Archive for August, 2011
Remember when it actually look at lot of work and expertise to get published? Now you just need a keyboard and an email address, and you can publish opinions and mantras of which you know absolutely nothing. And it is spectacular. Watch me go!
- Actual Nicolas Cage movie titles: Bad Lieutenant, Bangkok Dangerous, Drive Angry. I know, it seems completely impossible, doesn’t it.
- Literally…literally…out of nowhere I got this sudden urge to play more drive pedals. Just looked at Lunar Module’s, Foxey Fuzz’s, Mosferatu’s, Holy Fire’s, and Ethos TLE’s. I have no idea where the desire came from, but it is wonderful.
- “Hey homie! Is that my briefcase?”
- Been mic’ing my G12H30 instead of the Blue lately. I think the Blue is almost getting too broken in for me. Starting to sound a little too much like a vintage Vox, and I tend to like a bit of Fender in my EL84 tone.
- Listen to Solsbury Hill in headphones. Obviously some producer was very excited about the new cutting edge ‘auto pan’ effect. Maybe it’s to symbolize the beating wings of the eagle who tells Peter Gabriel to grab his things because it’s come to take him home? Man, you gotta love the ’80′s.
- “But then if we never take time, how can we ever have time?”
- And yes, I just quoted The Merovingian from The Matrix. I am a #nerd.
- This isn’t Twitter, so I didn’t need to do the little tag sign before ‘nerd.’ But I thought it was a nice touch to increase said nerdiness.
- Isn’t it weird how ‘nerd’ has almost become a cool thing to call yourself now? As technology continues to increase, I think it will only become cooler. In the future, people will rent the movie ‘Nerds’ in their Apple iEyes, and be completely confused.
- hehe Timothy Busfield.
- The Electro-Harmonix Freeze is one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever seen for a pedal. Be great if it actually sounded good. Okay, that was just uncalled for. Suffice to say, it does not work with my rig. But would you actually have read it if I had just said ‘The EH Freeze doesn’t work in my rig?’ No, you wouldn’t. I know because I am an absolute expert.
- I expect so much from myself. Because I’m so nervous about what it says about me if I don’t perform perfectly in all aspects of life. So the focus of my life revolves entirely around me and maintaining a perfect view of myself backed by actual instances in life of excelling; which is pride. Stemming from a very sad place of insecurity. Amazing how those two seemingly polar opposites are inexorably linked.
- And yes, I learned the word ‘inexorably’ from The Matrix, also.
- Why is it 7,000 degrees where I live, and why do I live here? Oh ya, because I still cling to the belief that one day I will be walking down Sunset Boulevard, and Sam Mendes will say, ‘Hey, you’re cool. You’re the coolest guy I’ve ever seen. Will you star in, and score, my new movie?’ You’d be surprised how little I’m joking right now. Sad, yes. One time I wrote a screenplay and drove to Universal to march up the stairs and have a meeting with all the producers and directors who hang out in the studio lobby just waiting for screenplays. The security guard told me to turn around. This is actually a true story. My friends who were in the car with me will never let me forget it. hehe
- Crickets like, attack you, man.
- You know that Friends song? The Wicked Game? It seriously has one of the most toneful and tasteful solo’s ever, from:
- James Calvin Wilsey, everyone. Insane tone from what looks to be a strat and a Deluxe or Princeton, and maybe a couple pedals. Plus, it ends with pretty much the best sentiment I’ve ever heard. Since his girl left him, Chris Isaak concludes with: ‘Nobody…loves…no one.’ Best ever. Also, his guitar has his name on it, and why can’t we wear cool sparkly suits like that anymore?
- Hedge of protection. Always pictured an oleander bush following the bus down the freeway when our school would pray for this.
- One time, in Radio Shack, I had the adapter I needed in my hand and was ready to walk to the checkout, when an employee caught me. They asked what I was looking for. I told them, without thinking about the consequences. They proceeded to look for it, unsuccessfully for like, 10 minutes. I felt too bad to say anything. Finally they handed me the wrong thing and left, and then I was free to put it back, take the right thing that had been in my hand the whole time up to the counter, and explain to the cashier during checkout why I still do not need 600 batteries…same as when I came in last week.
