The Idea of Tone…

…is sometimes far greater than tone itself. That’s one of the reasons that gear is so cool. You can look at my rig, see a Tyler strat, and assume I sound good. (And I don’t own a Tyler strat right now…just a dream i have. 😉 hehe) Without ever actually hearing any art. Which isn’t necessarily bad…as long as the art, and in the highest form, art for the glory of the Creator, does follow at some point. Which is why after a very lengthy post on tone and a new pedalboard, without ever showing any sounds, it is most likely a good time to try to start grabbing emotions again. The emphasis, of course, as always, being on the ‘try.’ But we do want to make sure that we always maintain the focus that the gear, although wonderful (oh so wonderful), is a wonderful tool. Just a pallet and a paintbrush.

So, definitely waxing a little too poetic here, without the benefit of the ‘poetic’ part. But couple that with the many requests I received to hear the pedalboard actually being played (novel concept I’m sure…ya, apologies for not including that in the first pedalboard post, hehe), I give you the world premiere of the brand new song, ‘Awake…or Turning Random Knobs on a Pedalboard I Don’t Know What to do With’:

For those of you interested, that’s a Timeline doing the looping, another one doing the swells, and then a Memory Lane and an SAD-1 for warmth. Subdecay phase for, well…phase, and a Hartman Germanium Fuzz for the bowish swells, with a Mosferatu for the feedback holding-ish stuff. Oh ya, and the octavey shimmer was provided by an RV3 into a POG, mixed politely by the Dan Burgess parallel looper. George Dennis volume pedal, but who cares about the volume pedal right? It doesn’t delay anything! hehe 😉

So, I hope at least some type of emotion was conveyed by that. Come on, something to help me justify the board! haha But I am going to be trying to record different pieces like this quite often, and offering them for download here:

Soundclick Downloads

I do apologize, but since these are pieces, rather than backdrops for ministering through worship music, they’re not free. But the ambient pads in the 12 keys are and will always remain, free. But that should be all academic, as I doubt most of us who frequent this blog spend our money on anything that doesn’t have strings, a tube, or a true bypass switch. 😉 Nevertheless, I’ve gotta pay for my gear habit one way or the other. Hey, at least I’m honest.

So that was a bit of the new pedalboard doing pedalboard stuff. And what do you know! No dotted 8th delay anywhere to be heard! I almost feel a little bit dirty.


54 thoughts on “The Idea of Tone…

  1. Funny you should mention it, I was messing around with making a pad using just an untimed analog delay, and I found myself subconsciously turning that untimed delay into dotted quarters.

    I think I need a few more delays so I can stack them. And a POG.

  2. Beautiful. I think what attracted me most about this video is all the blinking lights which makes the cool factor go way way up.

    Nicely done Karl. I have been around a long time and don’t know anyone who puts the effort in these things like you. I be braggin on you…

  3. I still can’t figure out how to hide the attack on my strings when trying to make a pad sound :( When I do it there is no swell into the held note and I don’t get NEARLY the sustain on the notes.

    • I have a volume pedal and have everything ‘off’ and then I NAIL the strings hard then slowly increase volume on the pedal. It takes a bit of practice, but its the easiest thing. The hardest part is realizing you don’t hit the strings on rhythm- on beat. You hit before the beat then begin the swell on the beat to get it to blend!

  4. Yea I use the auto volume echo…. maybe my settings got messed up though. I’ll have to redo this video and see if it changes it.

  5. Hippie Killer–thanks for the kind words, brother. A little too kind, but I’ll take it! haha Mmm…Daniel Lanois is the man.

    Sam–haha Thanks, bro. If you’re gonna listen to it all day, I’ll try to record a happier one soon. haha

    Anonymous–well, thanks for the kind words. Could you let Coldplay know that I’m a professional musician? I’d really like for them to know that. Oh, and ask them to call me. lol Eh, that sounded way funnier in my head.

    Rhoy–thanks, brother.

