First off, thank you so much to everyone who has encouraged me with this giving away of the ambient pads endeavor. And those of you who have both encouraged and donated. It is appreciated more than you probably know. It’s really, really nice to know that these might be able to be used to aid in the worship of God through music at different churches around the country. Or venues. Or bars. Maybe even more true acting out of worship goes on when His teachings are lived out at bars rather than just churches. Just a thought. But to everyone reading, thank you! And pads in C and Eb are now up as well. Just six more keys, and then I’ll move into some layered and more melodically driven pads.

Now for the humility part. And I’m always positive that it is like, the 276th time I’ve talked about humility here. I love humility because I don’t have it. I always end up posting tons of stuff that I’ve done wrong and been an idiot about during worship (this last weekend I accidentally hit a patch on one of the Timelines called ‘Digital Storm’…which I created accidentally one day, and have absolutely no idea what to do with because it overtakes your entire rig…and it sounded…well, just like you’re thinking it sounded), in hopes that that brand of ‘easy humility’ (let’s face it, it’s a bunch of guitarists here and most of us can relate) will appease my responsibility for ‘true humility’, such as actually listening to what someone else is saying and seeing if I can help, rather than chomping at the bit to spit out my answer for them so that we can then move on to more important matters; i.e.what I want to talk about. I.e. Tubes and delay.

So here’s some humility. I’ve been getting asked a lot to show the chord voicings that I use for some of the ambient stuff, including the pads. Where’s the humility in that? Well…it sounds a lot harder than it is. When I show what my hands are doing to create those sounds, it’s like…’Oh. Good job playing that one chord you know.’ ;) I did think for a second about just playing a pad through my amp, and then turning the volume down on my guitar, and just doing crazy nonsense all over the fretboard so that it looked like it took much more Eddie Van Halen-ness than it does, but… So I turned my camera on while recording one of the pads that hasn’t been used yet, because it’s a little more melodically dense than the ones I’m posting just for background sounds. But you can see my hands, the voicings I use, the pedals I turn on, and the fact that for some reason I apparently bite my lower lip when playing ambient stuff. It’s awkward. My version of the John Mayer face I suppose. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. Not having his face, but being him. Him as a guitarist. Not a person. And not that his face is bad, but he is a dude. And so am I. And he’s not Brad Pitt. Hmm. Getting in trouble again.

John Mayer
(This is John Mayer biting his lower lip. I had no idea that I do the exact same thing. I would prefer this to mean that John and I share the same musical splendor. Unfortunately, I think the truth is much sadder, and might have something to do with me subconsciously pretending I am famous people. And if you’re giving me the benefit of the doubt right now and thinking I’m just being hard on myself, uh…wait until you see the video. Ya. It’s depressing. And I must admit, extremely amusing. hehe ;) )

So here’s the video of the voicings and pedals. As for voicings, it’s incredibly simple:

  • Stay with 1′s and 5′s.
  • 3rd’s for color.
  • 2nd’s and 7th’s use sparingly as passing notes.
  • 6th’s can be passing notes too, but use even more sparingly.
  • 4th’s are for tension and need to be used poignantly and must resolve.

Then mix those in a way that draws out the feelings and sounds in your head.

And for the effects used:

  • Phaser (slow setting)–>
  • Volume Pedal–>
  • Digital Delay (long time and repeats, high ‘warmth’ and decent modulation)–>
  • Analog Delay (high and slow modulation)–>
  • Digital Delay (multitap setting, low mix and very high repeats)–>
  • Analog Delay (short time and lots of repeats)

Delay is good. And the video that shows me doing nothing:


So I’ll try to post these reverse camera angles of what I’m actually playing (which is basically one chord, just re-voiced constantly, lol) during the videos and recordings from time to time, as so many have asked. And I’ll try to have the rest of the pads up as soon as I can. Unfortunately, I do have my actual job…so I can’t record all day. And I live in an apartment…which means the neighbors aren’t quite as giddy as I am when the bass response shakes the walls. (Mmmm…bass response.) So I have to record in stints. But I promise, once Coldplay calls and tells me I’ve got the tone they’ve been dreaming of, and that they’ll give me a full-time gig only if I promise not to upstage them each night (hehehe sarcasm, people), I’ll record free pads all day. :) But until that time, I really don’t have any money mainly because whenever I actually have it, someone invents a new delay pedal. And unfortunately, I tend to use delay pedals as if they were a savings account. However, I did get an email from Twitter the other day, offering me a job I could do at home in my spare time, consisting of just sending tweets. I’m not trying to brag or anything, but apparently they are offering me upwards of $3500 a day to do this. So, I got that going for me. ;)

Anyway, thanks again to everyone reading, for the encouragement, and I really hope these posts, videos, and pads are of some use in just maybe creating a bit more of an atmosphere where people can let go and connect emotionally with the God who loves them…a lot. Oh ya. And if you messed up this weekend during the worship music, just think ‘digital storm’, and feel better.