- I think it’s incredible sometimes the things we’ve both consciously and subconsciously, both collectively and individually, added as qualifications for salvation.
- Oceans are beautiful.
- I am so afraid of being normal.
- “Pick up your crazy heart, and give it one more try.”
- Been really into the acoustic lately. With the Blue Sky on it of course.
- “So scared of getting old; I’m only good at being young.” John Mayer, you are correct, sir. You like yourself a lot, but you are correct.
…there was tone.
This is quite literally the worst thing you can think of. Not just flange…metal flange. And not just metal flange, a metal flange digital plugin for amplitube. Now, I like metal as much as the next guy. (Hmm…not sure what that means.) But, I implore you…take the money you would spend on amplitube metal plugins, and spend it on a Valve Junior, an EH Little Big Muff, and lunch for your local Sports Bar Grill guitarist who plays through that grungy old-looking Fender, so you can talk tone with him.
Also…if anyone happens to have any ‘metal flanger plugin’ clips, I think that would be just about the best thing ever.
Some very lovely people deserve some credit…
- First off, Strings and Beyond. Online company selling strings and guitar accessories, at good prices. And I just got some strings from them, and the shipping was very quick. I may try to buy bulk here…been thinking about doing this for a few years, as it would save me money; and then I always forget to buy strings in bulk online and end up running to a local shop every week and paying too much. All in all, it was one of the more pleasant string-buying experiences……uh, as far as string-buying experiences go, I suppose. But ya, good customer service, quick shipping, nice prices…worth a second look.
- Strymon. Ya, ya, I know…everybody loves them already. But…there are precious few companies who will take the time to listen to the concerns of the folks buying their pedals, and actually go so far as to fix them. That bpm issue with the Timeline reverting back to quarters? No longer. Fixed with the free Strymon update available here: Strymon Timeline Firmware Update. I played with it live for the first time this weekend with the update, and wow it makes my life easier. This pedal just got more perfecter.
That may have bored you very much. So I give you this:
Oh ya, and this:
He is just my favorite to watch.
Ever meet those guys? The ‘that’s okay, I don’t need sheet music’ guys? The ones who think that since they know scales, practicing and listening to the songs don’t apply to them. And yes, I’m talking almost exclusively about guys on worship teams. It’s amazing that some of the symptoms of the guys on worship teams who think they are the most pro, are the things that would never actually fly in the professional music world. When you go in to do a session, you’re costing the studio money. So you either know the song as written backwards and forwards, or you’re able to read music notation sheet music on the fly with perfect clarity, or…you can improvise something amazing on the spot in one take. And that’s where I think this issue comes from. Most of us would like to think we’re that guy; the guy who can improvise perfectly, on the spot, something that shocks producers, floors the artists, and fits perfectly with the flow, style, and feel of a song we’ve never heard before. And those people actually do exist. Their names are Michael Landau, Larry Carlton, and Greg Leisz.
So if Michael Landau, Larry Carlton, or Greg Leisz play on your worship team, then you get a pass on this one. If not, then this could be helpful. Because almost every worship team I’ve ever played with, has at least one of these people. And some of those worship teams have had one of those people, because…well…because I was one of those people. I was the bass player who said, ‘I don’t need the sheet music, it’s just 4 chords, right?’ And then, of course, I would be good enough to play all 4 chords, and never hit a ‘wrong’ note…or at least, never hit a note that was out of the key. But there were many slides from the IV to the V, or the vi to the I. Or pushes and syncopations that I would play straight, and be off from the band. And I was the guitar player who said, ‘Just tell me the key signatures and I’ll be good.’ And then I would improvise riffs where signature leads should be, or jam solo’s or even Edge-anti-solo’s (yes, even anti-solo’s can be too much) where big rhythmic chords were needed, and where they were what the rest of the band was playing. And did I mess up like this because I was a terrible musician? Nope. It’s just simply that no matter how good of a musician you are, if you’ve never heard the song, you will not play it perfectly.
