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Splendid.
Karl.

Don’t worry. After you read the post, you’ll hear the sarcasm in the title. All in the span of one weekend, I managed to:

Forget what an E chord was.
Have one of my ultra-cool stellar-hip indie low rise boot cut pant cuffs (ya, they’re bell-bottoms) hit one of my midi switches as I turned an overdrive switch on, setting one of my Timelines from ‘Dotted Eighth Mix’ to ‘Medium Swell’. And then I wondered why the drummer couldn’t keep tempo. I realized my error. But not immediately. It took me an…uh…unfortunate amount of time to figure out.
Pull lights up in the middle of a video. I have no idea why I did it. I just did it.
Sing the wrong lyrics in the first verse of ‘Blessed Be Your Name.’ In two separate services. And in one of them, I literally just made random vowel sounds to the tune. It was awkward.
Feel self-important.
End the big solo on a G. The song was in E. Major.
Try to convince myself that the G thing above didn’t actually happen. And it definitely actually did.
Totally space while following the pastor on the camera (and if you haven’t noticed, I also run the media at my home church…which means that when I suck at staffing the positions, I have to fill in on them during the message, rather than surfing Gear Page in the tech booth) because I was wondering if someday someone might invent an amp with parallel power sections, one with EL84 tubes and one with KT88 tubes. And then you could choose via footswitch whether you wanted EL84 out of one speaker, and KT88 out of another, or a mix in one, and one in the other, or visa versa, or vice versa from that. Sounds like a biasing and impedance nightmare. But it also sounds like sweet, sweet, tone. I suppose you could just get two amps; but this is beside the point.
Flex my musical knowledge by saying into the microphone to the sound tech during practice that the hum he was hearing was due to a reverb tube starting to go bad. Except that I said, ‘Starting to go microphonic.’ Which is wrong. I could have just turned my reverb knob down and said, ‘Sorry. I’ll go without reverb on the pad tonight, and have it fixed by next week.’ But I decided to sound smart. And sounded very dumb. The best part is that I even thought that anyone on the team would have actually been impressed by my knowledge of tubes.
Feel self-important some more.
Rail into the team for forgetting a break in a song during practice. We start the song over, get to the break, and…yep. I don’t even have to say it. The worst part is that the team probably thought I just wanted a complete solo of myself right there.
And lastly, managed to turn my volume knob half way down while doing the ‘Don’t-you-wish-you-were-on-stage-like-me pickup switch’ into the big chorus, and then spent the last half of the song wondering what was wrong with my amp since the volume was half-way down, rather than thinking about worshiping God or the leading of worship.

Ya. I’m definitely a rockstar. Especially on the times that I think I am. Yikes. To quote from a band who shall remain nameless so that I don’t feel stupid about quoting my man-crushes for the probably 879th time on this blog, when I already feel like I’ve probably reached a level of honesty bordering on stupidity in this post……’some days are better than others.’ Ever wonder why God chooses to use us? I’m not complaining; just recognizing that He could definitely do a better job on His own. Kind of humbling (in a really good way) to realize you’re not necessary.

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.


Alright, alright, alright. Yes, I hate compressors. Or have hated them. Because if you don’t like a guitarist’s opinion on gear, just wait a few days and ask him again. It will have changed. But this one I’m sticking by. I still do not like compressors. I do not understand spending hours upon hours and dollars upon dollars (mostly this one) getting an open, real-sounding tone, and then compressing the sweet mercy out of it. Luckily, the Strymon OB.1 is not a ‘compressor.’ It’s ‘compression.’ Yes, yes, I know I’m stretching things here, but cut me some slack…I’m trying to come up with a reason for why I like this pedal so much.

strymon ob1

But this makes sense to me! Compression itself is not a bad thing. And by the very nature of tube amps, all tone (see what I just did there? Linking ‘tube amps’ to ‘all tone’ like no other tone exists? Yep……and that is true) has some level of compression to it. And the right amount gives your sound focus and makes it less burly. But a ‘compressor’ per se, just makes me think of every compressor I’ve ever played (on guitar or recording equipment alike) that just splats all the life out of your sound. (I will say that I liked the Emma Transmorgrifier compressor. And the Analogman was very decent, as far as compressors go. But in the end, neither made the cut……the cut being that for me to keep a compressor on my board, it not only has to be a good compressor, but it has to convince me to use compression. This is a tall order…especially for someone like me, who once they have an opinion, really likes for that opinion to be right. I like myself. And that’s bad.) So, I knew that were I to ever use a compressor pedal, it would have to ‘lend compression’, rather than ‘compress.’ And ya, I’m totally aware that I sound like the worst of the worst of the self-affirmed gear wizards who spend more time reading about tone than using tone. Indulge me. Because I hate compressors, and love this compressor. I mean ‘compression.’ ;)

