A rut-busting exercise using restrictions to move into new territory
What begins as an inspired, creative groove
can sometimes become a rut over time. Once
our ears hear something new, we train our
fingers to go there, and it’s an exciting time
musically. We learn new ideas for improvising
and create new compositional ideas that
way. At some point, however, it’s bound to
happen: Our ears aren’t feeding us any new
ideas, and our fingers are playing the same
melodic lines that they learned back when we
practiced with cassette tapes.
Think It Through
I wrote the song “Once Around the Sun” as an exercise that came from a concept I was turned onto by jazz guitarist Emily Remler. The idea was to create lines that only use the intervals of fourths and seconds as a way to force myself into new territory and away from familiar licks. You can change the exercise to use any one or two intervals as a restriction. The idea is to think it through intellectually, rather than simply letting your ears or fingers guide you as they habitually would. As a result, your ears and fingers both learn something new, sending you on a creative path full of fresh melodies and ideas.
Fig. 1 is an excerpt from “Once Around the Sun.” As you can see, once I put the ideas from the practice into a song, I allowed myself some latitude with the restrictions of the intervals. The idea is to have a fresh place to start that will lead to a new musical story. Start by playing in the seventh position. Shift to the sixth position on beat 3 of the first measure, and with your first finger, stretch back for the D on the “and” of beat 2 in measure two. Shift back to the seventh position on the “and” of beat 2 in the third measure, which is in 3/4 time. The meter change was not planned, by the way. This is an example of letting the melody present itself, as it seemed to want to be played. It was only after I learned to play it and listen to it that I figured out the quirky time scheme.
The line shown in Fig. 2 comes from the song’s coda. You can see that the ties from the first section of the song are gone. The result is the phrases now seem to run together, rather than having the clear separation they had in the first line, which was made even more clear by the accents on the lowest note of each phrase. You’ll notice the accents are still on the lowest note of each phrase, but they fall in unexpected places.
Making Friends with Seconds and Fourths
If you analyze the intervals, you’ll find fourths played forward and backward, making fifths descending, such as A to D and back down to A. The occasional third seemed to set up a new section of fourths, so I let it be a way into a new melodic section in spots.
As for the intervals of a second, you’ll see a minor second descending in measure 1 (E to Eb) and a major second ascending in measure 2 (A to B). Measure 5 has a descending major second (F# to E) as a characteristic sound.
Learning the fingering to this melodic example could show you new patterns that involve fourths and seconds—along with thirds and fifths—that could work their way into your improvised lines. Keep your ears alert for the sound of these angular lines and listen to your own new ideas develop.
Guitarist, composer, and arranger Jane Miller is has roots in both jazz and folk. In addition to leading her own jazz instrumental quartet, she is in a working chamber jazz trio with saxophonist Cercie Miller and bassist David Clark. The Jane Miller Group has released three CDs on Jane’s label, Pink Bubble Records. Jane joined the Guitar Department faculty at Berklee College of Music in 1994. You can reach her at janemillergroup.com.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
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About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.