Please have it.

As I’m working on this new site, I thought it might be appropriate to be reminded of why things like tone are actually important…with an example of what not to do. With my tone. Seven years ago. And a little video of the gear I used. And the hair I used. Sadness. Luckily, the rest of the band sounds good. Just not the guitarist. Be sure to check out my meedley meedley at the end.

Splendid. (Just…not.)

40 thoughts on “Tone

  1. That is awesome. I’ve never commented before but your blog has led me to get rid of my Schecter Hellcat and buy my American G&L Legacy. Just a slight step up. . .lol! I’ve also gotten rid of my Crate amp and stepped up to a tube amp and have gotten rid of all my Boss pedals (except for the DD-20 of course!) Keep up the blogging, it’s awesome to have a resource for guitarist’s seeking to provide a worshipful atmosphere through their tone, skill, and attitude.

  2. Don”t beat yourself up too much. It just shows how far you’ve come and how far you’re going to go. Skill is good, but heart is the best. And playing for Him is worth is all.

  3. Lol… it’s actually not THAT bad. I’ve heard much much much, MUCH worse out of the old guitarist who I replaced. He had one pedal… a digitech multieffects, and he played out of a solid state peavey with an epiphone sg… it sounded like the worst shred metal worship I’ve EVER heard…

  4. Nice new site Karl, great timeline demo and thanks for making me laugh with your old school tone. I especially liked the photo of you coming up the escalator. Haha.
    I also clicked on the ad a few times. Hope it helps. I would write more but I need to see the doctor to see if he can help me since my face got melted by absolutely-nailed-it, tone-for-days tone. Arrrgh, the pain!

  5. Thanks for sharing, that couldn’t have been easy. We all have old clips like that. Love your site, always informative and interesting.

  6. I was just searching for “old school Karl” and ended up here… Just kidding… admiring your tags… 😉

  7. Chris–right on! How do you like that G&L? And ya…DD20 rocks. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words on the site!

    Bret–awesome advice, bro. hehe I need to read your comment now after every time I hear that clip. lol But you’re absolutely right, brother.

    Ben G–lol The really sad part is that I was really, really trying to shred. Like, that ‘was’ shred for me. hehehe Oh, the sadness. Solid state Peavey, multieffects, and an Epiphone SG? Sounds like my kind of guy in 2003. Did he have long hair? Unfortunately, all of us long-haired dudes eventually go bald. hehe

    Mark Colvin–hahaha Your comment just killed me, bro! That was awesome. Glad you’re enjoying the site! It’s a work in progress, trying to transfer all the posts from the old one to this one. hehe Yikes. And thanks for the clicks! 🙂

    Tpittman–thanks, bro. And ya…the hardest part was having to listen to it to find the right clip. Yikes, I am bad! haha

    Ryan–lol Yes! I have no idea why I added that tag, but was wondering if anyone was going to notice. hehehe

  8. I love the G&L! It has some sweet singing single coils. What do you think of the Seymour Duncan Twin Tube Classic? It’s got tubes, so I know for you that bumps it up a notch ; ). I was thinking about going a different direction but wasn’t sure what to take a look at as far as overdrive pedals.

  9. Lol, he does Karl… he does indeed still have the long hair. He added “pick squeals” to worship music… it was amazing.

  10. Wow. that video was something. So this feels like aa or something, Like Hi I’m Karl, and I used to shred, and we are like, Hi Karl. Cuz we have all been there. So the good news is that you have something that you can use as a control point there, and based on the other vid’s I seen, you have really grown. So Rock on Karl and keep sharing. We are all in process.

  11. Chris–sweet! I always pick one up to jam on for a bit at a local store, and they always sound great. 🙂

    As for the Twin Tube, yep…it’s got tubes, so right on! hehe I don’t have any firsthand experience with it, but I know Seymour Duncan was one of the original boutique companies back in the ’80’s, and they still seem to do things right. It will probably give you its own overdrive sound, as opposed to pushing your amp into its natural overdrive. What type of sound are you looking for?

    Ben G–yes!! That’s awesome. Wow…if I could’ve pulled off pick squeals at the time, you can bet they would’ve been in that recording! hehe

    t–thanks, bro! I really appreciate that. Great point that we are all growing…and what fun is growing if we can’t share the embarrassing parts with each other? lol Thanks for the encouragement, my friend.

  12. It’s not the “meedley meedley”, it’s not the B.C. Rich, it’s not the equipment, it’s not even the long hair. It’s the freaking soul patch, a freaking soul patch.

  13. lol hahaha Oh man, oh man. I know. So guilty. That was the result of my then big boy crush on Jim Caviezel after seeing 2002’s ‘Count of Monte Cristo. (There was probably a bit of wanna-be Jack Sparrow thrown in there, too. And then the metal. Oh goodness. 😉 )

  14. @ karl – haven’t heard this song in a while … it’s not that bad … this sounds better than half the time we play. lol … though you don’t sound very “Edge’y” here yet 😉

    @ chris – i have that OD for a long time. it’s not in my board now due to it’s size and power requirements but i still use it during rehearsals. funny thing is that I was thinking of ways to out it back in the board last night. it just works for my gear, so i’ve got to put this disclaimer: ymmv 😀

  15. Karl, what i hear here is inexperience. You actually can get some great tones out of the modeler and using only the amp clean setting. That amp by the way…. well nevermind… Hahaha

  16. What I really love about your tone is just how harmonically rich it is with all of the overtones. I’ve just been having a hard time getting that sound, maybe it’s your analog delay that you run but it just sounds so full and rich. All that I run is Legacy – Tuner – Twin Tube Classic – DD20 – Kustom Defender. I just don’t know what to add to get those rich overtones.

