Musical Filler…Like Delay!

  • Danny Glover just yelled into the dark cavern where the alien trying to kill him is, ‘Where are you?’ Good thinking, Danny.
  • I turned the beat around today whilst trying to switch lyrics and say something to get the congregation involved. Pretty much the worst thing you can do while leading. Luckily our drummer today is one of those drummers who is so steady that he doesn’t have to keep time…time adheres itself to his beat. I was ready to just laugh it off and say something about it into the mic, and then it was like, ‘Hey, we’re back!’ Guitarists, worship leaders, frontmen…you are nothing without the drummer. Or maybe just those of you who are like me and can’t figure out how to talk and play at the same time. Possibly only me. hehe ;)
  • Having a love affair with strats all over again. So…straty! There’s no other word to describe it.
  • Can I just pretend I invented shimmer and dotted eighths?
  • Yes.
  • You are not God’s gift to worship music.
  • And that’s not to say that I am…in fact, sometimes I think things would run far more smoothly without me. ;) Things like worship…music…life…maybe even this blog. ;)
  • Who wants a blog? Trade ya two delay’s for it. hehe
  • Ok, ok……I ran across Predator 2 on AMC and just really wanted to write the Danny Glover thing. The rest was just off the top of my head to fill up the post. Not sure how that really makes it any different from any other post, but…
  • Probably time for a real post sometime soon here. And by ‘real’, I of course mean one with lots of photos of the awkward facial expressions Nicolas Cage calls ‘acting.’ Hey! He so should’ve been in Predator 2…

Splendid.
Karl.

How to Convince the World You’re a Rockstar

As the holidays approach, we sometimes have to struggle to maintain keeping focus on the right thing. Which is of course, namely, winning the obligatory and inherently competitive ‘How’s work’ question amongst relatives you only see twice a year. You know it’s true. And as my show of thanks on this holiday to you, loyal friends, musicians, and blog-readers, I have included a comprehensive guide to winning that merciless game masqueraded under pleasantries. And in so doing, convincing both them, and the world, that you’re a rockstar.

It seems like a daunting task. But that’s because you’re not thinking about it in the right way. Just last night, as I was driving home, I saw a billboard for a musician playing at a casino. I have never heard of said musician. But yet the billboard described him as ‘legendary.’ And I wondered if that were true. Are there really actual tales of folklore around the country about this musician? No, of course not. But it’s one of those brilliant words that sounds instantly fantastic, but is impossible to measure. It was then that I realized that I needed a billboard. If you ever want to make it in this industry, you must have something published about yourself. Luckily, as billboards turn out to be more expensive than you’d think (I called), we have the internet. Where anyone can publish anything they like anytime they like saying anything they like, and in the end, it is still ‘published.’

So, when Uncle-I-Am-A-District-Manager-People-Are-Scared-Of-Me asks you, ‘How’s work’, you can simply take him to the website you created and say, ‘See what MusicianUniverse.wordpress.com had to say about me?’ (Which is an available website domain…I checked.) And it’s not a lie, if you run that website and say something about yourself. And then it can say something like this:

“Renowned guitarist Karl Verkade has recently been captivating audiences around the globe* with his emotional and ground-breaking new breed of ambient liturgical post-surf prog-fusion. His music has the nation in a frenzy the world has never before seen.** Since breaking onto the scene with his stirring and revolutionary debut Los Angeles performance***, Karl has continued to be hailed by fans and critics alike as the nation’s next great guitar player.**** He has shared the stage with artists such as Van Morrison, 30 Seconds to Mars, Nirvana, and David Bowie*****, has given tonal advice to John Mayer******, and is close personal friends with The Edge.******* Karl Verkade may just go down in history as the guitarist who gave music her heart back. If you have never heard his music, you owe it to yourself to listen in awe as sound and love intertwine and become one.”

(* Youtube is global.
** Frenzy may be defined in many ways, real or implied.
*** Karl Verkade has played in Los Angeles, California.
**** Karl is both a fan and a critic of his music.
***** Provided the Roxy has not renovated its stage since opening in 1973.
****** John Mayer is a member on The Gear Page message board, and Karl has posted public tone advice on afore-mentioned message board.
******* Friendship is defined by the amount of love in said friendship, not necessarily by the knowledge either party may or may not have of said friendship.)

It’s the beauty of a society in which no one cares about the fine print. You too can be famous. Just make yourself that way. Lots of usage of the word ‘legendary’ and all its synonyms therein. Remember, there are no half-truth’s. Only truth’s told in a creative way. hehe ;)

Splendid.
Karl.

