The Sound That Keeps You Humble

Every time I think I’m awesome……I listen to this. And I realize I’m not. Not even a little.

I’ve got this song……that sends me back to the drawing board every time I hear it. Both tone-wise, and practice-wise. And in that sense, it may be the most important song I have ever heard. See, I’m a huge believer in never being satisfied–in always pushing yourself further. And I feel that songs like this are extremely important to have. And this might not be your song…which is even better. The point is to have those sounds in your own life, the ones that make your heart ache, and to be chasing those.

And not necessarily chasing the exact tone, or style, or note choice, or technique. But finding ways to evoke the same feelings you get from your ‘humility song’ in your own playing. So, every time I start to think highly of myself, I listen to this song. And it knocks me flat on my back like a Yngwie Malmsteen fan who just heard tone for the first time. (‘Tone’ meaning, anything besides Yngwie.) (And yes, I just said that.) The tone. The singing, screaming, aching tone. The musicianship. The simplicity. The notes he chooses. The feel. The sheer passion. And the overall sound that reaches through the speakers and pumps my heart for me for just a few seconds. And not what Bono is wearing. And yes, I said ‘Bono.’ Meaning, this is a U2 song. But, come on……was there ever any doubt? 😉

I give you…the sound that keeps me humble. Especially from 3:15-5:00.

And I’m hoping you all have songs like this, too. Doesn’t have to be this one. But something, anything, that grabs your soul and pushes you to hone your craft to a place where you’re giving the same feelings that your ‘humility song’ gives you. This song kills me every time I hear it. And I realize that I am not a rock star. Well, that and the fact that for a couple seconds yesterday during a set, it made perfect sense to me to play an ‘A’ note in the key of F#. With lots of delay on. That’ll keep you humble quick.


29 thoughts on “The Sound That Keeps You Humble

  1. Bad – Live in Paris

    Maybe that and Glen Hansard’s vocal on “When Your Mind’s Made Up” from the Once soundtrack.

    Put those two together somehow and you’ve got the tone and feeling that makes me want to work even harder and quit forever at the same time.

  2. Kenrick–I’m assuming the ‘yeah’ is in response to Edge’s awesomeness. (I assume what I want to.) hehe 😉

    Keith–yikes, bro. You just nailed two good ones right there. If I could put half the passion into my music that Glen Hansard does, I’d be stoked! Great stuff, brother!

    Randy–nice! That Gary Moore one is great. Interesting to hear the ‘singing’ he’s getting from the neck pickup. Way cool!

  3. I think for me, that song is The Beginning, by Showbread from the album Nervosa. There’s so much passion and conviction behind that song, I couldn’t help but cry every time I heard it for the first few months.

    Keith- A thousand times, yes! I love that song by Glen Hansard, it is so awesome on so many levels.

  4. Yikes. Can’t beat Edge. Ever.

    Also, Bono’s tone, especially during “Fools Rush In” really surprised me. I mean, I guess I always knew he could sing, but that was perfect tone.

    And +1 on Glen Hansard.

  5. Colty–sweet, bro! Actual tears? I’ve gotta check that song out!

    Ben–absolutely agree on Edge. In fact, I’m hugging you in spirit right now. lol

    And yes…it sounds weird to say, but I totally forget sometimes that Bono’s got pipes! :)

  6. hmm… Edge….
    I did a solo a couple weeks ago that had that tone from about 3:42…. and it lasted about 10 seconds. I was in shock. We did the same song for the second service and I completely forgot what I was playing. Elusive tone. Wow.

    For me there is also (don’t laugh) a song by Snow Patrol “Take Back the City” and there is this electric rhythm that comes in at about 2:40 that is just killer. Every time I hear that I get jealous.

  7. One of my favorite songs that I can listen to over and over, not just for the guitar, but the overall feel and groove of the song is The Freddy Jones Band, Daydream. The Video is pretty dorkariffic, but the song is great. I yearn to play, and get my band to play like this song. It’s like watching lazy windshield wipers dance in perfect rhythm – that feel.


  8. The guitar solo in Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. Stevie Ray’s rhythm playing. The Edge when he’s feelin majestic.

  9. For acoustic tone is would have to be tommy emmanuel. All Aussies know him – he makes me want to play and quit all at the same time! He ia a bit of a dork but blows my mind with the guitar… he is also the reason i wanted to get Maton guitars…


    For electric tone, I cant go past:


  10. its the first time i tried it today… to the right of the youtube vid there are two boxes… one for the URL and one for the embed code. Just copy and highlight the embed code and paste it into you comment…
    It kinds chokes up the page tho – i hope people dont mind scrolling past my two vids… or maybe just watch them and be mesmerised!! i could post so many more… from U2, coldplay, crowded house…. ah, music – its so good.

  11. I saw Tommy Emmanuel play on a thing on public tv. The guy is not only a great player but entertaining too. Great pick.

  12. I really didn’t know what to comment on other then total agreement, I mean the first time I heard that I was a lonely missionary in mexico, and it had some significance for me, which I won’t bore people here with, but yeah, that’s just awesome.

