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Posts Tagged ‘Guitar for Worship’

These are some of the most beneficial things I have found for leading worship. And this is normally the part where I would try to inject some type of humour, but I’ve seriously got nothing tonight. Edge. Bono. Delay. Tone. Tubes. There ya go.
Always help your drummer load in at least one piece of equipment.
Learn your sound system…or at least how to plug in a direct box.
When services run long, be the first to suggest that your ministry be the one to cut back a few minutes. (Meaning, just don’t build back into the ‘epic’ end of ‘Saviour King’ for a fifth time.)
Don’t sing lead vocals on every song, every week.
Only mention mistakes to your team when you hear them a second time; giving people a change to recognize and correct their own mistakes goes a long way. And let’s face it…when you played that G chord in the 1st and 2nd frets instead of the 2nd and 3rd frets? You knew it. You didn’t need anyone to stop the song and point it out.
Get off the stage and let your team go for it every once in a while.
If a monitor’s not working, be the first to get up and make an effort towards fixing it…even if you have no idea where to start.
Arrive before your team, and leave after.
Say thanks.
And lastly, remember that you’re probably not the best worship leader even within your own church.
All this can be summed up with simply this: lead by example. I think sometimes we’re so busy trying to lead people, that we don’t have time to even be the Christ-like example to which we’re trying to lead them. And I’ve had this post in my head for so long; but I’ve hesitated to write it down, because I am so bad at doing this stuff, and so bad at being an example. But it kind of hit me this past week that when Jesus could have been going out landing lucrative guest speaker gigs, he was instead washing people’s feet. And maybe that’s the reason people listened to Him.
And even now, I don’t really want to hit ‘Publish’, because then I have to live by this stuff. Blast. Splendid.
Karl.

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…is sometimes far greater than tone itself. That’s one of the reasons that gear is so cool. You can look at my rig, see a Tyler strat, and assume I sound good. (And I don’t own a Tyler strat right now…just a dream i have. ;) hehe) Without ever actually hearing any art. Which isn’t necessarily bad…as long as the art, and in the highest form, art for the glory of the Creator, does follow at some point. Which is why after a very lengthy post on tone and a new pedalboard, without ever showing any sounds, it is most likely a good time to try to start grabbing emotions again. The emphasis, of course, as always, being on the ‘try.’ But we do want to make sure that we always maintain the focus that the gear, although wonderful (oh so wonderful), is a wonderful tool. Just a pallet and a paintbrush.

So, definitely waxing a little too poetic here, without the benefit of the ‘poetic’ part. But couple that with the many requests I received to hear the pedalboard actually being played (novel concept I’m sure…ya, apologies for not including that in the first pedalboard post, hehe), I give you the world premiere of the brand new song, ‘Awake…or Turning Random Knobs on a Pedalboard I Don’t Know What to do With':

For those of you interested, that’s a Timeline doing the looping, another one doing the swells, and then a Memory Lane and an SAD-1 for warmth. Subdecay phase for, well…phase, and a Hartman Germanium Fuzz for the bowish swells, with a Mosferatu for the feedback holding-ish stuff. Oh ya, and the octavey shimmer was provided by an RV3 into a POG, mixed politely by the Dan Burgess parallel looper. George Dennis volume pedal, but who cares about the volume pedal right? It doesn’t delay anything! hehe ;)

So, I hope at least some type of emotion was conveyed by that. Come on, something to help me justify the board! haha But I am going to be trying to record different pieces like this quite often, and offering them for download here:

Soundclick Downloads

I do apologize, but since these are pieces, rather than backdrops for ministering through worship music, they’re not free. But the ambient pads in the 12 keys are and will always remain, free. But that should be all academic, as I doubt most of us who frequent this blog spend our money on anything that doesn’t have strings, a tube, or a true bypass switch. ;) Nevertheless, I’ve gotta pay for my gear habit one way or the other. Hey, at least I’m honest.

So that was a bit of the new pedalboard doing pedalboard stuff. And what do you know! No dotted 8th delay anywhere to be heard! I almost feel a little bit dirty.

Splendid.
Karl.

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This post and its comments have been moved to the way more awesome guitarforworship.com website. Click here to read this post.

Splendid.
Karl.

