Guitar for Worship Workshop 2009 Wrap-Up

Killer night. Much thanks to everybody that came out and lent their tone for the night. And to those who lent just their presence so as not to shatter our worlds with their tone. And to those who viewed online…listening to us, and then playing their rig at the same time, thinking, ‘Yep. My tone is better.’ (Or, maybe that’s just me who would’ve done that. 😉 ) 

The biggest thanks goes to my wife, Jamianne, who not only hung out and watched online, saved us twice by calling me when the computer mic was clipping out, but also answered almost every question people had about my rig in that chat room, correctly. I mean, whoa! If I wasn’t madly in love already, I would’ve been after I read the transcript and saw this: “Jamianne: Um, I think it’s the Damage Control Timeline.” Love is made up of exactly such things.

Jamianne, I love you, Sweetheart! Thanks for everything that evening.


Last Monday we had twelve guitarists out at my church for the Guitar for Worship Workshop, and a bunch of others watching on Mogulus via live webstream. I made a promise to myself not to count up the total value in dollars of the gear on the stage that night, so as not to have to feel guilty that we were all there to show off sweet, sweet tone rather than to sell all our gear and buy food for the world. The entire world. There was a lot of gear there. For those of you watching online, I’m not sure if it came through, but there were definitely tears of joy glistening in my eyes.

As always happens with these things, I have a scripted out, hour-long talk planned that covers tone, minimalism, gear, sound, playing in worship situations, all the stuff that I truly believe myself to be the authority on. And then all my tonal heroes show up, and that belief comes crashing down. So instead of a seminar, I just had myself and everybody else talk through and demonstrate their rigs. And then there was tone.

And no, unfortunately, it was not recorded. See, I just assumed that Mogulus was smart enough to record automatically. Turns out that you have to push a little ‘record’ button. You mean I actually have to do something myself? Stupid technology. So you’ll have to do with pictures. Thanks to tone-master Jason Bast for a lot of these pics. (And, uh, you can tell which ones are his because they’re the ones that you can actually read the gear names in. Mine are from my phone, because I forgot my camera. Ya, I failed a lot technologically that night. I’m blaming all the sweet tone for clouding my senses.)

So here’s our ‘with our tone combined’ circle of wonder. And for some reason, I’m doing this in alphabetical order. Which is very unlike me. So, to make it more random and less like me, we’ll do alphabetical order of the last name. Ha.

  • So first off in the tonal circle of wonder, was Jason Bast.

(That’s my own personal Annie Leibowitz shot.)


–John Suhr Strat


–John Suhr Badger


–Toneczar Halophaze
–Lovepedal Kanji
–Lovepedal Death of a Vox
–Toneczar Openhaus (with EB expression pedal)
–Line 6 M13 (with Line 6 expression pedal)
–Planet Waves cables (I think)
–Voodoo Labs PP2+ (again, I think) 

Highlight of Jason’s rig:

–Line 6 M13

I met Jason last year at the first tone workshop I did at my church. And he blew me away with how much sound and nuances of sound he could get out of any one pedal. Jason’s one of those guys whose tone really comes from his hands. You get the feeling that it wouldn’t matter what gear he played. His tone was fantastic through the Badger; which, by the way, impressed the living daylights out of me with its power scaling. It sounded ‘full’ and like air was still moving at relatively low volumes. Very cool.

And the M13. Wow. Its modulation sounds really, really surprised me. I was expecting cold and sterile, and instead it sounded like…not analog…but rather, clear and studio grade rackmount. Also, I didn’t know it had so much versatility. It was getting seek wah sounds, and filters, and all kinds of stuff. The overdrives didn’t do much for me…but, obviously, they don’t for Jason, either, as he’s got 3 stompbox overdrive pedals still on his board. And that Openhaus…mmmmmm.

Overall, I would definitely not mind having Jason’s tone. And I might even kill somebody (not really) to have his ability to structure chords and melodies on the fly. Great sounding rig, surprisingly good sounding M13, and killer Suhr Badger. And really humble…it’s cool to hear him warming up with crazy riffs, but then demo-ing gear with just sweet chord structures.

Jason, thanks for coming and sharing your tone, brother!


Eric didn’t bring his rig, so this is a photo I got off of his blog…he didn’t just jump up and start leading worship during the guitar workshop. I was trying to show his Tele here. Along with the Beeman classic special: capo 2. 😉 Love ya, Eric! When I played with Eric, he always capo’d 2 in E for a grand total of F# and confused lead guitar players. Come on guys, let’s face it–us lead guitar players are lost if it’s not in E minor. 


And here’s his amp. Believe it or not, this is a Crate. Modded and completely re-shelled by Andy Lumsden. Sounds very good, and looks even better!


–1993 Fender Telecaster (American)
–1956 Gibson LG-1 (LR Baggs Pickup)
–Martin DM (Fishman Rare Earth Pickup) 


–Crate VC508 (Lumsden mods)


–Boss DD20
–Visual Sound Route 66 compressor/overdrive
–Danelectro Tuna Melt tremolo
–Ernie Ball volume pedal
–Boss TU2 

Eric was the worship leader at my church when I first started playing lead guitar in a worship setting, and one of my mentors. So unfortunately, he remembers me when I was trying to mix Dream Theatre with Acoustic Alchemy during Matt Redman songs and without a little something I like to call talent. But he’s gracious enough not to mention it. 😉

Eric’s one of those musicians. You know, he does well whatever instrument he picks up. So, he’s a vocalist and acoustic guitarist by trade, but his electric playing and tone fit the music perfectly. Because that’s what musicians do…fit the music, rather than try to show of their chops. I love the way Eric plays lead guitar. And he’s a good friend, too.

Eric, thanks for lending your presence that night!! 




–Carvin custom neck-through (um…I could be totally wrong on that)


–Carvin Nomad (I think)


–Planet Waves Tuner
–Digitech chorus (?)
–Marshall compressor (?)
–Fulltone Fulldrive (Original)
–TC Electronics Nova Delay
–Line 6 Echo Park
–Boss Loop Station 

Highlight of Kenrick’s Rig: 

–Carvin custom guitar

I met Kenrick just this year over this blog. And immediately, I loved his opinions on gear……or, maybe he just mentioned U2. One or the other. But his tone sounded awesome. The Fulltone Fulldrive is so overlooked these days because it’s one of the ‘original boutiques’ that became industry standard. And everyone (myself included), wants something different-looking. But every time I hear the Fulldrive with EL84 or EL34 tubes, I’m reminded why it’s industry standard. It really reacted well to the Carvin amp, which is another sleeper brand. Carvin has really up their game for guitar players over the last few years, and Kenrick’s tone proved that. 

