You Know You’re a Hipster Worship Guitarist When…

And I can say these things because I am a worship guitarist, and a lot of these are true about me. That’s the rule; you’re allowed to make fun of things you are. And Nicolas Cage. So…you know you’re a hipster worship guitarist when…

  • when you no longer feel awkward before service at church because you can spend the downtime pretending to mess with your pedals.
  • when you own a Morgan amp.
  • when you own two Morgan amps.
  • when you run a Strymon Blue Sky stereo into your two Morgan’s.
  • when you plug a Duesenberg into your pedalboard. (Or a Tele.)
  • when you politely email Strymon about the shortcomings of the Timeline every time it delays a wrong note you hit, and then post about it on Gear Page. ‘Ya, I’ve already contacted Strymon about that, and Ethan says they’re working on it. Because, to be completely honest, a delay pedal that can’t intuitively sense when I hit a wrong note, is totally unusable live.’
  • when you still talk about John Mark McMillan as if no one has ever heard of him.
  • when you liked Mutemath before they were cool.
  • when you complain about the injustices of mass-produced overseas gear via twitter from your iPhone.
  • when every riff you play sounds like U2, but you still maintain that they’re overplayed and unoriginal.
  • when you hate U2, but dig The Edge’s innovative approach to the guitar.
  • when you know the names of every Hillsong guitarist.
  • when instead of saying, ‘The lead goes like this’, you say, ‘Well Nigel does this.’
  • when you are honestly able to convince yourself to pay rush shipping because you legitimately believe worship won’t happen without that fuzz pedal.
  • when you complain about the snobbishness of The Gear Page, on posts in Facebook guitar gear groups.
  • when you have a pedalboard as big as the sun.
  • when you’ve sold your Fulldrive for a Tim, your Tim for a King of Tone, your King of Tone for a Jetter Gain Stage, your Gain Stage for a Wampler Ecstasy, your Wampler for a Rockett Flex Drive, your Flex Drive for a Pearl, your Pearl for a JHS Double Barrel, and then end up using your stock TS9 most of the time.
  • when you battle for ‘Praise and Worship’ to be recognized as a legitimate message board musical genre.
  • when you consider yourself innovative for lowering the mix level on your dotted eighths.
  • when you wear wristbands and stripe socks, but still maintain that ‘you’re not hipster.’ Right. Because you were so wearing stripe socks in 2004.
  • when you Instagram 7 photos a day of your ‘updated pedalboard’, even though no one can tell the difference due to the vintage ’70′s lighting effect.
  • when you pontificate on pedals you’ve never played…or sometimes even heard of.
  • when you hate Rob Bell, love Francis Chan, and have a dust-covered copy of Blue Like Jazz you’ve never read.
  • when, if the power to the whole building went out, your rig could still run for two hours. (In fact, you rig was probably the reason for the power outage.)
  • when you miss prayer to pull your Pedal Power out form under your Pedaltrain to change the dipswitch and test out your Fulltone OCD on 9 vs. 12 volts in a live situation. (Oh yikes…I’ve so done that.)
  • when you have an ambient album. ;)

It’s really, really refreshing to laugh at yourself every once in a while. We’re such goobers. And I’ll gladly risk sounding cliche here because it’s just so incredibly true and really awesome: God’s grace is amazing.

Splendid.
Karl.

118 thoughts on “You Know You’re a Hipster Worship Guitarist When…

  1. Yea! I am NOT A HIPSTER
    I:
    Don’t own a Morgan
    Or anything strymon
    I have to iPhone to tweet said 70s kitsch pedalboard photo
    I do not own any form of striped socks or writsbands
    I do however have a beat up highlighted/marked/digested copy of blue like jazz.
    So woot for bein an anti hipster

  2. I will proudly fly the hipster guitarist flag high! In my circle of musicans thats a term on great endearment. We should have it no other way. lol

  3. Guess I’m no hipster – love Rob Bell and Blue Like Jazz and am meh about Francis Chan. And not a tonehead either since I use – gasp – a Vox Tonelab EX direct into Bose L1s. St. Karl have mercy on me… btw, what are stripe socks? ;)

  4. Yeah…I’m obviously not a hipster. My wife would slap me if I wore a bracelet. I…also don’t know what stripe socks are. I refuse to wear one of those dorky middle eastern like scarfs. And…I only wear two size too big stocking caps caps…uh…never. I do own a couple telecasters though…hmmm.