The problem is that on worship teams, we’re surrounded by musicians. Most of whom are impressed that you can play, without ever having heard the song, something that sounds just halfway decent just half of the time. So it becomes a badge of honor. But only among musicians. All the congregation hears is something that doesn’t sound that great. Have you ever actually watched and gauged an audience’s reaction, whether in church or anywhere else? An improvised lead that works in the key but only sort of works for the song, does far less for people than big, tight, practiced rhythmic hits. And when you don’t practice, you lose the ability to do all that arranged stuff; everything but the ability to do little jazzy lead things that technically ‘work’, but don’t do a whole lot for people. Even in a jazzy song, there’s a huge difference when you’ve improvised beforehand while practicing at your house, and chosen the best of the improvised melodies that you came up with, to be your basis for what you play during the actual performance.
I know, I know, I know that it’s a huge ego hit when the keyboardist, the bassist, and the other guitarist all decline the sheet music, and laugh about how easy the songs are and that they haven’t heard the recorded version in years. But that’s when you get a mediocre version of the song; because everyone thinks they’re above practicing, and have forgotten that sometimes the simplest ones are the ones that require the most practice because they are often held together by the little dynamic things that you just aren’t going to ‘get’ until you spend some time with them. I know it’s difficult; but many times in worship music, an ego hit is exactly what’s needed. One of the best ego hits I ever received was a couple years ago when I had slipped into thinking about how well I could hang with songs I’d never heard before, and started to stop spending time with the songs during the week. And I got called to play at a church I’d never played at before. And the first song we practiced was some 10-year-old song that everyone knows, and that I knew that I knew like the back of my Boss pedal, and that I was looking forward to playing so that everyone would of course tell me how impressed they were that my solo was so much better than the recorded version. And then we practiced the song, and the entire band hit every little rhythmic push, every hit, every stop, every dynamic ebb and flow, every tight syncopation, and I was the outcast left standing out in the open still letting a lead ring out while the rest of the band was nailing the staccato hits. And in an instant, I was reminded that I am not above practicing.
I’m not saying that there aren’t times when it’s been a busy week and you weren’t able to practice. And even, maybe your worship team is totally based upon just having the worship leader play some chords while the band improvises things around him or her. But in my humble experience, there just is no replacement for practicing, taking to heart, and owning the songs. Especially in a worship setting. You get to serve at the church by playing guitar, while others serve by cleaning diapers. It seems as if the least you can do is to spend 15 minutes during the week familiarizing yourself with songs that are going to be not only played to the One who saved you, but also to folks for whom this may be the only half hour they’ve had all week to try to let go of their lives and just give themselves over to complete focus on God. And in that light, it might be worth it to actually know the order of those four chords, instead of sliding around the scale showing your ‘musicianship.’ It’s for God, and it’s for other people’s worship of God; it’s not for us. Do we get something our of it? Oh, absolutely! There’s very little I enjoy more than worshiping God with music. But, as in most areas of life, we come in a distant third to God, and to people who aren’t us.
And Michael Landau, if you’re reading this, you are exempt, sir.
Moving right now. Sorry for the lack of posts. However, when you’re moving, you do find the most awesome things. Two of these were in a box, and one was under my desk. I put them together and created awesome.
Okay, this may actually be my best post ever. Sad? Yes. Awesome? Even more yes. Wait…yes……what? It’s tired in here. Night.
My last two posts committed two of the cardinal blogging sins: promote your own music, and alienate your target audience. So I figured…hey…why not go for the blog-killing-trifecta? So this post is going to be the third installment: a post having nothing to do with anything the blog is about. And while we’re at it, why not throw in a good dose of politics, advertising, and personal details?
- Was watching a Radiohead video on youtube, and I see in the corner an ad for a ‘featured video’ titled ‘Did Justin Bieber and Selena somebody kiss?!’ It had 48 million views. Sometimes I don’t understand…life.
- Remember Pauly Shore? Ya, me neither.
- So this blog takes a ton of my time, gets a decent amount of hits, and makes no money. Who wants to advertise? I’ll throw in a free…ya, no I won’t.
- Just had some cereal. Yep, gonna tweet that too.
- The US government just made a deal with Monsanto, the napalm-turned-food company that genetically modifies everything and then forces those who don’t, out of business by lawsuits. (Uh…allegedly. Yay for the things Gear Page has taught us!)
- Patrick Warburton is just plain the coolest.
