This Weekend's Musical Non-Negotiables

There are certain things in life you can do without. Like a phaser. I like phasers. But if it came down to it, I could get rid of it and make due. But there are other certain things that you just can’t negotiate against; and some of them I’m learning about just recently…like…this weekend. Here’s the ones off of the top of my head:

  • Rhythm. Tempo is like, the most important factor ever and very few musicians seem to care. Without tempo, every time one person in the band does anything other than ‘block measure playing’, the tightness dies. Sometimes it’s murdered. Brutally.
  • Celestion Alnico Blue or some sort of Blue speaker. If you have an EL84-based amp, then your answer to the question, ‘Should I get a Blue?’ is ‘Yes.’ Not should be ‘Yes.’ No. The answer just plain is ‘Yes.’ 
  • Moby
  • A fresh battery in your acoustic guitar. (I hate the word ‘fresh’. It’s just so gross and pseudo-happy sounding. It’s like ‘slice’ and ‘treat’. Ech. Disgusting. I seriously feel like I need to shower right now. But I didn’t know what other word to use.)
  • Irish flutes. You should definitely use an Irish flute whenever possible. At least those are the words I live by.
  • A solid bass player. Makes everything else in the band ‘fit.’
  • A tuner. The ‘I tune by ear’ excuse is really not holding water as I listen back to the recording of the service. 😉
  • Delay. I’ve rigged my amp not to turn on unless it senses a delayed signal in the signal path. Not really.
  • Love. I didn’t run into a single perfect person, instance, sound, song, or piece of equipment this weekend at church (except for my Tim pedal 😉 ). Which leads me to believe that neither me nor anything I did was perfect either. Love.
  • String cheese. Life may as well not exist if you don’t have string cheese.
  • Braveheart, gluten-free pizza, and my wife.
  • Power conditioners. A great-sounding rig can be killed by both noise and by parts of it not getting enough power.
  • Practice. (I can’t believe I still have to tell myself this)
  • Singing on key. Hit a wrong chord on your guitar if you have to, but stay on key vocally!
  • The internet. Have you ever stopped to think about how cool the internet really is? I mean, seriously! I shared our church service with the world (or the 4 people that tune in), bought a pedal from overseas, and learned from opinions across the country on how best to isolate power, and checked to see if it was raining (so I didn’t have to actually get up and walk outside), in about 5 minutes. 
  • Songs people know. We’re up there for their sake, not ours. If you can’t stand the song, but the congregation is absolutely worshiping to it, then trudge through. Play the new one you like when you get home, and worship your heart out there. At church, it’s not about us.
  • Even if your tone is bringing tears of joy to your eyes, turn it down if you see people cringing on the solos. Or check that you’re in the right key. Either one. 
  • Candy. People only sign up for your ministry if there is candy at your sign-up table. If need be, steal it from the spiritual growth table.
  • Spray-on deodorant and tic-tacs. After a rousing session of worship, if you want to participate in any type of relational activity involving other people, this is vital. 
  • And lastly, delay. I think I said that already. But just in case, ‘Delay.’ Ever just love your tone, but then look down, and you don’t have any delay on? So you turn a delay pedal on, just so that you’ll know that the tone you love has delay in it? Ya…


0 thoughts on “This Weekend's Musical Non-Negotiables

  1. along with kenrick- yes! Lighting… or just lights at all. The bar I played at last night kept using “blackout” as a form of lighting. In the middle of songs. Maybe it looked cool, but every time they did it I had to hope my hand was in the right place 🙁

    Karl- I agree with everything but string cheese and irish flutes but I haven’t tried either one, so I’m bias 🙂

  2. Heh… i agree with the 2nd to the last!
    You have to have a way to ‘freshen’ up.
    Its like the air conditioner’s are always in the back of the church and get turned on 10 mins before service begins– the band has been there at least an hour by that point. And it cools the back of the church before the front/stage. The pastor’s family sits on the 3rd row, when they get “cold” (women! SIGH) the band is just starting to get a breeze.
    After worship—

    I spray on some Axe, Orbit for the dirty mouth and shake hands. I can’t believe how many people want to shake my hands. Or hold my pick.
    My pick is in my mouth, is going in my mouth, or just got spit out of my mouth for talking. People still grab it and go “what pick are you using”.

    It grosses me out because I’m like “did you wash your hands? That is going in my mouth in about 2 seconds even if i don’t want it to because i’m a guitar player and it just happens.”

  3. Pastor Timing – If there’s a song after the message, our Pastor will cue us out with a prayer.

    We always pray that the prayer will last long enough to get in place and be ready for the downbeat. If the prayer is too short, those dead air seconds are very longgggggg.

    Once as we walked out, he was already walking out to his seat. All we saw was his back! :-/

  4. Kenrick–haha That’s a really good one!

    Mike–right on. I know, venues like blackout lights and endless cave echo on the vocals. hehe What’re you gonna do. 😉

    And I have not tried Irish flutes personally, either. I’m forced to be a frustrated listener. But they are amazing. As is string cheese. You’ve never tried string cheese?! It’ll change your life almost as much as a Tim.

    Eric–Oh, man, I’ve so had that happen! Now, does the DD20 allow you to bypass it when the batteries are dead? Or did your whole signal just die?

    And ya…every once in a while I think I love my tone. But don’t worry. I’ll hate it again next week and need ‘_______’ to make myself love it again. hehe 😉

    Larry–lol Very nice! I’ve never thought about that…I loan picks out to people, but yes, they have been in my mouth.

    And ya, I’ve found mints and spray-on deodorant to be absolutely essential. His name escapes me now, but the pastor at Fellowship Church in Dallas has a few books written, and in them he says that altoids should be like your Bible if you’re in ministry…something you just always have.

    Tim–haha I know what you mean! Usually for me it’s when we have a guest speaker. Because I’m so used to the rhythm and timing of our lead pastor, and sometimes the guest speakers will just throw me for a loop! Ya, and then those horrid awkward seconds where you’re trying to pray while putting on your guitar. lol Great comment!

  5. I have to give it to you Karl. I’ve been chasing tone lately. I don’t have the cash to drop on a new amp right now, but one is in my future.

    Currently I’m playing out of a borrowed Blues Junior with new tubes. It’s miles better than the Boss GT-8 I play though at Church (silent stage), but definitely not my grail tone.

    I have a “Tim” pedal coming soon. I’m on the list for a March completion date and I can’t wait.

    Keep up the good work! Someone’s gotta buy all those pedals so I don’t have to! Good show!


  6. Nate, congrats on the Tim! hehe And sorry about the tone chasing thing. It’s addicting, huh. 🙂 The Blues Junior with a tube swap can be a killer amp; probably the best in its price range.

    And thanks for the kind words, brother!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.