Guitar for Worship Workshop 2009 Wrap-Up

Killer night. Much thanks to everybody that came out and lent their tone for the night. And to those who lent just their presence so as not to shatter our worlds with their tone. And to those who viewed online…listening to us, and then playing their rig at the same time, thinking, ‘Yep. My tone is better.’ (Or, maybe that’s just me who would’ve done that. 😉 ) 

The biggest thanks goes to my wife, Jamianne, who not only hung out and watched online, saved us twice by calling me when the computer mic was clipping out, but also answered almost every question people had about my rig in that chat room, correctly. I mean, whoa! If I wasn’t madly in love already, I would’ve been after I read the transcript and saw this: “Jamianne: Um, I think it’s the Damage Control Timeline.” Love is made up of exactly such things.

Jamianne, I love you, Sweetheart! Thanks for everything that evening.


Last Monday we had twelve guitarists out at my church for the Guitar for Worship Workshop, and a bunch of others watching on Mogulus via live webstream. I made a promise to myself not to count up the total value in dollars of the gear on the stage that night, so as not to have to feel guilty that we were all there to show off sweet, sweet tone rather than to sell all our gear and buy food for the world. The entire world. There was a lot of gear there. For those of you watching online, I’m not sure if it came through, but there were definitely tears of joy glistening in my eyes.

As always happens with these things, I have a scripted out, hour-long talk planned that covers tone, minimalism, gear, sound, playing in worship situations, all the stuff that I truly believe myself to be the authority on. And then all my tonal heroes show up, and that belief comes crashing down. So instead of a seminar, I just had myself and everybody else talk through and demonstrate their rigs. And then there was tone.

And no, unfortunately, it was not recorded. See, I just assumed that Mogulus was smart enough to record automatically. Turns out that you have to push a little ‘record’ button. You mean I actually have to do something myself? Stupid technology. So you’ll have to do with pictures. Thanks to tone-master Jason Bast for a lot of these pics. (And, uh, you can tell which ones are his because they’re the ones that you can actually read the gear names in. Mine are from my phone, because I forgot my camera. Ya, I failed a lot technologically that night. I’m blaming all the sweet tone for clouding my senses.)

So here’s our ‘with our tone combined’ circle of wonder. And for some reason, I’m doing this in alphabetical order. Which is very unlike me. So, to make it more random and less like me, we’ll do alphabetical order of the last name. Ha.

  • So first off in the tonal circle of wonder, was Jason Bast.

(That’s my own personal Annie Leibowitz shot.)


–John Suhr Strat


–John Suhr Badger


–Toneczar Halophaze
–Lovepedal Kanji
–Lovepedal Death of a Vox
–Toneczar Openhaus (with EB expression pedal)
–Line 6 M13 (with Line 6 expression pedal)
–Planet Waves cables (I think)
–Voodoo Labs PP2+ (again, I think) 

Highlight of Jason’s rig:

–Line 6 M13

I met Jason last year at the first tone workshop I did at my church. And he blew me away with how much sound and nuances of sound he could get out of any one pedal. Jason’s one of those guys whose tone really comes from his hands. You get the feeling that it wouldn’t matter what gear he played. His tone was fantastic through the Badger; which, by the way, impressed the living daylights out of me with its power scaling. It sounded ‘full’ and like air was still moving at relatively low volumes. Very cool.

And the M13. Wow. Its modulation sounds really, really surprised me. I was expecting cold and sterile, and instead it sounded like…not analog…but rather, clear and studio grade rackmount. Also, I didn’t know it had so much versatility. It was getting seek wah sounds, and filters, and all kinds of stuff. The overdrives didn’t do much for me…but, obviously, they don’t for Jason, either, as he’s got 3 stompbox overdrive pedals still on his board. And that Openhaus…mmmmmm.

Overall, I would definitely not mind having Jason’s tone. And I might even kill somebody (not really) to have his ability to structure chords and melodies on the fly. Great sounding rig, surprisingly good sounding M13, and killer Suhr Badger. And really humble…it’s cool to hear him warming up with crazy riffs, but then demo-ing gear with just sweet chord structures.

Jason, thanks for coming and sharing your tone, brother!


Eric didn’t bring his rig, so this is a photo I got off of his blog…he didn’t just jump up and start leading worship during the guitar workshop. I was trying to show his Tele here. Along with the Beeman classic special: capo 2. 😉 Love ya, Eric! When I played with Eric, he always capo’d 2 in E for a grand total of F# and confused lead guitar players. Come on guys, let’s face it–us lead guitar players are lost if it’s not in E minor. 


And here’s his amp. Believe it or not, this is a Crate. Modded and completely re-shelled by Andy Lumsden. Sounds very good, and looks even better!