So, I was thinking the other night about compression (and about abominable snowmen, interestingly enough) and how nice it would be to use it push my overdrive pedals into their own respective overdrives, but compressed, for those times when I could really use a more ‘leadish’ sound, or a more ‘EL34-ish’ sound, or a more ‘Hiwatt-ish’ sound, or even…may you forgive me…even a Lin…nope, can’t say it. Or to put a mildness on my clean tone, or even for certain country sounds. (Yes, I know you hate country. And I can say ‘you’ to everyone, because most worship leaders do. But at some point, we’re going to have to come to grips with the fact that if we’re serious about ‘reaching people where they’re at’ like we always say, and being ‘culturally relevant’ like we always say even more (some would say all the blasted time), then we need to stop denying that probably at least 65% of the congregation’s radio stations when they leave the service and go back to their cars, are tuned to a country station.) But I knew that if I were to use a compressor, it would have to be a compression pedal; not a compressor.

Vince Gill
(Yep. This is what most people are listening to. Maybe not Vince Gill per se. But the whole country thing. Which I can dig. Now, he is a very fabulous guitarist. But the best thing about country music? You don’t have to dress like a rock star. Um……obviously. Although those 65 Amps in the background totally overshadow the plaid shorts. Yikes, I’m a girl. EDIT: I just remembered that my wife has told me that it is confusing to her when I refer to myself in this manner. So I’ll just go with ‘metro’.)

Enter the Strymon OB.1. Strymon is a relative newcomer to the boutique scene. They’re a division of Damage Control, and share all the same developers. Now, of course I have a very sincere love affair with the Damage Control pedals; so I figured if there’s going to be a compressor out there I like, it will probably be built by these guys. So I take this pedal out of the box, and I’m scared. Well, first I’m excited, because it’s this awesome indie-looking coffee shop muted gold/orange color, which is going to look great on my board. Priorities. But then the scared part comes in, as I notice that the pedal has no tone knob. Which is usually essential for me in getting the tone of a pedal to match as much as possible to the tone of my rig. So I plug it in. And whoa. I seriously can’t believe it. It doesn’t need a tone knob. It’s just my guitar sound, with compression added. I wish all pedals were built like this. And the compression? Beautiful. Not only that, it has an added boost switch that is switchable from a flat clean boost, to a mids boost, to a treble boost. Optical compression in a pedal, all analog circuit path, very well-built, inside and out. Awesome stuff. So I recorded.

Base Tone

--Prairiewood Les Paul (Wolfetone Dr. Vintage pickups)–>

&

–Melancon Strat (ash, with Lindy Fralin blues pickups)–>

–True bypass loop box–>
(–>Strymon OB.1 compressor–>
(–>Paul Cochrane Tim overdrive–>(loop engaged when obvious)

–True bypass box–>
(Damage Control Timeline delay–>(loop engaged when obvious)

–Matchless Spitfire–>

–65 Amps cab (birch, Celestion blue and Celestion G12H-30)

Possible Biases

–It is made by Strymon/Damage Control, and I like them. Very much so.

–But I tend to hate compressors.

–It looks so rad!

Interesting Stuff

Please don’t judge me for the U2 part.

And the Video:

So there you have it. A ‘compression’ pedal. Not a compressor. And I’m diggin’ it.

The Good

–Does not change your tone one bit. Wow. Not sure how they accomplished that.

–The compression is so ‘lax.’ I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s like a gentle massage of your tone, even at the high settings. Just gently focusing it, rather than squashing it.

–The compression sounds good at all levels.

–Works on just a simple 9 volt adapter, or even a 9 volt battery.

–The boost side makes this pedal extremely versatile. It really can take the place of a few pedals.

–It sounds really, really good.