- Canada looks pretty appealing at times. Plus, they have slurpies made from venison. (And if you get that reference, it means you grew up as a teenager in the ’90′s in a Christian home. )
- When did cartoon special effects become the accepted norm for big budget movies? Even James Franco looks fake. Oh but I forgot about the drama. He loves the monkey…but should he kill it? Does the monkey love him enough to look past the rest of the humans who only want him for experimentation? Those are the types of questions I just don’t care about.
- A child woke me up this morning by riding by our window on a skateboard. I wish I had a lawn to yell at him to get off of. And…wait for it…I am now officially an old person.
- I don’t eat cows or anything that is secreted out of them, but man, leather is cool.
- Just managed to alienate vegans and the rest of the world in one fell swoop.
- I don’t exactly know what ‘fell swoop’ means. It’s one of those phrases I’ve heard, but never really understood. Like, ‘I could care less.’ But, if you could care less, doesn’t that mean you do care? Shouldn’t it be ‘I couldn’t care less?’ Or is it, and I just say it wrong? hehe
- ‘It’s like a cow’s opinion. It’s ‘moo’.’
- I miss Bob Ross.
- I never understood ‘Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?’ I was always excited to look for her, but then always found her right away in the logo. I was a very literal child.
- If the musician thing doesn’t work out, I’ve decided to play for Netherlands in the next World Cup (sorry US), and then use the resulting fame to run for president of the US (or Netherlands…either one) when I turn 35. It’s a foolproof plan.
- I think I could do some good for this country, except that the president doesn’t really have that much real power. Which I think is good. I guess I could always pardon a bunch of folks.
- The Handbrake icon makes me happy.
- I was in Walgreens the other day, and started to look through the $3.99 movies for what I thought was Blade Runner. ‘Heat’ and ‘Blade Runner’ are like my ‘Catcher in the Rye’ from ‘Conspiracy Theory.’ Every time I see one, I have to buy it in order to feel normal. Turns out it was ‘Blades of Glory.’ Still cool, just not as much. I said so out loud, and a middle-aged gentleman looked at me with disdain and said, and I quote: “Blade Runner?! You weren’t even born when that movie came out!” I told him that I sincerely apologized for not being alive when that incredible movie was released, and for the fact that my generation has taught him that we only like movies that have ‘Fast’ and/or ‘Furious’ in the titles. Then I thanked him for not letting my receding hairline make him think I was 40. All in all, it was a good conversation.
- That’s how it happened in my head. I think in reality I just gave an obviously uncomfortable chuckle and retreated back to my wife.
- Found an RCA audio rackmount distributor in my closet. Just sold it at a garage sale, but not before wondering if putting it into my rack and powering it up so the lights turned on would make my tone look cooler.
And there you have it. Now I just need to not post for three weeks, and the blog will be officially dead.
So I’m gonna be real honest here: I’ve shied away from this topic for a long time because it’s so polarizing. And I want you guys to like me. But…I am feeling more and more strongly about this. And I, unlike a lot of the world we live in, I feel that it is actually possible to disagree and still be friends. But I would ask, if you commit to reading this, that you do so with an open mind and an open and self-questioning soul. So that being said, I feel like it’s time. And be prepared, because you might leave after this one. I’m going to talk plainly on my views of the blatant cloning of pedals and amps that are currently still in production. That’s the copying of circuits and selling them either as your own, or as a lower-priced alternative.
For the average guitarist (meaning no money, obsessed with tone, BJFe taste on a Boss budget…hey that’s me!), cloning has incredibly appealing advantages. You get tone you normally couldn’t pay for, for way cheaper, and you get the status symbol of having pedals that no one recognizes on your board. Always a plus. And let me tell you that I absolutely get that. Many, many, many, no…like, many…boutique guitar pedals are insanely overpriced. Is a new idea for a circuit and $25 in parts really worth $400?
Well…maybe. And here’s where I start to differ from what appears to be the current normal mindset on cloning pedals. Granted, to most of us, myself included, when I open up a $400 overdrive and find 8 resistors, a chip, and some wiring, I am inclined to feel that that overdrive pedal is not worth $400. And that view is completely and totally my prerogative. What is not my prerogative is to decide for the builder of that pedal that it is overpriced. If that builder decides that his pedal is worth two thousand dollars, then that is what he decides. I can call him crazy, I can decide to not buy any of his products, but personally folks, ethically I can no longer pay another builder $100 for the same circuit and the same parts, and then champion them on gear message boards as the hero pedal builder of the working class. It’s just not right. And let me show you why I think this way.
