Musical and Not-So-Musical Findings This Weekend

  • The Cure was on to something. Definitely rip them off.
  • There is much rejoicing inside the MJM Foxey Fuzz. Albeit, kind of ’80’s Van Halen rejoicing, but still rejoicing. 
  • It is possible to forget the lyrics to ‘Heart of Worship.’
  • When you forget the lyrics to ‘Heart of Worship’, always make it seem like you’re too overcome to sing, rather than copping to the fact that you screwed up. Ya. There’s the heart of worship. 
  • Delay. You’re welcome.
  • Sometimes God uses what you don’t expect.
  • I love fuzz.
  • The bass guitar is what makes everything the electric guitar does possible.
  • 90% of all hum issues can be solved with those little ground switches on the direct boxes
  • I should put more into my acoustic rig. (Meaning, something besides just my acoustic. Like, a tuner would be good. And a cable. Don’t just steal them from the electric rig.)
  • Fleet Foxes. 
  • It is still possible to be overcome by God’s love, even when you’re focused on leading. Sometimes even moreso.
  • If you make a list of things to do but keep said list only in your head, you will always forget one thing.
  • Writing lists is for sissies (i.e. Line 6 users. Kidding!! Kidding! Seriously, Line 6 demos are coming soon, and the Echo Park is the best bang for your buck in the entire delay entourage.)
  • My amp’s black tolex sounds better than the red tolex. More mids.
  • I am the Edge. (Yes, a worse sounding and worse playing one, but don’t spoil my fantasies!)
  • If I want to stop burrowing a hole in the back of my guitars with my belt buckle, I need to invest in one of those guitar player belt sleeve things.
  • Man, those guitar player belt sleeve things look stupid.
  • Say what you want about Taylors, they sound really good.
  • Hillsong knows what they’re doing.
  • Hence, I steal from them a lot. (Ideas, not gear.)
  • More delay.
  • Those little background graphics behind the song lyrics? Ya. Those are important. Someone came up to me this week and said that one of the backgrounds reached them more than my tone…I mean, than the song. 😉
  • If you know for a fact that no one has touched the sound system since you last turned it off until the time you turned it back on, someone has touched it.
  • And lastly, if things are sounding really good, but you don’t have your delay pedal on, you should always then turn it on. Just for the peace of mind in knowing that since you had delay on, things couldn’t possibly have gotten any better. And fuzz.


48 thoughts on “Musical and Not-So-Musical Findings This Weekend

  1. Your 2nd to last point is sooooooo true. I think there is a person out there in every church that loves to go up to soundboards in a dark worship center and turn knobs.

    I used fuzz on a song yesterday……yup…fuzz is good.

  2. Running one delay into one amp and another delay with modulation into another amp that being run through a talkbox can either lead the worship into a higher level or….cause the paritioners to vomit. 😉

  3. I love Taylors! Definitely a staple of a worship leader. Just buckle your belt on your left hip, like on the other side of the first loop. Then it’s out of your way, it’s like the secret handshake of guitar players. You should get more gear for your acoustic. Definitely try out the BBE Acoustimax. A friend of mine has it and every acoustic sounds better though it!

  4. Here’s my big one –

    Sometimes you have to let the violin player have a turn. What is it with those guys?

    Belt buckle? Easy. Drink more beer. The gut makes for a wonderful guitar cushion.

    I still hate fuzz. Sorry!

  5. Larry–seriously. Isn’t it amazing the difference it makes to have a solid bass player underneath everything?

    Matt–ya! I don’t know how in the world it happens, but it seems like every week our monitor amp is mysteriously turned off. Like, the switch on the amp itself; and I always turn everything off with the power conditioner switch. So weird!! Nice to know this mysterious person travels out to your church each week, too! hehe

    Robin–absolutely! Can never get enough delay!

    Mark–haha Awesome! Did you do that this week?

    Brent–thanks, man. Anything I can do for sucky Mondays. 😉

    Mike–right on. Seriously, I think Taylors get a bad rap just because they’re popular. I know I used to do that. And I have been looking at the LR Baggs preamp DI deal; I’ll check out the BBE, too. Thanks!

