Anti-Solo Construct, Layering, & Overdrive Shootout Addendum

Three different posts that have been suggested to me: how to construct an anti-solo, how to layer in a part that adds to the song when there’s already a full stage of instruments playing, and showing how each of the five overdrives tested in the recent Community Shootout, sound in the context of a song. And, as per the usual for me, just general minimalism. That’s what all my posts tend to turn into. Well, that and the band that shall not be mentioned. 😉

But those three things really do fall under the overarching theme of minimalism. As musicians, we tend to use that term loosely; and it is really more of a misnomer. Minimalism, when used in a musical context, does not necessarily mean playing a minimal amount of notes, or a minimal amount of the song, or (heaven forbid) at a minimal volume. (hehe) It simply means playing with a higher regard for the overall musical context of the song, rather than the musical context of your particular instrument. The reason we use the term minimalism, is because in order to play for the musical context of the song, for 99% of us, and for 99% of melodies and sounds that reach people……that means playing less. And for 98% of us……WAY less. And I am definitely included in that percentage!!

So I am going to break down these three categories a bit. And before I begin, let me first apologize to those of you who perhaps may be already thinking that all this is somewhat ‘beneath you.’ That may actually very well be true, and if so, just skip to the part that interests you. 🙂 I just thought this might be of interest or helpful to some, and in no way do I mean to be condescending with this article. Tongue-in-cheek disagreeable, yes…which is why I say things like the POD sucks, Eddie Van Halen played too much, and Hillsong United is just Death Cab and Sigur Ros thrown in a blender. None of those things are entirely or probably even halfway true, but they are the things of which wonderful Dumblesque (yep, I said it) conversations are made. And those conversations are what make us better people. That, and listening to……not gonna say it.

Overdrive Shootout Addendum

Recently, I staged a Community Shootout of five different overdrives lent to the cause by four different folks. You can see that whole post here. And a few folks said that they were curious how each of the drives sounded in a musical context, rather than just isolated. Hence, the first part of each section of this video is related to the different drive tones. They will be, in order:

–Clean (Prairiewood into Matchless HC30, both pickups)
–Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire (bridge pickup)
–Tone Monk Seed of Life (top setting, or what I call ‘vintage’ setting, bridge pickup)
–Analogman King of Tone (12 volts, overdrive setting, neck pickup)
–Paul Cochrane Tim (12 volts, overdrive side only, bridge pickup)
–Analogman King of Tone (12 volts, clean boost setting, both pickups, back one split coil)
–Lovepedal Eternity (bridge pickup)
–Paul Cochrane Tim (12 volts, overdrive side and boost side engaged, bridge pickup)

Each overdrive is in a separate track, recorded individually. Hearing how well or not well each one cuts through the mix is essential to minimalistic playing, as the better a sound cuts through and sits in a mix, the less hacking you have to do, and the less volume you need to have. It always amazes me that a well-tuned 5 watts can sometimes be heard more distinctly than an overgrown mesh of 40 watts. It’s about a focused tone that can both cut through a mix and sit nicely in it. I used each overdrive where I thought it shone the most after hearing what they could do in the original shootout post. That’s in more detail in the next section.


Layering is huge, and unfortunately, many times overlooked. In most musicians’ minds, you’ve got chords and then you’ve got leads. And that’s it. So, normally, you get an acoustic, an electric, a keyboard, and a bass playing chords, and then 2 electrics and a piano playing leads. Gets real muddy, real quick; not to mention the fact, that no one is really thinking about the through melody the song is naturally calling for, or the vocal melodies. Knowing how to layer properly (or at least how to layer ‘well’…there really isn’t a ‘properly’ in anything artistic) allows the song to be a holistic piece made up of many parts…rather than just, well, made up of many parts. This can be accomplished by finding within the spectrum of octaves what range is not being played, and playing there. Or by figuring out what section of the eq is not being played, and playing there with either pedals, or choice of guitar or amp. It can also be done by trying to hear if the song is calling for any certain understated counter-melody. Or a certain harmonic structure no one has gone to yet. Or if there is an effected texture that could be useful. Maybe a pad, or a spacious delay…a rhythmic trem…a synthy reverb. Or…even not playing at all if you take the time to listen and realize that things seem pretty perfect how they are.