So…it appears that I am starting a trend of being wrong here. On Thursday, in a post about possibly (possibly, folks) being wrong, I posted a video of this new band called The Antlers. That same night, I went and saw them open for Editors at The Wiltern. I was excited. And wow. The most rambling, self-indulgent, condescending music I have ever heard. Huge, long, drawn-out Tchaikovsky endings to every single song, and then, as soon as you think the 11 minute song with the 4 minute ending must be over, the guitarist/singer and the keyboardist both drop to their knees and twist knobs on their pedalboards until there is this ambient fuzz wash thing hanging in the air. Now, the first time they did that, pretty cool. The 8th time…ya. Not so much. And no attempt whatsoever to connect or communicate with the audience. Which is really the point of music in the first place. The best part of the night was when, amidst the 6th, I believe, ending of a song with random feedback, the feedback I guess went on too long through the house system, because the singer then made some derogatory joke into the microphone about the sound guy. And then he waited for us as the audience to join him in laughing, but the whole audience was like, ‘Um, are you sure that’s not just your guitar?’ It was awkward. And I couldn’t help but think that if this band liked themselves just a tad less, and tried maybe for just one song, to humbly allow the audience to commune with their music rather than giving off the attitude of, ‘Here’s the be all end all of music, and if you’re too dumb to understand it, tough’, they could be the next great thing in music right now. I mean, they are talented. Amazing sense of melodies, incredible use of instruments and effects, and great orchestrations. Some of the fullest and most in-depth textures I have heard. But all of that was lost on us as we watched them drift farther and farther away from us into their own world of self-importance.

Just a smile. Or a nod, or a laugh. Something to make us believe they were trying to communicate their art to us, rather than lord it over us. With that change in humility, they could be on top of the world in a couple years. Or maybe at least perceived humility. Who knows, they could be the most humble guys on the planet. But that didn’t matter as far as the concert went, because that didn’t come across to us. I watched the whole audience just drift away through their set. Talking, laughing, leaving for drinks…this huge disconnect started forming, and the worst part was that The Antlers seemed to be reveling in that disconnect. And then I started wondering how often we do that in worship music. Are we trying to communicate the worship of God to our audience, or are we reveling in our own musicianship? Or even in our own sense of communication? Reveling in your own ability to communicate can put an end to that ability really quick. Or…even not communicating because we’re reveling in our own worship, and using the stage as our personal prayer closet. We’re up there for a reason…and that is to communicate this sense of worshiping God through emotions, and letting that transcend into our daily lives. And sometimes we can get so caught up in how awesome we are, or how awesome the music is, or how awesome it is that world hunger is now alleviated because we played this song, that we can stop communicating altogether. And it’s really empty.

Oh, and by the way…Editors? Simply astounding. If you have not seen them live, you owe it to yourself before you die. The complete opposite of The Antlers. The whole feel of the night changed when they got on the stage. Suddenly, you felt as if you were feeling what they were feeling, and as if there was one song between them and the audience…and they just happened to be the ones with the instruments and microphones. The atmosphere was electric. There really is something about watching musicians truly feel the music, and stop trying to be cool, and let themselves go. And when Tom Smith, their singer, does a guitar dance that is so off-the-wall that you think, ‘What an idiot’, you know that he is no longer performing, but simply feeling. And that feeling, coupled with a humble and heartfelt desire to see your audience come on the emotional journey with you, rather than just watch you do it, is what communicates. Did you do that new David Crowder song because you thought it would communicate well with the congregation, or just because it was on his new cd? Did you do that tasteful anti-solo during that old hymn because you thought it would communicate well with the congregation, or because it would sound really good in the recording? Just some thoughts.

Oh, and for those of you doing the math, and noting that I posted the original Antlers video on the day I said I was celebrating my anniversary, and now seeing that in this post I mentioned seeing this show on the same day, yes. I have the coolest wife ever. And this is where she actually wanted to go for our anniversary. Wow.

And lastly…this has nothing to do with anything…but I was looking at my pedalboard this morning, and noticed my unused expression pedal, the expression pedal inputs on my Midi Mates, and the 50-some-odd patches yet to be written into the Timelines. Yep. And for those of you who have the Timeline, a $20 expression pedal plugged into the Midi Mate can control any knob on the Timeline, and is writable to a different knob per patch. I am discovering that it is very wonderful.

And of course, some Editors live footage:

Splendid.
Karl.

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This post and its comments have been moved to the way more awesome guitarforworship.com website. Click here to read this post.

Splendid.
Karl.

The storm being, me (that means metro and glued his fingers together last time he attempted a project…and by project, I mean gluing the bow back on the snowman lawn ornament…which should never in a million years result in blood…and I found a way) with power tools. Er, a saw and a staple gun. I just found out that tools are a lot more expensive if you can plug them in.

Alright, pedalboard, it’s either you go, or my arms go. And I do find my arms to be somewhat useful in moving my fingers so that I can play a couple notes in between hitting pedals. So there you have it. Let the sawing (*sigh*, and blood) commence.