    And how in the world did I miss the guitar player secret handshake? I feel like an outsider! Now I’m gonna do that every day, and look for excuses to stretch so that everyone can see my belt buckle on the side and be like, ‘What’s that for?’ Then I can be like, ‘Oh, ya, I’m just a guitarist.’ hehe In high school, that secret handshake was that we all wore our picks behind our ears. Odd. hehe 🙂

  6. haha Tom, we must’ve posted at the same time. Just saw yours. Dude! That beer thing’s got me cracking up! Great post, brother!

    And violins? haha Send ’em over my way! I wish we had one! Or…you know better than me…do I actually not wish I had one? 😉

    And that’s okay on the fuzz thing. Everyone’s gotta have at least one effect they hate…saves money that way. Mine’s flange. hehe 🙂

  7. ah, the dreaded sound system gremlin. i think he lurks about my church on saturday evenings when no one else is in the auditorium. i’ve toyed with the idea of camping out some saturday night but then i would have to have my rig with me to be ready for Sunday rehearsal and my pedalboard would be in peril of being touched by his tone hating hands. must come up with a better idea….

  8. Ok, that does it. You’re now my favorite worship blog on the net, Keep it up. you’ve got a loyal subscriber here!

    Comming at ya from YWAM/Curch worship land up here in Vancouver, BC. Drop by any time.

  9. If you constantly wear your belt buckle to the side then you will look like a hipster, or a slow adult. Neither is a very good thing. Best bet is to drink more beer and get a gut

  10. Haha, I like Toma’s idea about the belt buckle to the side. That’s where we tie our belts in shou shu. Just make sure, as a male, that yours is to the left, lol.

    Avalon U5.

    And any Avalon acoustic . . . my personal favorites for the large factory acoustics. 🙂

  11. Eddie–lol Man, it’s so nice to know it’s not just at my church!!

    Stuart–haha Thanks for the kind words. And if I ever move to Washington, which is where I’d like to be, I’ll totally come check you guys out!

    Moose–hehe Another vote for the drink more beer. 🙂

    James–Okay, I’ll definitely go to the left! 🙂 And Avalon’s, huh? Isn’t that what Chris Tomlin uses?

  12. hmmmmm… I have had the blessed chance of having a “church acoustic” (the one the church owns) being an Alvarez. I’ve been VERY impressed.
    Its darker than a taylor, yet more woody….. oh, it plays like a strat up and down the neck. I love it.

    bass player— man, I complain often that we don’t have on for our first service, but he comes for #2 and 3. Wow, what a difference, what fun what…. music. I hate playing chords, I think I’ve decided to never go back to being “rhythm guitarist guy” any more 😉

  13. I don’t know if he does, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I know a lot of those guys are sponsored by Avalon. Avalons are the Vox of acoustics. They’re very chimey with a complex blanket of overtones. A bit mid-focused in a pleasing way, and a tight fundamental (the initial sound of a note).

    It’s so hard to find good YouTube guitar demos.

  14. I think I feel the way about chorus the way you feel about flange 🙂
    Chorus can only be used by the Cure, Cocteau Twins, and Michael Landau. That’s the list.

    I got to hear a Diamond ML1 + ML2 last night and it was sweet trails goodness.

  15. I don’t want to get into the whole “It’s ok to drink in moderation vs. It’s not ok to drink at all if you are a Christian” argument. But personally, if you want to drink a beer or have a glass of wine with dinner, in the privacy of your home, fine by me.

    However, when it comes to joking about the subject (assuming you guys are joking), I think it is irresponsible. You don’t know what kind of people read this blog. Some could be struggling with alcohol addiction.

    I don’t comment much. But I read this blog all the time and it’s a joy. You’d be hard pressed to find somebody nicer or more humble than Karl. Some of these comments, however, are just a little crossing the line, IMHO.

  16. You forgot “don’t play with heavy delay and tremolo on at the same time”… (see my latest post – “Worship Recap – Old/New Songs”… bonus, there’s an old photo of U2 there)

    By the way, the most beautiful sounding acoustic that I’ve ever played was a Taylor… but it was like a $6,000 guitar. Every other Taylor that I’ve played sounds like a Martin with ultra, utlra light strings on it. That works great if you’re desperately trying to get it to cut through the mix.