  5. funny list … i suppose I am no hipster but is that a good thing or a bad thing :)

    btw, i saw the “Blue Like Jazz” monologue years ago and I remember really liking how clever the skit is.

  6. We have more Toms, mustaches, and forearm tattoos than you can shake a stick at in our community of musicians (Me included, except for the Toms). No Morgans yet. Just Ac30s and about 9 delay pedals between the 3 guitarist. And did I mention mustaches.

  7. Guess I’m not much of a hipster. Darn… I do play a Tele (at least this week), have a Blue Sky, and a PT-Pro (does that qualify as a large pedal board?).

  8. is it hipster if you listened to that worship cd that the guys from MUTEMATH played on?
    Gear Talk is pinterest for JHS pedals – if you understood that, you’re a hipster. ;)

  9. Kevin–anti-hipster is the new hipster. ;) ;)

    Zach–lol ’80′s leg cut running shorts and Strymon pedals all around!!

    Bob–Vox Tonelab…I don’t understand the question. ;)

    Bret–lol :D

    Mark–haha Tele’s? You’re just a bracelet away…

    Rhoy–haha Ya…I have no idea either whether hipster is good or bad.

    Matt–the mustaches!! Totally forgot about the all-powerful mustache. Now if you have a tatoo on your finger that allows you to do the removable mustache thing, then you’re really cool. ;)

    Naal–hahaha Well… ;) …I was kind of meh about Earthsuit anyway.

    Andrew–hmm…verdict is, not yet. But you’re about a JHS pedal away! ;)

    Dan–ah!! Best thing I’ve read in a long, long time. lol

    And for the record everyone, this isn’t a bingo situation. You do one of these, you’re unfortunately in the club. Also, they’re interchangeable. I don’t know anything about Rob Bell or Francis Chan, besides their names being constantly thrown around in order to make a point in conversation, but you can substitute Mark Driscoll, Hal Lindsey, Robert Forsythe, Phil Dumfee, Bono…whomever is ‘trending’ on Twitter this week. Also, some of those names are made up. ;)

  10. Don’t know where I fit on the hipster continuum. But I’ve been playing a Tele for about 20 years, really enjoy Francis Chan, go back and forth on Rob Bell, and would love a BSR.

    BTW what if your facial hair is gray? Does that make me a hipster or Jerry Garcia?

  11. I would have to add to this list: “when you pray and lay hands on your board before every service”. And while i have a segue to the topic of JHS, i got to borrow a friends Morning Glory for an audition and it sounded as good as everyone has ever said it was, if not better. p.s. i fit at least 8 descriptions in this list.

  12. Never heard of most of those buzz words, and yeah Craig, gray facial hair is why I shave. Well maybe salt and pepper — not sure that’s any better, although the guy in that Just for Men commercial seems to be doing alright with the ladies — good thing my wife isn’t here. Anyway is it hipster to say ” consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds” whenever the chord charts you provide to the team has mistakes? I must confess I did that. I’m hoping my vocalists got the joke and weren’t offended :-)
    The quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    • Haha quoting Emerson on the worship team, that makes you a transcendentalist songsmith? :p I’m not a worship leader but I could see that happening. Guitar player finishes anti-solo and justifies with Thoreau’s charting the ocean of one’s self. Haha. I’m sure I’m the only one enjoying this, immensely. :D It reminds me of how that tried-and-true tradition of insulting each other biblically. And no, I’m not going to get into my failed attempts here.

