Guitar Ghetto & Matchless & Fender & Theology

  • Ever passionately argue for something and then get deja vu of passionately arguing for something years ago like solid state built-in DSP effects and then end up totally doubting what you’re currently arguing for because you realize what a goober you are?
  • I remember the exact date and time when I bought my Matchless. It’s like a photo in my mind. A photo of gazing at the amp in the front seat while I probably should have been watching the other Hollywood Boulevard drivers telling me I was number one. I’m pretty sure this is bad. But I’m really hoping someone else here remembers the exact date of their favorite gear purchase. 9-9-09 for me. That’s called fate right there. Incredibly toneful fate. Maybe a little more toneful in someone else’s hands…but hey. Practice is for people who play Fender’s. ;) Oh wait…I still have my Blues Junior, and like it. But it has the green tolex (tonetolex I like to call it…like tonewood), so that doesn’t count
  • Anyone else been told at a music store lately that ‘We don’t have it in stock, but we can order it for you!’ So I get to pay full retail, plus shipping, plus tax, plus your middleman cut, and I have to wait for it to be shipped, and I have to come back to your store to pick it up. You know, there’s this little thing now you may have heard of called the internet…
  • Honestly, I’m not trying to disparage these stores. Just honestly wondering how they’re going to stay in business. I guess the ones who can’t cater to the young, inexperienced players who don’t know they shouldn’t pay that much for the new ‘black-coated’ strings, do go out of business or at least move their stores online. Vintage Gear Hollywood, the last vestige of Guitar Ghetto, is now gone. Guitar Ghetto is now Suburban Guitar Corner…Samash, Guitar Center, Carvin, and Mesa. Luckily that Guitar Center has a great selection of used and boutique stuff, but it’s just not the same as it used to be when every other store was some hole-in-the-wall pedal place or old synth shop. I’ve been told that all those guys have moved online or to Silverlake to avoid paying the Sunset rent. Which is awesome for them. Still sad for Guitar Ghetto.
  • Struggled very, very much this week with picking or not picking a song that I knew would get a huge emotional response from the congregation, but is theologically ‘slightly unbalanced’, shall we say. And in the end, the set is going to be slightly less cool, emotional, and cutting edge; and slightly more theologically sound. Wow, that makes me sound like a prude. hehe But I do think that sometimes we can get so into the ‘epic’ (most overused word ever right now) worship, that we forget to read the lyrics.
  • And no, I’m not going to say what song, for fear of being excommunicated. ;) And/or shot.
  • Still waiting patiently on a Timeline and a Prairiewood. And the ‘patiently’ part is a lie. ;) hehehe But huge props to Robert Dixon and Strymon for fixing them. And I’m not going to say how many things Strymon has fixed for me in the past. hehe (But it’s a lot.)
  • I should probably start taking better care of my stuff. But that would be so much less rock ‘n roll.
  • And of course I’m very rock ‘n roll, with my ambient delay swells at 60 beats per minute over a Simon and Garfunkle chord progression.
  • Does picking up a guitar qualify us to lead a person spiritually? Nothing to read into there, just asking.
  • Is picking up a guitar or placing our fingers on a keyboard the unspoken entry point to being able to discern the leading of the Spirit? And yep, go ahead and read into that one all you want! :)
  • Sometimes I try to tell myself that I don’t love delay so much, but then after a few minutes I have to turn it back on and explain to it that my fling with dry tone was just a one-time thing and it will never happen again.
  • In trying to get the transitions smooth, I didn’t move my capo right away as I switched keys by playing high up on the neck. Then the big solo lead strum sliding into the huge G form chord that’s really a B because of the capo and……so, that was an A.


49 thoughts on “Guitar Ghetto & Matchless & Fender & Theology

  1. “Struggled very, very much this week with picking or not picking a song that I knew would get a huge emotional response from the congregation, but is theologically ‘slightly unbalanced’, shall we say. And in the end, the set is going to be slightly less cool, emotional, and cutting edge; and slightly more theologically sound. Wow, that makes me sound like a prude. hehe But I do think that sometimes we can get so into the ‘epic’ (most overused word ever right now) worship, that we forget to read the lyrics.”


