August 20/2017

"Learn the LinnStrument" has launched!

       The method is finally up and running!  Thanks to the LinnStrumentalists who have jumped on board day one.  I'm updating the method everyday to make sure it's as complete and helpful as possible.  This method has been a long time coming and it's exciting to finally have it out there.  Special thanks to Roger Linn for promoting the method on his site.  I'm confident that as people learn to play songs, the interest and importance of the LinnStrument will grow for musicians and non musicians alike...very exciting!  Stay tuned for developments...

July 7/2017

Post Gearfest motivation

       I spent two days with Roger Linn at Sweetwater's Gearfest in June and was encouraged that the attendees understood my method and saw that it could be a valuable approach to playing songs on this new instrument.  I'm finishing my intro video today for posting.  My plan is to launch the initial lesson video series on July 17th 2017.

July 9/2017 "Learn the Linnstrument" intro posted

       The "Learn the Linnstrument" intro video is up.  I've been using the method to teach myself and I'm now finally making it available to others.  The people I've taught with this method have been able to begin playing almost immediately.    

February 14/2017  Post NAMM motivation

       I realized at the NAMM show that there's a lot of excitement and potential for the Linnstrument if people could learn to play chord-melody arrangements.  I met Stick players who could not transfer their technique to the Linnstrument from the Stick.  I have renewed passion and interest to make my approach available to people looking to explore a new instrument with so many musicial possibilities.

July 17/2015 1st Linnstrument Blog

            What would you say if I told you there’s a way to play the keyboard in every key, in almost any style with 14 chords and 3 scales?  Sound too good to be true?!  Welcome to the wonder of the 4ths tuning and the Linnstrument.  Is there a catch?  Not really, just a few simple patterns, chord forms, regular scale fingerings and practice, I call it the Moen Music Method for Chord-Melody Playing. 

            Short history:  I started out as a guitar player and first saw the regular patterns of the guitar by studying a chord chart in the back of the Alfred’s Guitar Method.  I had just learned barre chords and noticed that the chords in every key were arranged in a grid pattern.  A few years later I had a teacher who showed me how pentatonic scales and scales in general could be transposed to every key on the fretboard using the same fingerings.  I was able to use these “guitar advantages” to learn to play by ear, transpose songs into any key, predict the chord progressions and associate scale forms to make music come together quickly and systematically.  The fundamentals of my method were tested and improved by teaching other people and coming into contact with increasingly complex music forms.  Time after time the system worked. 

            My appreciation for chord-melody playing came from listening to Chet Atkins and Joe Pass.  My mother challenged me early on to do more than just strum so she could tell what song I was playing.  Chord-melody playing became the focus of my solo playing. The guitar is a difficult instrument to play both chords and melody at the same time.  I have great respect for the many guitarists who do it well.

          Fast forward to the mid 80’s when Stanley Jordan came on the scene and everything changed for me.  “How was he doing that?”  It sounded like two guitars playing.  The playing was both rhythmic and melodic at the same time.  It sounded like a pianist playing the guitar.

I loved Stanley Jordan’s playing but could not make it work on the guitar.  It wasn’t until I bought a Chapman Stick and a Starrlabs Mini-Z that I was able to play chord-melody arrangements easily.

          The key to both the Stick and Mini-Z was the tuning.  Once I configured both in fourths I was able to play chords with my left hand and melody with my right.  I soon realized that I could simplify the chords and play melodies with a standard form.  The next step was the coordination.  I thought i would never get it and that I would go forward just playing one part and then the other separately on recordings.  The chord-melody coordination came slowly but once I could play “Europa” I knew it was now just a matter of practicing.

          After developing a basic solo repertoire and playing out in various venues and band configurations I began to experiment with other instruments:  Axis 64, You Rock Guitar, 7 string guitar in fourths, mandolin, 8 string NS Stick Bass, 10 string ADG and 12 string Warr Guitar.  Each instrument was playable because of the method I had developed using the same chord forms and scale fingerings. 

          Fast forward several years to 2011 or so when I found Roger Linn’s page about his new Linnstrument that was in prototype stage.  I sent an email to Roger to express my interest and tell him about myself and was surprised by his phone call shortly afterwards.  It took several years of waiting for the instrument but on a trip to San Francisco I called Roger and found out that the instruments had just arrived. 

          My initial hope was that I could play the Linnstrument in the guitar position but quickly discovered that it was best played flat like a keyboard.  Thankfully, the layout of the instrument was perfect for me “out of the box.”  The keys were fingertip size, the low to high  notes were in the range usually play in and the split feature allowed me to assign my chording to channel 1 and melody to channel 2.

          Roger made a few improvements to the firmware and I was able to begin playing my full repertoire of touchguitar tunes immediately.  The chord forms are the same, the scales and melody fingerings are the same but now I have all of the advantages of midi and an electronic instrument that can produce a controllable vibrato, finger slides and the expressions of acoustic instruments.  Thank you Roger for opening the world of midi to me in a way not previously possible. 

Jeff Moen

Milton, GA

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