Having Team Members Who Are Better Than You


This is inspired by 5 minutes ago, when my team and I were handed a dvd after worship, and told we needed it in the message in 10 minutes. Now, playing a video is one thing, but ripping it to a Mac format, importing it into our presenting software, and trying to do it all seamlessly while we’re running the rest of the service on the same computer, and getting those ‘your computer is going to explode’ error messages (yes…even on Mac…I know saying that is like heresy or something)…little more difficult. Actually…hopelessly difficult for me. Enter our sound director/media director/bassist (ya, seriously…if you don’t have a guy like this on your team…get one). He says ‘Can I sit?’ He sits down at the computer and in 2 minutes, we’re ready to go. I just watched and nodded my head every once in a while in pretend approval. 😉

Surround yourself with talent. Then you don’t have to have as much as of it. (And can surf Gear Page while everyone else runs things. And…uh…post blogs.)


Blind Overdrive Shootout–the Reveal: Gainster, Tim & Fatboost

(Don’t watch this one first! You gotta watch the test first, and then write down your predictions, to see if you’re right. 🙂 Blind Overdrive Shootout–the Test )

No intro. Hopefully the world doesn’t end.

The Reveal:

The Verdict

Very, very surprising how close they all were. The Gainster was definitely the most transparent. Fabulously transparent, actually. Unfortunately, I didn’t like its decay. Its drive tended to choke out a bit on the sustain. The Tim, while perhaps actually the least transparent, also had the most amp-like sag, and really influenced your playing the most. The Fatboost was actually a lot like Tim, but a little bassier and with a little less give.

If there were a way to change the clipping characteristics of the Gainster, that might be the one. As it is now, the Tim still might have had the best, most colorful, and most amp-like sound. However, I am giving serious thought to selling the Tim and getting two $60 Fatboost’s to take its place. Really surprising results, at least for me personally. I guess it’s good to hear with our ears every once in a while; because they can’t see blue led’s. 😉

So did you win? I didn’t, actually. With my own blind tests (meaning, hitting random buttons with my eyes closed until I forget which is which…and that doesn’t work very well on video, hehe), I kept switching the Tim and the Fatboost. And with all that you read everywhere (including on this blog, lol) about the transparency of the Tim, had I never played these pedals, I would have switched the Tim and the Gainster. Actually, I’d love to hear a Gainster where you can change the clipping section a little bit. As it is, I was wrong. Wow, those words are almost as hard to type as ‘I like Line Si–‘…nope. That’s still harder.


Tone Obsessing

I think I’m just an obsessive person. I thought it was just music, but then I started wondering what I used to do with my time before I just focused constantly on tone, gear, guitars, and music. Like, literally, sometimes I look forward to my half-hour commute to work because I’m just dreaming of all that uninhibited upon time in which I will be able to think solely on new signal paths for my board. And then I remembered that before I was in to music, it was actually the same; walking out of a baseball stadium with my dad at 10 years old, bawling my eyes out because my favorite player had only gotten a double instead of a triple, which would then lower him in the American League leaders for total bases. (I know my dad worried about his male child at times.) Ten years later, I’d pout outside of my truck after a church service for literal hours when my tone or playing wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Until my girlfriend would kindly ask if I wouldn’t mind brooding about my tone while we ate something and didn’t get questioned by parking lot security. Nothing has changed. This is all I think about:

  • Turn up a little louder than you think you’ll need to, and then play with a lighter touch than you want to. It’s almost like creating your own clean headroom, and at least for me, I find my tone seems to be singing more and choking less.
  • I can’t tell you how much I adore having that Boss RV3 on my board. I watch people’s faces as they come up to my board and are about to rail me for the snobbishness that unfortunately blue led’d pedals emit, and then the RV3 renders them speechless. Which is funny, because it cost me almost double what I spent on my Fulltone Fatboost.
  • Step back every once in a while, and let the song talk to you, and tell you what notes it wants where. I know that sounds like something a frat guy with the munchies would say after watching Matrix for the first time, but it really does switch your brain into a different gear that’ll change the way you play. And you’ll start to find more melodies and gripping lines that way, even after you’ve stopped consciously being all zen.
  • This is the second time I’ve bought a Murf, spent an afternoon of loving amazement playing with the different sounds, and then went ‘Huh.’ And put it on Ebay.
  • I am loving my Valvulator more than I thought was possible. If it had a little delay knob, I think the world might literally stop spinning.
  • I was playing with a worship leader friend of mine who was leading with electric, and when the sound guy told him he was too loud, he replied that he would try to back off his vocal mic more. It didn’t work, but it was a valiant effort.
  • Did you know that ZVex power plates are like 30 bucks? And that you can just take off a couple screws from the backplate, and stick a $2 battery clip adapter at the end of a jumper cable and it works just as well? I just discovered that, actually.
  • Ever look down at your pedalboard during a set and go, ‘How long has that been on?’
  • Ever think to yourself after looking down at your pedalboard during a set and going ‘How long has that been on?’ that if you didn’t notice it being on for the whole set, then why do you even have that pedal anyway?
  • I’ll take floor monitors over in-ears any day. (Provided you still have a headphone preamp to run click to at least the drummer’s ear…preferably yours as well. 😉 )
  • Jay-Z and Mr. Hudson singing ‘Forever Young’ on SNL was one of the worst things I have ever heard. And I used to listen to Squad Five-O.


Blind Overdrive Shootout–the Test: Gainster, Tim, & Fatboost

(EDIT: Here’s the link to ‘The Reveal’, where all the answers are given: Blind Overdrive Shootout–The Reveal.)

Let’s see how tone sounds without our eyes. This is gonna be the first in a series of blind shootouts (like the wonderful Johnny Depp towards the end of the regrettable Once Upon a Time in Mexico) that hopefully I’ll stay current on. The pedals are going to be in loops, and then I’ll engage the loops to engage the pedals. But I won’t tell you which pedals are in which loops until next week. And the rat’s nests of cables on my board will actually work to my benefit for once, as you literally cannot trace cables on my pedalboard. hehe

(How rad is it that he’s just making fun of his role in the movie. And if you don’t see it…wait for it…yep. There. He’s reading a ‘Judy Garland’ book in the movie. Classic. He’s also one of those guys who looks so good that he makes you want to hurt yourself, but I won’t say that out loud.)

The Players

–Paul Cochrane Tim (at 12 volts)
–Clark Gainster (original discontinued hand-wired version…because of course, ‘rare’ equals ‘tone’)
–Fulltone Fatboost (original version…again…except this time pretty much just because the color is better than the subsequent versions)

The Base Clean Tone

–Prairiewood Les Paul (Woletone Dr. V’s…using neck, bridge, and split coil on the middle position)–>
–Fryette Valvulator buffer–>
–Loop-Master bypass looper–>
(Loop 1–>nope, not until next week
(Loop 5–>I’ll never tell
(Loop 6–>nope
–Matchless HC30 (EF86 channel)–>
–65 Amps cab (Blue and G12H30)

Possible Biases

–None! It’s a blind test!

Possible Personal Biases

–Well, I did know which loops were which. So…let’s just say that they all probably evened out because the Gainster is gold and hand-painted, the Tim has a blue led, and the Fatboost has that cool ‘fits in the palm of my hand’ thing going on. Why is that so cool in pedals? Like, I feel like I could just grab it in my hand and show up to the gig like a rockstar with a pedal in one hand, amp in the other, and guitar slung over my back. When in reality, I’m hobbling in under the crushing weight of a pedalboard so big that I have to turn down gigs without double doors. (No, not quite…well, yet. The world is full of gear that is not yet velcro’d to my pedalboard. A fact that haunts me in the deep parts of the night.)

Why These Pedals

I subscribe to the theory that pedal overdrive sounds best when you keep your amp on the verge of breakup for its clean tone, and then use transparent-sounding overdrive pedals to ‘push’ your amp into its own natural breakup. Of course, some of them have better flavors of their own than others, even though the theory makes sense to me. So I thought I’d throw my favorite actual boost pedal into the mix, along with two pedals which are supposed to have great transparent, low drive sounds.

And the Blind Shootout:

So…which is which? If you want, post your predictions here, as well as which one you think sounded best. And next week, we’ll see who was right……so, post at your own risk. hehe And, just for the record, I did know which was which obviously, but whenever I do shootouts, I usually close my eyes and click random buttons, and I was definitely wrong a few times on this one. With two pedals in particular. So there ya go. And, because it’s ‘awesome’ (meaning, ‘not at all’):

(You cannot explain to me why Enrique Iglesias is in this movie. Nope. You just can’t. And he’s obviously ‘posing’ for some Calvin Klein commercial in his mind, rather than ‘acting’. Which, may be a good thing for us all. Oh, and one of his guns has two barrels. Maybe it’s some sort of boomerang gun to suck the bullet back for re-use later? I do not doubt that that could exist in this movie. It hurts me. It physically hurts me.)