      Even worse, Emerson starts out that quote with “foolish” consistency. ;)

  13. Matthew–hahaha Best ever!

    Craig–nah, you were playing Tele’s before they were cool. ;) And gray facial hair is better than hipster…it’s George Clooney. :)

    Alexdaniel–haha Nice! And isn’t the Morning Glory a Bluesbreaker clone? Everyone seems to love those old Marshall pedals…I think Marshall could do really well if they reissued all their old pedals at original specs.

    • Alex, Love my MG. It just does something really nice to my tone.

      Randy, I’ve actually been shaving for that very reason, although I’ve still got my Haiti goatee.

      Karl, Exactly Tele’s were definitely not cool during the late 80′s, except for that Springsteen guy. Not sure about the gray though.

      Yes, the MG is based on the BB, I think they’ve added some tone options not on the Marshall though. You’re probably right about re issuing the old Marshall pedals, there are a couple that sounded pretty sweet.

      Off topic, played electric for the first time in a while on Sunday, and it was one of the best weeks in a long time.

  14. This was hilarious. The one about naming hillsong’s guitarists totally got me. When I first listened to “with us” off the God is Able album, I remember saying, “At’ a boy Nigel!” lol. embarassing.

  15. Bald
    Gotee
    One JHS pedal (compressor) about to be replaced by a[nother] home build
    Valvetech
    One tele, but it’s a maple/mahog thinline with a p90 and wenge neck…
    Striped socks?

    …dude, I’m a 31 year old old dude.

    …or I’ve just now caught up to 2006 (Yes!)

  16. Karl, I love me some hipster talk. Me and a couple of my, hipster, friends are always making fun of the hipster things we do. I love the addition of the worship guitarist though. I like enjoying the hipster tag because of how un-hipster it is to openly admit hipsterdom (copyright…yes).

    I won’t say how many of these I said yes to… a lot is a good round number. I wish I could say yest to 2-4. One day…

  17. I recently built my own true bypass strip. After the first Sunday I used it, one of the church elders let me know that I was casting blue light onto the ceiling of our large auditorium. I don’t really have any plans to dim them down.
    Does this qualify?

  18. Craig–Springsteen makes everything cool!

    Robin–strike. Strike true. ;)

    Jody–haha I do that with gear builders. Makes people think I know them. Or so I tell myself. hehe

    Justin–haha Ok, you’re indie then. One step away from hipster. ;)

    Josh–lol It’s ‘a lot’ for me too.

    Josh, Justin, Mark, and Sal–nice!!

    Alex–very hipster. Beanies also. ;)

    Randy–metro is waaaaay cooler. hehehe

    Dan–haha

    Josh–quite true.

    Stefan–best story ever. I love it!

    Brett–but…maybe they already know…hehehe

    Tim Dabel–hehehe Awesome.

    Josh–I do want to move to San Francisco. There’s another one. haha

    John Marc–agreed. Wonderful.

    Name (required)–winner. Anonymous, though. But you win.

  19. But the instagram 70′s vintage light effect makes it look so much cooler!

    Definitely not a hipster (I can’t pull of skinny jeans) but every time I re-arrange my board or pick up a new pedal seems to call for a few new pics to add to my collection of gear pics on my instagram

  20. VincenzoS–quite true, it really does. Or, at least, the first thousand and seven times I saw it. hehe ;)

    Justin–aye. ;)

    Aaron Agre–lol Good form, my friend!

    MattLinardo–that’s the first step towards being a hipster…denying that you are one, right? hehe And I’ll let the Line 6 slide, due to the 9 delays. ;) ;) ;)

  21. …but if I’m selling all my delays, does that make me more of less hipster? I mean, someone’s getting my tubey Blackstar mojo pretty soon, and I’m pretty sure they get my new-found indie cred with it, right? Like a package deal?

    …or am I trying too hard, trying too hard, trying to hard?