Also, the Nova delay sounded surprisingly good in his rig. He hit a couple layered delays that sounded fantastic! I’m not a huge fan of that pedal, so I’m guessing most of the sound has to do with his playing, and knowledge of how to dial the pedal in right. 

But the main thing that got me was the guitar. Beautiful looking, and sounded wonderful. Really full and rich. Kind of goes with the point that if you’ve got a good guitar, everything else can be secondary and just fall into place.

We ran out of time to hear the Loop Station, which I was really looking forward to hearing, but maybe next time. Kenrick, it was awesome to have you there, and your sound was really, really good!!

  • Next in the circle of sweet tone (or…in alphabetical order) was Sal Hamby.


Whoa, that picture takes me back. That’s the middle school multi-purpose room our church used to meet in. And Sal with his sweet Parker. Sal didn’t bring his rig, so I had to find this picture from what seems like ages ago.


–Parker (vintage, not sure of the exact model)
–Taylor 715


–Carvin Legacy
–(too many others to list) 


–Sal doesn’t need effects.

Sal is one of those musicians who, when they come to your church, you’re like, ‘What are you doing here? You could actually get paid somewhere.’ hehe Sal is one of the fastest guitarists I’ve ever met, taught the guys from POD how to play, but can also give you a sweet, simplistic blues solo if you ask him. 

And he’s really humble, too, shown in the fact that he didn’t bring his rig so as to not put us all to shame. 😉 But he’s got some great tone, mostly from his Parker. Great guitar, and it plays so smoothly. But Sal’s another one who’s tone comes from his hands. And I still find certain blues riffs coming out of me that are from him.

Sal, you’re a great friend and musical mentor. Thanks for coming!

  • And now for tonal legend Bob Huestis.

(That’s Bob Huestis and his sweet, toneful rig. Oh, and Travis must’ve seen something he liked in the background. Probably a delay pedal.)


–Duesenberg Semi-Hollowbody (P90 and humbucker)
–Fender Telecaster (American)


–Suhr Badger


–Fulltone OCD
–Fulltone Fulldrive
–Line 6 M13

Highlight of Bob’s rig:

–The sweetest guitar you’ve ever seen in your life. 

Bob gets talked about so much around the Temecula area here, I thought at first he was a myth. You know, like the Keyser Soze of tone. The kind guitar players talk about in hushed whispers. ‘Ya, that tone’s pretty good. But it’ll never match Bob Huestis.’ But seriously! It seems like everyone I talk to knows Bob. I’ll like, set a pedal and someone’ll say, ‘Oh, Bob Huestis wouldn’t do it that way.’ Ya. He’s a legend.

But it’s so cool to talk with him, because he’s extremely unassuming. Really humble, and genuinely interested in everybody else’s rig. But when he plays, whoa. I love that he had the minimalistic effects going on–couple drive boxes on batteries, and then the M13 for modulation. And let me tell you…his tone was fantastic. Really, really sweet sounding…but able to really drive when necessary. And he really knew that M13, too. Got it into a 4 cascading delay thing. And when he said it, I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be too much.’ But it was perfectly balanced. 

But most of all, that guitar is just incredible. Wonderful sound. I want one. But then I’ll sell all my gear, get one, and realize that I still don’t sound like Bob Huestis.

Bob, thanks so much for coming. I really appreciate your sharing your tone and knowledge and gear with us! You sounded seriously incredible.

  • Next was Adam Mendoza.


That’s his knee and half of his head there on the left. Adam, I’m so sorry I don’t have a picture of you, bro! I’d only officially met Adam the week before. And the first thing I realized is how humble he is. (And if you haven’t noticed by now, if there’s one thing I adore, it’s humility. Probably because if there’s one thing I don’t have, it’s humility. And if you think, ‘Oh, he’s just being humble by saying he has no humility’, just send me an e-mail saying that solid state is better than tubes, and see how humble I am then. 😉 ) But he asked some tone questions, and just learned from everyone else, and it was only the week after that I learned he’s actually a worship leader……and he never said a word about it. Very cool, brother.

Adam, thanks for being there, my friend!

  • Up next was Ryan Olson.


(Wow, you can tell which picture is Jason’s, and which picture is mine. hehe)


–Prairiewood Les Paul (Oh yes)


–Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special


–Korg tuner
–Barber Tone Press
–Xotic RC Booster
–Hermida Zendrive
–Cmatmods Signa Drive
–Hermida Mosferatu
–Seymour Duncan ShapeShifter
–Cmatmods Deeelay 
–Eventide Timefactor (with external tap tempo)
–Voodoo Labs PP2+ power (I think)
–cool boutique cables (Blast! I can’t remember what he said they were…something about darkness…)

Highlight of Ryan’s rig:

–Prairiewood!!! Okay, okay…Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special………and the Prairiewood

Did Ryan win the award for best tone? Of course! He was playing a Prairiewood, after all. hehe And for those you who don’t know, I’m kidding around because I also play a Prairiewood. But he did have really awesome tone! And he totally does win the award for cleanest pedalboard. It just looks killer! Ryan is another guy that I just met recently through this blog. And again, a very humble guy. But his tone was great, especially through that Prairiewood. Of course, I’m biased to those guitars. But it sounded really good…I even got a chance to play it through my rig, and it was awesome. Sounded almost just like my guitar. A couple subtleties, but whoa. Robert Dixon can make guitars. 

The Lonestar, though! Wow. Mesa Boogie gets a bad rap. That amp sounded great. Really, really gutsy…but retaining smoothness. I liked it a lot! And I also liked the ShapeShifter. I have this weird thing with Seymour Duncan, because that name just brings back images from my metal days when it was all about Seymour Duncan pickups. But the ShapeShifter really kept his tone intact while effecting it, which is unfortunately rare with tremolo. Another pleasant surprise. 