–And Terry from Strymon jumped on the comments section here (which was pretty cool) and mentioned that when the compression knob is all the way off, the compression is physically out of the circuit. Which is awesome! So you can use this as just a boost if you like. And here’s the thing. I almost mentioned that, because that’s exactly what it sounded like! But then I thought, ‘No, almost no pedals do that.’ Guess I should have trusted my ears. It’s just that they’re wrong so often! ;) But I’m so stoked that this pedal does this.

The Bad

–Not really a bad, but worth mentioning. The boost side is dependent upon the compressor side. So you can’t use the boost without the compressor. At times this is actually an advantage, as you can kick on the boost and compressor with one step; but it’s definitely worth mentioning as I’m sure I’ll get asked this. However, if you just want boost, as I mentioned above, the compression is completely out of the circuit when the compression knob is all the way down. You’d still have to hit the compressor side on to turn on the pedal as a whole, but at that point, just the boost is in the circuit.

–(This is sarcasm…just in case… ;) )If you want to squish your tone into oblivion, this pedal won’t do that. I’m not sure why you’d want to do this, but I hear professional guitarists doing it from time to time; and I can only assume they want to. But no worries; there’s a great Line 6 compressor called the ‘Boa Constrictor’ or some other awesomely 1982 Spinal Tap glam rock name like that, that’ll do the squishing the life out of your tone thing quite nicely if that is what you prefer. I’m gonna go ahead and say no. But that’s just me.

The Verdict

I now have a compressor on my board for the first time in about 6 years. My world has been forever changed. And by ‘world’, I of course mean ‘tone’. I don’t think I should even have to clarify that.

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.


hehehe Can’t believe I’m doing this. Alright. Very rarely does a comment reply become a blog post; but this stuff kicks around in my head a lot anyway……and with one very small mention of Lincoln Brewster in the last post, almost every subsequent comment was directed at that part of the post. Add to that, that for some reason, just the very mention of the names ‘The Edge’ and ‘Lincoln Brewster’, immediately polarizes people. Fun experiment. Go into The Purpose-Driven Worship Conference, and yell ‘Lincoln Brewster!’ People will immediately either fall on their faces, screaming, ‘We’re not worthy of the Line 6-induced minute-and-a-half string bend solos after the second chorus of every song!’ or they will get these indignant looks on their faces that only musicians are capable of, attempting to show their incredible disdain and condescension towards the ‘tasteless showoff.’ Okay. Now go to NAMM, and yell out, ‘The Edge!’ Half the people will immediately turn to look at you with huge tears of joy streaming down their faces, as the aural excitement of the perfect note choice, rhythmic timing, effects placement, and melodic sense of the ‘City of Blinding Lights’ intro, just merely having played in their heads, has overcome them so much that they cannot speak. (Hmm…is it too obvious that I’m speaking from experience here?) And then the other half will go to the nearest effects pedal booth, turn on the ever-present dotted eighth setting on the company’s delay pedal model, hit a chord and go, ‘What’s the big deal?’ Or they wonder why someone is screaming about a 15-year-old Anthony Hopkins movie in which Michael from LOST gets torn apart by a bear. (And not just ‘torn apart’ like, ‘Whoa, he got beat up.’ Like, his body is literally coming apart.) And that would be a valid response too. (Not the tearing apart thing, the movie reference.)

Of course that’s an exaggeration……but unfortunately, not by much. Especially on the internet. The ironic thing is that I’ve listened to interviews with both The Edge and with Lincoln, and I think if we ever got them into a cage match with each other (which I think is what we want sometimes), we’d all by extremely disappointed as our cheering for our respective sides slowly dulled as Lincoln and Edge sat down, and started calmly asking and learning about the other’s techniques. Very boring. But they’re not here right now. And this is the internet. So we can say whatever we want. Score! Let’s go.

Honestly, I’d say that stylistically, both Edge’s and Lincoln’s styles are pretty easy to mimic. For Lincoln, throw in some long string bends and some fancy pull-offs, and for Edge, throw on some dotted eighth delay with some upper range chord voicings. There ya go. But to get the actual aura of each player, much more difficult. Lincoln has some beautiful phrasing and rhythmic technique within his solos that at least to me, outshine his more flashy techniques, and are much harder to mimic. And Edge has this incredible ability to give the song exactly what it needs melodically, harmonically, and rhythmically, that way outshines some of his ‘signature delay riffs’, and is also probably impossible to mimic.