  22. This is kind of off topic but might make for an interesting post sometime: is there any point to reasoning with the piano player on the praise team who wants me to tune my guitar to her (possibly slightly out of tune) piano?

    i try to explain but they get so annoyed

    • This makes sense in a skewed sort of way. As in they can’t afford to get the piano tuned. But not being willing to pay for the piano to get tuned, that doesn’t make sense. Maybe you can tell them, respectfully, that part of being a serious musician is maintaining your instrument. And that pianos don’t exist in some static limbo, they fluctuate because temperature/humidity/wood fluctuates. If her piano is in tune, you could either just go along with it or point out the accuracy of your tuner–who knows–people can be weird about little things, and stubborn–pray for a heart change!

  23. I want to make converting your tele to a baritone the next must-have hipster accessory. They just sound so damn cool! I’ve already heard rumours of one on the next hillsong album. Convert yours now and be ahead of the trend! (BTW there was a really great article in premiere guitar a few months ago on doing exactly that if you are seriously interested.)

  24. When asked about your top secret tone weapon of mass destruction and you respond with “volume/tone knobs and pick attack”. While it is very much true, I still think a Matchless DC30 would beat a Line6 Spider in sound quality, no matter how gracefully you pick the strings. I’ve seen way too many posts on threads asking about advice on overdrive pedals and people just reply with “learn to use your volume knob”…

    • It’s all of those things, in my opinion. So much of tone is in our minds. When I’m playing, I have a few thousand dollars worth of gear, sure, but sometimes I still hate how it sounds. In that moment, I know it’s not the gear. It’s me and knowing how to play my instrument. Which involves knowing how to use my pickup selector, volume and tone knobs, and picking. Someone who knows how to play well can sound good on a Spider. Someone who sucks will still suck on a Matchless. You will just suck with tone.

      • Yeah like I said I agree with those things. Just going along with the post, it’s a very hipster thing to do to ignore the original question, like advice on a pedal, amp, or guitar, and just reply with “volume/tone knob, pickup selector, picking technique, etc.” Sometimes I hate how my loads of gear sound as well, that’s why we all still have GAS. But I know for certain if I had a Line6 Spider I would be even less satisfied than if I had a Matchless…which I wish I had :P

  25. Ha! This is sooo true! In the 10 minutes before reading this post I:

    *Decided I was gonna play my tele this weekend. Maybe the strat for the speacial. (Does changing guitars for the special song count also?)

    *Perused The Gear Page for a new fuzz pedal for said special. Debated buying one with a rush order. Decided I might just borrow my worship leaders JHS Pollinator instead.

    *Got all pumped to go to rehearsal with my new PedalTrain Pro, so I got packed up…4 hours early.

    So I guess that makes me a Hipster Worship Guitarist. Guess there could be worse things…;)

  26. Well this is an old argument. I think it’s going to be easier for guitarists of any skill-level to sound better with better gear. The “hands” and what is done with them obviously matter, but I doubt John Mayer is going to sound great with a $20 guitar or $20 amp. I’m not referring to how well its played ( finesse, accuracy, speed etc ) just the tones that are possible with it.
    I usually liken this to golf clubs. A good to excellent set makes it possible for the amateur to play their best game, unhampered by the clubs. The pro will still beat me playing with a $100 set even if I use the most expensive available.
    Give the pro a cheap set that is considerably too short in club length and I might give him a run for his money with a decent set.

  27. Sorry guys, my wife surprised me and took me away for a few days for my birthday. :) She’s awesome.

    As for tone from hands versus tone from gear, I just can never understand why it’s not okay to have both. :) I also think it’s hilarious when responses like ‘learn to use your volume knob’ come from gear message boards. Just can’t figure out what guys who hate pedals that much are doing there. haha And…in my personal experience…some of the guys who are the most vocal about how we don’t need pedals and how we spend way too much money on them, have themselves a guitar collection of upwards of 25 guitars, costing way more than any of our pedals. ;)

    All that to say, I think good technique sounds great on a Tim pedal. :D

    Oh, and I don’t own any Morgan amps. Joe’s a friend and a great guy, and they’re great amps, but I was super happy with my Matchless before the Morgan’s came out, and just have never really thought about changing. Happiness with your tone is so rare, that you don’t want to mess with it. haha Although, who knows what the tone future may hold. I’ll probably get a Morgan once their current massive popularity starts to wane, and then try to bring them back retro-style!