P.S. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone. And in all seriousness, pretenses are dumb. And I’m the worst at setting them up around myself for some odd false semblance of a reality I’d rather have. But in actuality, it’s really, really easy to say something about yourself, whether it’s actually true or whether you can make yourself believe it to be true. It’s a lot harder to come to grips with who you are, and be comfortable enough in your own smallness to start paying real, tangible love and attention to those around you.

Ibanez DE7 Delay Review & Demo

The best-sounding cheap pedal I have ever heard. And unfortunately, not the most versatile.

The sound that comes out of this thing just about blew me away for 35 dollars. The features…well…let’s just say that if someone added spillover to this (delay fading out after you turn the pedal off), it probably would have stayed on my board for-ev-er. (Sandlot. Score.) If it had tap tempo, I would have bought up the world’s entire supply of these, changed all the led’s to white and blue and green and blinding, and never let anyone have one but me.

This pedal also converts the dry signal to digital and then back to analog, as almost all digital delays do, save for precious few. (And I do mean precious.) However, the tonal loss was very minor, and up on par with the Empress SuperDelay. Pretty killer sound out of this thing. The digital mode was crisp and heavy enough to cut through a mix, while still maintaining clarity. And the echo mode was outstanding. Warm, weighty, and almost sounded as if there were real modulation on it.

If you need an ambient delay pedal and only have some change, this is absolutely the one. I would guess that with a little patience, you could probably even swag one of these for 25 bucks. (‘Swag’ sounds decidedly less cool than it did in my head.) On a completely unrelated note, this happened:

Yep, that’s James Bond in 1995′s instant classic ‘A Kid in King Arthur’s Court.’ He’s the stable boy secretly in love with none other than Kate Winslet. It’s movies like these that give musicians like me who have routinely played what I like to call ‘exclusive’ gigs for soundguys and girlfriends, hope. One day, we might still have a chance to be the James Bond of music. Which is The Edge, of course. If Edge were torn like John Petrucci. Or the Rose Dawson of music. That was Kate Winslet’s name in ‘Titanic.’ I told you, I barely qualify as a dude. This post is going downhill fast.

Splendid.
Karl.

P.S. Seriously, what happened here?

It looks like John Petrucci ate and bench-pressed John Petrucci.

P.S.S. (Edit: Whew! Just caught up with all the tone question emails, youtube comments & messages, facebook comments & messages, and Gear Page messages. Please nobody email me for about 5 minutes…my inbox looks nice really right now. ;) Sorry to all of you who sent things in last week and just got a response. Trying to keep up with those!)

Guitar Ghetto & Matchless & Fender & Theology

  • Ever passionately argue for something and then get deja vu of passionately arguing for something years ago like solid state built-in DSP effects and then end up totally doubting what you’re currently arguing for because you realize what a goober you are?
  • I remember the exact date and time when I bought my Matchless. It’s like a photo in my mind. A photo of gazing at the amp in the front seat while I probably should have been watching the other Hollywood Boulevard drivers telling me I was number one. I’m pretty sure this is bad. But I’m really hoping someone else here remembers the exact date of their favorite gear purchase. 9-9-09 for me. That’s called fate right there. Incredibly toneful fate. Maybe a little more toneful in someone else’s hands…but hey. Practice is for people who play Fender’s. ;) Oh wait…I still have my Blues Junior, and like it. But it has the green tolex (tonetolex I like to call it…like tonewood), so that doesn’t count
  • Anyone else been told at a music store lately that ‘We don’t have it in stock, but we can order it for you!’ So I get to pay full retail, plus shipping, plus tax, plus your middleman cut, and I have to wait for it to be shipped, and I have to come back to your store to pick it up. You know, there’s this little thing now you may have heard of called the internet…
  • Honestly, I’m not trying to disparage these stores. Just honestly wondering how they’re going to stay in business. I guess the ones who can’t cater to the young, inexperienced players who don’t know they shouldn’t pay that much for the new ‘black-coated’ strings, do go out of business or at least move their stores online. Vintage Gear Hollywood, the last vestige of Guitar Ghetto, is now gone. Guitar Ghetto is now Suburban Guitar Corner…Samash, Guitar Center, Carvin, and Mesa. Luckily that Guitar Center has a great selection of used and boutique stuff, but it’s just not the same as it used to be when every other store was some hole-in-the-wall pedal place or old synth shop. I’ve been told that all those guys have moved online or to Silverlake to avoid paying the Sunset rent. Which is awesome for them. Still sad for Guitar Ghetto.
  • Struggled very, very much this week with picking or not picking a song that I knew would get a huge emotional response from the congregation, but is theologically ‘slightly unbalanced’, shall we say. And in the end, the set is going to be slightly less cool, emotional, and cutting edge; and slightly more theologically sound. Wow, that makes me sound like a prude. hehe But I do think that sometimes we can get so into the ‘epic’ (most overused word ever right now) worship, that we forget to read the lyrics.
  • And no, I’m not going to say what song, for fear of being excommunicated. ;) And/or shot.
  • Still waiting patiently on a Timeline and a Prairiewood. And the ‘patiently’ part is a lie. ;) hehehe But huge props to Robert Dixon and Strymon for fixing them. And I’m not going to say how many things Strymon has fixed for me in the past. hehe (But it’s a lot.)
  • I should probably start taking better care of my stuff. But that would be so much less rock ‘n roll.
  • And of course I’m very rock ‘n roll, with my ambient delay swells at 60 beats per minute over a Simon and Garfunkle chord progression.
  • Does picking up a guitar qualify us to lead a person spiritually? Nothing to read into there, just asking.
  • Is picking up a guitar or placing our fingers on a keyboard the unspoken entry point to being able to discern the leading of the Spirit? And yep, go ahead and read into that one all you want! :)
  • Sometimes I try to tell myself that I don’t love delay so much, but then after a few minutes I have to turn it back on and explain to it that my fling with dry tone was just a one-time thing and it will never happen again.
  • In trying to get the transitions smooth, I didn’t move my capo right away as I switched keys by playing high up on the neck. Then the big solo lead strum sliding into the huge G form chord that’s really a B because of the capo and……so, that was an A.

