his light-speed arpeggios, expressive vibrato, and big, bold riffs. The control setup is simple, with just Level and Gain knobs.

"Want to sound like Yngwie? Crank both knobs to the max."

āThis pedal is the culmination of 45+ years developing a sound thatās perfect in every possible way,ā Yngwie says. āI present to you: the MXR Yngwie Malmsteen Overdrive. Prepare to be amazed.ā

### āMXR Yngwie Malmsteen Overdrive highlights:

• Perfectly tailored for Yngwie Malmsteen's signature sound and style
• Simple control setup tuned for maximum impact
• Boost every nuance with superior clarity, expressive dynamics, and rich harmonics
• Dig into light-speed arpeggios, expressive vibrato, and big, bold riffs

The MXR Yngwie Malmsteen Overdrive is available now at \$129.99 street/\$185.70 MSRP from your favorite retailer.