  2. “Ever passionately argue for something and then get deja vu of passionately arguing for something years ago like solid state built-in DSP effects and then end up totally doubting what you’re currently arguing for because you realize what a goober you are?”

    I am a guitar child of the 80′s. When I’m scouring the internet these days, for old beat beat up analog things, I still sometimes get deja’vu of getting all excited every time I read the word “digital” on a piece of equipment in the 80′s. “Oh look this one’s DiGiTaL ReAdY!, and I’ve been needing an A/B box!”

    Congratulations Karl- You are growing – soon you’ll be telling us how happy you are with your CS3>Bad Monkey>Hot Rod Deluxe rig and I, for one, won’t judge you.

  3. Matthew–thanks, bro.

    Tim–haha Looking forward to playing with you tomorrow too, and I so miss guitar ghetto as well. :(

    Don–haha That was an awesome comment.

    Jeff–lol Nice. Reminds me of some of the Fender amps from the ’70′s that proudly display ‘SOLID STATE’ on the nameplates. hehe

    And I was getting to the CS3/Bad Monkey phase. But I think the return of the Matchless has put a huge damper on that. The RV600 might balance it out though. ;)

  4. Oh transitions ! A good keyboard player could help with that. I can see jumping through some hoops to get seamless transitions between the slower, quieter songs, but can you end a rousing song in a way that leads to another? If left to my own devices I usually end those “with a bang.” Not like Pete Townsend, but still pretty abrupt.

    Something wrong with the whole equation here. The thought just came to me that the big chord that ends a song naturally leads to applause and time for the band to gear up for the next one. Except we’re in church not the local arena so instead you get mostly silence. We have a new couple in church and the wife is very “talkative” during songs. When I was not leading one week she annoyed me with all of her Amens and Praise Hims etc, etc. But when leading worship and I hear that between songs it not only seems like a little affirmation, but tends to fill the void before I can get the next song going.

    “We pour out our misery, God just hears a melody”

  5. I always agonize over transitions and I agree with Randy, keyboards help with those SO so much (especially if you have a capo on for one song and don’t need it on the next). Ah, good times.

  6. i was hoping there would be some mention of U2 in here somewhere so when i wrote a comment i could casually ask your opinion of what “with or without you” is talking about?….but since there is no mention anywhere i’ll refrain from asking. (but upon reading my post now i just realized i asked…..dang it)

  7. Decent article here on transitions Since we don’t have a keyboard right now, we don’t rehearse enough and I set the keys to fit our voices I think I like the idea of someone reading a verse or two of scripture to transition to the next song. I’ve used that on songs like “I am a friend of God” because I thought some would think the song was irreverent but it’s right there in the Bible. Other than that sticking with one capo position for the songs prior to our pause for prayer in the set is about the best I can do. I don’t really want to get into the volume pedal thing but last week I did slowly roll off the guitar volume at the end of one song — much better than letting the electric guitar sustain ( with delay of course ) and then mute it all of a sudden to slap on a capo.

  8. Rhoy–haha Absolutely!

    Randy–ya, I try never to rely on applause for transitions. Because sometimes it doesn’t happen! lol Love your quote at the end!

    KennyG & Randy–haha On transitions, the funny thing was, this was at a place where they have an incredible keyboard player. But the music director wanted to end the one song on a big distorted A Chord, then click in 4 on the new tempo while the A is fading out on my guitar, and then start right away with the guitar riff in B for the new song. The guitar riff doesn’t ever stop, so at some point, I was going to have to put on some delay and swell part of the riff, then reach my other hand over and switch the capo. Or just play bar chords or A form chords so that the capo could stay on the second fret and I could still play in B. But I thought I would be much cooler if I could do the magic hands capo trick. But alas…I am very much not cool. hehehe

    Derek–haha There’s always a mention of U2 in here! Even if there’s not, it’s just understood. hehehe

    On With or Without You, according to that U2byU2 book, it’s a song Bono wrote about getting addicted to music and touring and pouring his soul out every night in front of people. And there came a point where he started resenting his wife and family because in order to be a husband, it meant he couldn’t keep his love affair with music going every single night. So the song is really a stream of consciousness about his struggle of basically having an affair with music, and the ‘You’ refers sometimes to music, and sometimes to his wife.