So…what’s your choice? And if you choose ‘Enrique’, you’re fired.


My Favorite Youtube Comments

Ah, the internet. Humility and entertainment, all in one. See, on this blog, I think people feel the need to at least be somewhat civil when I give a bad review to your favorite pedal or make fun of that solo Lincoln Brewster knows. ( 😉 ) Yep. I deserve all that I get. lol And on youtube, that’s exactly what happens. So, from my youtube gear demo videos, here are a few of my favorites:

On ‘The Truth About the Digitech Bad Monkey’:

  • um… okay. A $40 stock mass-manufactured pedal, versus a $100 pedal that’s then been modded by one of the best in the business, and another handmade pedal running at a higher voltage… with “close to the same settings”… FAIL
  • you dont know what the **** you`re talking about
  • LIsten
    This is a great pedal it loves my Marshall 18 watt.
    Billy G. just phoned for a stand in gig, ;-)) but really it is an overdrive NOT a metal **** pedal
    Push it hard with a LP and just listen… (50 Euro’s, come on)
    2e you talk to much, thanks for the demo anyway dude.
  • maybe if he actually played something we could get a better idea. The only time you actually played any licks is when both pedals were combined.
  • Your settings on the Bad Monkey are way off. You really need to have the low and high knobs at 9:00 or higher. The way you have them you’re getting a boxy mid hump….which you really only would want if the amp is cranked more. The truth is that you haven’t figured out how to use the Bad Monkey with that extra knob and all…unless you’re just dialing the Monkey not to sound good to justify your boutique pedals.

On ‘Tubescreamer Mods: Are They for Real?’:

  • so boring saying “heuuuu” “heuuu” all the time !
  • You can do this all you want, but I’ve OWNED all three. The only one I still own is the Analogman silver modded one. it’s worth the money. FOR SURE.
  • I’m wearing the same pair of shoes right now. (Karl’s edit: Okay, that one’s just awesome!)
  • A $40 Digitech Bad Monkey sounds better than all of them
  • You need to do this again without linking the pedals. The individual tones are bleeding into one another ever so slightly…but they are.
  • If you honestly think you can tell through low quality youtube camera videos, you’re fooling yourself.

This next one was on a joke demo I did of a simple amp channel switching footswitch:

On ‘Boss FS5L Demo’:

  • Idiot!

On ‘Matchless Hotbox Demo’:

  • You realize you never turned the treble control at any time in the entire video right?
    Way too much talking
  • Sorry didn’t realize that turning the other of only 2 tone knobs qualified as some esoteric “standard”.I wonder why no one else noticed…Also I guess I was mistaken about what was being demo’d it does say “Matchless Hotbox Demo”not “listen to me talk about about a Matchless Hotbox Demo” There,there.

And my personal favorite, because I really do admire the wit on this one:

On ‘Fender Vs. Melancon’:

  • Is it possible to switch guitar players ?

hehehe You just gotta love it. What in the world did we do before the internet?

Although, I have to admit…a lot of those comments were very, very true. hehehe When someone rails you, you have a choice. You can either get indignant, or you can go back and actually listen to the video in question and go, ‘Oh ya…I did just say random nonsense words until about 3 minutes into it before hitting the first chord.’ lol Ah, splendid.


Guitar For Worship……dot com!

The move is over! We’re (and by ‘we’re’, I mean ‘I’m’…but ‘we’re’ sounds more professional for some reason) fully here at Guitar for Worship dot com. Huge thanks to my awesome wife who did in a week what probably would have taken me a year to do…in between listening to U2 and trying out new delay pedals.

There’s still some little things to fix, such as the fact that the pictures still link to the old site, which makes them load kind of slow. But for the most part, this is the new site. I’ll be able to give details on the full reason for the move within the next couple of weeks (without having to be so blasted cryptic all the time), but for now, I hope it makes all your dreams come true. And it just might. Uh…provided your dreams are about U2, and the blatant over-soaking of all our Edge-ripoff worship riffs in delay, as we stumble around just trying to do our best to reflect as much glory as we can up to a really amazing God.