–1993 Fender Telecaster (American)
–1956 Gibson LG-1 (LR Baggs Pickup)
–Martin DM (Fishman Rare Earth Pickup) 


–Crate VC508 (Lumsden mods)


–Boss DD20
–Visual Sound Route 66 compressor/overdrive
–Danelectro Tuna Melt tremolo
–Ernie Ball volume pedal
–Boss TU2 

Eric was the worship leader at my church when I first started playing lead guitar in a worship setting, and one of my mentors. So unfortunately, he remembers me when I was trying to mix Dream Theatre with Acoustic Alchemy during Matt Redman songs and without a little something I like to call talent. But he’s gracious enough not to mention it. 😉

Eric’s one of those musicians. You know, he does well whatever instrument he picks up. So, he’s a vocalist and acoustic guitarist by trade, but his electric playing and tone fit the music perfectly. Because that’s what musicians do…fit the music, rather than try to show of their chops. I love the way Eric plays lead guitar. And he’s a good friend, too.

Eric, thanks for lending your presence that night!! 




–Carvin custom neck-through (um…I could be totally wrong on that)


–Carvin Nomad (I think)


–Planet Waves Tuner
–Digitech chorus (?)
–Marshall compressor (?)
–Fulltone Fulldrive (Original)
–TC Electronics Nova Delay
–Line 6 Echo Park
–Boss Loop Station 

Highlight of Kenrick’s Rig: 

–Carvin custom guitar

I met Kenrick just this year over this blog. And immediately, I loved his opinions on gear……or, maybe he just mentioned U2. One or the other. But his tone sounded awesome. The Fulltone Fulldrive is so overlooked these days because it’s one of the ‘original boutiques’ that became industry standard. And everyone (myself included), wants something different-looking. But every time I hear the Fulldrive with EL84 or EL34 tubes, I’m reminded why it’s industry standard. It really reacted well to the Carvin amp, which is another sleeper brand. Carvin has really up their game for guitar players over the last few years, and Kenrick’s tone proved that. 

Also, the Nova delay sounded surprisingly good in his rig. He hit a couple layered delays that sounded fantastic! I’m not a huge fan of that pedal, so I’m guessing most of the sound has to do with his playing, and knowledge of how to dial the pedal in right. 

But the main thing that got me was the guitar. Beautiful looking, and sounded wonderful. Really full and rich. Kind of goes with the point that if you’ve got a good guitar, everything else can be secondary and just fall into place.

We ran out of time to hear the Loop Station, which I was really looking forward to hearing, but maybe next time. Kenrick, it was awesome to have you there, and your sound was really, really good!!

  • Next in the circle of sweet tone (or…in alphabetical order) was Sal Hamby.


Whoa, that picture takes me back. That’s the middle school multi-purpose room our church used to meet in. And Sal with his sweet Parker. Sal didn’t bring his rig, so I had to find this picture from what seems like ages ago.


–Parker (vintage, not sure of the exact model)
–Taylor 715


–Carvin Legacy
–(too many others to list) 


–Sal doesn’t need effects.

Sal is one of those musicians who, when they come to your church, you’re like, ‘What are you doing here? You could actually get paid somewhere.’ hehe Sal is one of the fastest guitarists I’ve ever met, taught the guys from POD how to play, but can also give you a sweet, simplistic blues solo if you ask him. 

And he’s really humble, too, shown in the fact that he didn’t bring his rig so as to not put us all to shame. 😉 But he’s got some great tone, mostly from his Parker. Great guitar, and it plays so smoothly. But Sal’s another one who’s tone comes from his hands. And I still find certain blues riffs coming out of me that are from him.

Sal, you’re a great friend and musical mentor. Thanks for coming!

  • And now for tonal legend Bob Huestis.

(That’s Bob Huestis and his sweet, toneful rig. Oh, and Travis must’ve seen something he liked in the background. Probably a delay pedal.)


–Duesenberg Semi-Hollowbody (P90 and humbucker)
–Fender Telecaster (American)


–Suhr Badger


–Fulltone OCD
–Fulltone Fulldrive
–Line 6 M13

Highlight of Bob’s rig:

–The sweetest guitar you’ve ever seen in your life. 

Bob gets talked about so much around the Temecula area here, I thought at first he was a myth. You know, like the Keyser Soze of tone. The kind guitar players talk about in hushed whispers. ‘Ya, that tone’s pretty good. But it’ll never match Bob Huestis.’ But seriously! It seems like everyone I talk to knows Bob. I’ll like, set a pedal and someone’ll say, ‘Oh, Bob Huestis wouldn’t do it that way.’ Ya. He’s a legend.

But it’s so cool to talk with him, because he’s extremely unassuming. Really humble, and genuinely interested in everybody else’s rig. But when he plays, whoa. I love that he had the minimalistic effects going on–couple drive boxes on batteries, and then the M13 for modulation. And let me tell you…his tone was fantastic. Really, really sweet sounding…but able to really drive when necessary. And he really knew that M13, too. Got it into a 4 cascading delay thing. And when he said it, I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be too much.’ But it was perfectly balanced. 