Overall, Ryan’s tone with the Prairiewood into the Lonestar was really, really good! Ryan, thanks so much for coming out, brother! You sounded great.

  • And next up in the tonal spectrum of splendor was Tim Pinckard.


Tim didn’t bring his rig, so this is a picture of he and I being rockstars in our church’s old building about 3-ish? years ago. That’s his bass, and it sounds awesome. As for my gear? Three years later? I think the only thing I still have is that Holland…and it’s been modded, and tolexed in a different color now.


–Yamaha 4-string active bass (early ’90’s, I think…incredible sound)
–Art & Lutherie acoustic
–(too many others to list) 


–Gibson Hawk (vintage)


–Boss DD20
–Modded Boss SD-1/TS808
–Boss FV300

Tim has been one of my closest brothers (again…brother like what Robert DeNiro calls people in the film ‘Heat’, not like we came out of the same womb) for about 7 years now. He’s a great friend, encouragement, and one of the most loyal people you’ll ever meet.

He and I have this thing now where, we’ve been playing together for so long, that we can tell where each other is going with the song…even if that place is going to be a mistake. hehe He’s one of my all-time favorite bass players to play with because his tone and the way he plays is so drive, and so ‘just what the song needs’, that it just fills up the harmonic space so nicely. If you haven’t had the opportunity to play guitar when Tim’s playing bass, I’d highly suggest it.

If Tim had brought his rig, his bass would’ve totally been the highlight. Really full without getting muddy. I can’t even remember exactly what model Yamaha it is…but it’s one of the older ones, meaning it’s good. 😉 Tim also got there early to help me set up, so I owe him a pedal or something.

Tim, thanks you so much for coming, and for being an amazing bass player.

  • And of course, there was Danny Schultz.

(Yes, I know I used this picture already. But that was for Adam. This is for Danny…the guy playing the guitar.)


–Fender Tele (American)


–Fender Twin Reverb


(Aw, Danny, you’re gonna kill me! I can’t remember them all, and Travis’ shoulder is in the way. Stupid Travis…being nice and talking with people……and getting in the way of my camera. 😉 )

–Boss DD20
–Line 6 DL4
–Boss RV3
–Line 6 Tap Trem
–Keeley/Boss BD2
–Oh, ya, that new Blackstar one!
–Is the Carl Martin one still on there?
–And I know there was a Tonebone at one time
–Boss TU2

Highlight of Danny’s rig: 

–Line 6 DL4

I love Danny. (And I do have a wife…whom I love in a much different way.) But my love for Danny is for not only his tone and his playing, but because we have a similar story. We both came from metal backgrounds. When I first met Danny, he was playing a Peavey XXX. (Oh! So metal.) And I had like, just come off of my Crate and Boss GT6. And now we’re both minimalistic to a fault. 

But Danny is one of the best worship guitarists I’ve ever played with. He really ‘gets’ what’s happening in worship music, and gives the song exactly what it needs, and rarely any more. I love his tone! It really sings, and he gets a lot from his rig. The main thing that always gets me about Danny’s effects is his DL4. I’m not a huge DL4 fan, because the sound (to me) seems fairly lo-res. But Danny’s taken a page from Coldplay’s Johnny Buckland, it seems, and uses his DD20 for most of the normal delay sounds, and the DL4 for the cool, lo-res stuff to layer in the background. I’ve yet to hear another worship guitarist do this so well. 

He came a little late, and didn’t get a chance to set up his rig until after the circle of tonal joy had ‘officially’ disbanded, but the minute he started playing, he attracted a crowd. Danny, thanks for being there, brother. And thanks for taking so seriously your playing for God’s glory.




–John Suhr Strat
–Fender MIJ Tele with Jason Lollar bridge pickup


–Magic Amp Brit


–MXR Dynacomp
–Maxon SD9 (vintage)
–MI Audio Crunchbox
–Paul Cochrane Tim
–Line 6 MM4
–Peterson Strobostomp tuner
–Boss DD20
–George L cables
–Voodoo Labs PP2+ power

Highlight of Travis’ rig: 


Travis and I have an interesting history which he knows nothing about. He used to play at a Sunday night young adult church service in town about 5-ish? years ago that I used to attend. And he was incredible. I’d never thought of using the guitar to actually take the music and the worship somewhere. To drive. To sparkle. To actually sound good. As of then, I had only thought of power chords and solo’s. And a lot of guitarists are still there. (Think Steve Vai. Oh! Yep. I just said that. He makes more money than me; it’s cool.) So I’d go back to my church every week and try to emulate what he was doing on my Boss GT-6. And everyone at my church loved my stolen genius. And then he screwed it all up by marrying one of our pastors’ sisters, and coming to play at my church. And then everyone heard the real thing…with tubes, and tone, and a little thing called talent, and suddenly I was not cool anymore.

It was at this point that I decided to make my life’s goal to play better than Travis. And…um…it’s…well, it’s yet to happen. And for those of you who were there, or were watching Travis online, you know that it may very well never happen. Travis is one of the best guitarists I have ever heard. He’s a lot like John Mayer in that he’s able to play a lot; but still be extremely tasteful, soulful, and sound amazing. Well done, brother. And Travis and I are really good friends and used to room together before we were married…married to women…not each other…so that’s why we can joke around like this. I hope. 🙂 It’s awesome, too, because he’s played with huge bands like The Kry, but he’s totally humble.

But not only is he an amazing guitar player, but his ear for tone is fantastic. He actually gets good sound out of the Line 6 MM4…which I thought was impossible. But he’s such a good musician, he knows how to set gear for his rig. Overall, his sound was just fantastic. He’s the one who first made me realize what a good pedal the DD20 is. And that Magic Amp? Tim said it made him want to cry…in a really good way.

Travis, thanks for coming, brother. You sounded amazing, and you’ve patiently taught me a lot over the years.

  • And then there was Jared Valencia.