Let’s say I write a new song. And I love this song. And I think this song is the best song that has ever been written. And I decide to put that song on Bandcamp and set a price of $50 on that song. Now you would almost certainly think to yourself what an overpriced song that is. You may even tell me how overpriced my song is. You may even be absolutely and one hundred percent correct. But morally, do you then have the right to re-record my song, put it on Bandcamp, and sell it for 99 cents? If the song was good enough, and if I didn’t have the money to take you to court, you might very well end up being championed as the hero of the folks who love music but can’t afford the high boutique prices it’s come to merit. But I think you’d agree that it would be wrong.
Now let’s say I was Coldplay, and wrote the world’s best song, and decided to charge $50 for it. Since Coldplay is a bigger band and is financially set and hence will be hurt less by the theft, does that cease to make it theft? No. Just because someone is less impacted by an at best morally questionable action does not raise the morality of said action. Just as the fact that we agree that the original item is grossly overpriced does not give us the right to steal it. And likewise, using the morally questionable action for good does not make it more moral either. As in, ‘But I’m using it for worship!’ And that is where I think we actually have an obligation to not play cloned pedals. There is a large portion of you reading this that are Christians, and play in Christ-centered worship services. Is it more important that you have the absolute perfect tone that comes from a BJFe Honey Bee clone (you know, one of the oh-so-cleverly titled ‘Jar of Honey’ or ‘Bumble Tone’ or ‘Agave Wasp’) or that you take the $100 you would have spent on the clone and have slightly ‘worse’ tone with a Barber Launch Pad, or…heaven forbid…a Boss SD-1? (*gasp!*) I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that God cares less about your tone, and more about you not supporting the taking of other people’s stuff.
(They’re both yellow…sounds the same, right? Yellow makes haunting mids. And these pedals don’t sound much alike. But I can tell you…as unpopular as this is going to sound…you can get great tone out of both.)
Before you stone me right now (if you’re even still reading), I’m going to tell a personal story; one that shows me completely on the side of the issue that I am currently speaking against. I want to show that I’m not perfect, not pretending to be, and why I feel so strongly about this issue. So here we go. I’m a tone freak. A fanatic. I figure God created music, so he must have pretty good ears, and can tell the difference between every version of the Fulltone OCD. So sometimes I chase tone too hard, and literally stop thinking about everything else. So last year, I wanted this pedal. It was built by a very well-known boutique manufacturer, and sounds incredibly good. It is also probably very over-priced. Well, I couldn’t find one that I could afford, and ended up running across a clone. By another well-known boutique manufacturer. A highly liked and respected one, and one who makes no bones about the fact that this is a clone. There’s even a little joke about it on the website. And literally without thinking, I bought it. It had the tone I needed, and I could afford it. And you know what? It sounded great, gave me great tone, and I didn’t have to go over-budget. So I came out ahead. So did the clone manufacturer. And because things worked out for me, I honestly didn’t give one thought to the original manufacturer.
Well, after a few months, my conscience started to nag me. (‘It’s no secret that a conscience, can sometimes be a pest…’ Ya, thanks, Bono…hate it when that guy’s right…wait, no I don’t.) So I told myself that when I got the money, I’d buy the real thing. Did that happen? hehe Nope! Did I somehow find the money to buy other things? Yep. Then a friend of mine who posts here (I actually just emailed him and he said it was cool to use his name…it’s Dan at Maple Neck…he understands that you may hate him as much as you hate me right now…lol) called me out on it. In a much kinder way than I deserved. Turns out there was a thread praising the clone on a message board, and the the builder of the original circuit jumped in and wrote something to the effect of, ‘Great. Steal my stuff.’ And that should have been it for me. But it wasn’t. You know what was it for me? It was posting on this blog about finding youtube videos where people had stolen melodies from my songs, titles from my songs, and my ambient pads and passed them off as theirs. And I was all bent out of shape about it, but there was nothing I could do because the theft wasn’t blatant enough to be noticed by very many people, nor to be illegal. And I found myself saying angrily, ‘Great! Steal my stuff.’ And it hit me. I immediately went out and got the original pedal right away, selling other pedals I had ‘needed’ in order to pay for it. Small price to pay for a clean conscience.