But what move would be complete without a party? And this is a red carpet party. Complete with celebrities. Doing some private, unplugged sessions, just for the party. Ya, you guessed which ones.

Hey, U2…welcome to the party!

Well, hello Coldplay:

Whoa! And John Mayer?! Welcome, brother. Chips are over there. And I’ll take your guitar for ya.

And lastly, Jemaine and Bret…so stoked you guys could make it!

Guitar for Worship dot com. Same bat time. Different bat place. (Same jokes, obviously.)


Why 1990 Was Awesome

Two reasons.

One, U2 was in the process of writing this song. And if you’re not as into watching Dallas Schoo tune Edge’s guitar (as I of course am, hehe), the music starts at the 1:00 mark:

And two, Carlo Maria Cordio was writing this song. Complete with string ensemble, face-melting, Cosby Show saxophones, and dancing trolls, who apparently snuck into my room when I was a kid and stole my my latex Halloween mask. The music doesn’t start until about halfway into the clip, but you have to watch the whole thing in order to fully appreciate the awesome:

That…just happened.

And yes, there have been times in U2’s career, where I’m pretty sure they’ve run into the director of Troll 2 at the same costume store:

(Dear sweet mercy.)



Please have it.

As I’m working on this new site, I thought it might be appropriate to be reminded of why things like tone are actually important…with an example of what not to do. With my tone. Seven years ago. And a little video of the gear I used. And the hair I used. Sadness. Luckily, the rest of the band sounds good. Just not the guitarist. Be sure to check out my meedley meedley at the end.

Splendid. (Just…not.)

Damage Control Timeline Demo Part 2: Controlling via the Rocktron Midi Mate (& Telethon)

It’s been about two years since I’ve been asked to do this. Yep, I like to stay on top of things. 😉 The crazy thing is, that these pedals are still on my board after 2 years. It actually frightens me a little…as if these pedals sound so good that they are literally stealing from me my status (and when you say that word, make sure you pronounce the ‘a’ long, as in ‘Larry Mullen Jr.’…it sounds more British that way) as a gear junkie. So then you have to ask yourself, what is more important: good tone, or the sad qualifications you’ve chosen to give yourself in order to feel as if you have some sort of identity and purpose in life that revolves around shiny metal boxes which exponentially increase your self-worth the more rare and expensive they are (i.e. ‘gear junkie’). And since the answer is obviously the identity-in-expensive-little-boxes one, the only logical conclusion is to sell the Damage Control Timeline’s, and then buy them back. (So many times on this blog I literally wish these were jokes. But no. I’ve owned the Tim pedal 3 times.) And I would probably do that, were it not for the saddest news in the guitar gear world since last month when we all ran out and bought $2,000 Klon’s because they were ‘being discontinued’, only to learn the next week that they were not being discontinued, but were only being revamped into smaller and more usable enclosures. We are so awesome.

Yep, the best delay pedal the world has ever seen has sadly been discontinued. (And if you disagree that it’s the best delay pedal in the world then, well…you’re wrong. hehe Little joke there. Which I won’t tell you how much of is true in my mind. 😉 ) And I actually heard that news the same day I was recording these demo’s that people have requested of how to control the Timeline via the Rocktron Midi Mate. And at first I wasn’t going to post them…why add insult to injury for people who now can no longer find these pedals? But then I started to think…what if we can keep raising the awareness on these things, and perhaps convince Damage Control to come out with I don’t know…maybe…the ‘Damage Control Timeline 2: The Alternate Reality’? Because, ‘timeline’, so…another timeline would be like, an alternate reality…ya, I know…that was cheesey and very Battlestar Galactic-ish, which is always a bad thing. Oh no, wait! The ‘Damage Control Timeline 2: ‘The LOST edition.’ Ya! Stupid LOST, man. It’s making a geek out of me. First it gets me addicted to a show about alternate universes, which is way geeky, and then it gets me reading Isaac Asimov short stories online, which is even geekier! I don’t know what it’s doing to me…and I like it. ………… Okay…where in the world are we? Oh ya! The best delay ever hopefully having a part 2. Maybe with the exact same tone, exact same build quality, exact same midi capabilities, but slightly smaller and with a beats per minute readout? Oh. I literally just got the chills.

