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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.

Plugging straight in this week.

And that’s to an amp, of course.

Am I selling my pedalboard? Nope. Writing off effects forever? Nope. Sick of pretending it’s 1982 and I’m actually pioneering the sound I’m ripping off from U2? Oh, absolutely not. It’s simply that we’re gonna be doing a more folky, bluesy set, and plugging straight in lends itself more to that set.

Which is why I’m posting this…something that’s been brewing in my mind for a good long while. Why must we have guitarist camps? The ‘effects’ camp, the ‘plugged straight-in’ camp, the ‘acoustic’ camp, the ‘acoustic with effects’ camp…etc. Are we really that insecure that we have to surround ourselves with people who think the same way we do as far using effects or not? (Well, I know I am…but that’s something entirely different. ;) ) It’s like, you play somewhere and someone sees your pedalboard. ‘Oh, you’re one of those guys, huh?’ Or you play somewhere with just an amp, and you get, ‘Hey, did you know they have these things now that’ll put effects on your guitar and it’ll sound even better?’ These are real, honest situations, that actually happen…a lot. And then we form camps, and look down upon the other camps. Which is so odd. For me, most of the music I play does call for some effects, or some looping, or something that requires external sounds which a simple guitar and amp cannot provide me with. But when the music calls for that ‘guitar only’ sound, I plug straight in. And when the music calls for external sounds, I’ve got an effects board for that. (Ya, I know, a huge board……hey, always be prepared. No. That’s wrong. I just love sound, in all it’s different palettes of glory.) When the music calls for acoustic, I use an acoustic. When the music calls for no guitar, I stay home. I mean, sound has an infinite number of beautiful colors, and a guitar, amp, delay pedal, e-bow, pick, reverb unit…these and any mix of these, are all just different palettes to bring about the certain sound you need at any given time.

But I guess it’s more fun to have camps? My favorite is when a guitarist tells me that my effects are all a crutch, and that I’ve forgotten how to play without them. And then when they want to try out my guitar and amp, I turn on my master bypass switches so that they can hear it without effects. And they say, ‘Oh, I can’t play like that, with the pedals off. I have to be plugged straight in.’ Um……what’s a a crutch, now? hehe In the end, I guess I’m just hoping that I can continue to do both, without having to get a passport and defect each time. It seriously feels like ‘Hunt for Red October’ every time I do this.

Oh, and just because I’ve been remiss lately towards those of you who just scan this blog for pictures of awesomely terrible movies (sorry, life…meaning music…is wacko right now), you guys get to eat your hearts out as well:

See that face there? That’s pretty much the extent of Mr. Reeves’ acting throughout the entire film. And I had no idea this movie had that cheesey of a tagline! Just awesome! Gotta love a movie where a bus can turn in mid-air, and where to run into anything at all means you will explode.

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 am inexorably trying to make my sound feel like this. Not the trap of trying to make your instrument sound like this; but the long arduous, and beautiful journey of trying to communicate these same feelings, this same ache and longing, with my own instruments. It’s about touching something, for just a couple seconds, that might be a shadow of something we’ve long forgotten…and the hope of finding it again someday. And the feelings of sound, can be produced with anything that makes a sound…the instruments are only tools.

So, these songs are a small piece of the source of my tonal and musical sickness. Blame them when I buy another fuzz pedal, or when I turn on 7 delays and then hit one note for two hours. And definitely find your own source for your own musical sickness. Then you can buy more gear, and have something to blame it on. Score.

And apologies to get all serious again. And to post things that most likely, a good deal of you will find quite boring. But these things haunt me constantly, and I have to spit ’em at you every once in a while. ;) But I do encourage you to find your own muse of feelings you want to communicate, not just tones or techniques that you want to sound like. It opens up worlds of sounds, passions, longings, and new ideas, rather than just the same old tired blues scale. And nothing wrong with blues scales! Alright, I’ll bring it closer to home: rather than just the same old tired dotted 8th delay riff. Yep. I just said that. Watch out for the sky, folks. Ah, forget it! I need to go play a dotted 8th riff! Don’t judge me…I have weaknesses!