So in this little song piece, I recorded a base layer, and then seven more on top of it. And normally, you don’t usually want eight electric guitar layers. (A little Smashing Pumpkins-ish.) But I wanted to make the point that with a little thought and listening to what’s going on around you, even eight electric guitars at once can be at least passable. Here’s the layers and what was done with each in order to try to separate them in the sonic space, as well as allowing them to sound good together:

–Base Layer

Clean tone, middle pickup setting, so both pickups are selected. This gives it a nice clean and warm tone. One rhythmic delay in quarters at a low/medium mix, and one spacious delay at a low mix. Sets the tone of the song. A lot of times the electric does set the tone in songs that otherwise could sound exactly the same as the song you just played…and the song before that. For this one, I chose a bit of an ’80’s vibe with less chorus. Okay fine, I just ripped off The Cure.

–Layer 2

This layer adds a bigness underneath the base layer. Traditional chords, with a low mix spacious delay, and an overdriven sound on the bride pickup. The easiest one to find in a band setting, but sometimes…the one that no one thinks to play. And it’s usually pretty important.

–Layer 3

Kind of an ambient layer. Couple delays, one being a long swell one, and swelling in on the volume pedal. This is creating a backdrop or a bed for everything else. I went a little more rock-ish in this song, and used a grainy overdrive for its harmonic spreading effect, still on the bridge pickup.

–Layer 4

More of a bass line. Light drive, neck pickup, and the most strumming of all the layers. No delay. But rhythmic strumming just on the 8th notes…nothing too much. Simplicity is the poetry…or, at least…simplicity was the only thing I could think of. 😉

–Layer 5

Starting just a bit to add a melodic element. Still on the chords, but higher parts of them, kind of a mix between rhythm and melody. Not hitting the notes very much at all. Decent low drive, no delay, and back to the bridge pickup for a cutting effect.

–Layer 6

Really going towards melody now. But not creating a new one, just working off of the home key. This layer starts the very important process of masking the chord changes. It sounds weird, but you need a strong harmonic structure……and then you need to try to mask the changes so it doesn’t sound so blocky, but rather sounds like one sound coming through. Our ears are picky. We want both structure and flow. That’s not to say that you can never have an entirely ambient piece or an entirely chordal piece, but this is just in general, and definitely for the purposes of the little song riff here. Dotted quarter delay, and both pickups elected, with the bridge pickup on split coil.

–Layer 7

This is the first of two anti-solo layers. High gain, bridge pickup, a little background untimed delay, single notes mixed with high two note chords. That can be a great structure for anti-solo’s. They’re melodic, but also follow the chords…so you can be sure not to distract. Not useful in all cases, but a very safe and good way to do a ‘solo’ guitar line in a lot of instances.

–Layer 8

Full anti-solo. Dotted quarter rhythmic delay, medium to high gain, bridge pickup, tracing a melody, stringing a melody between chords, and a couple one note singing stuff. Should feel like the natural actualization of the song. Should feel inevitable if you do it right. (And I don’t think I’ve ever done it quite exactly right. hehe)

These are absolutely not the only layers to choose from. But they can be a good start. Mix and match, sure. But most importantly, trying to get what the heart and soul is behind each one of them, and then do that. And the heart and soul is to both structure and inject tasteful interest into a song for the purpose of the song reaching out and pumping people’s hearts for them for maybe just a few minutes of their life.

Anti-Solo Construct

As the name ‘anti-solo’ suggests, it’s really, really broad. Pretty much any time you choose to play something that’s best for the music or song as a whole, rather than ‘that riff you know’ or ‘look what I can do’, I’d argue that it’s an anti-solo. So, each layer could be constructing some type of anti-solo.

Base Layer

This layer really sets the tone for the whole song, so it could be argued that this is the layer most like a solo. It’s just taking the progression of G D Am Em and using chords that have good voice leading so that it sounds like both a song and a group of structured chords at the same time. And by ‘voice leading’, I mean that very few notes are changing in between the chords. And the ones that do, change as little as possible. This is huge for writing parts.