Splendid.
Karl.

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This post and its comments have been moved to the way more awesome guitarforworship.com website. Click here to read this post.

Splendid.
Karl.

Ever have those weeks, where so much is going on, that you can no longer differentiate between the things you’ve done, and the things you’ve thought about doing? I’ll email someone and they’ll say ‘You just emailed me that.’ And then I’ll say ‘Really’ and then completely shut down for three hours while watching ‘Heat.’ Nothing like hearing Michael Brook playing over the landscape of LA, while Pacino kicks a television out of his car. Beautiful. The other way to deal with stress is to buy pedals. Done.

So, all that to say, please do not be offended during this time if I haven’t responded to your questions. Some days, between this blog, facebook, email, youtube, phone, Gear Page, and a little thing called real life, there are upwards of 40+ gear-related questions I need to respond to. (And a few saying, ‘I bought the $500 pedal you suggested and it would be impossible for you to have been more wrong. I hate you.’) And inevitably I miss some. So I’m really sorry if I’ve missed yours. I adore talking about gear, so just send it to me again, or post it here, or send me an email. I promise you that I love talking gear so much, that after a few conversations you’ll be the one not responding to me. :) I was hoping it’d never get to the point where I had to mention that, but it’s at the place now where I know I must be forgetting to respond to at least some of them, and I do apologize. Please be patient with me.

So anyway, here’s the end result of my head dying this week. Well, and of watching Heat with my laptop open buying pedals.

It’s about fullness. 98% of people hear the sound, not your guitar.
Got a PS3 in. (The pedal, not the video game unit deal. I am the worst video game player ever. I’ve never made it past the 2nd screen of the original Mario Brothers. Jumping is hard.) Unfortunately, it does everything I don’t need quite well. And the one thing I do need…not so much. However, a full demo is on the way.
I’m running all pads from a laptop now…into an eq…into a volume pedal, and then an amp. And I am looking for a Murf and another delay for them too. I do not understand why my way of dealing with stress is to complicate things. And anyone want to buy a Fostex MR8 recorder with pads already recorded on it?
Play a chord every once in a while. Ya, I know they’re boring, but it’s amazing how good those things sound.
George Clooney looks way better than me. And he’s 46. I hate him.
I’m learning more and more that music, and especially worship music, is about communicating…not ‘to’, but ‘with’ your audience.
Finally saw ‘It Might Get Loud.’ Absolutely lovely. Page is fantastic, I have a ton of respect for White, but Edge just comes from some other place altogether. In the best way possible. And if you disagree, then you’re wrong. ;)
My wife and I are starting week 2 of gluten-free, source, veganism. I would love to put 18-year-old-Tourniquet-listening-Jack-in-the-Box-ultimate-bacon-cheeseburger-loving-real-guitarists-play-bar-chords-Steve-Vai-hair-I-have-it-all-figured-out Karl into a cage match with 25-year-old-U2-adoring-source-eating-capo-using-balding-but-maybe-I-can-look-like-Jason-Statham-I’ve-failed-too-much-to-even-consider-thinking-I’ve-got-it-figured-out Karl, and see who would win. Probably the metalhead one. And this actually took place in my mind. Carl Weathers was the referee for some reason. ‘Ding, ding.’ Name that movie. Wow.
Bought a John Fromel pedal on looks alone. And I am not ashamed to admit that. Those things are gorgeous.
There’s this older gentleman at my church. Every time I talk with him, I’m blown away by the simple, concise wisdom. Very, very cool.
It’s probably time to change the tubes in my Timeline’s. Mmmm……tubes.
It’s incredible how much tone you can get when you stop listening for how your tone sounds, and start listening to how your hands and gear are interacting, and start feeling tone. A hot-glowing tube amp doesn’t hurt, either.
I think sometimes we get a result in our minds of how God moving will look, and then we pursue that result when He’s actually moving somewhere completely different.
Shocked my lips on the mic yesterday. I eventually fixed the ground problem, but you know…that pain stays in your mind! I backed off from the mic a ton, and didn’t really realize until then how much I devour that thing when I sing. So if any of you ever want to come to my church to guest lead, just be careful of which mic you’re singing into. We don’t want to kiss.
Buy more delay.
Music and tone and sound and melody just put thoughts and pictures into my mind that I can’t explain and wish I could. I love them so much. And ‘Heat.’
Recording technologies are getting out of hand. I should buy stock in compression. I think we could all do with a good dose of some old Beatles recordings, and remember how it sounds to get a great source sound, and to not let the recording get in the way of that.
School of Seven Bells. Do it.
I bought a pedal I’ve already had. I’ve done this like, 17 times. What is wrong with me? Or, what is very, very right with me. Gear is the best. Tone is better. And delay trumps them all. This makes sense to me.