Splendid.
Karl.

How is Matchless not the Best Amplifier Company Ever?

It was a glorious day. Down in breezy Santa Monica, windows down, with my Matchless once again in the front seat next to me; me laughing and joking, he with his head out the window, sniffing the air contentedly. (Well, kind of. It was in the front seat with me. Too many tube crackages otherwise.) It was pretty much a Lifetime Original movie. Except with a dog that’s really the best amp ever, and without the ex-husband stalking us. Also Air Bud.

For those of you who may have missed it, got caught in a hailstorm going up a mountain to a conference to do worship, with my gear in the back of my truck, and my half-cab filled with people. (I think I originally said ‘rainstorm’. Isn’t it great how stories just get better and better the more time goes on? By next year, I’m pretty sure the ground connections in the Matchless were loosened as I used the glowing lights to fend off the Lochness monster on a deep lake expedition to Scotland in search of ancient underwater tonewoods. Ya! I like that one better.) A lot of gear was damaged, and yes, some ground connections in the amp were broken or water-damaged.


(Oh, the joy of once again being able to walk by my office at night and see this. I pretty much just never turn it off.)

So I took it to Phil Jamison, who owns Matchless, and somehow manages to make me and everyone else I know who has talked with him, feel as if they are Keith Urban. Nicest guy ever, even though I’m kind of nobody. I told him the issues, asked him to just do a full checkup and fix whatever was needed to get it back up to full specs, and also to change the first channel Lightning preamp to a Spitfire preamp. I used to have a Spitfire, and would have kept it had I not needed 30 watts. So I bought the HC30 for a good deal used, with the intention of having the first channel modded into a Spitfire; however, the 2nd channel, the EF86 one, sounded so good that I kind of forgot all about 12AX7 channels. But every once in a while I miss it, especially when ground connections go bad, and you want to run through the ax7 channel as those tubes are a little less gainy, and hence quieter. Well, here’s the thing. I didn’t need the mod, because Phil fixed the amp so well that it’s quieter than it’s ever been. But not only that, the price he charged me for the repair and the mod together, was so low that I thought there must’ve been some mistake. I’m not going to say what the price was, in case he quotes on case by case basis’s, but I will say that Matchless takes care of their customers…even if they’re not sponsored by them.

It is also an amazing feeling to walk into that place and be surrounded by Matchless. Just everywhere. It’s like wading through tone. And to top it all off, when I walked in there, Ray LaMontagne was playing on their iTunes. I mean, seriously. How is this not the best amp company ever?