    Ben–lol I do the same thing! hehe And more delays and a POG…that can never be a bad thing. hehe

    Sal Hamby–well, of course. The blinking lights are the whole point. hehe I barely hear the sound in the video. 😉 But thanks for the kind words. Means a lot coming from a guitarist such as yourself.

    Ben G & Dan–for me, the trick is to put the volume pedal after the drives, but before the delay. Then put the delay to a setting with lots of repeats and a fairly long delay time, and turn on some drive. And then practice with the volume pedal…it does take a bit to get it all sync’d in your head and hands. On the M13, can you use an expression pedal as a volume pedal, and insert it between the drives and delays? I’m not sure. I’m pretty sure it has an effects loop though; and you could put an external volume pedal in the effects loop, and then program the M13 so the effects loop comes after the drives and before the delays. Forgive me if I’m wrong, I don’t own an M13. hehe

    James–thanks for the kind words. I really do appreciate it. It’s always awkward to put your own music up. Much easier just to take pictures of the gear and hope everyone just assumes. haha And I usually take that route. :)

    Dan-thanks, brother. Ya, it’s a very decent phaser. Best one I’ve found that’s smaller than the Moog. :)

    Ben G–ya, a friend of mine does have an M13, and the auto volume really works for him. :)

    Don–thanks for the encouragement, my friend. :)

  6. Pingback: Tonight « Confessions of a Wanna Be Guitar Player

  7. lol at the computers comment. Thanks, Sam. You’re right, there is a point to this song, and it is supposed to be contemplative. I just wonder sometimes if what I’m trying to convey with the song, translates to others. And it looks like it did, at least to you! Thanks, brother. That’s encouraging.

  8. Abosolutly amazing! The Timeline is such an awesome delay. 2 of them are even better. Every time I play mine I ‘m so glad I took the time to watch your videos. Thank you for the inspiration. See you soon. Packing today


  9. Karl,

    I enjoy the blog very much and have been following it for some time now. It’s nice to know there is someone out there who shares my same passion for gear, guitar, how it’s incorporated into worship and an unhealth dose of obsession with The Edge!

    If you don’t mind, I have a question for you that I have not found an answer to any where else. Do you know of any ways to run two delay pedals in parallel, w/o one delay feeding into the other, into a single amp? I’ve tried using the boss line selector as a loop function (essentially splitting my signal, sending it to 2 delay pedals via send & return, and the output sent to my amp), but it alters the tone of my signal and I lose a lot of clarity in the delays. I was wondering if I was to use a 2 switch master-loop, would that would allow me to operate the two delay pedals in parallel? Thanks!

  10. Mark–right on! So stoked you’ve got a Timeline! Can’t wait to hear it, bro. :)

    Ryan–great to have another Edge fan here, and gear junkie, and worship musician! :)

    As for the delays, there’s a couple things you could do. You could special order a parallel looper from Loop-Master (they come stock as series loops), or you could split your signal right before the two pedals using a Lehle 1 at 2 pedal. Then run one line into the first delay, and the other into the second. Then put the signals back together using a Lehle 2 at 1. You could also use a Morley ABY box for this, but I believe the Lehle’s are buffered and specifically designed for applications such as this. Hope that helps! Cheers!

  11. Very Pretty. I could definitely sit and pray with that in the background. Takes my mind off this world. Maybe even listen while memorizing scripture. Or just reading the descriptions of Heaven in Revelation.

  12. Great sounding stuff Karl. I love your spacey pad sounding stuff. I just purchased the Boss RV-3 and was wondering how you had yours set up to get that feel?

  13. Collin–thanks, brother! My RV3 is actually in a parallel looper with the POG. So, I run the RV3 on setting 11, tone at 10 o’clock, time at 1 o’clock, and mix all the way up. Then I control the mix of it and the POG with the parallel looper. Hope that helps! :)

    Ben G–no worries. I’m still learning how they work, too! In an amp, an effects loop is a patch in the circuit that comes after the preamp section, and before the power amp section. The idea is that, since most of your overdrive comes from your preamp section, that if you run your amp fairly distorted without overdrive pedals, you can then patch in your delays and modulations after the overdriven preamp. Because delays and mods don’t sound very good into a really distorted amp. Personally, I use pedals to push my amp into overdrive, so I don’t use the effects loop. But I would if I ran most of my overdrive from cranking the gain on the amp.