    • The knobs and pedals can be used in conjuncture to really get all the tones available in a pedal. Work smarter not harder! lol

  28. haha That’s right! Like when people ask me, ‘Why do you need a volume pedal? Why not just use the volume on your guitar?’ And I usually answer by saying, ‘Because it’s really hard to adjust my guitar’s volume knob with my foot.’ :)

    • You know I have never understood people that say pedals are bad or this is better than that. Its all different and what works for you. If you wanna use a volume pedal use a volume pedal lol. Sometimes it feels like musicians are trying to make music a competition lol I have less pedals I WIN!!!!!! lol

  29. How are you going to get dotted-eighth delay from your fingers and volume knob? I rest my case. Some guitarists do amazing things with fingers and guitar knobs — check out some of Jeff Beck’s playing.
    Call me lazy but I use whatever gets me to the desired sound the quickest. I work 50 hours a week at my day job, don’t need to be spending extra time getting tone the hard way. :-)
    This made me think of comparing what someone like James Taylor does when playing fingerstyle acoustic versus what someone does just handling rhythm power chords with tons of overdrive and sustain. Both are cool sounds — no question which one requires a lot more practice and skill. I have tons of respect for those who put in the time to master the instrument — or learn to play quickly while sight-reading etc. I just know myself — happy being jack of all trades and master of none.

    • Does a keyboard player NEED a sustain pedal? Does a drummer NEED more than one cymbal? Do we NEED more than one singer? Do we really need a sound system? No, but it all sounds cool…

  30. Shawn–I totally agree! If it makes it easier, than you can use your skill to go even further with the music.

    Josh–it’s totally a competition. ;) Who has the most od pedals here? haha

    Randy–great point! And I have seen people who think they are re-creating the dotted 8th effect with just their hands. They’re not. ;)

    Josh–favorite comment ever.

    Brandon–hahaha I’ve…uh…never done that… ;) ;)


  31. Brandon:

    You know your a hipster worship guitarist when every time the jumbotron camera pans across the stage you look for your pedal board.

    After a worship set I go up to the sound booth to help them out. (I started out as a sound tech before I played guitar) I always can see my pedal board and see how large it is and wonder if other people are judging it haha

  32. this argument of dotted-8th by hand makes me smile every time its brought up … on-the-fly with not much time to spare it might be tough to do. but if you have time to adjust or its a set tempo, one would adjust the repeats to be on the dotted eight so one can still play quarters. just a thought :)

  33. Ya, I was referring to just creating the effect with your hand and clean tone. Which theoretically can be done, but sounds horrid because you lose all the spaciousness of sustaining one thing while another one plays.

    Getting dotted 8th’s out of any untimed delay…well, I hate to admit this, but I now sometimes have a hard time getting just straight quarter notes. I always hear and want to adjust my playing to make the delay dotted 8th’s or dotted 4th’s. hehehe

  34. They completely forgot to mention Gretsch…and if you’re a worship guitarist and you hate U2, you’re disrespecting your roots. There’s a reason they’re called “U2 chords”. And you can’t deny that the Edge’s tone is phenomenal.

  35. Jason–lol ;)

    Ethan–haha I did! Should’ve mentioned that White Falcon that everyone has, but that everyone thinks everyone else has probably never heard of. ;) And everyone loves U2. It’s just super hipster to hate what’s popular.