    Avalons are very similar to Taylors, but I’d buy an Avalon before I’d buy a Taylor… just because they’re made in Ireland. 😉

  17. Larry–yikes, very cool to have an Avalon be the church acoustic. 🙂

    And with the right bass player, sometimes I feel the same way about never playing rhythm again. haha But then there’s always just something about playing chords or riffs high on the neck, and then coming back down to the big G chord and jamming out some rhythm. There’s a couple guitarists I’ll play with who can handle lead really well, and so sometimes I just let them go…and not because I’m being humble, because I actually want to do rhythm and just lock with drummer. Depends on the drummer, too, for how fun it is. hehe 🙂

    James–cool, brother, I’ll check those out. Thanks for the link!

    Dan–lol That’s awesome. I’m kind of the same way, but I will use chorus when the song feels like it needs that ’80’s thing. And it’s funny you mention the Memory Lanes, because I think if someone made a chorus pedal that was the modulation of the Memory Lane, it’d be a huge hit.

    By the way, I’ve been thinking about getting a ML2 for the added options, but I’ve heard it’s a little more tame than the ML1, and that’s one of the things I like about the 1…is that it kind of plays you sometimes. What’d you think of the two of them together?

    Eric–haha I saw that! Oh, man, I’ve done that so many times. And when you can’t hear yourself, you end up looking down at your pedals and going, ‘How long has that been on?’ lol

    And yes, Taylors are specific to model. Personally, I like the 514 because of the wood configuration with the cedar and mahogany. Makes it just slightly less smiley, but maintaining the Taylor’s ability to cut through the mix.

    However, the Ireland thing sets me over the top. Avalon it is. 😉 I have decided that the Irish invented music. At least good music. hehe

  18. Ryan–I decided to post this in a separate comment, just to make a blanket addressing of it. 🙂

    That’s a great reminder, and thank you for that, brother. It is honestly much appreciated. Personally, I don’t drink (at all) because of friends who have been previous alcoholics; so I fully understand your point. However, I have absolutely no problem with anybody who does drink, as long as it’s along the guidelines of Ephesians 5:18.

    It may be just me, but I read the jokes as more of a downplay on beer, and the bad things it can do to your physical stature and health. I would definitely hope no one would look at a comment saying that drinking more beer gives you a larger belly, and therefore decide to drink.

    However, as you read the comments differently, it is possible that your valid concerns of others reading them differently could happen as well. And the last thing I would want was for someone struggling with alcohol to read this blog, and then go take a drink, and end up beating their family or something. So, to anyone who may find some of the above comments to be endorsing alcohol for those who struggle with being addicted to it, please note that they are not. The jokes are about the junk that alcohol (as well as over-eating) can do to your body. Drinking or not drinking is up to you, your family, and your view of God’s will and what He says about it in Ephesians 5, John 2, and other passages.

    Again, Ryan, thank you for your heart on this. I’m sure if you take any 5 people who read this blog, they will all feel differently about drinking. However, that aside, I respect what you said, and thank you for it. 🙂

    I am going to consider this matter closed; however, as this blog has always been about learning from each other how to best glorify God in any way possible (I know, it’s usually via tone, hehe), and since everyone has managed to keep conversation civil for the 8 months or so that this blog has actually had readers (hehe…there was a good period of time when it didn’t have readers), if we can continue to keep the conversation civil, feel free to comment on this subject should you feel the need. But let’s keep the focus on glorifying God, and loving each other. 🙂 It’s weird for me to be so serious on this, I know, but these are the types of conversations that for some reason or another, tend to spiral very quickly.

    Thanks again, Ryan. And thank you in advance to everyone else, also! 🙂 And if you don’t feel the need to comment, then totally awesome, too! 🙂

  19. I’ve been searching around, and the clips of acoustic guitars on YouTube just aren’t very good. I guess it’s hard to capture the low end without a condensor. I found this clip of Charlie Hall though. Avalon through an Avalon U5 (different companies). Not the acoustic sound, but it should satisfy your taste buds a little.

  20. Karl – I only heard the pedals over the PA so I couldn’t tell which pedal was used on each song. I’ll ask him next time what he thinks the differences are. It actually sounded a lot like the stuff you’ve posted on youtube of your Timeline. So you’re covered and don’t need to get any more delay pedals 🙂

  21. Our sound gremlin(s) wait until the time between rehearsal and service. We rehearse just fine, then when service starts the levels are 180 from 15 minutes prior! The gain on a background vocalist almost blew our heads off during service. I’m sure we all physically jumped when it can BLASTING through the Aviom. Couldn’t get those earbuds out fast enough. Quite the beatdown.