But speaking of mimic’ing…has anyone noticed the song…uh…’God You Reign’? This song cracks me up whenever I hear people who love Lincoln Brewster, but can’t stand Edge. Start at 1:25. Just take a listen:

Now, not a bad song. And of course, it gets Lincoln-ized after the last chorus like usual, but that’s to be expected. But I find it funny that the entire song is with ‘Edge delay’ and ‘Edge chord voicings’. There’s even some total Edge whammy pedal usage in there. And it’s…uh…’Edge delay’ when it’s played by an ’80’s rocker, too. And that’s cool! He sounds great using the delay. But there’s this funny straight up and down feel that face-melters just can’t seem to help but fall into when they try to use the dotted eighth or dotted quarter thing. They’re too precise on the rhythms, almost as if the delay is the after-thought, rather than letting it be part of the sound. Part of the dotted eighth technique is to play at times slightly ahead of the beat. But anyway…I digress. That’s a fantastic song…that I can’t help but laugh with when I hear it. :)

But let’s not leave Edge out of all this! He’s got his diversions, too. And when people say, ‘Edge is too much of a musician for solos’, I get that. And I agree…he gives the song whatever it needs. But you gotta admit, sometimes, he gives the song a completely uncharacteristic solo:

Still with the wonderful Edge feel, soul, and note placement. But after watching this solo, you can never make fun of Brewster’s extensive note bends again without admitting that Edge has done the same thing…and does it every tour. Of course, as it will undoubtedly get pointed out, this is not as speedy as Lincoln Brewster. And to that I say, Correct. More bluesy, and I might argue more feel, but that could very well be because I tend to gravitate towards blues guitarists more than glamrock guitarists. And for those of you ready to scream that there’s no way Lincoln is a glamrock guitarist, just look at the hair, people. Look at that hair and tell me he’s not glamrock. Yep. Couldn’t do it, could ya. Alright, alright, let’s not leave Edge out of this:

Edge Rattle & Hum

I’m pretty sure that’s the Rattle and Hum tour, as there appears to be the ’80’s Joshua Tree/Breakfast Club vest, but also the ’90’s Achtung Baby/Sister Act 2 bandana. Edge, you are amazing. And please never wear this again.

But as long as we’re on Edge, let’s not forget that when Edge started using the ‘Edge delay’ (or dotted 8ths), he was using analog delays without dotted 8th settings. We now put dotted 8th settings into basically every delay pedal in order to help us sound like Edge; but I know very few guitarists who can consistently play dotted 8ths using their own rhythmic sense; so something that seems simple to us, was not so simple for the inventor of it. (And there is some argument that perhaps Alex Lifeson or David Gilmour actually ‘invented’ it. )

Alright, enough time on Edge. (Can’t believe I actually said that.) Back to Brewster. And the song that actually started all this. Everlasting God. Now the solo is at 2:15. And it’s a good solo. But it’s churchy to me, and it doesn’t do much for me personally. That’s where I’m on the Edge side of the argument. But I’m also on the Lincoln side of the argument in that some of his phrasing and musicianship is fantastic. The part that grabs me the most about this solo is that triplets over half notes that he throws in right from 2:36-2:37. Fantastic. That’s the minimalistic stuff that just grabs my heart and pumps it. Okay song, cool solo; but those little pieces that really push the song along are what does it for me. Here’s the song:

So which guitarist is better? Well, Edge, of course. (I’m kidding! Yikes, calm down.) There are some definite things we can take from both guitarists. We just gotta remember that it’s not about Lincoln’s solos, or Edge’s delay. It’s about whatever is going to push the music to beat people’s hearts for them for those few moments of time. And I know, if you’ve read even just a little of this site, you know that I believe minimalism is what will pump people’s hearts. Strike. Strike true. But minimalism is just a fall-back…or a good practice to get into, in order to keep from solo’ing people’s faces off with tasteless junk every time you get a chance. Melody, harmony, taste, soul, beauty, drive, high-ness, these are the things that your instrument can use to help push the song. And this is what Edge does so well. But Lincoln…every once in a while, yes…I’m actually going to say this…the song may need a solo to push it. I tend to go more for some of the killer phrasing he puts into his solo, and wish he would use more of that and less of the bends and pull-offs sometimes, but still……sometimes it’s what the song needs. Just make sure it’s not what all five songs in the set need.