Layer 2

Basic traditional chords. There’s a reason everybody knows the basic chords. Not because they are easy to finger; I mean, if you were to go up to someone who didn’t play guitar, they would probably be able to play the chords in the first layer easier than these traditional chords. Rather, everybody knows them because they work and they sound good. Same progression here, and resisting the urge to do more.

Layer 3

Sort of a mix of the traditional chords, with bass notes that have better voice leading. I was using swells and delay for this one, so I made sure that I used few enough notes to where it did not get muddy, but just filled in. This is one of my favorite ways to add a depth to a song rather than a riff.

Layer 4

Used the same voice leading to make sort of a bass line to give some more structure to the song. Chords would be G(no5) D/F#(no5) A/E(no3) Em(no5). So we’ve got one of the melodies that the chords naturally feel: G F# E E. A great way to add a dimension when everyone’s expecting a solo.

Layer 5

Same chords, but jumping higher and playing very little of them. Almost more traditional in that it highlights the guitar because you’re high up in the register, but still stays with the song very nicely. It will also add nicely underneath vocals, but when you want to do something a little more than chords or ambient stuff.

Layer 6

Harmonic interest. Really it’s just creating some sustaining melodies off the key of G, and letting that start to mask the chord changes and add interest. Technically, it changes the chords to G D Am7sus(add9) Em7, but there isn’t a lot of sense in trying to work out in chords what a sustaining melody is doing. The fact that the last harmonic is so high in the register allows this to work.

Layer 7

First anti-solo. Still staying right with the chords, just using high versions of them and creating new rhythms in the strumming. Sometimes the strumming can set things apart enough so you don’t have to play new notes. With enough parts or instruments underneath you, sometimes these few notes is all the song needs.

Layer 8

Second anti-solo. First 2 measures are a melody that sounds to me as if it was always there within those chords. Anti-solo’s are tough because you want to stand out in order to take the song to the next level, but you also want them to not draw so much attention that the song fades into the background. Basically, you want people to feel that soaring feeling as the song realizes what seems to be a piece of itself; as opposed to the guitar giving the song a dimension that doesn’t seem to have been necessary. ‘Necessary’ is subjective to everyone; but by ‘necessary’, I mean what the song itself naturally takes you to. There are those musical lines that make you feel as if the song would be incomplete without them. Those are good. And then there are those lines where it really detracts from the overall feel and emotion of the song. Those are bad.

Then it builds into the next 4 measures, which takes you back into the chords, but really high and singing, and the changes are masked by passing notes. Then a quick noise/slide into a pedal tone anti-solo. Just using the key as the pedal tone. So a high G turns the chords into G D11 Am7 and Em. It masks the chord changes more, and for a second starts to take on its own life. Then right back into the chords so as not to take away too much, but hitting those chords harder…it’s the high point of the song, so you increase in intensity, but make sure you’re giving the song it’s integrity. And then back to the little melody to close…so hopefully it’s as if that melody was always there.

And finally, here’s the video. After all that text, this is probably going to be a bit of a letdown, but…hey. hehe

(EDIT: Totally forgot to say……obviously, I was not recording those layers live in that video. I recorded each track separately, edited it, and then ran it back later while I video’d myself playing each part as it was introduced, in order to show visually the different voicings and such. Should’ve said that earlier; I wasn’t trying to pretend to be magic…or Phil Keaggy…same difference.)

So there’s the overdrives cutting through a mix, 8 layers of electric guitar, and some anti-solo construction. Obviously, this post was a little bit too in-depth for the small amount of stuff that actually went on in the song. Many times, just use your ears and you won’t have to think through all this stuff. But one, I didn’t know exactly how much explanation folks wanted; and two, it’s not a bad thing to know what’s going on when you hear and play things. In fact, for myself personally, the more I learn, it seems the less I play. Usually, when I play something really fast and technical (and my ‘fast’, by the way, is probably ‘half speed autopilot’ for most of you, hehe), it’s usually because I can’t come up with anything better. So…well…can’t go wrong with pentatonic. 😉 So, apologies if this was incredibly boring. If it was, just point and laugh at my biting of my lower lip guitar face in the video. I even made it a point to try not to do that! haha

And lastly…I said I wasn’t going to mention them, but you didn’t really believe me, huh. How dare you. But…uh…you would also be right. I’m gonna let the father of anti-solo’s explain in 2 minutes what just took me like, 2 hours to say:

I’ve posted that before, but I don’t put a limit on how many times you can post gorgeousness.