But most of all, that guitar is just incredible. Wonderful sound. I want one. But then I’ll sell all my gear, get one, and realize that I still don’t sound like Bob Huestis.

Bob, thanks so much for coming. I really appreciate your sharing your tone and knowledge and gear with us! You sounded seriously incredible.

  • Next was Adam Mendoza.


That’s his knee and half of his head there on the left. Adam, I’m so sorry I don’t have a picture of you, bro! I’d only officially met Adam the week before. And the first thing I realized is how humble he is. (And if you haven’t noticed by now, if there’s one thing I adore, it’s humility. Probably because if there’s one thing I don’t have, it’s humility. And if you think, ‘Oh, he’s just being humble by saying he has no humility’, just send me an e-mail saying that solid state is better than tubes, and see how humble I am then. 😉 ) But he asked some tone questions, and just learned from everyone else, and it was only the week after that I learned he’s actually a worship leader……and he never said a word about it. Very cool, brother.

Adam, thanks for being there, my friend!

  • Up next was Ryan Olson.


(Wow, you can tell which picture is Jason’s, and which picture is mine. hehe)


–Prairiewood Les Paul (Oh yes)


–Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special


–Korg tuner
–Barber Tone Press
–Xotic RC Booster
–Hermida Zendrive
–Cmatmods Signa Drive
–Hermida Mosferatu
–Seymour Duncan ShapeShifter
–Cmatmods Deeelay 
–Eventide Timefactor (with external tap tempo)
–Voodoo Labs PP2+ power (I think)
–cool boutique cables (Blast! I can’t remember what he said they were…something about darkness…)

Highlight of Ryan’s rig:

–Prairiewood!!! Okay, okay…Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special………and the Prairiewood

Did Ryan win the award for best tone? Of course! He was playing a Prairiewood, after all. hehe And for those you who don’t know, I’m kidding around because I also play a Prairiewood. But he did have really awesome tone! And he totally does win the award for cleanest pedalboard. It just looks killer! Ryan is another guy that I just met recently through this blog. And again, a very humble guy. But his tone was great, especially through that Prairiewood. Of course, I’m biased to those guitars. But it sounded really good…I even got a chance to play it through my rig, and it was awesome. Sounded almost just like my guitar. A couple subtleties, but whoa. Robert Dixon can make guitars. 

The Lonestar, though! Wow. Mesa Boogie gets a bad rap. That amp sounded great. Really, really gutsy…but retaining smoothness. I liked it a lot! And I also liked the ShapeShifter. I have this weird thing with Seymour Duncan, because that name just brings back images from my metal days when it was all about Seymour Duncan pickups. But the ShapeShifter really kept his tone intact while effecting it, which is unfortunately rare with tremolo. Another pleasant surprise. 

Overall, Ryan’s tone with the Prairiewood into the Lonestar was really, really good! Ryan, thanks so much for coming out, brother! You sounded great.

  • And next up in the tonal spectrum of splendor was Tim Pinckard.


Tim didn’t bring his rig, so this is a picture of he and I being rockstars in our church’s old building about 3-ish? years ago. That’s his bass, and it sounds awesome. As for my gear? Three years later? I think the only thing I still have is that Holland…and it’s been modded, and tolexed in a different color now.


–Yamaha 4-string active bass (early ’90’s, I think…incredible sound)
–Art & Lutherie acoustic
–(too many others to list) 


–Gibson Hawk (vintage)


–Boss DD20
–Modded Boss SD-1/TS808
–Boss FV300

Tim has been one of my closest brothers (again…brother like what Robert DeNiro calls people in the film ‘Heat’, not like we came out of the same womb) for about 7 years now. He’s a great friend, encouragement, and one of the most loyal people you’ll ever meet.

He and I have this thing now where, we’ve been playing together for so long, that we can tell where each other is going with the song…even if that place is going to be a mistake. hehe He’s one of my all-time favorite bass players to play with because his tone and the way he plays is so drive, and so ‘just what the song needs’, that it just fills up the harmonic space so nicely. If you haven’t had the opportunity to play guitar when Tim’s playing bass, I’d highly suggest it.

If Tim had brought his rig, his bass would’ve totally been the highlight. Really full without getting muddy. I can’t even remember exactly what model Yamaha it is…but it’s one of the older ones, meaning it’s good. 😉 Tim also got there early to help me set up, so I owe him a pedal or something.

Tim, thanks you so much for coming, and for being an amazing bass player.

  • And of course, there was Danny Schultz.

(Yes, I know I used this picture already. But that was for Adam. This is for Danny…the guy playing the guitar.)


