An Interview with M.A.M.I. Music Scale Atlases creator:

Richard "Spock" Armstrong

Richard Armstrong "Spock" Guitar

Lives: Philadelphia, PA
Primary Instrument: Lefty Guitar and Guitar Synthesizer
Secondary Instruments: Keyboards, Drums and Vibes
 
Q: So where did you get the idea for M.A.M.I. Music Scale Atlases?
 
A: I am basically self-taught on guitar, however when I was much younger 
I studied drums and vibes formally in school.  
 
By the time I reached my late teens, I began to listen to a lot of great 
and creative music especially jazz and jazz-fusion.  
 
The improvisational nature of this music really peaked my interest and I began 
to wonder where the original players of the day found their ideas. 
 
Players like Hendrix, Monk, Scofield, Holdsworth, Beck, Khan, Metheny...so many!
 
Anyway, the question in my mind became how do I find all of these hip ideas? 
How do I take one chord, or melody, or arpeggio, or scale and turn it into 
a number of interesting musical ideas of my own? 
 
Since the common thread between all of my influences was originality
 I started to think more about theory and the nature of music itself. 
 
Studying engineering in school helped me to analyze music "quantitatively". 
Being a lefty guitarist always forced me to chart or diagram my ideas on the fingerboard. 
 
One night I was thinking about improvisation and the idea of a "Matrix" popped into my head. 
By arranging notes into a 12 x 12 cube matrix, I would be able to analyze
and quantify any scale for its musical content. Thus the "Matrix Approach" was born.
 
Q: Where are you performing again these days?
 
A: Unfortunately I'm not performing publicly yet after my accident. 
It has been a long time, but the nature of my injuries has affected the nerves in my 
extremities and causes me to lose sensation in my arms and fingers to varying degrees.
This has been an extremely frustrating ordeal, but Faith, Family and some great Friends 
have helped me to cope with my circumstances.
 
Special thanks to Mom, my sister Monica and brother Len, for believing in me. 
My old band mates (and lifelong friends) guitarist Rick Harris, bassist Lee Patterson 
and also radio personality J. Mike Harrison (of WRTI FM 90.1 in Phila.) for keeping me 
involved in music and from selling all of my equipment out of frustration. 
 
Also trombonist / keyboardist Mark Johnson and keyboardist Glenn Bryan 
for forgiving me for some particularly bad moments... :-(  
 
Hopefully I will be able to release some stuff and perform again 
at some point, I haven't quit!
 
Q: Your book is huge, did you do it by yourself?
 
A: Yes, it took years! I started charting lefty fingerboards and using the Matrix Approach for myself. 
One day a friend happened to see my work in progress spread out on my dining room table 
and suggested that I share the idea with other musicians. 
 
It took more years to do all of the other versions, but the feedback has been well worth it. 
Although one of my very best friends at first glance called my draft version "garbage" 
(he later recanted after spending some time with it), so many players both known 
and unknown have both favored and adopted M.A.M.I.
 
This includes many players that had helped to inspire it in the first place! 
It is a nice feeling to have players such as Pierre Bensusan, Allan Holdsworth, Joe Beck
 Pat Martino, Mark Johnson, Steve Vattimo, Geno White, and countless others find 
benefit in my concept. Hopefully it is inspiring some creativity and great music out there.
 
Q: How did you get the nickname "Spock"?
 
A: Years ago some friends...actually original band members awarded me this "handle" 
due to my logical and methodical ways. It was funny then, and I still it find it humorous since 
there are probably few more accurate nicknames awarded throughout history!
 
Q: What's next?
 
A: Hopefully I'll continue to develop versions of M.A.M.I. and eventually perform once again.
It would be great to play again in a group dedicated to creating original music!
 I definitely have some ideas, and at some point this will be a goal.
 
Q: What musician would you most like to meet?
 
A: I enjoy talking about music with just about everyone, but forced to pick now it would 
probably be Pat Metheny. I enjoy his ideas, playing and especially his approach to band leading. 
 
His group is awesome in that they take very well composed, diverse, original musical 
ideas and perform them intelligently...on such a high level. 
 
Sort of like the Duke Ellington Band meets the 21st century! 
With his group, it is easy to tell that the musical idea always comes first. 
 
Every single detail related to the idea is performed thoughtfully.
They have been my absolute favorites and a great influence for years.
 
Q: Dude, so what's up with your books?!
I was checking out MAMIMUSIC.com and your MAMI Scale Atlases look way deep...can you fill me in?
 
A: In short, yeah they look "deep" and sort of are.

The 'MAMI Musical Scales Atlas Concept' is a completely unique, logical and tremendously integrated way to learn and / or teach music chords and scales on Piano, Bass and Guitar.

MAMI Books + Diagrams uniquely serve seemingly "deep"...but actually simple, relevant, useful purposes:
they're designed to allow musicians to easily understand the all of the music potential inherent in a given chord or scale, plus show the location of everything...all of these useful elements...directly on their instrument...all in one glance!

My MAMI 'concept' and diagrams help quickly reveal basic improvising as well as composing ideas and uses to help musical learning, creative and even teaching processes. All specific musical elements: such as substitutions, modes, harmonies, melodies and inversions for over 540
chords and scales, plus guides to creatively applying to their instrument are all included on each page. There really is nothing like it, or any equal!

Despite it's power and depth, using the MAMI Concept / Diagrams / Books is both actually much simpler than it seems...yet is also incredibly flexible. When I developed MAMI I tried to make a reference that I would use for life. A guide that would be even more valuable as I learned, matured and improved.

Beginners can use my books, as can intermediate or master players in addition to teachers.

The only thing you really need is an open mind and the desire to use MAMI to learn or teach and apply chords plus scales visually...in the quickest, most efficient, logically integrated and least limited way.

The few minutes that so many have spent to understand why and how to use MAMI has rewarded them with knowledge as well as the resources for effective creative study and learning for life!

I've had so many people ask me "darn, where was this when I was first starting out!" I always laugh hard over that question because when I'd first envisioned the concept, that was my question to me...

All I can say is check out MAMIMUSIC.com and also my YouTube, Facebook and MySpace pages: I have demos, tutorials, videos, PDFs and MP3's and even a few MIDI files on the whole MAMI concept.

Click these links and also be sure to go below for much more information

Much more info here: explore our MAMIMUSIC website directory!

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M.A.M.I. and the M.A.M.I. Logo are trademarks of MAMI - Matrix Publishing LLC.  
Copyright 1997 -  Richard Armstrong -  all rights reserved.