    There are also bypass loop pedals, which some people call effects loops. Those allow you to hardwire a pedal in and out of your signal chain, to avoid tone loss due to cable length and/or a tone sucking circuit. I hope that helps! :)

  14. So it’s a different signal chain than the standard from your guitar through pedals into your amps input? I guess I’m kind of confused as to how you get the effects loop in between your pre amp and power amp?

  15. It’s more like making your effects plug in to your amp. So, normally signal goes:


    But the effects loop essentially breaks your amp up into its preamp and power amp. So the signal would be:

    Guitar–>overdrive pedals–>Amp preamp–>effects loop with delay and modulation pedals–>Amp power amp.

    It’s like splicing in effects into your amp, as if they were built in to it. I suppose that’s the best way to put it. And the only way to get an effects loop in your amp is to either buy an amp with one already installed, or have a tech install one for you. It’s not something you can buy and plug in. It has to be built into the amp.

  16. Don’t take this wrong but I do see another use for this sound you’re making Karl, one that could lead to income $$

    When we were having our house built we lived in a trailer for many months. We did have electricity so we bought a CD of similar sounds to go to sleep by ( stressful period ).

    I know, using your sounds for contemplation, prayer, etc sounds better, but maybe you should market it in other ways.

  17. Well, I totally appreciate the sentiments. And it would be an amazing dream come true were I able to make somewhat of a living selling stuff like this. So, thanks bro, that’s really encouraging! :)

  18. It’s becoming a little disconcerting when I’m surfing youtube, see something , and immediately think of this blog. :-) I was going to say this could be Karl in 20 years teaching about Ambient sounds, but the Berklee instructor in the video put me fast asleep after 20 seconds.

  19. Josh–I’m using the George Dennis optical volume pedal. Very little, if any, tone suck. It’s one of those sleeper pedals. Only downside is that it’s active, so it does need to run off of a power supply. But it’s a really good pedal.

    Nater2–ya, I still run the EB Jr. for my pads, because it’s passive, and that’s really important for me in that 2nd rig. They do tend to break down a lot, but I’ve found that one of the main reasons they break down is because of dust and wear on the pot and the ultra-cheap rubber band connector. So, it’s helped mine a lot to keep it in the ‘fully on’ position (all the way up), whenever my rig is off. Keeps the pot and band protected.

  20. What is the world is going on in that board? What is that custom audio electronics pink/peach/girlie colored box on the top of his board?

    • Ben,

      I am going to guess that the Bradshaw box at the top of the board connects the board to his rack. I could be wrong on this, but he’s been running a (I think) 10 space rack for quite a while and it seems like the board wouldn’t cover the same territory. I will add this, he is a working guitarist who (in addition to various worship gigs) is a pretty regular session guy, and has toured with at least one national level band.

      I’ll ask about the Bradshaw box, and see if he’s going to post more details.

  21. What is the teal box on the bottom. Is that basically the same as Karl’s loop controller’s or is it something different?

  22. I’d have to go back and look, but I assume it is (based on earlier incarnations of his rig) either a loop controller or a MIDI controller. Hope that helps. I’m trying to get some more detail, I’ll let you know if I do.

  23. Craig–see, that makes me feel better. :)

    Dan–aye. 😀

    Sam–lol Seriously! Those Cornish pedals would go for a ton!

    Craig–and probably same here.

    Ben G–ya, probably a lot of midi switching for rack components.

    Craig–nice. I can’t say it any better.

  24. Is it wrong that I keep going to the JHS website to gaze longingly at the picture of what my Satchurator will be at some point?

  25. Ya, you gotta jump through some hoops for those. I don’t have the patience. (Or the money. hehe) And no, I certainly hope it’s not wrong to gaze at your finished Satchurator. Otherwise, I’ve got some repentance to do for my last 5 years of Gear Page. hehehe

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