Play for the good of the overall music. It’s even more important in a humility aspect for those of us trying to play in worship services, but that’s for another post. For now…whether you choose 37 notes or 1 note, choose it for the actualization of the song and music as a whole. Choose it to wrench people’s imaginations of things they didn’t know they remembered. And pour your heart into each note. Unless, of course, those notes are reverse-hand finger-tapped whilst trampling Stevie Ray Vaughn’s ghost with your genius. There is no possible way to pour your heart into that. 😉 And somewhere, right now, John Mayer just played a solo that makes that last statement a complete lie. 😀


Thank You Danny Elfman

So…watching Wolfman tonight. Trying to reconcile what looked to have the potential to be the worst movie of the year, with the fact that it has so many brilliant actors in it. And despite a debonair performance from Hugo Weaving, it may just be the worst movie ever. Which is saying a lot, because there are a lot of movies out there with Nicolas Cage in them. Laughable storyline, awkward direction, and a giant cheese factor without the benefit of the redeeming fun factor some cheesey movies seem to have. (Like dear sweet, awesome Tremors.) Oh, and the Oedipus ‘metaphor’ was so thinly veiled that it was embarrassing. Maybe if it was 1983…and I liked made-for-tv movies, it would impress me; but…it’s not, and I don’t, so…it doesn’t.

But I kept watching. Why? Because Danny Elfman’s score was so captivating. It gave the movie a presence and a captivation that it completely did not deserve. And once again, I was reminded of the power of music. If a couple notes strung together over some rhythm can make Benicio Del Toro’s and Anthony Hopkins’ (who are both usually quite splendid, mind you) motion-captured bodies cartoon-ized into wolves while they run up and down walls (little known fact about werewolves, they can also scale walls like spiders…?? I guess??) actually somewhat watchable, imagine what it can do when under-scoring something good. Such as, lyrics directed towards a huge and yet somehow still loving God. Not that we don’t know that, but sometimes it takes a little Danny Elfman (and werewolves, oddly enough) to focus my mind to that fact again.


P.S. Oh, and if you think I’m making fun of those poor, innocent actors and movie-makers too much……well, bottom line is that I had my guitar sitting right next to me tonight and I chose to watch Wolfman instead. So…the real loser here is……


Live Blogging: Sacramento

This is gonna be an experiment. Trying out some live blogging, but without the use of an iPhone or any of the other iPhone’s other companies have that they can’t call iPhone’s. Or really, without internet on my phone at all…because I’m not cool like that. So let’s hope that Bakersfield has an internet cafe…or, anything to even blog about. But I’m taking a trip to help lead worship with a great church up in the Sacramento/San Francisco area. Technically it’s in Fairfield. Google maps tells me that you do not need to take the Golden Gate Bridge to get from Southern California to Fairfield, but we’ll see about that. 😉 I was going to fly, but then I looked at my pedalboard and laughed voraciously. (Never used that word before. Hope it means what I think it means.) Besides, I think I might have a difficult time of it, asking the pilot to land every time I sensed a boutique guitar shop below us.

So, I’ll try to blog along the way…with humourous anecdotes and pictures to make you chuckle. Everything the internet so graciously provides us in our hours of office boredom. I love internet. And for those of you whom I have yet to get back to do, apologies…been preparing for the trip. I’ll get back to you soon. And in the meantime, and also in case there is no live blogging going on here whatsoever, which is entirely possible (let’s face it, I might see a bird or something and forget all about last hour’s live blogging idea), I leave you with the wonder. I’ve posted it before, and I’ll probably post it again. But I have decided that we can’t get enough of it. And by ‘we’, I mean the earth:

So keep checking back here, and I promise (kind of) it’ll be worth it. Rock. Or just lovingly pluck your guitar and sing ‘Hallelujah.’ That’s okay too. 😉


Face-melting, Flock of Seagulls & Failure

No intro. Yep. You hear that sound? That’s me crying because the world kept turning.