So I did a little demo of the Matchless. I’ve owned this for over a year now (absolutely crazy for me to play an amp that long without looking around), but have never demo’d it because…well…it’s a Matchless. I figured there were tons of demo’s on them, and that everyone knew who they were. And strangely, I’ve been discovering that’s not really so. I’ve met a lot of guitarists here and there who want to know what I’m playing…Top Hat? Z? Morgan? Divided by 13? And when I show them the Matchless, they’re like, ‘Wow, never heard of that amp!’ Which seems odd to me, as Matchless was the first boutique name I ever heard. However, maybe because they have now been around for over 15 years, they’re not as known by the newer generation of guitarists? Not sure, really. And there are a lot of demo’s, but mostly of this amp’s wonderful gained up Keith Urban sounds. And I wanted to display it’s killer clean tones, versatility, and ability to take pedals and effects.

Amp

Matchless HC30 (first channel Spitfire preamp) w/ all JJ tubes

Signal Path

Two used:

1) Straight in: Godin SD–>Matchless HC30–>65 Amps birch cab with Celestion Blue & Celestion G12H30

2) Same, but with pedals in between. At various times, all of the following are used:

–Fulltone Fatboost (12 volts)
–This1smyne Dual Boost
–Ibanez TS7 in hot mode
–Arion SPH1
–Dano Tuna Melt
–Boss DD20
–Behringer RV600
–Fryette Valvulator driving them

The Demo

Just a gorgeous-sounding amp, in my humble opinion. And that’s all with a relatively cheap guitar with stock pickups and a multi-piece body. A couple things that don’t usually get mentioned about Matchless:

–Versatility. I’ve never heard an EL84 amp be able to go from chime to an almost 6L6-ish clean blues tone. And contrary to what I’ve read elsewhere, I love the way effects and gain pedals react with this amp.

–Low Volume Tone. It also has a brilliant master volume; this amp with the master low enough to where you can hear it’s cutting some tone still sounds better than other amps I’ve played cranked. This whole demo was also done at 15 watts via the half-power switch, which is a great feature as well.

–Tow Rectifier Tube Slots. I have it running with a 5AR4, but you can also run it with two 5V4 rectifier tubes instead for more sag.

–Customer Service. A lot of it.

–That logo lights up!!

And that is what happiness is made of for me. Matchless, Santa Monica, and lots of delay. I’m also thinking about asking Phil if he will mod all my pedals to have glowing Matchless logo’s on them. Hmm…maybe I should think about saving money to buy back my Tim and Memory Lane. Nope. Glowing logo’s.

Splendid. (That is very true today.)
Karl.

Sensible Rock

There’s something about the heart that just bleeds out in this music. Been totally into sensible rock lately. And yes, that is what it is called. Robin Pecknold explains:


And Ray LaMontagne (I know, you’re probably getting sick of me mentioning this guy almost as much as Edge lately……mmmm…Edge) adds his comments…in the form of musical wonder:


And again…bestly (yes) orchestrated drums outside of Steve Jordan, and harmonizing pedal steel’s? The answer is yes:


Just rediscovered Kathleen Edwards:


And not sure if this counts as sensible rock, but it counts in my head:


Ah, I feel the adrenalized rock draining from my veins as we speak. Don’t worry, I still dig the heavy, heart-pumping stuff. Got U2 on the iPod right now. Yes, U2 is my ‘heavy’ music. Alright, I admit it…I’m not a real dude. (I was going to say that I’m a girl, but my wife has made it clear that I am no longer allowed to say such things.)

Rock. Sensibly.
Karl.

Everyone is Wrong but Me

The deeper I look into myself, the more frightening it is to find how much of what I do stems from this subconscious belief. To put it into words is horrific; but it’s there nonetheless. Probably the moreso because we never want to put it into words.

Splendid.
Karl.

P.S. If you dislike this post, you’re wrong. ;)

    Tone Tip #478

    This one time, I used to set an Orange AD30 on top of an old black Ampeg 4×12 and run all six speakers. That’s 30 watts dispersed between six 75 watt speakers. And I wondered why my tone sounded so mousey when I did that. Sure looked cool, though. Like a Halloween of tone. But pushing the speakers to give up even any small semblance of frequency range? Ya, nope. Not to mention the impedance nightmare. I remember really wanting to do this, but not being able to make the resistance mathematics work out in my head. So I tried another way…without math. Whenever logic stands in the way of what you want to believe, you should always just throw it out.

    So the tone tip? Don’t be me. Luckily, this was a few years ago. Although yesterday I did almost buy a new pedal instead of checking the cable plugged into it. So ya, still…don’t be me.

    Splendid.
    Karl.