–1968 Gibson ES-335 (I think)


–Bad Cat Hot Cat (again, I think)
–Fender DeVille


–Digitech Whammy
–MXR Phase 90
–Boss AC2 (aka ‘suck’ pedal)
–Boss DD20
–Ernie Ball Jr
–Monster cables
–Voodoo Labs PP2+ 

Highlight of Jared’s rig:

–Well, besides the obvious ’68 Gibson and the Bad Cat, it was the way he ran it and the Boss AC2 suck pedal

The first thing about Jared is how humble he is. He’s been in a huge band here in the Southern California area, and has even been sponsored by Bad Cat. But you’d never know it. Really humble guy. But his tone is killer. He had a really innovative setup where he runs the mono out of the DD20 into his Fender DeVille, and sets it clean. Then he runs the stereo out of the DD20 into a volume pedal, and then into the Bad Cat, set dirty. So, for overdrive, he just raises the volume pedal to control the level of his Bad Cat. So, in full overdrive, his clean amp is still filling space, too. Very cool sounding…almost a Keith Richards type setup. No od pedals. Just amp od. Sounds great!

And of course, the ’68 Gibson helps a lot, too. 😉

But the thing that stuck out for me…and this is weird…was the Boss AC2, which he uses as his ‘suck’ pedal. The pedal just wrecks his tone, and he uses it for intros before he kicks into his real tone, or to fade out with a really jacked up eq. It was awesome! I’ve actually tried a ton of cheap od’s to get that sound, and could never get it to ‘suck’ good enough. hehe But that AC2 was really cool.

Overall, Jared has great tone, and a lot of innovation in the way he sets up his rig. Sounded awesome! Jared, thanks for being there, and for sounding amazing.

  • And lastly in alphabetical order was me. (I’ve always been last in alphabetical order.) I’m not going to talk about myself in the same way I talked about everybody else. But, in order to answer the questions that came up in the chat room from people watching online, I will post my rig and do my best to address the questions that I read.




–Prairiewood Les Paul (Wolfetone Dr. V’s)
–Melancon Pro Artist S (chambered, Lindy Fralin blue’s)


-Holland custom (EL84-based)
–65 Amps cab (Celestion Alnico Blue, Celestion G12H-30)
–Holland Brentwood
–Heritage cab (Jensen P12N)


–Peterson Strobostomp
–Hartman Vintage Germanium Fuzz
–Hermida Mosferatu (12 volts)
–SIB Varidrive (ECC81 tube)
–Paul Cochrane Tim (12 volts)
–Fulltone Fatboost (12 volts)
–Subdecay Quasar
–Cusack Tap-A-Whirl (well, a week later…not anymore)
–George Dennis optical volume 
–Damage Control Timeline
–Diamond Memory Lane
–Damage Control Glass Nexus
–Damage Control Timeline (again)
–Arion SAD-1
–Fostex MR8 recorder
–Ernie Ball Jr
–Lava ELC cables
–Furman Power Factor Pro
–Voodoo Labs PP2+
–Various Loop-Master bypass boxes
–Various Rockron Midi Mate switchers

Highlight of Karl’s rig: 

–How he is able to turn so much gear into so little tone (hehe Sorry, I couldn’t resist…you guys know my self-deprecating mannerisms by now 😉 )

Questions and Answers

1. What are your switching boxes?

–The main ones are Loop-Master true bypass boxes. With the amount of effects I run, if I were to run through all those boxes all the time, the tone would get sucked into low-mid heavy mush. So I run through two true bypass boxes (one for overdrives, and one for effects) that actually hardwire my signal out of the signal path when those effects are not in use. Works great. The other two switchers are Rocktron Midi Mates, which control the midi for the two Damage Control Timeline delays. They let me name and access the 128 presets in each Timeline pedal.

2. What is the half power switch?

–In order to get my tone to a usable level in certain smaller venues, I have to turn down. If I have to turn down too much, though, it doesn’t get my 4 EL84 tubes hot enough to get optimum tone. So I had Jerry Blaha in Hollywood put a half power switch in my amp that cuts 2 of the EL84 power tubes out of the circuit. So then when that switch is on, the tubes stay just as hot, there’s just half as many of them in the circuit, resulting in 15 watts instead of 30 watts. But same tone (save that the speakers aren’t being pushed as hard). It’s an amazing tool to be able to keep your tone where you like it by keeping your tubes hot enough, but still being able to blend with the music by not overpowering everything. And…the mod is much cheaper and much more convenient than buying and carrying around to every gig another 15 watt amp to go with my main 30 watt one.

3. If you decide to run your amp head on stage, with a 50 foot speaker cable to your cab in the closet, so as to minimize stage volume but still keep your amp loud enough to drive your tubes, will you lose tone going through that much cable?

–The simple answer is yes. But it won’t be that noticeable. I don’t pretend to understand all the technical aspects of it, but because of the impedances, the signal sent over the speaker cable from the head to the cab has far less tonal loss than an instrument cable from the guitar to the amp. However, you do lose ‘feel.’ We did this at my church for a while, before I had the half power switch mod done. And I ended up playing too much, and with too little dynamics (in general just hacking it), because I couldn’t ‘feel’ what I was doing through our IEM’s, or in-ear monitors. Even with room mics. There’s just something about a guitar amp. So I would venture to say that turning your amp way down on stage will actually sound better than cranking it in a closet……because on stage, no the tubes will not be as hot, and your gain may not be at its ‘sweet spot’, but if you can feel yourself, you’ll play better. And playing better will sound better through a quieter amp, than hacking will sound through a cranked amp. In general. If you play at some church where the stage volume needs to be absolute zero, then maybe the closet is a good option. Honestly, my favorite option is to get a smaller amp, or a half power switch, or a good power scaling amp, and to keep the amp on stage at now a reasonable volume. In my humble experience, a little bit of stage volume always helps the mix. And note that I said a ‘little’ bit of stage volume. Not even enough for the sound tech to really notice.

4. What phaser are you using?

–I’m using the Subdecay Quasar. Best I’ve found for the size. The Moog sounds a little bigger, but it also is a little bigger. Can’t justify that much board space for an effect I don’t use very often. And the Toneczar Halophaze is much more versatile and sounds fantastic, too. But I can’t justify that much money on a phaser until I start using phase as much as delay…which doesn’t seem likely any time soon. 😉 But the Quasar is a very decent, full-boided phaser.