See, somehow since it had all worked out for me, I found a way to tell myself it worked out for everyone. I told myself that the original builder brought it on himself by overcharging for his pedal. Power to the people! I told myself that I was using this clone for a good purpose…worship! I told myself that I was buying it used…the damage was already done…didn’t matter who actually owned it. I told myself that the original circuit was probably a clone anyway, and who has the time to trace it back to the original design? I choose to spend my time playing music, not studying pedals. And lastly, I told myself that the builder of the clone was a great person (which is true).
But all those excuses came crashing down the moment I saw the original builder as myself…as someone who created something, and saw it get ripped off. And I started answering those excuses with a little thing called logic…something I had been subconsciously pushing aside:
‘The builder brought this on himself by charging too much to begin with.’
–Maybe. But someone being a jerk does not give us the right to steal their stuff, nor to support those who do. Movie theaters make a lot of money. Does that give me the right to take my camera in to the theater, record the film, and then charge $2 to come see it at my house? Does it give you a pass that you only paid the $2 to see it at my house, and didn’t actually steal it yourself? Nope.
‘I’m using it for worship.’
–This one’s awesome. Same logic as robbing a bank and distributing the money to poor people. The end does not justify the means. Yes, I know Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor, and desperate times call for desperate measures. But we’re playing guitar. Having to play a BBE instead of a Klon does not qualify as a desperate time.
‘I’m buying it used…the damage is already done.’
–Yep. And when you see the serial number filed off the engine of the car you’re about to buy, you should definitely go ahead and buy it. I mean, the damage is already done. Who cares who ends up owning it? It’s already out there. … No.
“It’s not illegal…you can’t prove it in court, and it’s next to impossible to patent circuits.”
–I hear this one all the time. And to it I must say, when has legality ever dictated morality? There are plenty of things that are legal that are not necessarily moral. Especially to those of you who believe in God. We don’t use this excuse to justify anything else in life, and dare I say it borders on shameful then, when we use it to justify saving $100 on a guitar pedal.
“The cloner is a great guy.”
–Alright, this is a tough one. Because yes, we should always be questioning our stances, and when good people oppose us, it is good to take a hard look at ourselves to see if we are wrong. However, if the rest of the evidence is stacked against cloning and this is your only defense, then it is overwhelmingly possible that the ‘great guy’ has himself made an error, or has a different view than yourself. However, you are not responsible for him or her. You are responsible for yourself.
“All circuits are clones anyways.”
–This one is my personal favorite. We’re all so incredibly adamant that our boutique overdrives sound so much better and so different than any other overdrive, until someone questions whether or not the circuit is stolen, and then we’re lightning quick to say, ‘Oh, well, all overdrives are basically tubescreamers anyway.’
But in reality this one actually holds some water…if you look at it logically. Logically, I’m not asking you to open up your Tim pedal, find all of its origins, and give money to every pedal you find that shares a diode with it. Any more than I’m asking you to listen to ‘Beautiful Day’ and give money to Andy Summers for some of the guitar tone, John Lennon for the pop melody influence, and Bob Dylan for the narrative. I’m talking about those pedals that make no secret that they are the exact circuit clones…just more affordable. You know which ones they are, and I’m guessing that if you were the builder and were losing sales or losing your design, you’d be bummed.
And then lastly, there is the excuse that says, ‘Then fine! We shouldn’t play anything but original Tubescreamers and Fuzz Face’s so as not to steal from Dunlop and Ibanez.’ And I will say that if a pedal or an amp is out of production, meaning you are now no longer able to purchase it and give monetary gain to the original owner of the circuit, then I can see where a clone could be passable, as that circuit is now not available anywhere else save from someone secondhand. However, that is a touchy subject if Ibanez still owns the rights to the original tubescreamer, even though they no longer make it to those specs or with that caliber of material. This one is dicey, and I will admit to that.