    P.S. Someone mentioned the other day that it has been quite a long time since I have mentioned Mr. The Edge. As this is unacceptable to me, I give you Part 2 of A Day in the Life of The Edge. Now this is one of the most hilarious videos I think I have ever seen. However, I cannot tell if it is actually hilarious, or if it is just hilarious to those of us who have had actual dreams of bonding with the Edge over mutual dissatisfaction over the African skirts Bono has made us wear on stage. So, I leave it up to you:

    Nope. You have no say. Edge chasing the Pavarotti because they only want pictures of Bono and not him is one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

    Gear Update

    There was going to be an intro here but nothing sounded funny.

    So this is my new intro. James Franco taking himself awesomely un-seriously:

    Is is just me, or are my posts getting even more chaotic? Actually, I really wanted to write about my current gear status, as so many people have asked. But that seems to me like it might bore people; so I figured as musicians (especially worship ones!), we can never be reminded too much to stop taking ourselves so blasted seriously. And James Franco is hilarious.

    • The Tuna Melt is very yellow.
    • I actually like the design of it, though! Minus the yellow and the plastic of course. Hmmm. I guess I like the knobs, then?
    • It rained on Saturday morning on the way to a gig. And in one morning, the new roadcases paid for themselves.
    • 3,2,1…and……Strymon pedals are now on the Gear Page emporiums. Nothing against Strymon at all, just immense fun to watch the led of the month over there. Remember when you couldn’t get a Jetter Gain Stage? And if were lucky enough to pay double retail to get one, if you had the red one you needed the blue one, and if you had the blue one you needed the red one, and if you had both, there was like some random silver one or something?
    • If only I had gotten a Jetter, I would have been on some famous person’s recording right now.
    • Remember when a Narnia-horse Klon would cost you $1200? Oh wait, that’s still going on.
    • I bought an old Arion phaser because they are the awesomest ever in cheap pedals. It was listed as the SPH-1 phaser on ebay, but if you looked closely at the picture, it said SCH-1…the chorus that goes for $200. I thought I had scored. Got it today, and it is indeed the phaser. Blast. But kind of hard to file a claim with ebay that you were mistakenly sent the correct item.
    • So much gear sold that I think I just might be able to keep a Timeline. Ahp, you hear that? That’s the world starting to spin again.
    • The Digitech Jamman delay? Nooooooooooooooooooooo. I don’t know how in this day and age you can make a delay that sounds that bad. $50 Echo Park or Ibanez DE7 both absolutely trample it. Hands down. And that is the only time I have ever, or will ever, use that phrase.
    • For what it’s worth, the looper part isn’t that bad. But the delays? Noooooooooooooooooooo.
    • Bought a This1smyne Super Duper type boost/od pedal because it was used and really cheap for two independent drive channels. Thought I was just going to use it as some extra boosts until I got my Tim back. And, uh, whoa. That is one incredible pedal. And it has both a blue and a green led. There is the rejoicing sound of thousands of pale-faced, solder-stained guitar nerds when both sides are switched on at the same time.
    • The Office has officially died.
    • Oops, that last one had nothing to do with lovely, lovely gear. Except that that show has one of the catchiest theme songs ever written.
    • Stupid Behringer sounded really, really good live.
    • I’m in the middle of my annual gear closet overhaul. I have about 783 truss rod wrenches, because every time I need to make an adjustment, I can’t find the special place I put the particular one that fits whatever guitar I’m playing at the time, and then end up buying a whole new set because they’re so much cheaper in sets. Sometimes I make myself sad.
    • Give your sound guy a hug. They put up with a lot, and I can personally guarantee that their board has more knobs than yours.
    • And lastly, who wants a piece of Guitar for Worship history? Okay, it’s my old pedalboard. I would love to keep it, but my apartment was barely big enough for it when it actually served a purpose. It’s too heavy to ship, but would make a great studio board or pedal display for anyone who wants to pick it up. $100 or something cool to trade. Still have the RAWoods cab with the Weber, another smaller pedalboard, and an Ibanez DE7 if anyone’s interested. Help them find loving homes. Wow, believe it or not, that sounded funny in my head. Then I typed it. Yikes. Just not happening tonight. Go watch James Franco again. :)

    This was the saddest picture ever until it rained last Saturday with all my gear in the back of my truck, safely in their new roadcases. Then I remembered why this beautiful and grandiose board is now retired. Still, you gotta love the majesty of it. Or maybe that’s just in my mind. Or the camera angle. Yep…just not happening for me tonight. Anyway, somebody trade me for this board so it isn’t all sad and naked anymore!

    Splendid.
    Karl.