–Fender Tele (American)


–Fender Twin Reverb


(Aw, Danny, you’re gonna kill me! I can’t remember them all, and Travis’ shoulder is in the way. Stupid Travis…being nice and talking with people……and getting in the way of my camera. 😉 )

–Boss DD20
–Line 6 DL4
–Boss RV3
–Line 6 Tap Trem
–Keeley/Boss BD2
–Oh, ya, that new Blackstar one!
–Is the Carl Martin one still on there?
–And I know there was a Tonebone at one time
–Boss TU2

Highlight of Danny’s rig: 

–Line 6 DL4

I love Danny. (And I do have a wife…whom I love in a much different way.) But my love for Danny is for not only his tone and his playing, but because we have a similar story. We both came from metal backgrounds. When I first met Danny, he was playing a Peavey XXX. (Oh! So metal.) And I had like, just come off of my Crate and Boss GT6. And now we’re both minimalistic to a fault. 

But Danny is one of the best worship guitarists I’ve ever played with. He really ‘gets’ what’s happening in worship music, and gives the song exactly what it needs, and rarely any more. I love his tone! It really sings, and he gets a lot from his rig. The main thing that always gets me about Danny’s effects is his DL4. I’m not a huge DL4 fan, because the sound (to me) seems fairly lo-res. But Danny’s taken a page from Coldplay’s Johnny Buckland, it seems, and uses his DD20 for most of the normal delay sounds, and the DL4 for the cool, lo-res stuff to layer in the background. I’ve yet to hear another worship guitarist do this so well. 

He came a little late, and didn’t get a chance to set up his rig until after the circle of tonal joy had ‘officially’ disbanded, but the minute he started playing, he attracted a crowd. Danny, thanks for being there, brother. And thanks for taking so seriously your playing for God’s glory.




–John Suhr Strat
–Fender MIJ Tele with Jason Lollar bridge pickup


–Magic Amp Brit


–MXR Dynacomp
–Maxon SD9 (vintage)
–MI Audio Crunchbox
–Paul Cochrane Tim
–Line 6 MM4
–Peterson Strobostomp tuner
–Boss DD20
–George L cables
–Voodoo Labs PP2+ power

Highlight of Travis’ rig: 


Travis and I have an interesting history which he knows nothing about. He used to play at a Sunday night young adult church service in town about 5-ish? years ago that I used to attend. And he was incredible. I’d never thought of using the guitar to actually take the music and the worship somewhere. To drive. To sparkle. To actually sound good. As of then, I had only thought of power chords and solo’s. And a lot of guitarists are still there. (Think Steve Vai. Oh! Yep. I just said that. He makes more money than me; it’s cool.) So I’d go back to my church every week and try to emulate what he was doing on my Boss GT-6. And everyone at my church loved my stolen genius. And then he screwed it all up by marrying one of our pastors’ sisters, and coming to play at my church. And then everyone heard the real thing…with tubes, and tone, and a little thing called talent, and suddenly I was not cool anymore.

It was at this point that I decided to make my life’s goal to play better than Travis. And…um…it’s…well, it’s yet to happen. And for those of you who were there, or were watching Travis online, you know that it may very well never happen. Travis is one of the best guitarists I have ever heard. He’s a lot like John Mayer in that he’s able to play a lot; but still be extremely tasteful, soulful, and sound amazing. Well done, brother. And Travis and I are really good friends and used to room together before we were married…married to women…not each other…so that’s why we can joke around like this. I hope. 🙂 It’s awesome, too, because he’s played with huge bands like The Kry, but he’s totally humble.

But not only is he an amazing guitar player, but his ear for tone is fantastic. He actually gets good sound out of the Line 6 MM4…which I thought was impossible. But he’s such a good musician, he knows how to set gear for his rig. Overall, his sound was just fantastic. He’s the one who first made me realize what a good pedal the DD20 is. And that Magic Amp? Tim said it made him want to cry…in a really good way.

Travis, thanks for coming, brother. You sounded amazing, and you’ve patiently taught me a lot over the years.

  • And then there was Jared Valencia.




–1968 Gibson ES-335 (I think)


–Bad Cat Hot Cat (again, I think)
–Fender DeVille


–Digitech Whammy
–MXR Phase 90
–Boss AC2 (aka ‘suck’ pedal)
–Boss DD20
–Ernie Ball Jr
–Monster cables
–Voodoo Labs PP2+ 

Highlight of Jared’s rig:

–Well, besides the obvious ’68 Gibson and the Bad Cat, it was the way he ran it and the Boss AC2 suck pedal

The first thing about Jared is how humble he is. He’s been in a huge band here in the Southern California area, and has even been sponsored by Bad Cat. But you’d never know it. Really humble guy. But his tone is killer. He had a really innovative setup where he runs the mono out of the DD20 into his Fender DeVille, and sets it clean. Then he runs the stereo out of the DD20 into a volume pedal, and then into the Bad Cat, set dirty. So, for overdrive, he just raises the volume pedal to control the level of his Bad Cat. So, in full overdrive, his clean amp is still filling space, too. Very cool sounding…almost a Keith Richards type setup. No od pedals. Just amp od. Sounds great!