So, I’m off. Going for it. The Damage Control Timeline Telethon. Just need a couple celebrities on board. Edge will do. Maybe Johnny Buckland. You out there, bro? (I like to pretend I know them.) Raising awareness for the most noble cause of them all: healing our world. With delay. Oh ya, and for all those of you who requested it, the demo of how to program your Timeline with the Midi Mate.

And for those of you who just don’t care, because you don’t own a Timeline, so hence have no reason to program a nonexistent Timeline via midi, I recorded a special video for you, that’s another piece written to be looped, and that’s in the third video. For your listening pleasure, sure, but mostly just part of the telethon so that I can get a Timeline with bpm readout. hehe

The Clean Tone

Prairiewood Les Paul (with Wolfetone Dr. Vintage pickups)–>
Fryette Valvulator (JJ gold pin)
Damage Control Timeline–>
Damage Control Timeline–>
Matchless HC30–>
65 Amps cab (with Celestion Blue & G12H30)–>

And I’m running through my pedalboard, but no other loops are engaged except the Timeline loops, until the last video.

Possible Biases

None, it’s not a shootout. I just wanted to say that I love delay.

Things to Notice

How long it takes me to form words.

And, at long last, Controlling the Damage Control Timeline with the Rocktron Midi Mate:

Video 1:

Video 2:

Video 3:

That’s just the beginning of the Telethon. We’re gonna make this happen! 🙂 And in that last video, for those of you who might be interested, there was a Dr. Scientist Tremolessence used, my shimmer section consisting of the This1smyne parallel looper, Boss RV3, and EH POG, and a George Dennis volume pedal. And one Timeline was being used solely for looping, and then the other was used for a couple different delay settings. Oh ya, and then I used an Arion SAD-1 delay at the end, to help the loop fade out.

I really hope that wasn’t too boring, and that it made it a little easier to understand how to program the Timeline’s via midi. The thing about it is, that it’s so incredibly simple, that you end up questioning yourself if you did it right. Because it almost seems too simple. At least, that’s what I did when I was first learning to program them. But I hope this helps!


P.S. Thanks for being patient as I work on this new site. I am completely tech illiterate, so little things like putting a picture behind your blog, become hours of painstaking…uh…clicking. Wow. Drama queen. But I’m gonna try it out for a while, because of honestly, financial issues; but if it doesn’t work, I’ll jump back to the old one.

A Collection of…Well…Something I Collected

None of these have to really do with anything, or are even remotely connected to each other in any way that might hint at an at least slightly coherent post. These are because I was like, ‘I love music. Music is awesome. I’d like to post some rad songs on the blog tonight.’ And then I did. Because music is awesome. And because I cannot remember life before youtube.

First up is the improved version of scary Kevin Bacon in one of the most awkward scenes in movie history. Gotta love a little New Zealand parody’ing (slash respectful homage…so I don’t get things thrown at me through the internet):

Hey, at least Kevin Bacon can make fun of himself:

And then I found this, and started to re-think my entire rig:

Which led me to this, which caused me to re-think even attempting to think of myself as a musician:

Now this is just plain sad how warm it makes me feel inside to see the same look on Edge’s face that I’ve had at least a dozen times…just this year…and then he doesn’t cleanly hit the anti-solo…which sadly, makes me feel even warmer. Yikes, imagine if over 4,000 people had watched a bootleg video of you messing up:

And lastly, I’m absolutely positive you’ve seen this, but just in case. It would be a crime to come to the end of your life without watching this:

And I promise, real posts are coming soon. Thank you all for your prayers. Like, for reals. And I did actually record new Timeline videos demonstrating how to program them with the Rocktron Midi Mate…the day Damage Control announces that they have been discontinued. lol But here’s hoping for the Damage Control Timeline 2. 😉 And no…I never have dreams of going on to Britain’s for talent with my rig, and hitting one swell that changes my life forever. And by ‘never’, I mean ‘at least not every night.’ Gotta save some room for dreams of me and Bono trying to avoid Sting at the zoo, and me and Edge playing the U2 360 Tour in African skirts because Bono wanted to make a statement. And then I had to sit to play my Explorer, because the blasted skirt kept falling off. Very un-rockstar-ish. Stupid Bono.