  • My wife and I were watching a movie the other night, and hearing the soundtrack creep in, I said, ‘Oh cool. Bass delay.’ She said, ‘Like Michael Brook.’ This is the stuff true love is made out of.
  • Played a service with three electric guitars. Other two guys sounded great. I tried to find the musical space to add without muddiness. Pretty sure I failed.
  • Absolutely killed a Lincoln Brewster solo. And when I say ‘killed’, I do not mean it in the ‘rocked it’ sense that all the cool kids are talking about these days. I mean it in the…’killed’ sense. As in, ‘murdered it, saw it lying on the ground, and then went back with a bigger stick.’
  • I practiced it all week, too. (And still failed.) Don’t think I’ve ever listened to that much Lincoln. Like, ever. I feel this weird urge to grow my hair back out and stand it up 8 and a half inches over my head like I’m Flock of Seagulls. (And I’m allowed to make fun of him as if I have something over him guitar-wise, because his solo just literally owned my face.)
  • Speaking of Flock of Seagulls, I became very frightened today, as ‘I Ran’ came on the radio, and lo and behold, there is dotted 8th delay in that song. So I raced home to make sure that song did not come out before U2’s ‘Electric Co’ (absolutely unthinkable, I know!), and was greatly relieved to find out that it was a year after. So it was they in fact who copied U2. Life, you may return to your regularly scheduled programming.
  • Want. The new delay Damage Control is working on. Want.
  • Met a pastor who was genuinely nice. Not inferring that most pastors aren’t, just that it was the kind of nice that immediately makes you think, ‘I should be like that, and I’m not.’
  • I have had my amp for almost a year now. Something must be wrong with me.
  • After years of raving about Ernie Ball strings, it’s DR’s for sure.
  • It really helps your playing when you can hear that subtle fullness that is only present when your instrument is actually at a proper level in the house mix.
  • I don’t listen to nearly enough classical music. I used to, and then I think U2 got in the way. Mmmm…U2.
  • What did I do before gear? Like, I’m honestly having trouble remembering.
  • There was a time when I argued that my Boss GT6 sounded better than my friend’s 1965 Fender Bandmaster. When I think of those days, I shudder. Actually.
  • I sacrificed my tone this weekend, and ran my pads direct instead of out of an amp. It was 172 degrees here in Southern California, and I just couldn’t bring myself to lug any more gear than I had to. We all have our breaking points. The surface of the sun is mine.
  • Transporter 2 is very stupid, and very entertaining. Jason Statham is an inspiration to balding men everywhere.
  • If you are a solid bass player, and I ever play with you, be prepared for a kiss.


Community Shootout…Overdrives

As in, a shootout of pedals donated by various people…not like, the community is shooting each other. Like in The Mist. Which was on the other day. And afterwards, I wished it wasn’t. What a terrible movie! And the conjured attempt at tragic irony in the end? Shameful. And Tom Jane is…uh…not good. (‘I’m Tom Jane.’ Name it, and you get one million points…towards the imaginary tally I keep up in my head for something that I don’t know.) I’m hoping this shootout will be much better.

Well, as is my custom (and it was definitely kept up in that last paragraph), I start every pedal shootout with the worst intro you’ve ever read. Don’t blame me. Blame The Mist. Hey, if they didn’t keep making these movies, I wouldn’t have anything to talk about, right? Except more U2, delay, and anti-solos…so maybe you should be glad they keep making movies with Tom Jane in them. Anyway, shootout time. And community shootout time. Three very gracious blog readers here have donated overdrive pedals to this endeavor, making this Guitar for Worship’s first ever, community shootout. And I keep saying ‘donated’ to hopefully trick them into letting me keep the pedals forever instead of shipping them back. I don’t think it’s working, though. So, we have five low gain, transparent overdrive pedals, from four different folks, myself included. And everyone has been very open and gracious, and donated (hehe) these pedals in the hopes of hearing how they compare to other drives; meaning, this wasn’t like, a contest where you submit you’re top fighter and hope to beat all the other drives. It’s just to hear how they compare. Hmm…that sounds anti-climactic. Okay! It’s a fight! Give me your top fighter, and gather around the school yard, folks! Three o’clock high!! Shootout!!

(What is it with apocalyptic thrillers and grocery stores? Tremors, Zombieland, Jumanji….yep…I said Jumanji.)