And of course, the ’68 Gibson helps a lot, too. 😉

But the thing that stuck out for me…and this is weird…was the Boss AC2, which he uses as his ‘suck’ pedal. The pedal just wrecks his tone, and he uses it for intros before he kicks into his real tone, or to fade out with a really jacked up eq. It was awesome! I’ve actually tried a ton of cheap od’s to get that sound, and could never get it to ‘suck’ good enough. hehe But that AC2 was really cool.

Overall, Jared has great tone, and a lot of innovation in the way he sets up his rig. Sounded awesome! Jared, thanks for being there, and for sounding amazing.

  • And lastly in alphabetical order was me. (I’ve always been last in alphabetical order.) I’m not going to talk about myself in the same way I talked about everybody else. But, in order to answer the questions that came up in the chat room from people watching online, I will post my rig and do my best to address the questions that I read.




–Prairiewood Les Paul (Wolfetone Dr. V’s)
–Melancon Pro Artist S (chambered, Lindy Fralin blue’s)


-Holland custom (EL84-based)
–65 Amps cab (Celestion Alnico Blue, Celestion G12H-30)
–Holland Brentwood
–Heritage cab (Jensen P12N)


–Peterson Strobostomp
–Hartman Vintage Germanium Fuzz
–Hermida Mosferatu (12 volts)
–SIB Varidrive (ECC81 tube)
–Paul Cochrane Tim (12 volts)
–Fulltone Fatboost (12 volts)
–Subdecay Quasar
–Cusack Tap-A-Whirl (well, a week later…not anymore)
–George Dennis optical volume 
–Damage Control Timeline
–Diamond Memory Lane
–Damage Control Glass Nexus
–Damage Control Timeline (again)
–Arion SAD-1
–Fostex MR8 recorder
–Ernie Ball Jr
–Lava ELC cables
–Furman Power Factor Pro
–Voodoo Labs PP2+
–Various Loop-Master bypass boxes
–Various Rockron Midi Mate switchers

Highlight of Karl’s rig: 

–How he is able to turn so much gear into so little tone (hehe Sorry, I couldn’t resist…you guys know my self-deprecating mannerisms by now 😉 )

Questions and Answers

1. What are your switching boxes?

–The main ones are Loop-Master true bypass boxes. With the amount of effects I run, if I were to run through all those boxes all the time, the tone would get sucked into low-mid heavy mush. So I run through two true bypass boxes (one for overdrives, and one for effects) that actually hardwire my signal out of the signal path when those effects are not in use. Works great. The other two switchers are Rocktron Midi Mates, which control the midi for the two Damage Control Timeline delays. They let me name and access the 128 presets in each Timeline pedal.

2. What is the half power switch?

–In order to get my tone to a usable level in certain smaller venues, I have to turn down. If I have to turn down too much, though, it doesn’t get my 4 EL84 tubes hot enough to get optimum tone. So I had Jerry Blaha in Hollywood put a half power switch in my amp that cuts 2 of the EL84 power tubes out of the circuit. So then when that switch is on, the tubes stay just as hot, there’s just half as many of them in the circuit, resulting in 15 watts instead of 30 watts. But same tone (save that the speakers aren’t being pushed as hard). It’s an amazing tool to be able to keep your tone where you like it by keeping your tubes hot enough, but still being able to blend with the music by not overpowering everything. And…the mod is much cheaper and much more convenient than buying and carrying around to every gig another 15 watt amp to go with my main 30 watt one.

3. If you decide to run your amp head on stage, with a 50 foot speaker cable to your cab in the closet, so as to minimize stage volume but still keep your amp loud enough to drive your tubes, will you lose tone going through that much cable?

–The simple answer is yes. But it won’t be that noticeable. I don’t pretend to understand all the technical aspects of it, but because of the impedances, the signal sent over the speaker cable from the head to the cab has far less tonal loss than an instrument cable from the guitar to the amp. However, you do lose ‘feel.’ We did this at my church for a while, before I had the half power switch mod done. And I ended up playing too much, and with too little dynamics (in general just hacking it), because I couldn’t ‘feel’ what I was doing through our IEM’s, or in-ear monitors. Even with room mics. There’s just something about a guitar amp. So I would venture to say that turning your amp way down on stage will actually sound better than cranking it in a closet……because on stage, no the tubes will not be as hot, and your gain may not be at its ‘sweet spot’, but if you can feel yourself, you’ll play better. And playing better will sound better through a quieter amp, than hacking will sound through a cranked amp. In general. If you play at some church where the stage volume needs to be absolute zero, then maybe the closet is a good option. Honestly, my favorite option is to get a smaller amp, or a half power switch, or a good power scaling amp, and to keep the amp on stage at now a reasonable volume. In my humble experience, a little bit of stage volume always helps the mix. And note that I said a ‘little’ bit of stage volume. Not even enough for the sound tech to really notice.