So I’ll leave you with two videos of each guitarist. And I’d encourage you to watch the whole thing on each one. Especially the ones you don’t like. You just might learn something. And that goes for me, too. I’m watching the whole Brewster video. Okay, both of the Brewster videos. I promise. I’ll even turn the sound on.

A great taste of what Lincoln is capable of live:

A great taste of what Edge is capable of live. And yes, I do play this intro on every guitar demo ever…I’m sorry! Nope. I’m definitely not:

And if you’re still feeling the need to learn, I’d defy anyone to get Lincoln’s exact phrasing during the 2:35 solo:

And if you’re still feeling the need to learn, I’d defy anyone to get Edge’s exact ‘sound’ during the 2:25 solo:

Mmmm……delay. (I know, I wasn’t supposed to say that! I’m trying to be unbiased here, and not let the sweet delay sway me. But I just can’t seem to help myself.)

Splendid.
Karl.

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Splendid.
Karl.

I am very opinionated. At least in my head. Sure, I’ll smile and nod and say, ‘What great tone you have’ and ‘Sure! As long as your Vox Valvetronix makes you happy'; but inside, ooh, scariness of self-verified lofty facts…uh, I mean, opinions. And every once in a while God says, ‘Here you go. Humility for you.’ And I’m reminded of all the things I have told people (numerous times) that I would never do, and not without lists of reasons, as well. And then, well…ya. This is the list of things that I would never, ever, in a million years do. And yes, they are all real, have all been proven to be lies, and have been broadcast quite loudly at one time or another.

  • Buy a boutique pedal.
  • Play the Lincoln Brewster solo to ‘Everlasting God’. (And let me add that I probably did not do it very well, either. hehe Hacking was definitely involved.)

Buy a Divided by 13.
Sell a Divided by 13.
Go back into a Guitar Center ever again.
Watch ‘Friends’.
Enjoy ‘Friends’.
Ask my wife if we can watch more ‘Friends’.
Spend more than $300 on a guitar.
Play out of only one amp.
Sell my Hollands.
Live in the desert of Southern California by choice. Sure, they’ve planted a lot of trees and grass and such (miraculously) out here. But when it gets to be 194 degrees with 800% humidity, at 10 o’clock at night, nobody’s fooled. It’s the desert. And those numbers are not exaggerated. Temperature is relative, and my face melted off today without the benfit of a guitar solo. Hence, I’m sticking with 194 degrees. Don’t bother me with thermometers.

Tell the congregation to ‘put their hands together’ during worship.
Consider buying a Taylor. Yep. Even the ‘consideration’ of it was at one time unthinkable.
Enjoy playing a Boss pedal.
Give the John Mayer note bend face in worship.
Go into a Starbucks. I thought this one would be easy, as I don’t drink caffeine. (It’s a drug. Just watch. In 15 years, it’ll be illegal, and people will have ‘bean labs’ in their garages. ……… Stop laughing.) But their water is fantastic! And I just found out they have smoothies. My wife says they’ve had them for years. Observation is one of my strong points.
Use any type of volume control on an amp. (Yes. That one is true. You wouldn’t believe how many people walk around deaf to this day, because of the barrage of 150 watt delay mush that hit them in their headache. And the headache was from me, too.)
Buy a Lovepedal.
Use a digital delay. (True.)
Need tap tempo. (Oh, yikes.)
Have a big boy crush on Brad Pitt.
Like music without any guitar solos or mixolydian modes.
Give a man a kiss. (But that has only been my closest friends at each of their weddings, and only a Biblical one, on the cheek. And I pretended they were The Edge when I did it.)
And finally, start a blog.

    Splendid. (Well, depending on how you look at some of those.)
    Karl.

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    Splendid.
    Karl.
    