  17. This might get me banned, but I really like my GT-6 and got some good tones out of it. It was the right gear for that period in my life and now I’m past it. Anyway, don’t beat yourself up, it’s over now.

  18. Bunch o’ wimps… So nobody else is gonna out themselves? I have no shame (or pride). Here’s a video of a band I was in playing at a youth group function back in ’97 (I was 19 then). BTW, the video was taken on an old (at the time) VHS camcorder and I later converted it onto my PC…

    Tone brought to you by:

    Guitar: Sears (YES, as in Sears…) Effector – Explorer body with built-in onboard effects!! (and that was an Epi LP Custom in the background)

    But those effects weren’t used, I had a DOD FX-7 (come on, it wasn’t that bad at the time… I mean, it’s no PODXT Live 🙂 )

    And these were directed into a Crate GX-120 (i believe…) on the clean channel.

    So… anyone else brave enough to post your “old school Karl” vids?

  19. hey Karl, so i just bought a Boss CH-1(love it) and an Ibanez TS9dx, i know you’ve done some demos on the some TS9’s and i was wondering where you thought it sounded best. I’m looking for a sound that is nicely saturated and that i will leave on 80% of the time. I’m currently broke so i’m going through a ss amp. any advice on tone/settings. thanks

  20. Rhoy–lol Ya, maybe that’s what it’s all about for me…if it doesn’t sound Edge-y, it must be bad. hehehe 😉

    Sal–hehehe A LOT of inexperience. 😀 And that was the amp on clean…and the GT6 on I believe, a preset I tweaked called ‘Fat Strat.’ lol Can’t believe I still know that!! But ya…running a modeler into a tube amp can’t be all that bad…Jason Bast does it, and his tone is spectacular.

    Chris–a lot of those overtones are coming from the Matchless. It’s the most harmonically dense sounding amp I’ve ever played. Those Kustom’s are good amps, too. Are you running it right on the verge of breakup? I like your short signal path…that’s definitely a plus.

    Craig–lol Yep, banned. hehe 😉 Nah, you’re right…the GT6 helped me define what each effect sounded like, so it definitely wasn’t all bad. I did use to proudly call it ‘the source of my tone’, though. Yep.

    Chris Whisonant–yes!! Bro, that was awesome!! Actually, the chorus wasn’t that bad…kind of catchy. Oh man, I’ve had some of those shows…trying to be into it, but the youth group is just running around everywhere. You’re the man for posting that!! I’ve got a VHS somewhere of my old punk rock band…I’ll have to try to transfer that to VHS. ANy more folks? I think Chris just had the best idea ever!

    Nater2–right on! Um, I used to use a modded TS7 to be on most of the time, and if I remember correctly, I would turn the gain all the way down, or at least to whatever setting would still give me sound, and then use the volume knob to get it to be just a little ‘fatter’ than the amp’s sound alone. And then tone knob to taste. 🙂

    • Karl – glad you liked that. It wasn’t an original song – it’s “Drown” by Grammatrain. Remember them from mid-90s? Yeah, it does have a great chorus.

      Guess nobody else was brave enough to post their old-school vids… 😛

      • Sorry, bro! This comment got caught in my spam box. I guess Grammatrain equals spam? haha Who knows! But man, I used to love them. I had the Lonely House album…was Drown on that one? They were the coolest back then. haha

  21. C’mon it’s not all that bad. I know I still sound like that some times!

    Actually it’s the pictures that disturb me more… especially the escalator one with the soul patch and thongs!

    Regarding the multi-FX, I do believe it’s possible to get reasonable tone out of them, as long as you have a good ear and the patience to tweak. At one stage we had 2 guitarists both using the same Digitech GNX4 unit with similar amps. I used to get positive comments about my tone, whereas the other guy got different sorts of comments… of course it may have also made a difference that I was using Fenders and he was playing an ESP metal style guitar…

    Still have my Digitech but haven’t plugged it in for a couple of years… maybe I should dust it off some time.

    New site looks great. Only thing I’ve noticed is your RSS feed still points back to the old site, as far as I can see. Can you fix that so we can update our feed-readers?

  22. lol Ya, those pictures are disturbing. Even for me. And I did like the Glass Nexus multi-effects. They have they’re place, I’m sure. 🙂 As do ESP’s…just not sure where. Kidding, kidding! Oh and thanks for letting me know about the RSS feed. I’ll try to get that fixed asap!

  23. LOL…. my wife goes “who are they? They sound pretty good.”

    Silly girl, doesn’t know tone. haha

    Tone is all in the ear of the beholder!