4. What phaser are you using?

–I’m using the Subdecay Quasar. Best I’ve found for the size. The Moog sounds a little bigger, but it also is a little bigger. Can’t justify that much board space for an effect I don’t use very often. And the Toneczar Halophaze is much more versatile and sounds fantastic, too. But I can’t justify that much money on a phaser until I start using phase as much as delay…which doesn’t seem likely any time soon. 😉 But the Quasar is a very decent, full-boided phaser.

5. What pedal were you talking about for weird multi-effects?

–That would be the Damage Control Glass Nexus. It’s a multi-effects unit, but it’s delay and reverb are so good and can be added to any effect. So it makes it probably the best all-in-one ambience pedal I’ve ever played.

6. What are you using for the ambient ‘pad’ in the background?

–The pad is all my guitar……but recorded, saved, and then called up and looped through a volume pedal and second amp. So a totally separate rig. Basically I record my main guitar rig doing ambient swells centering around the tonic chord and its suspended variations for about 7 minutes. I do this in every key, and save each one separately into a Fostex MR8 recorder. Then, depending on what key the song is in, I call up that ‘song’ in the recorder, set its loop points so that it restarts at zero after reaching minute 7, and then run it into another tube amp for warmth. So it’s constantly running; but to control the volume, I run it into a volume pedal before it hits the amp. Works great as a filler in the background, takes the awkwardness out of times in between songs, starts services, allows something to play while I tune, etc. You just have to make sure you turn it off or way down if the song goes out of the key, if the sound guy gets excited by it and cranks it, or if you have a couple keyboard players taking up the same sonic space. But overall, it’s been one of the best things for my rig. 

7. What’s your honest opinion on the Line 6 X3L?

–hehe I’m not a huge modeling guy. If it works for you, then that’s awesome! But I’ve found that personally, I sound way better through a real tube amp driving real speakers, actually physically amplifying, moving, and effecting the air around it……rather than just changing signals into 1’s and 0’s and replicating via algorithms sounds that actually exist in nature. And for versatility, to me it sounds way better to learn how to change strum dynamics, pickup switching, and song feel for dynamics, then to switch ‘amps’ on a POD. Not saying they’re bad! Some people straight-up rock through them! It’s just that this was the question, and this is how I very humbly feel about them. 🙂 Don’t hate me. lol

8. What’s your honest opinion on the M13?

–Expected to hate it. Was very pleasantly surprised. Not really into the drives on it; neither were Bob and Jason, as they obviously had external stompbox drives in addition to the M13. The drives sounded decent until they turned on their real drives and it was like, ‘Oh.’ But the modulation effects were very, very nice. And it’s really hard to beat the versatility of that thing. To be able to have your expression pedal control two parameters at once? To be able to have seek wah effects that you’d never be able to have a dedicated pedal for…but they’re in the M13 when you need them. Global tap for 4 cascading delays? Line 6 really did their homework with this thing, and I think it sounded fantastic in both Bob’s and Jason’s rigs. You gotta remember, though, that both Bob and Jason had obviously spent a ton of time dialing it in properly to their rigs, and that with Suhr and Duesenberg guitars and Suhr amps, it’s hard to sound bad. haha But I really, honestly, and truly, loved the sounds that were coming out of it. Am I going to sell all of my modulation pedals and by one? hehehehe Uh…no. But it did cross my mind for a few fleeting seconds……which is saying a ton for a multi-effects pedal to do that to me. 😉

Alright, I think that just about covers it. Here’s some random pictures to remember the night of tone by:


Kenrick and Jared, obviously solving the all the world’s problems…with tone!



And here’s Ryan and Bob talking pedals. You can see Ryan’s gorgeous Prairiewood there. Mmmm. And Kenrick looks really bored in the background…must mean I’m talking. hehe



And lastly, this is Travis talking with Danny. And Kenrick and Jared are still trying to make tone solve world hunger. Actually, it looks more like I took this picture by accident.

Again, huge thanks to everyone who came out on this night, both in person and online! I learned a ton! Never before has so much tone been contained in one room. Except for U2 concerts. And practices. Anywhere where Edge is. I’m going to try to do these much more often……and actually record them. 🙂


30 thoughts on “Guitar for Worship Workshop 2009 Wrap-Up

  1. So, Karl,

    You really ought to get Danny Shultz to help a brother out with DL-4 and DD-20 layering… a video, something.

    I have been reading your blog for a while now. Love the insights. I have even begun using “splendid” in conversation. 🙂

    I am about to finish seminary and start looking for a church to serve. Thanks for your help in helping us all think through tone. Now, if only there was more money to buy more tone-shaping-goodness…

    Thanks again,

  2. really seriously good-looking and great-sounding gear that would not sound half-as-good if not for the hands (and feet) that put them to work! too bad, i couldn’t stay up late to watch the jam session 🙁

    so the obvious question is, when is the next workshop?! heh!