  13. Larry–Snow Patrol? Fantastic! They’ve got some great stuff. But more importantly, that’s stellar that you’ve got a ‘humility song.’ I have tones, and most of them do center around U2. hehe 😉

    Tom–nice! I just checked that out. Lovin’ the dotted eighth delay. And great description with the windshield wipers. That was cool.

    Mark–‘The Edge when he’s feelin majestic.’ –Words to live by. 😉

    Cam–nice stuff! That Emmanuel guy is pretty groovin’. And of course, Mayer has some songs that humble me in the first three notes. hehe

    Randy–yep, what Cam said! :)

    Cam–post ’em all!! hehe

    Mark–I need to check out more of him.

    Kenrick–that’s awesome. I’m in total agreement with you. And very cool to hear that song has some emotional ties for you. It has some for me, too. It just might be one the most well-written and evocative pieces I have yet to hear.

  14. Yeah, real tears. It was mostly just the time in my life I heard it, but it’s a powerful song, nonetheless. The tone might not be phenomenal, but I never payed attention to the tone if you get what I mean.

    Also, Snow Patrol is awesome. As much as it’s been overplayed and how slightly sappy it is, I still like Chasing Cars a lot.

  15. Well maybe just a few more.. but then i will stop…


    Crowded House – Fall at Your Feet, one of the best songs ever written IMO. Neil Finn is simply brilliant singer/songwriter.


    Coldplay – Chris Martin has an unbelievable vocal quality live. We saw them live in Jan and i was agast at his vocal control esp in his falsetto. This is an obscure song but is simple and has a great Jonny Buckland abience part near the end…


    I will now stop before i completely annoy people…

  16. Colty–right on! I’ve got some songs, too, that bring me real tears. Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’ will do it for me every time, even though it’s been covered to death lately.

    And I still love that Snow Patrol song, too! That and ‘Delilah’ by Plain White T’s are some of my guilty pleasure songs. I love ’em, but I can’t say I do, because they got overplayed so much that they’re no longer cool. hehe 😉

    Cam–nice! That Crowded House song is great! And the Coldplay song sounds suspiciously like the ripped off Crowded House. Hmm. I’m just kidding, bro. 😉 But now you did whet my appetite…which Coldplay song are you talking about? If it’s got Johnny Buckland ambiance…mmmm.

  17. Cam – Neil Finn and Crowded House are great! Distant Sun is one of my favorites. The last album was strong and I would still like to figure out how to get the Eventide type sound at the beginning ‘A Sigh’.

    Michael Hedges – Two Days Old (live cd version)
    Idaho – Stare at the Sky
    Chris Whitley – Narcotic Prayer
    U2 – Beautiful Day bridge section from the cd. They don’t play the harmonizer + sweep echo part live but it is just beautiful.

  18. this is an everyday occurrence for me. every time i hear a guitar part that just fits the song like a glove, it hits me. tone is really subjective … subjective to the music. i used to have this mantra: i might not be as technical, at least my tone sounds good. since i started recording some tracks for my own use, i found that tone is really under the mercy of the song in whatever genre it is to be used.

    having said that, i love Crowded House as well :)

  19. Oh man, that’s such a good song, too. Entirely too many people have covered it, but it’s still a really great song. Regina Spektor does a very, very nice version.

    Oh yeah, can’t forget that song. It’s funny, because most pop songs are actually written decent, they’re just done terribly, dig?

    One song that I can listen to for days is Carousels by mewithoutYou. The album version is really good, but this live version just has some freaky charm to it. I promise you, they’re all in relatively stable mental health. Probably better than most of us, actually. Look up the lyrics first, then watch the video.


    “If I didn’t have You as my God, I’d still be wandering, lost in Sinai, down at the tracks, watching trains go by to remind me, there are places that aren’t here.”

  20. +1 for that edge solo and +1 for glen hansard
    that is one of the greatest guitat solos I’ve ever seen.
    This is my humblesong – John Butler – Ocean

  21. Ok I have one more – Stevie Ray Vaughn doing Hendrix Little Wing:


    I don’t think it gets any better, does it?

  22. That’s cool but I’ll take his version of Voodoo Chile over Little Wing for pure ‘in your face’ tone and vibe.


  23. nice work from me – stuff up a copy and paste effort right after giving a tutorial on copying and pasting!!

    here it is…


  24. Dan–great choices! (And U2 is in there, so I’m automatically happy.)

    Rhoy–great points. hehe I can’t say anything, because I can’t say it any better than you did!

    Colty–I totally hear ya on the pop songs. Some of them are incredibly well-written!

    And I’m liking that mewithoutYou stuff. Very cool!

    Ben–I love that John Butler song. And I’ll give a plus one as well to Edge and Glen Hansard. 😉 Love it.


    Randy–okay, I guess Stevie can play. 😉

    Cam–lol And nice find on that Coldplay song! That’s a great one.

  25. I know this is an old thread but my “humble song” is heaven by angels and airwaves. Everything I hear that song I picture the words in my hear and the amazing and simple instrumentation comes in…its amazing. That entire song is perfect (in my opinion.)

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