    You’re on stage. Fingers deftly sliding down from the 17th fret as you end the big, driving anti-solo. You hit your TC Nova delay off so that the delay continues to trail into sweet oblivion from your incredibly gut-summoningly well-placed notes, but does not delay further the big chord you are about to hit, finishing off the worship with the tonal glory of a G chord into a Top Hat Club Royale pushed onto the verge of breakup by a BJFe-modded Klon with Toneczar knobs running at 14.9 volts. (Your DD20 is still on, though…turning off dotted eighths is an absolute death sentence for people’s connection to God through the music.) The church is in harrowing suspense. You have pushed worship to its crying point. You know there will be applause after this one. Your fingers move to the chord fingering. Your shoulders contract into the ‘I’m-a-rockstar-but-don’t-look-at-me-it’s-all-for-Jesus’ pose for the Herdim pick strum. Here it comes. And then…………

    ……you hear it. The worship leader has just accidentally prayed, ‘God, in this place today, You worship us.’ He stops. Sweat is pouring from his Kevin Max-esque locks, dripping over his Top Gun shades, and onto his 1980’s running shoes. His face turns whiter than it normally is. His whole body starts to quiver, so much so that the capo shifts back onto the proper fret. He tries to say something, but his lips freeze. He’s done.

    You close your eyes, but only for a split second. You know what must be done. It’s in your capable hands now…the moment you’ve been waiting for. With the speed, dynamics, and agility of a British-made Vox AC30 with a modded tone-stack, you…………

    A) Grab the microphone and quick say something about ‘the nations rising in victory’ (doesn’t really matter what you’re talking about, or if you clarify that you mean ‘God’ or not……just as long as you use the terms ‘nations’ and ‘victory’) to distract the congregation with their own spontaneous applause and ‘Amen’ chorus in response to the magic worship words…

    B) Grab the trem bar and do some reverse-hand finger-tap face melting so that no one remembers what he said because they’ll be too focused on you (sure, you’re taking the fall for him, but you’re also showing what you can ‘really’ do, but choose not to each week because of your fantastic level of humility)

    C) Turn on more delay

    D) Take the microphone and calmly announce that due to blasphemy and the constant lack of proper sheet music, you’ll be taking over all subsequent worship duties at the church

    E) Drop to your knees, lift your hands in the air, and sing the chorus again accapella, pretending that you were so engrossed in worship that you didn’t hear the worship leader’s phrase slip-up, so that everyone knows who the ‘really’ pious one on the team is

    F) Chuckle openly

    G) Still hit the big G chord, but not before also hitting a Hermida Zendrive, MJM London Fuzz, 2 Way Huge Green Rhino’s, and a vintage ProCo Rat (with original LM308 chip, of course) in order to effectively drown out any more accidental heresy that may subsequently come out of the worship leader’s mouth

    H) Play the ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ intro. No reason.

    I) Realize that no one is going to remember anything else about worship that day besides what the worship leader just said, and turn your amp up to 11. And once you’re there, you just gotta Van Halen it…

    J) See that no one is going to pray after worship (which is unthinkable, of course), take the microphone and show off your spiritual gift of ‘prayer warrior-ness’ (which you absolutely just know is in the Bible) and proceed to give the prayer the worship leader always should have given, complete with lots of forceful ‘in Jesus’ name’s’ (which everyone knows are the magic words to get God to do something……couldn’t possibly be that John 14 is talking about actually checking yourself to make sure you’re praying in Jesus’ will), and more ‘nations’, ‘rising’, and ‘victory’

    K) Try to catch the eye of people you know in the congregation and mouth, ‘Did you hear that?!’

    L) Walk up to the worship leader’s pedalboard and take your Analogman Bi-Chorus back (he doesn’t deserve it now)

    M) Throw down your guitar and cower behind the drum shield in case there’s a bit of a lightning episode

    N) Close your eyes and let the feeling of it actually being the worship leader who messed up and not you, just wash over you like a warm blanket of validation. Then chase that feeling.

    O) Have the Matthew 18 ‘if you’re brother is in sin’ talk with the worship leader, right there on stage

    P) Go over to worship leader’s pedalboard and turn on his delay pedal. I don’t feel the need to explain further.

    Q) Be very glad you’re not leading worship this week, and come back to give whatever you got to God the next week

    And by the way, this is not actually a ‘serious’ post. I shouldn’t have to clarify that, but…… ;) If you’re taking more than 8 seconds deciding on an ending, take a break, go listen to some Fleet Foxes, read some verses from your Bible, drink some non-alcoholic sparkling fruit juice (if you’ve yet to discover Izze’s, I’m convinced that’s what ‘Lovers in Japan’ was written about) while watching ‘What Not to Wear’ (that’s seriously a good show!), and come back. Oh ya, and you can’t choose ‘Q’.