  3. Thanks for posting this recap. Wish I could see these types of gigs in person. Around here I’m the tone stud cause I have a POD 🙂
    I am in a serious funk now…I REALLY want to ditch my X3L and go tube/pedals. The POD is so convenient, and although no one else in the congregation could probl. tell the difference, I can. I’m sure I’ll be a much better worship leader if I had better tone. And I’m sure God would be more glorified if I used tubes (shhh…I gotta keep telling myself this to make this all happen 😉 lol
    Now if I could just find a cheap way to go EL84 🙂 Is the upcoming Vox AC4 calling my name?
    Anyone want to buy a X3L? 🙂

  4. Don–it was definitely my pleasure! 🙂 And great link on the blind tone test. I don’t have time right now, but I can’t wait to watch those…that’s something we should be doing all the time. But I usually just pick the one that looks the coolest. hehe 😉 j/k

    Stephen–great to have you here, brother! And thanks for the kind words. That’s awesome that you’re in seminary! Where are you looking to serve? And yes…unfortunately, it seems money is always against us. lol I’ll talk to Danny about getting some demos of the lo-res stuff up! 🙂

    Larry–it would’ve been great to have you there! And I did catch that post…commented on your latest one instead. But your board’s looking great, and tone’s sounding good, bro. 🙂

    Phillip–hear, hear! I felt like such a kid, just being overjoyed by being surrounded by all that gear. hehe And ya…my rig looks really big in the angle of that picture. My defense is that a lot of it is for switching capabilities…if you count up the actual effects, there really aren’t that many……kinda. 😉

    Rhoy–hehe I’m so glad you got to watch, but so sorry I screwed up recording it so that you could see the whole thing. Oops. But yes, I agree, there were some great sounding rigs and some really talented people there!!

    Steven–lol Of course the worship hinges on good tone!! 😉 And if I may, the best EL84 tone I’v ever heard for the money is a Fender Blues Junior with a speaker and tube swap. Put some JJ tubes in there, and a Celestion V30, Greenback, or Blue, and whoa…those amps can sound great for the money! 🙂 And the AC15’s you’re looking at our really good, too. So many choices! I love tone.

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  6. Karl,

    I am actually hoping to move or family back to my wife’s home state of California, or at least thereabouts… I am actually visiting the Carlsbad area this weekend (in-laws).

    If you had time for coffee Friday or Saturday morning, that would be awesome, but I know that’s a REAL long shot.

    Thanks again for imparting all your tone knowledge to guys like me just starting out…

  7. Super cool! One of my friends has that exact same Duesenber but left handed. It sounds amazing. Really cool rigs! I notice the 1×12 cabs were really popular. Everyone in MN has 2x12s, I wonder if it’s a regional thing?

  8. yeah that picture of me looking bored was I think when I decided to just turn my stuff off once I heard Travis plugged straight into his magic amp and was ripping. Ho hum, talent is so important…

    Thanks again for hosting it, I have to apologize to cornering Jason and asking him a ton of worship questions hahaha.

    M13 was way cooler then expected. $500? Wow.

    I wish I would have gotten Ryans’ email, he was a really super guy. Bob’s guitar is awesome looking, total rockstar action, I don’t know how he could play that at a service and not just distract everyone with its awesomeness.

    Karl – Your pads are such an awesome idea, who needs keyboards? And yes Philip, his board does look like a huge control panel, I have 0 clue how he navigates around it, and I even saw him do it in person.

    Oh yeah, I was next to that bad cat. My ears were ringing the next day. Jared’s Gibson had probably the most amazing action of any guitar I’ve played, I don’t know how it can be 1mm off the frets and it never buzzes.

    Thanks for the kind words, I seriously felt like a kid amongst adults 🙂

  9. Brent–thanks, man. And the two Timeline’s are because once I started playing with one, I started discovering a bunch of cool background modulation sounds, looper ideas, lo-res stuff, etc. But I wanted to use all that background stuff with normal delayed sounds in the foreground, too. So I bought another one. So the first one is for most of my more normal delay needs, and the second one is mostly for modulation textures, reverbs, lo-res pad type stuff in the backgrounds, and the looper. And, of course, you can also cascade them into each other on different time settings and get some interesting rhythms. 🙂

    Stephen–right on! Bro, that’s so weird…I’m about to head down to Carlsbad in about two hours to finalize some graphics stuff for the church. You’re not in the area now, are you? On the way back, I’m gonna drop by Buffalo Brothers…like, the coolest guitar shop in San Diego. hehe I’ll let you know if I can do anything this weekend, bro. 🙂

    Mike–ya, that guitar was gorgeous. And sounded fantastic! As for the 1×12’s, I think that’s just because of the low wattage most of us play in churches…that way, the one speaker is pushed more. But I have both, depending. My main rig is 2×12, though…just something about the fullness of more air moving out of a 2×12. Of course, when I mic only one speaker at 90% of the places I play, that fullness is just for me. But I don’t mind. 😉

    Kenrick–haha Travis’ playing always makes me feel that way. You’re not alone. 🙂 And those M13’s surprised me, too.