    And that’s according to that book, and assuming that I’m remembering it right. :)

    Ben G–I know, I get a little nervous every time, too. Did I put the tubes in all the way? Did I miss a slot? hehe But the only time I ever blew anything up was when I bought the ‘NOS military tubes’ from the snakeoil salesman on ebay. hehehe

    Randy–ya, one capo position helps, and keeping songs in one key helps. When I lead, almost all the songs are in the same key, even if that means changing them from their original key. I haven’t quite gotten the other churches I play with to do this yet, though. hehe They just say, ‘Karl, can you end this song in Bb with a cool guitar riff and then modulate to Gb with your ambient swells? And can you not have any dead space while you switch pedals?’ Sure. :D

  9. “We pour out our misery, God just hears a melody” that’s from a recent song Amy Grant sings: Better than a Hallelujah. I was going to say I have poor vocal range but the “capo switchage” may also be to avoid certain chords. I have tended to put the key right in my vocal sweet spot but honestly if you can sing it at Capo2 it’s hard to imagine not being able to sing at Capo 1 or 3 and if that means quick transitions then I should do it.

    Putting them all in one key? For me that would mean picking the songs primarily to get all one key. An example, I do Blessed be the Name in G or A and Christy Nockels’ A Might Fortress in C ( G capo 5). Can’t do Fortress in G or A and can’t do Blessed in C. Ok, maybe I should look at Fortress in C with no capo, although I do like that “mandolin-like” sound at capo 5.

    I think a scripture verse reading during key changes might be the best for us.

  10. Scripture reading is the oldest trick in the book… not to mention it is totally appropriate to refocus the congregation if you pick one that applies to the particular next song… We used to do it ALL the time when we did youth worship.

  11. ah, the guitar chord fade-out then a count-in to the new tempo/feel … more often than not, we play the next song with exactly the same tempo/feel as the previous one. not very cool ;)

    i am not a worship leader (meaning singer/vocalist) and always dislike when they start playing acoustic after every song ending because they feel like there’s a gap in between the songs. maybe it’s just me, but a short pause after a song doesn’t bother me at all … even if i’m in the pews :)

  12. Did you ever eat at El Compadre across the street from GC? My wife didn’t mind me looking at all of the stores around there as long as we went to eat afterwards at the dimly lit Tarantino-esque restaurant. You guys are lucky to have Tone Merchants, Westwood, and Truetone – maybe some of the best stores in the country.

  13. Okay I’m gonna blow off some steam: So I am primarily a lead player and I’m 15.I was playing bass this weekend at a retreat and I’m not a really good bass player by any means but I’m not TOO bad. Anyways, I just got frustrated a lot because a lot of people don’t actually take bass players/younger people seriously.One example: I was using a Tech 21 sansamp DI and I was trying to EQ it and get the levels right and the lead guitarist just walks over and says “What are you doing?”(I guess me stepping back and then changing knobs on my pedal wasn’t obvious enough). Really? So I’m mostly just venting right now but I guess the moral is don’t be mean to bass players/people that might be on the younger side. I don’t know

  14. FYE is the worst about asking you if they can order said product they don’t have in stock. Which, oddly enough, is anything good. The 4 times a year I actually walk in that store I go through my checklist of CD’s I want and they usually don’t have them. For 10 years now I always reply, “I can order it as well.” Wow, thought I was the only person who picked up on that. Our local music is really bad about that as well. Injury to insult as their prices are about 15-25% higher than anything online. Plus, they are kind of jerks. One of my lotto fantasies is after winning millions I will open a store as close to them as possible and sell things as cheap as I can get away with just to drive them out of business. However, I have never bought a lotto ticket and that would probably not be very Christian or something.

  15. I love your posts dude! Their funny, insightful and they confirm for me that I’m not really all that crazy…I so remember buying my LP, I must have left it hanging on my wall for two weeks (like it was in the guitar store) just so that I could look at it and enjoy all the nuances of what heritage sunburst was meant to be! My wife’s like “…are you going to play it?” Oh yeah that is why I bought it!!!! So awesome…yes and it sounds great!