  24. hahaha Your wife must be the absolute kindest person ever! Although, I must admit, that vocalist guy (my old worship leader) is pretty good. (Are you reading, Eric? 😉 hehe)

  25. LOL…. my wife only notices the band when 1) we are really good, or 2) really stink. And she said that “you guys were really good today” or “it stunk, someone was way off.” LOL.

    I’ll say “did you hear my solo?”
    Her: “When did that happen?”

  26. lol That’s awesome! I always ask my wife about my tone. haha Especially in the office. ‘Hey Babe, which delay sounds more organic?’ haha

  27. Dude… kinda depressed you’re not rockin the goatee-stash-ish facial hair and the black mane of glory. I guess that stuff just fell off as soon as you sold that guitar you were using, right? I figure they’re a package deal 😉

  28. Baggas makes a good point–multi-fx has come a long way over the last couple years, especially some. I just bought a Digitech RP1000. Going direct to the church PA with the AC30 and Fender Bassman models sounds surprisingly good to my ears. I know it’s heresy for some people here, but 95% of the congregation don’t care if it’s tubes or not, as long as it sounds good.

  29. What??? I’m not sure what you guys are referring to. I think your guitar sounds great! 😉

    Let’s see… Eric “barefoot” Beeman on Vocals/Agtr, Mike “the missionary” Meyerpeter on Bass, Dan “I’m Karl’s dad” Verkade on keys, Brian “I don’t really play drums” McNeil on drums & Karl “the shredinator” Verkade on guitar! Ahhh… the good ol’ days! And all of that recorded live on the little Yamaha 13 channel digital sound board by John “the mix master” Matthews.


  30. Nathan–lol That’s exactly what happened! Oh, and comment of the day. 😀

    Darrell–ya, that’s a good point. I would say however, that even if the congregation can’t tell if it’s tubes or not, that they might like it better if it is tubes, even if they could never point out to you why. But that may just be me. I love what you said about it ‘sounding good’. In the end, if it’s touching your emotions as well as other people’s, then stick with it! And don’t listen to my crazy tube/analog comments over here. 😉 hehehe Cheers!

    Eric–lol Ah, the good ‘ol days. And quite honestly, you and the rest of the band sound quite good. It’s just that electric guitarist. What in the world is he doing? lol (It helps if I pretend it’s not me.) That double bend at the very end just kills me.

  31. Darrell/Karl,

    Darrell, I totally agree that by the time you run your rig through whatever passes for a sound system at most churches, no one will be able to tell if you have tubes or not. I don’t like it but that is how it tends to go. Having said that I would agree that it is incumbent on the musicians to feed the best possible tone into the system. That will look different for each of us (probably from month to month), but I’m not sure it’s as simple as tubes=good tone.

    I posted a vid of a friends new board which has 2 M-9’s coupled with Pete Cornish custom pedals into (usually) a /13 or Savage amp. Believe me the line 6 does not hurt his tone at all. There are a ton of ways to get good tone now, and we should use them.

    Karl, i found out yesterday that this same guy is going to be doing a bunch of demo videos for JHS soon. I’ll keep you posted when they are up.

  32. Baggas–lol I guess I’m lucky. My wife’s a music major; so she recognizes tone, but also notices every pitch I miss. lol

    Craig–great points! Tone is very subjective. It’s just been my humble experience that when used well, amps tend to give better sound than direct. But maybe I just suck at using modeling gear! hehe And thanks, I’d love to watch the JHS vids. 🙂

  33. I appreciate you putting yourself out there again with the elevator pic! My wife found some old picture of me from college and pointed out that my mullet was too late to be Bono-esque and too early to be fashion mullet. Ouch.

    My fake amp (used Axe-Fx Ultra) should be here this week so I’m going to see what the difference is. It can’t be any worse than hearing my tube amp miked offstage through the Aviom. Good tone inspires good playing. Did that sound too Forest Gump? Let’s replace ‘good tone’ with ‘tube amp on stage’ 😉

  34. lol Ah bro, you gotta post the mullet!! hehehe

    Ooh, and I’m really excited to hear your take on the Axe-FX. I do agree though, it’s gotta sound better than mic’d through Avioms. hehe

  35. Ben G:

    Lol, he does Karl… he does indeed still have the long hair. He added “pick squeals” to worship music… it was amazing.

    I just want to say that I take great offense to this. I’ve added a pinch harmonic (or ‘pick squeal’) to Let God Arise with great success (or so I think).

    Or maybe it really is terrible and no one has had the heart to tell me and I’m not really as cool as I thought.

  36. lol I think it can probably be done tastefully…especially as part of a line, rather than the typical ‘listen to my pinch harmonic’. 😉

    Oh, and by the way, I’ve listened to myself do some terrible things…such as the double bend pseudo-train whistle at the end of the above video, and wished to dear sweet mercy that someone had told me back then that I wasn’t as cool as I thought. hehehe Cheers!

  37. Karl – glad you liked that. It wasn’t an original song – it’s “Drown” by Grammatrain. Remember them from mid-90s? Yeah, it does have a great chorus.

    Guess nobody else was brave enough to post their old-school vids… 😛

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