    If Ryan doesn’t happen to show up around here in the next day or so, I’ll e-mail you his e-mail address. And seriously…after everybody left, Jared stayed so he could ‘really’ crank his Bad Cat. And whoa. lol Sounded great, though.

    And bro, your tone seriously sounded great! Really loved your guitar, and that Nova Delay really surprised me, too!

  10. Kenrick–I was right at the corner of San Marcos Blvd and El Camino Real…at CPS Printing. The planes were landing right overhead, so I’m guessing I was pretty close to where you were! We should’ve had an impromptu street corner jam session. hehe And the Bad Cat did sound amazing that high. 🙂

    Ryan–just sent it over. 🙂

  11. First things first, I MISSED IT!!! I really wanted to be there but had a prior engagement working with the youth so I missed it but wouldn’t change it.

    The scary thing is I’ve played with a lot of these guys over the years and the ones I’ve played with are amazing, (two of them I get to play with every week, God is good).

    The rest I am looking forward to playing with soon I hope. I still can’t believe we haven’t had the chance to do music together yet!

    Loved the whole break down of the night I feel like I was there.

    I think we need to do a valley wide worship night this summer, lets all get together soon and plan it

  12. Mike, it’s so good to hear from you!! I really wished you could have been there, too! 🙂 But I’ll agree with you and say that youth is definitely more important than us guys geeking out on tone. lol

    And absolutely, let’s do a whole valley church worship deal in the summer. That would be amazing!!

    Also……since you mentioned it…if you’re ever free on a Saturday night…we’ve definitely got a service where it’d be great to worship with ya… 😉

  13. Thanks again Karl for putting this thing together. It was great to get to meet some new people and see some others that I haven’t seen for a while. But forget the people…the gear was great :).

    I was bummed when I couldn’t make the last one of these that you did, mainly because I wanted to see Karl’s board. I had one brief encounter with the legendary board at a Rancho Community multichurch night of worship several years ago. It was life-changing! I believe it was in three sections back then, and had more pedals than I could ever dream of (that is saying a lot). You are the legend Karl, and you sound fantastic by the way. Great tone, effects, style and playing. You are a legendary blogger as well. Thanks for all that you put into it, and for helping us brothers out.

  14. Bob–you’re waaaay too kind. I learned a ton from you, and I think I have indirectly for years, through Mike Huffman. hehe

    And I remember that night, talking with you. With my two boards the size of the stage, with no buffers, no bypass loopers, and every pedal, I think, was vintage and sucked tone like crazy. Aw, those were dark days…with some really dark and muddy tone…………but wow, was it fun! hehe 😉

    Ryan–you’re also too kind. 🙂 Really looking at the ShapeShifter now, man.

  15. Phenomenal collection of guys and gear. Thanks for posting that. Wish we could get and event like this going on our side of the world.

    Regarding the AC2 “suck” pedal. I bought one years ago and virtually never used it because of how much it sucks as an acoustic sim… but I’m intrigued by the way Jarred is using it. Wonder if you could comment on what the settings are to use it that way?

  16. Hey baggas! Ya, I was pretty stoked on how he was doing that, also. I don’t know his exact settings, but he was using it as basically a really bad eq, to suck all the good frequencies out of the guitar for an intro or fadeout. So, probably dropping the mids a ton, and then just letting the AC2 ‘do what it does’, in making everything else suck. lol 🙂

    I’ll try to get ahold of him and ask him what his exact settings are, though. Or maybe he’ll see this and post ’em.


  17. Karl, what happened to the tap-a-whirl? If I happen to be out that way at some point you can try out my shape shifter.

  18. Karl, I think that all of us there that night were just blown away with how you use all those pedals. You are definately in a class by yourself not only in talent but in character as well.

    All the players there and their individual tones were inspiring as well. How can you forget the feel of Jared’s Gibson with such low action… I have a Hagstrom “Swede” from the early 70’s and I call that guitar “touch tone” because of the action. But that 335 has the smoothest ever!

    I know who to go to when I need info for any effects…
    “Karl The Tone Master”

  19. Ah, you’re still too kind. But yes, there were some amazing people there. Jared’s Gibson was incredible, Bob’s Duesenberg…whoa. And I remember you telling me about that guitar, but had forgotten it was a Hagstrom because at the time, I had no idea what a Hagstrom was. hehe That’s awesome!! I almost bought one of those last year…I hear they’re amazing!

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