    +100 on the LR Baggs ParaDI. It’s magic. My upper-middle-of-the-road Tak slays most Martins and Taylors when plugged in. I’d like to think it’s the playa, but it’s probably the DI. :-/

  22. Dude, I AM THE EDGE! Seriously, good post. Maybe we should have an Edge-wannabe shootout sometime. Everybody brings thier monster rig and we se who does the best Edge impersonation.

  23. Karl,

    Yeah, the Pastor had us open up the pre-service musically with Livin’ on a Prayer (His sermon was on prayer and keeping it simple….uh….stupid.). The church filled up quicker than usual. Generally, we are running through the chorus of our first praise song before the seats really start to fill. I ended up using the talkbox on and off with both amps running to add slight flange or wah effects at different times. It actually worked pretty well (If I do say so myself…which I did.). The sound guy had me running in stereo so it almost sounded like two guitar. I had the delay for the talk box running at about half the repeat time of the main one (ala the Edge.). It sounded big when I kicked it in. Very cool. But setup time was…not convenient. We started off the worship service with All Because Of Jesus by Fee and the twin delays sounded very cool.


  24. 1. Not everything is solved by adding reverb.
    2. Hot Pockets; no. Lean Pockets; yes.
    3. tofu, soybeans, refried beans, and salad can all produce a not-so-wonderful noise.
    4. When in doubt of #1, apply to #3 and review results.

  25. Hey Bro,
    Thanks for the comment about the bass. That is my main goal when playing. I try to fill in the space behind where you play. Also, I knew you forgot the lyrics I just didn’t want to say anything lol.

  26. The bass player can make or break just about everyone in the band, wrong note, singer sounds off key, wrong note, guitar player looks stupid as if they are playing the wrong part, the bass player can just slip back into the shadows with the drummer and giggle about the mistake, and that’s what I do.

    But to bass players(especially ones who play in church), keep it simple please! You are there to support and make God shine(and the rest of the team). Lay it down thick and right.

    Karl, it was awesome playing with you and Eric last week, now I know why people talk about how tone is so important, you had serious good tone.

    I guess Rich jumped in and is leading the charge on valley wide worship thing, communication breakdown, Led Zep had it right years ago.

  27. James–good clip! Now that you mention it, Charlie Hall does have a great acoustic sound. 🙂

    Dan–False. You always need to get more delay pedals.

    🙂 hehe I so wish I were joking. But yes, I’d be really interested to hear his take on it, and especially yours when you can hear them from his amp.

    TimH–lol seriously! I don’t know how in the world that stuff happens! Watch, in like 50 years there will be some kind of electrical explanation from it that will just be common knowledge to everyone and the next generation will think how stupid we were. hehe

    And nice to hear your thoughts on the LR Baggs. I just might have to look into that!

    Scott–haha Now that would be a night worth broadcasting live! All of us U2 worship guitarists finally copping to the fact that we all wish we had gone to high school in the ’70’s with U2 so that we could’ve been on stage with them now. Bono so would’ve kicked Edge out for me. 😉 lol

    Mark–that’s rad! How did you set your delays for All Because of Jesus? Quarters and dotted eighths?

    Chris–truer words were never spoken. I run into so many people (including myself about 5 years ago) who just turn the reverb up whenever things don’t sound right. So now you’ve got bad sound in the Grand Canyon.

    Tim P–brother, I love the way you play bass. Both you and Mike reminded me how important that is this week. 🙂 Any time I can worship with you is just awesome.

    And yes…we’ve played together long enough now that I can’t make a single mistake that you don’t notice. lol 🙂

    Randy–interesting conversation there! Thanks! And that’s pretty funny, too. Personally, I think it comes down to the fact that the worship leader and the sound guy need to be best friends, not means to the others’ perceived end.

    Mike–Can you take what you just said and just stand on a corner and shout it through a megaphone…like, forever? 🙂 That is so key to bass players, and musicians in general. Simplicity. And so few people get it. I can’t say any better what you just said.

    And you sounded incredible, too. Such a blessing to worship with you!