Communicate feel, not just sound.
Karl.

P.S. Ya, ya, and ‘splendid.’

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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.

What else can be said? If you’re not believing 100% in every note you play, and letting a drop of bloody angst dissipate across each melodic line, I don’t care if you’re playing a Top Hat, Hayseed, Line 6, Bruno, or plugging straight in. All of that pails in comparison to soul, feel, and passion. (But, uh, once you have acquired said soul, feel, and passion…it can’t hurt to filter all that passion through a good tube amp. ;) )

It doesn’t get much better. Tone, taste, and feel:

Okay, maybe it does:

BB King: “I’m horrible with chords.”
Bono: “I don’t think there’s much chords in this song. Maybe 2.”

Classic on both counts.

Terrible posting on my part lately. Hey, when holidays flow into weekends, I’m over. However, demos are coming soon. The whole digital versus analog thing will be a bit, as I need to acquire all that stuff at prices low enough to allow me to resell them without losing money. (Stupid, necessary money.) But some new pedals are on their way to be demo’d. And…here’s the real kicker…they’re from Boss. I think I just lost half my audience. ;)

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 may be the best thing I have ever read. ……Well, that wasn’t said by U2. ;)

“A painter starts with a blank canvas, and as a musician, your canvas is silence. You don’t want to cover it all up. So if you know what you’re doing as a musician, you play the silences. You can’t fall into that trap of trying to get everything in and playing so fast. You have to take time and pace yourself. Otherwise, technically you may make people go ‘wow’, but it doesn’t make good music.”

Mr. Keith Richards, I salute you. Even if you did fall out of a coconut tree at one point. Actually, I probably salute you all the more for that.

Splendid. (A lot.)
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 started wondering today if my Radio Shack midi cables are sucking tone. (Just a side note, ‘The Shack’? Nope. Worst ever. As if that store couldn’t have gotten any worse. No, I do not want to add $45 worth of batteries to my purchase of a .65 cent fuse.) And then I joined the Diamond Pedals facebook group, which in turn made me feel more satisfied with my tone. Hmmm. Probably time to actually pick up the guitar again (the thing with strings on it, not the little metal boxes with pretty paint and bright lights) and actually put my fingers on it (as opposed to watching Jeff Buckley play it on youtube). Or I could blog about all the things keeping me from playing the guitar. Ya. That’s clearly the most productive option.

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 am artsy now.

But the ambient pads indeed are fin! Finally. I finished the last two families of keys today…one of which is called ‘Hatred.’ Because it consists of Gb, Ab, and Db. The other family is just Bb and F, which is decent enough. But Gb, Ab, and Db…that’s 6 flats, 4 flats, and 5 flats respectively…these are the keys your keyboardist will shoot you for. I say keyboardists, and not guitarists, because we’re usually angry if it’s anything except for Em blues. I actually thought about not recording the last 3, so that perhaps worship leaders would look for the Ab pad, not find it, and go, ‘Ah well. We’ll just do it in G.’ Or A. Either one. Please. I was going to do my part to eradicate those three keys from the existence of life; but alas…my fear of the ‘just learn your scales!’ crowd got the better of me. Actually, it was the knowledge that U2 tunes their guitars a half step down for most of their songs live; which then bred the of course quite plausible hope that when Edge is surfing the internet looking for backup Vox’s, he’ll come across my Db pad, and it will become an integral part of ‘Streets’ live. And there will be much rejoicing.

Anyway, the ambient pad download link is right up at the top of the site. Or, here. Keep checking back, as now that the 12 keys of base pads are finished, I’m going to start working on some multiple track ones that can stand alone as actual pieces, as opposed to just background sound. I’m not exactly sure how that will be useful…just that it sounds fun to do. :)

And speaking of…nope. This has nothing to do with anything…that is, if you want to call extreme musical and poetic gorgeousness nothing. ;) This is one of those songs that sounds like it’s just always existed, and for some reason, she was the one who found it.

Splendid.
Karl.

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