    Splendid.
    Karl.

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    This post and its comments have been moved to the way more awesome guitarforworship.com website. Click here to read this post.

    Splendid.
    Karl.

    I usually take December off of everything but my home church. That way, I can reserve a month of ‘less’ so that I can spend holidays with my wife. Too often ministry kills marriages, and I’m not so sure God intended it that way. So this month is me getting back into playing for other worship leaders…and remembering that following is way harder than leading. When you’re the one leading, it’s quite simple to follow yourself. (Uh…hopefully.) You jump back into the following role, and suddenly you have to think about things like, ‘Are we jumping back into the chorus, pre-chorus, or bridge? Because that’s either a C, Am, or F…okay, I have no idea, so I’m just going to hit an overdriven C5 high on the neck because it’ll pass in all 3 chords.’ ;) Or, ‘Why does that sound off? Oh. Maybe I should play in the same key as everybody else.’ Rather than, when leading, you can just look at everyone around you disgustedly for not following ‘the Spirit’ as closely as you are, when ‘the Spirit’ suggested you play in Ab, when you wrote the music for everyone else in A.

    And for you leaders out there, it’s a good exercise to worship with other bands and teams…without leading. You’ll find yourself going, ‘Stupid worship leader! Why can’t they just……oh wait, I just did that to my team this morning.’ And you’ll gain a bit of a new respect for the team serving under you. As well as putting yourself in a position to simply worship through your instrument, without the responsibilities of leading a team. Most refreshing. (‘Refreshing’ is a gross word, isn’t it? Just reminds me of ‘Refreshments will be served in the fellowship hall.’ Ugh!! Can’t you just say ‘You can have some watered down juice and cookies left over from last year out in the lobby’? Sorry, I get passionate about the over-usage of flowery words. ‘Organic’ and ‘transparent’, though…now that’s okay. ;) )

    It’s just a cool thing to break out of the bubbles that inescapably form around us wherever we camp out at. Even if it’s jumping up at an open mic at a coffee shop. Something to get new perspective. To appreciate your teams more. To live…for reals. And maybe to worship a little more freely. And of course, just another place to experience your tone. hehe Provided you happen to be on the upswing of the ever-changing ‘I hate my tone/my tone kills all the pros’ schitzo.

    Splendid.
    Karl.

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    This post and its comments have been moved to the way more awesome guitarforworship.com website. Click here to read this post.

    Splendid.
    Karl.

    I hope this grabs you as much as it does me. Meaning, just tears a hole into your chest and literally beats your heart for you for a couple minutes, so that you can just float on a delay-laden cloud made of melody in sheer ecstasy. Oh ya, and the cloud is glowing with tube warmth. (Wait, Edge’s tone doesn’t do that to everyone? I mean…um…me neither.) But seriously, I hope it inspires you just a little bit. With apologies to Greg Lake, who wrote a beautiful coming-of-age Christmas song. But with a couple subtle lyric changes, the song has changed from slightly hopeless to moreso ‘clinging to Christ’s hope despite the hopelessness around you.’ Meant a lot to me.

    And as we reach the end of the year, and my favorite holiday, I just want to say thanks for reading. There’s a community of love, respect, and knowing that none of us has it all figured out, that I’m just stoked on here. Amazingly enough, I’ve never had to delete a comment. Knock on wood. (But only handcrafted Baltic birch with finger joints. And it’s ported.)  So thanks, merry Christmas, and in the next few days, maybe try to make just one person around you feel God’s love from you. I don’t know if that’s actually thinking about what gift would make your wife or kid or family member happy, rather than buying another toiletry pouch with built-in shaving cream dispenser; whether it’s giving a homeless person five bucks; whether it’s taking the time to get the name of and thank the Salvation Army worker who’s been standing in the cold ringing the bell for 8 hours; or whether it’s smiling and saying merry Christmas to the checkout person who has to work on Christmas Eve…even if maybe they’re tired and double-charged you for the pineapple. People are actually receptive to God at this time of year, and a little love or a little hope might go a long way.

    Sorry for the sap. God, love, and passion…with music to remind our souls of those things. And if that music is toneful (I’m thinking ’57 tweed Fender Champ with original speaker, a Melancon Tele in alder with quilted maple, and a good old Boss DM2……mmmmm), then all the better. Merry Christmas, my friends.

    Splendid.
    Karl.

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