    Splendid.
    Karl.

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    Splendid.
    Karl.
    

    Alright. It’s time. And remember, as always, ‘if you can’t have a sense of humour (British spelling…because I’m cool and indie and oh so Brit…just look at my jacket) about yourself, your life is going to seem a lot longer than you’d like it to be.’ I give you……you know you’re a worship leader when…
    when you schedule a bass player on the team each weekend because all the cool worship bands have a bass player; but you’re not entirely sure what it is a bass player does

      when you don’t wear shoes, because the stage is ‘holy ground’
      when you insist on having reverb in your monitor
      when you don’t know what type of guitar you play, because you just walked into Guitar Center and said, ‘I want the worship leader guitar’, and the sales guy handed you one. (And just so you know, you play a Taylor.)
      when you insist on being cranked in everyone’s monitor, and insist on playing your acoustic during the bass solo, and then can’t figure out why the drummer can’t follow the bass player over your acoustic ‘filling in the dead space’
      when your current style of hair is directly concurrent to Lincoln Brewster’s current style of hair
      and if you’re really on the edge, it’s Jon Foreman’s style of hair
      when you refuse to say Switchfoot, and must refer to their singer as Jon Foreman
      when you’ve already watched the youtube clips of the opening night of the U2 360 tour, and are seriously thinking about putting the worship team in the middle of the sanctuary this weekend
      when you don’t bring an mp3 of the new song you threw into the set that morning, but are insistent that the drummer will be able to tell from your words, ‘The intro goes like, da da DA, do da-da-da DA!’
      when you have an effects board because your lead guitarist has one and he looks really cool with it, but you’re not exactly sure what to do with it, and your electric guitarist ends up plugging it in for you each week
      when you bring sheet music in G, and then say, ‘We’re going to capo this on 3,4,5, or 6…I’m not sure yet’
      and when your bass player looks at you with the ‘there’s no way you seriously just said that’ look, you say, ‘What, you can’t transpose?’
      when you sing the lyrics to ‘With or Without You’ during the ‘Majesty’ chorus because you just heard the brand new and ultra-hip band Third Day do it
      when you sing the ‘With or Without You’ lyrics wrong
      when you get ticked off at the computer person for not being able to follow you on the slides and backgrounds when you sang said ‘With or Without You’ lyrics…wrongly
      when you can literally make an argument in your head for how ‘With or Without You’ can actually have a Christian meaning
      when you can’t literally make an argument in your head for how ‘With or Without You’ can actually have a Christian meaning, but you still want to sing it anyway, so you change the lyrics to, ‘I can live……with or wi-i-ith You’
      when you don’t run a tuner on stage for your guitar, but then always look at everyone else when something sounds out of tune
      when you ask the guitarist to play ‘that crunchy space-sounding thing that ‘Dave’ who played last weekend did on this song’
      when all your ‘gigs’ listed on your myspace music homepage are all curiously listed at 10 AM on Sunday, at the same location each week
      when you ask the keyboardist if he’s sure he’s in tune
      when you cycle through 27 background vocalists because no one ‘blends well’ with you, before thinking that maybe you’re the one off-key
      when the keyboardist asks if the F#m you wrote on the sheet music might actually be a D/F#, and you say, ‘Same thing.’
      when you raise the key on Phil Wickham songs
      when you insist on the drummer being on a click track, but don’t like one in your ears, but then still want to start every song yourself
      when you play the 17 minute epic rock-opera Mutemath song that no one’s ever heard, start it ambient and a-tempo, don’t play ‘exactly’ in tempo with the backing loop, repeat the ending chorus 33.5 times of accapella, and then when the congregation gives you the blank stare instead of singing, you say, ‘They just don’t understand worship.’
      when you choose your worship setlists in accordance with what will look the coolest on your blog
      when you’ve desperately searched everywhere for the last 10 years to try to find a definition of ‘post-modern’ because you’ve heard every worship leader in existence talk about it, but you’ve never really heard what it actually means and how to be it
      when you finally realize that all you have to do to be post-modern is to describe yourself as such……oh, and to think that Lifehouse is still edgy and relevant

      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.
      