  16. I know this isn’t teeechnically a post about rigs but I need advice on a new overdrive pedal so I figured I should ask on here. Anyway! I have:
    Vox AC15 amp
    Gretsch Electromatic
    Fender Standard Stratocaster
    Fender Standard Ash Telecaster
    Keeley Compressor
    MI Audio Blues Pro
    Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive
    Dunlop Wah
    Ernie Ball Volume
    TC Electronics Nova Delay
    I need another overdrive. I’ve gone through both an OCD and a Fulldrive 2 from Fulltone and hate them both, and I don’t have time to wait for a Tim or Timmy pedal. What would your advice be?

  17. Randy–ya, that could be a good idea, especially when the verse-reading adds to the worship. :)

    Rhoy–oh, that’s cool to hear. I always think people are freaking out when there’s space. haha I guess I’m just an ambient wash guy through and through…no dead space! hehe

    Dan–ah, wish we had! These days unfortunately, I’m mostly at California Vegan across the street. hehe And True Tone is fabulous, as is Tone Merchants. Haven’t checked out Westwood yet, but ya, we are pretty lucky down here. There was just something about the little vintage shops that was way cool.

    Nater2–I’m guessing he was sarcastic and not just curious? That sucks, bro. I remember when I was younger, we had a guest band playing at our church and our worship team was opening up for them. So the guitarist was setting his stuff up behind my Crate and GT6. I was just at the point where I was realizing that my gear wasn’t the best, but I didn’t yet have the money to change it. So when he asked what gear I was playing, I made some joke to the effect of, ‘Ya, just some digital modeling stuff. You’re probably a tube/analog guy who hates guys like me.’ And he said, ‘Yep.’ No smile, and turned away. Ya, not so fun. hehehe I feel your pain.

    Jonathan–haha Totally! I can’t understand how FYE is still in business. No selection and higher prices than Best Buy or even Barnes and Noble. ???

    Shawn–thanks, bro. And that is awesome!! I thought it was just me. ;) hehehe If I’m ever in the area, I’ll swing by and we can just gaze silently at your guitar for a couple hours, and then I’ll leave without a word. It’ll be the best jam session ever!

    Bryan–comment of the day. Nay, the millennium.

    Logan–I’d look into a Damage Control Liquid Blues used, a Sobbat Drivebeaker, Hermida Zendrive, or Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire. And for what it’s worth, with my amp on the verge of breakup, I’ve been having great luck with version 1 Fulltone Fatboost’s for drive tones. :)

    KennyG–I’ve yet to play one of those, but it’s for sure on my list for a shootout. ‘Course I’d need a Tim again, too. hehe Soon! Are they pretty close?

    Austin–+1. :)

    • Karl – There is actually a shootout on youtube of the timmy and a CTO-1. There are differences but they are subtle. []

      Logan – That reminds me, I actually have a Liquid Blues that I could sell ya if you’re interested and if you have the real estate for it. Really great overdrive but it’s just so stinkin big.

  18. Yeah I’m aware of the size :/ it kinda sucks in that department but at the same time I’m getting a custom size board for Christmas. I’ll keep looking but I really appreciate the offer. I’m thinking probably the zendrive if I can find it used.

    • Size the only thing that took this off of my board. I really love the sound of it. I suppose I might keep it around in case I ever decide to build myself a rack-based switching system. Hmmm, now you’ve got me thinking!

  19. I don’t know if you meant you wanted to get rid of the joyride and I feel bad using the blog as a form of craigslist but I could trade you the D13 for my fulldrive and possibly a little money if you want. If you want pictures or anything I can send them too. Cuz I would much rather have a joyride and I’m in pretty desperate need of a good drive…

  20. No worries! Feel free to use this blog however ya like…it’s not like I can ever seem to stick to one topic in the original post anyway. ;) hehe Cheers!

    Oh, and just remember that if something goes wrong on a deal though, I can’t compensate you with anything more than probably a hug and maybe a personalized apology song posted to youtube…if you ask real nice. :)

  21. Haha you crack me up dude. that’s apology enough. No I’m gonna play with the settings on my amp with the fulltone now. Apparently the tone cut has been on my amp since I bought it but I just never noticed? Haha

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