5. What pedal were you talking about for weird multi-effects?

–That would be the Damage Control Glass Nexus. It’s a multi-effects unit, but it’s delay and reverb are so good and can be added to any effect. So it makes it probably the best all-in-one ambience pedal I’ve ever played.

6. What are you using for the ambient ‘pad’ in the background?

–The pad is all my guitar……but recorded, saved, and then called up and looped through a volume pedal and second amp. So a totally separate rig. Basically I record my main guitar rig doing ambient swells centering around the tonic chord and its suspended variations for about 7 minutes. I do this in every key, and save each one separately into a Fostex MR8 recorder. Then, depending on what key the song is in, I call up that ‘song’ in the recorder, set its loop points so that it restarts at zero after reaching minute 7, and then run it into another tube amp for warmth. So it’s constantly running; but to control the volume, I run it into a volume pedal before it hits the amp. Works great as a filler in the background, takes the awkwardness out of times in between songs, starts services, allows something to play while I tune, etc. You just have to make sure you turn it off or way down if the song goes out of the key, if the sound guy gets excited by it and cranks it, or if you have a couple keyboard players taking up the same sonic space. But overall, it’s been one of the best things for my rig. 

7. What’s your honest opinion on the Line 6 X3L?

–hehe I’m not a huge modeling guy. If it works for you, then that’s awesome! But I’ve found that personally, I sound way better through a real tube amp driving real speakers, actually physically amplifying, moving, and effecting the air around it……rather than just changing signals into 1’s and 0’s and replicating via algorithms sounds that actually exist in nature. And for versatility, to me it sounds way better to learn how to change strum dynamics, pickup switching, and song feel for dynamics, then to switch ‘amps’ on a POD. Not saying they’re bad! Some people straight-up rock through them! It’s just that this was the question, and this is how I very humbly feel about them. 🙂 Don’t hate me. lol

8. What’s your honest opinion on the M13?

–Expected to hate it. Was very pleasantly surprised. Not really into the drives on it; neither were Bob and Jason, as they obviously had external stompbox drives in addition to the M13. The drives sounded decent until they turned on their real drives and it was like, ‘Oh.’ But the modulation effects were very, very nice. And it’s really hard to beat the versatility of that thing. To be able to have your expression pedal control two parameters at once? To be able to have seek wah effects that you’d never be able to have a dedicated pedal for…but they’re in the M13 when you need them. Global tap for 4 cascading delays? Line 6 really did their homework with this thing, and I think it sounded fantastic in both Bob’s and Jason’s rigs. You gotta remember, though, that both Bob and Jason had obviously spent a ton of time dialing it in properly to their rigs, and that with Suhr and Duesenberg guitars and Suhr amps, it’s hard to sound bad. haha But I really, honestly, and truly, loved the sounds that were coming out of it. Am I going to sell all of my modulation pedals and by one? hehehehe Uh…no. But it did cross my mind for a few fleeting seconds……which is saying a ton for a multi-effects pedal to do that to me. 😉

Alright, I think that just about covers it. Here’s some random pictures to remember the night of tone by:


Kenrick and Jared, obviously solving the all the world’s problems…with tone!



And here’s Ryan and Bob talking pedals. You can see Ryan’s gorgeous Prairiewood there. Mmmm. And Kenrick looks really bored in the background…must mean I’m talking. hehe



And lastly, this is Travis talking with Danny. And Kenrick and Jared are still trying to make tone solve world hunger. Actually, it looks more like I took this picture by accident.

Again, huge thanks to everyone who came out on this night, both in person and online! I learned a ton! Never before has so much tone been contained in one room. Except for U2 concerts. And practices. Anywhere where Edge is. I’m going to try to do these much more often……and actually record them. 🙂



Yep. I should totally be posting the review of the Guitar for Worship Workshop. But it has been a crazy week…and that post is still brewing. So in the absence of that post, I thought I’d do what I always do in the absence of posts: write something cringingly honest. 

–The other day I played with a band at an outside gig. Un-mic’d. At 30 watts. And people 200 yards away said they heard my guitar crystal clear.

–Four years ago, I played with three amps. Cranked. For a total of 100 watts. Every Thursday. In a house. For worship practice. Because ‘you have to have the tubes hot enough to get good tone.’ And everybody knows that the worship of God is irrevocably hinged on good tone.

For those of you that were there four years ago…every Thursday…in that bedroom……

I’m really, really sorry.

Splendid. (Nope. Not really.)

DOD Distortion Pedal Review








Not even a little.



Ya, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say there’s no tube in there.



Hmm…maybe……no, come on! Seriously! No!



What is going on there? Automatic ‘No’ for pedals with controls for ‘thrust’ and ‘saw’.



Not even gonna comment. No.



Oh, absolutely.



Guitar for Worship Workshop LIVE

7 PM Pacific Time tonight, Monday, March 23.

Embedding it here is not seeming to work, so the link is:

And feel free to comment on here as this is going…especially when I flub up chords. And I’m going to try not to mention U2 at all. But maybe keep a running tally of how many times I actually do mention them. 😉


Guitar for Worship Workshop Update

Alright, I really hate boring posts; but I want to be sure that everyone who is coming to the workshop Monday night (or watching online) knows how to get there (or where to watch). So this is another details post on the Guitar for Worship Workshop; as opposed to posts about U2, Al Pacino, FoxRox, or sweet, sweet delay. Sorry. Gotta wait until Monday. And if you’re wondering how Al Pacino is going to fit into a guitar tone workshop……just know that Al Pacino is like delay; he fits into everything.

So here’s the details once again. I’m really, really looking forward to seeing everyone there…or looking into my computer and pretending I see everyone online. 🙂

–Monday, March 23 (that’s like, now).

–7 PM Pacific Time. Doors open at 6:30 for those with rigs to set up.

–At Life Church of the Temecula Valley.

–Broadcast live via Mogulus.

–Extremely informal. It’s not a jam session per se, but please bring your rigs if you would like to share knowledge with the rest of us and talk through your rigs (which I really hope a lot of you do), or if you would like me to specifically listen to and look at your rigs and make humble suggestions. ;)

–First Part, Auditorium Style
    –Tone, Minimalism, Using the Guitar in a Worship Setting, Effects Usage, Guitar Tone, Amp Tone, etc. 