    Rhoy–I’ve actually never heard that either. I’m guessing the Streets progression or the With or Without You progression. Or anything in D. ;)

  36. Oh what a beautiful list. I’m guilty as sin on the majority of these offenses. I scrolled through a chunk of the comments, but couldn’t commit to an exhaustive review. I have a couple to add:

    1) You secretly beam with pride after a service when someone asks “What was that keyboard/strings sound? How did you do that?” But your response is “Oh. Yeah. Thanks, it’s just a thing I do.”

    2) Multiple delays on at the same is standard

    3) Plaid is located somewhere on your person at all times

    4) Black-rimmed glasses, even if they’re non-prescription

    5) Obsessing with tone, going back and making adjustments to your pedals, so small that they can’t be detected without scientific instruments but you swear that it really made the difference. Oh, and you do this in between services while the pastor is trying to carry on a serious conversation with someone at the front of the stage.

    6) You sit outside eating donuts and drinking coffee during the sermon

    7) None of your guitars have stock pickguards

    8) You’ve hit over 4,000 posts on TheGearPage – mainly discussing the nuances of overdrive pedals that have yet to be created

    9) Your rig costs more than your car does

    10) You check with your significant other after service “Hey, did the sound guy have me up enough in the house?”

  37. Well, ya want to be heard. ;) haha

    I ask my wife all the time, ‘How was my tone? Was there a big difference when I switched guitars?’ hehe

    And Andy, I love #1!

  38. I think Im about as far from “hipster” as you can come

    . I hate messing with my pedals at church… how else would I get “Daddy’s alone time” at my house
    . I dont even know what a Morgan amp is which is fine because hardly anyone knows what my THD Univalve is
    . I dont have a Strymon and I dont think my EH Catherdral could be considered “hip”
    . I do have a Tele but I think the EMG 81 and 60 its loaded with remove me from the hipster crowd
    . Im too dumb or whatever to work a Timeline let alone complain about it, figuring out all the “new fangled features” on my deluxe memory boy was stressful enough
    . Im not entirely sure what mutemath is but having a special math class for people who cant speak seems strange to me
    . My OD and distortion pedals dont get shipped at all… I just drive across town to VFE and pick them up when Peter is done making them (although I did liquidate a Keely modded TS9 which was replaced by my Pale Horse OD and will out the pale horse against any TS9 ever)
    . I love U2, Edge without the rest of the guys is like Joe Montana without Jerry Rice, I dont know what an instagram is but it makes me want cereal and the “hipsters” that I know dont wear socks…. just painted on jeans and Toms… sans socks…. Gross

  39. The #1 problem with “worship guitarists” today. They don’t want to learn their theory and modes, therefore they lack creativity. They want to keep this whole “ambient” feel to everything and keeping it to simple inverted chords. The sickest musicians out there whether it be country, gospel, rock, etc. know their stuff. I have been playing for 10 years now and I am kicking myself hard because I am just now getting into learning my modes, but man I have to say what a breath of fresh air it is to steer away from the lame U2 garbage. Yes, I’m calling it garbage because it’s not challenging anyone to become a better musician. The most inspiring musicians are the ones who can move you emotionally. I’m not worried about what amp or pedal he is using if I’m focused on the music and the music only. Gear becomes irrelevant very quickly.

  40. I’m sorry to be the one to have to say this… but what moves one person does not move another.

    The reason ‘U2 garbage’ works so well for church folk is that it is easily accessible rock for the congregation, while still fun and creative for the ‘worship guitarist.’

    I’m yet to see a congregation rocking some Malmsteen or Dragonforce for their weekend service, although everything is possible I suppose…

    Also, I would make the argument that bands like The Beatles and the Stones, whom I would say are pretty influential, wrote out of a minimalist perspective and managed to change the course of music history for decades. How’s that for a challenge and creativity? ;)

  41. Ya, I think I’d agree with Eric that sometimes gear can get in the way of creativity. Although, I’ve got to agree with Danny that simplicity sometimes takes a great deal of skill and creativity. If it didn’t, there’d be a lot more famous musicians out there than there are. :)

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