    And lol on the Led Zeppelin thing. It’s amazing how many things in life happen that Zep already sang about! haha

  28. Had a T-Rex Replica set for dotted eighths into a Fender Princeton, a Diamond Memory Lane on quarters into an Orange Tiny Terror and a Fulltone tape echo adding a little girth (An odd word.) to the Fender signal. I could kick the talkbox in and out of the Orange amp. Luckily, we have a very good drummer or you’re talkin’ serious train wreck if the tempo changes. I had it all setup before hand. It sounded BIG! That talkbox brought the guitar players from the congregation up at the end of the service. It’s the ultimate toy to annoy children and neighbors with after a long day. 🙂

  29. Strange to hear so much love for Avalons, especially when they basically stole the Lowden sound… They took (stole) the high tall but thin braces idea from Lowden. Avalon is built by the guitar factory that was building Lowdens until George Lowden took back his name and started building his own. I have a Lowden built in the Avalon factory… Avalons are nice guitars though. That high arch bracing creates a wonderful strong lightly braced open sound, great harmonics, and nice high end. I do notice that Taylors are better suited for rhythm while Avalons are better for fingerstyle or arpeggiating…

    I personally play a Langejans R6 – a strange shaped dread. I don’t think I have a normal named acoustic like Taylor, though if I were to get one, I probably would get a Martin OM. Taylors are just OK to me. I like the RTaylors much more! The Langejans kills every Taylor I’ve ever played except a $4000 Taylor I played once (made of Redwood of all things).

    On the effect front, I just got a Malekko Spring Chicken. It is incredible for spring reverb. Absolutely love it! and it is the size of a small pedal! (The VanAmps Solemate probably sounds better, but it’s even bigger than Damage Control). I don’t think I could tell unless I did an A/B, and I don’t care too much to do that. Saved $150.

    I would like to get a Dr Scientist RRR, but no one has them. Way too popular right now… I’m pretty happy with a great spring reverb for now (digital simulation but pretty dang great).

    And I ended up getting a TC Nova Delay. It was just the easiest to dial in what I wanted in a normal pedal form that my PP+ could power. It does tone-suck a little, but I get around that using a blender, preserving my analog signal, from Barge Concepts. Cool pedals there too. Great value.

    I am thinking about getting a Glass Nexus for my acoustic rig… Too many good pedals out nowadays.

  30. Wow, bro, some awesome info in there! I’ll check on the Lowdens. 🙂 And so you’re digging the Malekko? Very cool. I’ve been very close the past couple days to pulling the trigger on an RRR on gearpage, but just don’t have the money right now. Really want to try one of those out!

    And great call on the Barge Concepts. I’ve been looking into those, especially if I can’t find a reverb that will give me the cool digital artifacts sound without also converting my dry signal.

    Great info!!

  31. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Likewise, it is easier for a pastor to preach a short sermon, than for a guitarist to sacrifice his tone.

  32. Volume DeJaVu. I heard my first volume complaint in a long time yesterday. If others have been complaining I’m not aware of it. It was one of the head ushers during early Sunday am rehearsals. Said “it sounds like a rock concert” !! hmmm What’s the downside? I didn’t say that. I told him when the bodies fill up the church it won’t sound as loud.

    Actually I just learned that our senior pastor told the sound guy to run the mains 5DB hotter for a month, as a test.

    JB discusses a lot of this over here and in other posts:

    I think the part that fascinates me is the concept of having a vision and ‘target audience.’ Wow, I’d be hard-pressed to see our small rural church limit our “audience” in any way by basically designing the worship to target a specific group.

    to quote JB “I’ve met too many non-Christians who don’t come to church on the very basis that it’s a celery stick. For them, church is boring. And to slightly plagiarize – I mean, paraphrase Pastor Perry’s work: what spiritual force would motivate people to get angry at volume levels when large numbers of people are coming to Christ or worshiping with their hands in the air in an intimate relationship with Him? Jesus…or Satan? Seriously – it’s NOT rocket science.

    So there’s two things you need to learn from this.
    1. Learn to recognize spiritual warfare in your ministry by seeing dissention, doubt, condescension, and disunity creep in to castrate in your effectiveness.

    2. Probe and question the intentions of what you perceive to be lowering the effectiveness of your ministry. Is the volume issue legitimate in terms of church vision and mission? Deal with it accordingly. If not, start praying, because Satan will use you as the sound mixer to make the worship leader, the vocalists and the musicians seem like musical celery. “

  33. Chris–haha Too true!! 🙂

    Randy–wow, great stuff. I totally agree…if the majority of people are getting reached, then let’s let it be. 🙂

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