–Second Part, Round Table Style
    –Please bring your rigs if you would like to talk through them and teach everyone else. This is the part I’m looking forward to the most. There’s some really, really good guitarists who have mentioned that they’re showing up. :)


To mapquest it:

Life Church
38388 Sky Canyon Dr.
Murrieta, CA 92563 

And because I always erroneously believe I am smarter than mapquest:

–15 fwy North or South towards Temecula
–Exit Winchester
–Continue East on Winchester (towards the Promenade Mall…if you start heading into an industrial area, you are not going east.) Continue a few miles.
– Cross Murrieta Hot Springs. (Last big intersection.)
–Make your next Right on Technology Drive.
–Make your next Left on Sky Canyon Drive.
–Make your first right into the business complex.
–Life Church will be the first building on your left.

That’s about it. E-mail me with any questions, and looking forward to seeing you all Monday! And because I just can’t seem to help myself:


Your guess is as good as mine.


Tremolo Shootout & the 'Tone Versus Price' Controversy

Alright, tremolo shootout time. I promised it was coming, and now I’m actually making good on that promise. Unlike my promise of the ‘Using Delay in Modern Music’, which I’ve been talking about for months, and have yet to post. Apologies. Apologies…all around. (And if you can name where that quote came from, I will literally give you a kiss. But mostly because I think my wife’s the only one who can name it. Quite a gamble on my part, though; because if I’m wrong……and someone else names it……basically, if you know it, and don’t want my lips anywhere near you, just keep quiet.) 

I was asked to do this shootout by my brother, Eric. (Eric is not really my brother, but I call everyone ‘brother’, because that’s what Robert DeNiro and Val Kilmer did in ‘Heat’; and I perpetually live my life under the delusion that I am in that film (and U2).) He wanted to hear a bunch of tremolo pedals next to the Danelectro Tuna Melt tremolo; which gets rave reviews, even though it only costs like, $25 used. Which is definitely not enough to sound good in the price/tone equation. 😉 

deniroheat2           deniroheat21
(Wow, this is a great film. What a shot. Add a little U2 soundtrack as you’re watching the confliction in that scene, and life doesn’t get much more emotional. Is it bad when you feel more emotion in a film than in real life? Probably. That’s how I knew I loved my wife. I was like, ‘You make me feel better than ‘City of Blinding Lights’!’ Yep.)

Which is actually why I jumped at the opportunity to do this shootout. I’ve been getting a bit of flack on youtube lately because of all the boutique pedals sounding better than the mass-produced ones. I’ve been getting messages asking me if I’ve purposely set the knobs on the mass-produced ones to sound bad. hehe And while it’s like, ‘Hey, if your ears tell you they sound bad, then they sound bad’, it’s difficult for me to prove how hard I try to get the cheap ones to sound good, and how badly I would love to find the cheap ones that sound better than my boutique ones so that I could then sell everything and go buy food. (Eh…it’d probably be more guitars.) So…in order to try to vindicate myself, 😉 , I’m trying really hard to find some good sounding mass-produced pedals. And I gotta be totally honest, there’s been a lot of bad sounding ones. hehe Please don’t kill me for saying that.

The Players

Sorry guys. I couldn’t get all the pedals you asked. One of my stipulations when I do these is to not lose money (hehe…riiiiight…well, at least I try); because obviously, I cannot keep them all. So I have to resell them for at least what I paid…which means I can’t buy these things new. So, for instance, I was looking for, but could not find, good enough deals on the Fulltone SupaTrem and the new Seymour Duncan…what’s it called…the ShapeShifter, I think? The one with the tap tempo. So again, apologies. But I did get a couple that I’ve been wanting to try for a while.

–Guyatone Flip Tube Tremolo (with a JJ 12AX7 tube)

–Monster Effects Swamp Thang

–Cusack Tap-a-Whirl

–Danelectro Tuna Melt

The Signal Chain

I chose to do the strat exclusively on this one because I haven’t done that all that often in these videos, and because trem just seems strat-ish to me. I don’t know why. I always feel like the single coils like it better.

Gerard Melancon strat (Lindy Fralin blues)–>
–>Swamp Thang–>Cusack–>
–>bypass looper (–>Tuna Melt/ –>Guyatone)–>
–>Holland EL84-based amp–>
–>65 Amps cab with a Blue and G12H-30

Possible Personal Biases

–I’ve had the Guyatone for the longest, so I know my way around it the best. It’s also one of the last things on my board for the time being from True Tone in Santa Monica, and I always love having gear I bought from LA because, again, makes me feel like I’m Val Kilmer in ‘Heat’, which in case you’re wondering, is never a bad thing. So I really wanted to like it, and have wanted to like it for a number of years.

–But at the same time, I can’t stand the orange color of the Guyatone. So part of me really did not want to like it. So maybe that balances out? 

–At the first tone workshop I ever went to, the guy running it had a Monster Effects Swamp Thang. And it sounded incredible. Ever since then, I’ve wanted one; but they’re a bit hard to find as I don’t believe they’re made anymore. Plus it has vintage-style knobs, and a green led…gorgeous.

–The Cusack cost the most. I wanted to sell it. And the red knobs are ugly.

–And the Danelectro. Like I said earlier, I was really hoping this might be the ‘mass produced yet good sounding’ pedal. The Bad Monkey was definitely decent, but it didn’t really come too close to the boutique-y stuff it was up against. But at the same time, I’ll be honest…part of me is very scared that one day I’ll come across a bunch of cheap stock pedals that totally kill my expensive ones, and hence subsequently ruin that wonderful sense of false, boutique superiority I get when I bring my pedalboard places. 😉

And the Shootout:


The Conclusions

Wow. Probably the most interesting shootout I’ve done…because I don’t think there was a clear-cut winner. At least for me…not sure I’ve found my trem yet, even thought they all sounded very good. (Even the Danelectro! Yeah!)

