I think I’m just an obsessive person. I thought it was just music, but then I started wondering what I used to do with my time before I just focused constantly on tone, gear, guitars, and music. Like, literally, sometimes I look forward to my half-hour commute to work because I’m just dreaming of all that uninhibited upon time in which I will be able to think solely on new signal paths for my board. And then I remembered that before I was in to music, it was actually the same; walking out of a baseball stadium with my dad at 10 years old, bawling my eyes out because my favorite player had only gotten a double instead of a triple, which would then lower him in the American League leaders for total bases. (I know my dad worried about his male child at times.) Ten years later, I’d pout outside of my truck after a church service for literal hours when my tone or playing wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Until my girlfriend would kindly ask if I wouldn’t mind brooding about my tone while we ate something and didn’t get questioned by parking lot security. Nothing has changed. This is all I think about:

  • Turn up a little louder than you think you’ll need to, and then play with a lighter touch than you want to. It’s almost like creating your own clean headroom, and at least for me, I find my tone seems to be singing more and choking less.
  • I can’t tell you how much I adore having that Boss RV3 on my board. I watch people’s faces as they come up to my board and are about to rail me for the snobbishness that unfortunately blue led’d pedals emit, and then the RV3 renders them speechless. Which is funny, because it cost me almost double what I spent on my Fulltone Fatboost.
  • Step back every once in a while, and let the song talk to you, and tell you what notes it wants where. I know that sounds like something a frat guy with the munchies would say after watching Matrix for the first time, but it really does switch your brain into a different gear that’ll change the way you play. And you’ll start to find more melodies and gripping lines that way, even after you’ve stopped consciously being all zen.
  • This is the second time I’ve bought a Murf, spent an afternoon of loving amazement playing with the different sounds, and then went ‘Huh.’ And put it on Ebay.
  • I am loving my Valvulator more than I thought was possible. If it had a little delay knob, I think the world might literally stop spinning.
  • I was playing with a worship leader friend of mine who was leading with electric, and when the sound guy told him he was too loud, he replied that he would try to back off his vocal mic more. It didn’t work, but it was a valiant effort.
  • Did you know that ZVex power plates are like 30 bucks? And that you can just take off a couple screws from the backplate, and stick a $2 battery clip adapter at the end of a jumper cable and it works just as well? I just discovered that, actually.
  • Ever look down at your pedalboard during a set and go, ‘How long has that been on?’
  • Ever think to yourself after looking down at your pedalboard during a set and going ‘How long has that been on?’ that if you didn’t notice it being on for the whole set, then why do you even have that pedal anyway?
  • I’ll take floor monitors over in-ears any day. (Provided you still have a headphone preamp to run click to at least the drummer’s ear…preferably yours as well. ;) )
  • Jay-Z and Mr. Hudson singing ‘Forever Young’ on SNL was one of the worst things I have ever heard. And I used to listen to Squad Five-O.

Splendid.
Karl.