If you’re still reading, I thank you…dearly. This ended up being one of the coolest shootouts I’ve done, at least for me, because of the quality of pedals involved, and for the chance to hear some pedals that I otherwise may never have gotten around to trying out. And they all ended up excelling in their own ways, which was really cool. And I want them all.

The Players

–Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire

–Tone Monk Seed of Life

–Paul Cochrane Tim (running at 12 volts)

–Analogman King of Tone (side 1 on clean boost most of the time, side 2 on overdrive most of the time, and running at 12 volts)

–Lovepedal Eternity (1 of the 18,050 versions of this pedal…it is a PCB version, but beyond that, it just sounds good. 🙂 )

The Gracious Community Benefactors

–Larry Plaxco
–Donator of the Seed of Life and King of Tone. You can check out his site here: Les Paul Player Doctor.

–Brian Keith
–Donator of the Eternity.

–Jeff White
–Donator of the Holy Fire. (Pedal, that is.)

The Clean Tone and Signal Path

Prairiewood Les Paul (Wolfetone Dr. V pickups at various times, bridge, neck, both, and both with the back coil-tapped)–>

(the five overdrives)–>

Matchless HC30 (EF86 channel)–>

65 Amps birch cab (Celestion Blue and G12H30; in second video, the Blue is the one mic’d)

The Format

The first video is laid out much like most of my demo and shootout videos. The second is a little different, with no talking, and the sound recorded through a dedicated mic and into a tube pre, and then my computer. I did it this way because I wanted to be sure that I did the best videos possible (well, with my current equipment), as everyone was so kind to lend their pedals.

Possible Biases

–I’ve owned the Tim for a long time, and have it set right where I like it with my amp.

–I did not get a definitive answer as to whether the Eternity or Seed of Life could be run at above 9 volts by the time I shot this video, so I played it safe and ran them at the listed 9 volts; which may have put them at a disadvantage if in fact, they can be run at higher voltages and hence, higher headroom.

Possible Personal Biases

–The Holy Fire’s led changes color according to the gain input!! Splendid.

–The Seed of Life’s blue led literally attacks your face. I haven’t decided whether this is good or bad yet.

–I’ve tried two other Lovepedal models that I really didn’t like.

–I love the Tim.

The Shootout:

The Results:

–Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire

Easily my new favorite pedal. There really sounded like there was a second parallel path of my clean tone under the drive sounds. Hate to say it, but transparent as all get-out. Also loved the extra knob to add distortion in to the sound. Just wish it could be controlled by a second switch or an expression pedal. That would be awesome! Also, best led ever. Not sure if I’m too hot on the name, and it does need its own adapter. But whoa…killer sound with this thing!

–Tone Monk Seed of Life

This one seemed to get a bad rap in the videos, because even though the website describes it as being able to do transparent low gain sounds, I think it really shines at higher gain sounds. And at higher gains, it still seems to maintain the sound of the clean tone, which is rare. It had a different flavor than most overdrives, which was refreshing. The tone-shaping switch was really useful as well. The top setting, giving it that vintage-y growl, was really cool. Again, I do wish that switch was two separate footswitches. But it did have an led that was brighter than the sun, so it’s got that going for it.

–Paul Cochrane Tim

What can I say that I haven’t said already? Not only does it keep your clean tone intact, and sound like it’s just driving the sound you already love, but it also has a great saggy feel and sound to the drive, as well as a great decay. Very touch-sensitive too…it’ll do the sound you want depending on how you play. Gotta love the Tim. Thus far, in years, no pedal has surpassed it in my rig. I always go back to it. The Holy Fire is giving it a run for its money, but in a different way. I think I will always have a Tim.

–Analogman King of Tone

Definitely a great sound. A really nice controlled drive sound that really lends itself to rhythmic tones. Not sure if it lived up to the massive amount of hype it has gotten, but really…no pedal ever has. It was very transparent, and the drive sound was focused and had a great shape to it; as in, very few errant and random frequencies, even when stacking notes. The best thing about this pedal though, is the versatility and tweakability. Both sides can be used together, or independent of each other. And each side can be switched to clean boost, overdrive, or distortion. I really didn’t even really scratch the surface in the two short videos of how many options are available with this pedal. And I don’t have any royal purple pedals yet. It’s a wonderful color.