–The Guyatone I think might have had the best effected sound over all the spectrum of different trem sounds, as well as the most versatile. But what it did to the dry signal I did not like. It’s funny, this has been on my board for years. There’s a good little dose of humility. I liked it a few years ago when I bought it, and then just used it sparingly whenever trem was called for, which isn’t too often with me. Then I finally try it against some other trems and it’s like, ‘Oh.’ But at the same time, the actual tremolo sound was great, and it could get both slower than all the others, and more pronounced on the slicer stuff. And admittedly, I’m a freak about ‘the integrity of the guitar signal’, so I can see some people loving this pedal. And I wouldn’t think them wrong to do so. It did suck a good bit of tone when not in the loop (at least to my ears), and it does need its own adapter.

–The Swamp Thang was, I think, hands down the warmest and most vintage sounding. Extremely smooth, warm, touch-sensitive, and really had that vintage amp throb. Absolutely loved it. Only issue was that this thing was definitely built for warm, vintage trem; if you want a slicer out of it, it really didn’t do that articulately or fastly (made that up) enough.

–The Cusack sounded great. Not as vintage-y as the Swamp Thang, but still very warm; yet keeping enough cut to be able to do the faster tremolo thing and the slicer thing. Definitely the most original. Being able to switch between wave forms, and to ‘brake’ into a slower trem sound smoothly and with a footswitch, was really cool. Tap tempo is also a very useful feature. Although I do wish you were able to set the tempo by hand when you wanted to, also. But it seems a lot of thought went into the build of this, to be able to get it to do the full spectrum of trem sounds, to do them all well, and to add some cool originality to them.

–And the Danelectro…okay…honestly…really sounded good. The hard setting sounded fake, but on the soft setting? A little less organic in the swell of the throb (yikes, musicians talk weird) than the others; but you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. And at a couple of magical settings, I thought it might even sound better than my beloved Guyatone. Does suck a noticeable amount of tone when not in a bypass loop. But for $25 used? Crazy difficult to find anything better at that price!

The Keepers

Well, they all had their strong points and their weak points. The Guyatone was a great trem, but as I’m a freak about the dry signal, it was out. And the Swamp Thang just melted me. Loved the sound! But in order to keep it on my board, I’d have to get another tremolo for the fast sounds, and I don’t have the board space for two tremolo pedals right now. So it’s out (for the time being, at least…until trem becomes like delay for me…wait…heresy!). And the Danelectro sounded really good…but it just couldn’t match the tone and versatility of the Cusack. So I’m keeping the Cusack, but keeping my eyes open for something that’s just like the Cusack, but maybe with a depth switch to get the warmth of the Swamp Thang, and with the ability to set tempo with a knob or a tap switch, rather than just a tap switch.

So what does this all this mean?! Vindication!! See? I do like cheap pedals after all! Score. I’m not just sub-consciously setting the cheaper ones to sound worse! 😉 But wait…the one I ended up keeping was the most expensive one! Blast! I’ll keep looking…I’ll find that cheap pedal someday. And hopefully in Hollywood…so I can keep pretending.

(I mean, how can you not pretend to be that? Sorry. Is it uncomfortable when I talk this way? At least the hair…come on, you gotta admit!)


Guitar for Worship Workshop Details

–Monday, March 23 (That’s this coming Monday).

–7 PM Pacific Time. Doors open at 6:30 for those with rigs to set up.

–At Life Church of the Temecula Valley.

–Broadcast live via Mogulus.

–Extremely informal. It’s not a jam session per se, but please bring your rigs if you would like to share knowledge with the rest of us and talk through your rigs (which I really hope a lot of you do), or if you would like me to specifically listen to and look at your rigs and make humble suggestions. 😉

–First Part, Auditorium Style
    –Tone, Minimalism, Using the Guitar in a Worship Setting, Effects Usage, Guitar Tone, Amp Tone, etc. 

–Second Part, Round Table Style
    –Please bring your rigs if you would like to talk through them and teach everyone else. This is the part I’m looking forward to the most. There’s some really, really good guitarists who have mentioned that they’re showing up. 🙂


Life Church
38388 Sky Canyon Dr.
Murrieta, CA 92563 

–15 fwy North or South towards Temecula
–Exit Winchester
–Continue East on Winchester (towards the Promenade Mall…if you start heading into an industrial area, you are not going east.) Continue a few miles.
— Cross Murrieta Hot Springs. (Last big intersection.)
–Make your next Right on Technology Drive.
–Make your next Left on Sky Canyon Drive.
–Make your first right into the business complex.
–Life Church will be the first building on your left.

My directions might suck, so please remember that mapquest is smarter than I am. If you’re coming from out of town, also please leave a comment so that I can go into my wordpress dashboard and get your e-mail address, and then e-mail you my phone number in case my directions make you lost. It’s happened before. Those of you who know me and my infallible sense of direction, don’t laugh.

Once again, I’m really looking forward to this night; and meeting some of you that I have yet to meet, and all of us learning from each other how we can better use our craft to glorify God. (And just for the record, it definitely takes on more seriousness if you call what you do your ‘craft.’)

Hope to see you all there, or online!


Damage Control Glass Nexus Review & Demo

I usually try to be objective in my demo’s and reviews, but this time I failed; I knew how I was going to review this pedal before I even got it. How did I know? Because it has the word ‘glass’ in the name. In the ranking of gear characteristics that subject objectivity to subjectivity (yep…I definitely sat here for like a half hour thinking that phrase up…hmm…come to think of it, that was a very little payoff for a half an hour), the word ‘glass’ in the name of a piece of gear is like, just below or maybe even equal to wondrous blue and green led’s and jewel lamps. Just that word. ‘Glass’. Like, if I’m listening to someone play a pedal, and I just cannot stand the sound of it, but then they say, ‘Sounds kind of glassy, doesn’t it?’, I’m totally sunk. I will buy it. Every band I have ever been in, I have suggested the name ‘Glass Echo.’ None of my bands have been named ‘Glass Echo.’ Ya. I know. It kind of sounds like a song name from a Dream Theatre ripoff band. Maybe I’ll just stick to playing my guitar. I’m not sure what ‘Nexus’ means. But it reminds me of space. Wait……wasn’t there some movie where they like, talked into their ‘nexuses’ to communicate? Was it Galaxy Quest? I don’t remember. But that was a grand movie. And I’m definitely proud of myself for resisting putting a screenshot of that film in here right now.