      This is a blog of honesty. I don’t know why…it just happened that way. Somehow, this site became a way for me to pretend I’m not prideful by admitting mistakes that I know others will not hold against me because they find them humourous. (Ooh. That’s the honesty I’m talking about. I probably shouldn’t write stuff like that.) However, at the same time, I think laughing at oneself is a good motif to get into. It keeps us musicians from having that ever-intriguing inflated view of ourselves, who (let’s face it) think that we literally changed the world last weekend with our Gilmour-esque solo, or our Brian Eno synth run, or our ‘Spirit-inspired’ chorus repeat. (Sorry guys, the honesty is just happening today. I understand that God ‘told’ you to run ‘How Great is our God’ into ‘How Great Thou Art’ because it’s edgy and post-modern to rockify a hymn even though you heard Tomlin do it on a live recording six years ago…it’s cool, you’re still post-modern in my book…and then He ‘told’ you to move into minor chords (even though they don’t really work) while you tag the ‘how great Thou art’ line exactly 23 times. Even if your congregation doesn’t understand that God ‘told’ you to do that……I do. I gotcha. I’m right there in it with ya. ;) He ‘told’ me the same thing…even though in the back of my mind, I was thinking that there were only 2 hands raised, and if I were to get the ‘worship was kind of mediocre’ talk at staff meeting this week, I’d need to see at least 9.5 hands up (the quick hand sway at chest level counts as the .5) to make my argument that no, worship was actually, in fact, both monumental and life-changing. Hence, we sing the chorus again.) So this is to keep me humble. And I really, really hope you can find at least a little piece of yourself in the above paragraph to chuckle about. It’s not meant to stir up feelings of bitterness because ‘the church’ and ‘worship leaders’ aren’t perfect. (Shocker.) Once we get over the fact that we’re just a bunch of losers doing the blasted best we can to be used by God, but that at least half the time we fail, and God somehow accomplishes His purpose anyway, picks us up, and tells us to try again to jump on board with Him again tomorrow……I think then, the more God can use us. And taking ourselves just a bit less seriously, might be a good motif. As it is also fun……

      I plugged in my direct box during practice even though I knew it would pop and even though I get angry at my team when they do this. But our sound guy was so far away and I needed to save my voice instead of yelling back to ask him to mute the channel…
      I tuned my guitar to drop D for the last song of the first set, and then forgot about that while playing the last set……four times……and the last set is just 1 song.
      I forgot that my team is a bunch of volunteers doing their best to serve, and I got quite noticeably frustrated and indignant during practice that the sound of the band was not what I wanted it to be.
      I typed different lyrics on the song sheet than I did on the background screens, realized it, and then sang the words on the screen and totally hung our background vocalist out to dry.
      I chose to get the right tone out of a pedal…for 15 minutes…rather than listen to my team.
      When I finally did listen, I was still thinking about my pedal.
      I got off the click track, but then quickly found something else wrong with the song so that we had to stop it and start over, so as not to admit that I was the reason we needed to start over.
      I missed a lighting cue while looking for a Landgraff on Gear Page in the tech boothe.
      I strummed my acoustic like an electric, hitting the big D chord, and then rocking the guitar around for ‘sustain'; and completely succeeding in looking like ‘I really wish I was a rockstar, but I guess the church will have to do for now.’
      I pretended not to hear an idea from our drummer, and then five minutes later ‘amazingly’ came up with the same idea.
      I borrowed a friend’s Taylor acoustic to play. It sounded fantastic. That’s not the bad part. The bad part is that I literally asked someone 4 years ago to shoot me in the eye if I ever played ‘the worship leader guitar.’ I’m glad he had the weekend off. No, I don’t think he literally would have shot my eye out (hehe, good movie), but I would’ve had to eat some serious crow (such an odd phrase) when I told him that I quite enjoyed the sound of the ‘sellout’ guitar.
      Some people in the congregation didn’t seem into worship, and my literal first thought was that I might need to switch to EA cables from Lava.

        And there you have it. I am not…how do you say it…oh ya!……not good. However, I do feel much more humble now, and of course, the true test of being really humble is when you know you are. ;)

        Splendid.
        Karl.

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