–Lovepedal Eternity

Score! Finally a Lovepedal I like. Honestly, I really thought this pedal’s ‘happy place’ was at higher gain sounds. But yet, it still did a really good low drive sound. Very, very saturated. Seemed like it was just oozing harmonics. As a lead pedal, I think this thing is fantastic. Has that saturated, glassy lead sound that would probably glide right on top of the other frequencies in a band situation. And how do you not adore the brown sunburst…on a pedal?! Great touch.


Yikes, I wish I didn’t have to give these back. And I might be getting a Holy Fire. Huge, huge thanks to Jeff, Brian, and Larry for the contributions to this. It’s incredible how many great overdrive pedals there are these days. I had resolved to be completely honest, and hate a pedal if I hated it, but they were honestly all fantastic in their own ways. If I could keep them all, I would. But that would constitute stealing.

First community shootout…over. No casualties. Just fabulous pedals. Go buy all of these.

(‘We’re going to need a bigger stick.’)


So, I came over to post, and then decided, no! I’m going to actually go play my guitar.


(Oh, and I can’t sign this because I’m too busy playing my guitar.)

Covers…But, uh, Not

For your listening pleasure…

The original:

And the hopefully accidental cover:

This one isn’t as obvious…until you catch it. Then you can’t get over it.

The original:

And the maybe not-so-accidental cover:

Okay, now this one……I really, really hope they bought the rights to it.

The original (incidentally, very interesting lyrics to this one…obviously from a religious background, although focusing much more on the death aspect of the story…for a statement or just to try to be cool, I’m not sure):

And, pretty much the original again:

And lastly, I have this theory that every song is a ripoff of U2. Even one’s that were written prior to U2; they just didn’t know it yet. Those are called retroactive covers. But this one, this one was uh, shall we say, ‘re-written’ a good few years after U2 actually wrote it.

The original:

The cover (go to about the 1:05 mark to hear it):

See, I think I’ve been going about writing songs the complete wrong way. Just find a good song, change a lyric or two, maybe a note, or the key (not completely necessary), and there ya go. Although, to be fair, a lot of times it’s just subconscious melodies that got in your head while you were listening to the radio and driving, and just spacing. Then you go home, write a song, and you’re like, ‘Whoa! Where’d that killer melody come from?’ And then we usually answer ourselves with the only possible explanation of where that melody came from: we must be a genius. And since I like that explanation better, I’m sticking with it. One time I came up with this rad song for a band I was playing with. I showed it to them, and they all applauded me for my rad new arrangement of the theme from Prince of Egypt. And yes, I was watching Prince of Egypt.


P.S. Dan, over at Maple Neck, has some great music ripoff posts. That I wish I had found. I mean, covered. 😉

P.S.S. For those interested, unfortunately times are still tough and my Brawley strat and Frenzel Champ have to go. So, let me know if you would be interested in applying to be their new homes. hehe 😉


I guess ‘liturgical’ is the new word for ‘Christian’ when used in a musical context. As in, ‘liturgical post-grunge’ or ‘liturgical post-electronica’. I have been hearing this lately, and in the spirit of staying with the times, I have decided that this site will heretofore be known as ‘Guitar for Liturgical Post-Indie-Prog-Rock’.

Adding ‘post’, of course, is an added bonus, as it has been for the last fifteen years.

For those of you interested in continuing to be on the cutting edge of what we must now refer to as liturgical brit-rock in order to be on said cutting edge, I humbly submit these for your consideration for next summer’s worship conference branding:

  • ecclesiastical
  • post-baroque
  • prog-folk
  • liturgi-core
  • pauline emo
  • unsigned Byzantine post-hymns
  • intercession with artistry
  • Gregorian hip-hop
  • celebratory post-mass
  • Euro-thrash (to the tune of O Happy Day)
  • post-industrial benediction
  • madrigal goth-clowning
  • post-Manilow
  • canonical
  • medieval troubadour rap
  • renaissance-istic German-post-funk calypso breeze with an augmented 9th chord

I will be expecting a royalty check at the publishing of the June 2011 CCM.