But I have seriously been looking into trying this pedal ever since the delay from the Damage Control line just blew me away. If you haven’t seen my reviews on it, I bought it solely because it’s one of the few (possibly the only) multi-setting delay pedal that keeps the dry signal completely analog. But then when I tried it out, I could not believe how good it sounded! That ranks as one of the best gear moments of my life. It felt like sweet rain just started pouring over my……well, I’ll spare you the thoughts I have when I hear good tone or good music…because they’re frighteningly tender.

And the Glass Nexus is capable of some amazingly tender sounds. (Oh ya. You wish you thought of that transition! 😉 ) It’s a multi-effects modulation pedal. But for me, its interface is just completely built for ambiance. It’s got 8 modulation effects: phase, leslie, chorus, trem, vibe, flange, vibrato, and detune. These are all selectable one at a time. But it also has reverb and delay that can be used at the same time, and added to whatever modulation setting you’re on. Add on to that, that it also keeps your dry signal completely analog just like the Timeline does, that it’s tube-driven, and that with a single midi pedal you’ve got 128 instantly accessible presets, and the pedal, I admit, starts to look pretty good even before you’ve played a chord through it. 

All the modulation effects sound really good. Bordering on surprisingly good. Because they’re all digital. And it’s not much of a secret that I am militant about ‘the integrity of the guitar signal’. And most digital units just kill that. Usually the only digital effects I’ll spring for will be delay and reverb, and only ones that keep the dry signal analog, and only because they’re capable of some features that just aren’t possible with analog. But this unit actually does very well; the mix knob on all the effects is crucial. Because you’re mixing the analog dry signal with the digital effect…which keeps things very warm and helps you maintain that ‘integrity of the guitar signal.’ The tubes also help with this. The effects still do not have the warmth of analog…I don’t know if digital will ever get there. Just by simple definition, I’m of the opinion that it never will. But this pedal does come very close. But here’s the thing. At least in my mind, you don’t buy a pedal like this to get an ‘analog flanger’ sound. Yes, you get some really good sounding effects all in one pedal. But this pedal is its own sound altogether. It’s the mixing of the effects that can yield some brilliant sounds. To add ambiance, to add just a touch on your decay, or to simply take over. 

I guess what I’m saying is that, the effects are great on their own. Definitely one of the best multi-effects units out there. But taking the pedal as a whole unit, as one that produces sounds of its own, it becomes truly a great effect. Just my humble (hopefully) opinion.

So here’s the clips. As per request, I do switch between humbucker style guitars and single coil style guitars in these demo videos. 

Signal Path

Robert Dixon Prairiewood Les Paul with Wolfetone Dr. Vintage pickups–>


Gerard Melancon Pro Artist Strat (chambered) with Lindy Fralin Blues–>

Damage Control Glass Nexus–>

Holland EL84-based head–>

65 Amps birch cab with Celestion Blue and Celestion G12H-30

And the Glass Nexus is connected to the Rocktron Midi Mate, which is only switching presets. It’s incapable of adding sounds. All the sounds are from the Glass Nexus.

Video 1:

Video 2:

Video 3: 



So hopefully that gives just a small idea of what this pedal is capable of. I’ve only had it for a few days, and haven’t even played out with it yet. So I’m sure I haven’t even begun to stumble upon (how I usually tend to find sounds, unfortunately…hehe) all the things it can produce.

The Good

–As you can probably tell from the videos, as just a delay, this pedal would be great. Extremely full and spacious.

–The reverb maintains all the great decay qualities of a digital reverb. 

–All the modulation effects sound very, very good, especially for digital effects. The cool thing is the cleanness that the digital gives to them. Really makes them pliable to be meshed in with the delay and reverb, giving this pedal a sound all its own.

–That own sound is where this pedal really seems to shine.

–True bypass switching, but with the ever-important spillover. It’s literally impossible for me to love that more. But you can switch it off if you like, on any given patch.

–128 presets with one midi pedal.

–All analog dry path, and the ability to mix to taste that analog signal in with the digital effects.

–Damage Control just updated this new batch to be switchable on the tap tempo. There’s a setting you can switch to make strum tempo control the modulation speed, and tap tempo control the delay time; or vice versa. Which is what originally turned me off to this pedal…the inability to set the delay on tap tempo. But that is now fixed, giving a huge boost to this thing’s versatility. 

–Really, really good sound quality. This is a good pedal.

The Bad

–Alright, it’s Damage Control, people. This pedal is huge. But if you’re looking into these, you gotta know that by know. It’s the trade-off you make to get the sound and versatility these pedals offer.

–Like the Timeline, it runs off of it’s own 2 amp adapter. That’s basically an amplifier right there. For me, I’m totally okay with that, as it allows the tubes to do their job. But I have to mention it to those who want to run it off a battery. Not gonna happen. 🙂

–To get to all the presets properly, you really do need to get an external midi pedal. Now, this might seem bad…but seriously…just one midi pedal and you get 128 presets. When I first got the Timeline, this feature turned me off a bit. Then I finally gave in and got a midi switching pedal. And worlds were opened. Actual worlds.

So, I’m pretty stoked with the sounds that can come out of this pedal. I mean, if it can do Vangelis and such, it’s okay in my book. I didn’t really like Blade Runner…it seemed to take itself just a little too seriously. Like, ‘This is artsy, and we know it. So suck it if you think this shot is painstakingly slow.’ I don’t know. Maybe I was in a bad mood when I saw it. 😉 But the score was just phenomenal! 

And the Glass Nexus seems to just hearken those sounds. (Not Galaxy Quest sounds; Blade Runner. I enjoyed ‘Galaxy Quest more, but the score from Blade Runner might beat Galaxy Quest…just a bit. 😉 Overall, another really killer product from Damage Control. And one of the best things is that it kind of inspires you to be creative a bit. There are possibilities in this pedal that I haven’t even thought about yet. Same with the Timeline. Just awesome. And I have absolutely no room on my pedalboard for this. I’ll make some.


Those Slide Moves Are Just Bushly

I don’t know how many of you are into The Office (although it seems that most of the country is), but this is a deleted scene from the second season that makes fun of pretty much every guitar stereotype out there. Classic. Oh, and there’s also a cool little reminder in there to stay off drugs if you’re at all interested in remembering things past the age of 40. 🙂