But other than that, I would ask us all to put ourselves in the place of the manufacturers. We wouldn’t want our stuff stolen…I know I didn’t. And that’s what brought me to this point. And I don’t care whether you’re a small builder, or a big company like Boss. If someone came out with the DD21 TeraDelay (giggle, giggle), I would feel the same way.
So you may disagree with me, and that’s fine. It’s really up to you and your own conscience. But I would humbly ask you to, just for a second, put yourself in the place of the manufacturer. And then, lastly, to take a step back from tone. Are we so obsessed with finding that perfect tone that we will tread morally questionable ground to find the right tone? Especially those of us that are Christians. How much of a witness would that be if we were in a room with Zach from ZVex and another boutique designer, and we asked Zach how much his pedal was. He says $300, and we say great…open the pedal, show the circuit to the other builder, and say, ‘I’ll pay you $100 to build this for me.’ That’s essentially what I was saying. I had let tone become my god. And when tone is your god, it doesn’t reflect well on the God you’re saying you worship.
It will be okay! If you can’t buy an Analogman King of Tone, but can only afford a clone, and you think that life (meaning your tone) just won’t go on without King of Tone tone and you must buy a clone…your next gig, your next worship service, will actually still take place with a Digitech Bad Monkey on your board. Will your tone be as good? Maybe not. But you know what? Without that King of Tone clone…and with that Digitech Bad Monkey…it will still be possible to get good tone and melt people’s hearts. Faces even, if you so desire. Tone is important; but we must not let it consume us so much that it begins to cloud our moral judgement.
And let me say that I still struggle with this. I’m far from being perfect. Did I throw away my cloned pedal when I got convicted and bought the original? Nope. Sold it. Looking back on it, that was morally ambiguous at best. And just the other day, I felt insecure about having a certain expensive piece of gear, so I suggested someone a cheaper clone of it if they wanted close to the same tone. So I fail just as much as the next person. But I really don’t want to anymore. And you may disagree with me, and I could be wrong. Absolutely. But I’m on a journey, and this is where I’m at right now. And to be quite honest, I’m not interested in looking back on this one. I believe I’ve been wrong, and I don’t want to go back to that place.
If you play an overtly cloned pedal, will you have better tone, and more money in your pocket? Probably. But making ‘better tone’ and ‘having more money in your pocket’ a basis for moral decisions is a slippery slope to start climbing. One from which I am still trying to make my way down.
Because it’s true. Free things are just better.
So I just finished an EP, and it’s free. It’s also the reason I’ve been gone from the blog a lot lately, and have posted very few gear demo’s. Because I’m actually playing the gear I have right now. Imagine that. To be honest, it almost frightens me. But I had a couple songs on the Hope for Japan and Hope for Joplin benefit compilations (please feel free to still show these great guys your support), and a couple others that were kind of in my heart, and I wanted to say thanks to everyone for supporting the first album. Especially those of you on this blog. The folks that like my Facebook Music page, I assume kind of dig ambient music, or like my daily Twitter posts about how cool the Timeline is. haha But I know from some of your comments, that some of you don’t care very much for ambient music, and you still bought the album. Maybe you thought, ‘If I give him money, maybe he’ll buy a new pedal to demo and say something stupid in the video again.’ Which is cool, too. hehe But either way, thanks. It means a lot.
So the EP is free, and it’s here: http://karlverkade.bandcamp.com
And here’s a live-looped song off of it. This was looped with the Strymon Timeline, but using the feature of looping post-delay. So the Timeline was also giving a nice washy tape delayed sound. And this is the first full ambient song video recorded since the return of the Prairiewood:
For the guitar geeks out there (unite!), the main sound is from the Damage Control Timeline on a full mix reverse delay. Blue Sky is on to wash it out, as is the Arion SAD-1. At certain points, you also hear the Brig for some single note swells, and the Arion SPH-1 & Hartman Germanium Fuzz for the swooshy stuff. And then, as mentioned above the new Timeline simultaneously for tape delay and looping. You can also see me making decisions as to what I think the song is calling for on the fly. It’s funny to watch. hehe
Once again, thanks guys and gals. I’ll try to get some gear demo’s and useful posts going soon here, too. Seriously sorry about that. I’m just having a lot of fun picking up the guitar and playing it right now, which is…odd? haha