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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.

Blogging used to be cool. Or…made you feel cool. You could actually publish the deep wells of wit you just knew were inside of you, for the entire world to read. Of course, the entire world doesn’t read them…having a blog published on the internet is the equivalent of having a science fiction novel published in Barnes & Noble…nobody is ever going to read it. But they could! It’s out there. That’s the magic. I mean, Edge could be reading my blog right now. He’s not……but who’s to say what may happen tonight while I sleep? And therein lies the wonder. Of Edge. (Apologies if you hate U2.)

However, it seems that this magical new (ya I know…I’m about 15 years late) art form by which we can all call ourselves published writers (in our heads…never out loud) who have throngs of devoted followers (my throngs of devoted followers consist of people searching google images for ‘Paul Walker hot’ and ‘Steven Seagal with no shirt on’…which is really gross…he’s old…I did just hear that he is starting his own reality show where he is an actual deputy in an actual town……this may be the best thing to happen since life…or, at least since he came out with his blues cd…yep…he has a blues cd), is slowly being replaced by the giant corporate sellout facebook/twitter…it’s the same company, isn’t it? (Isn’t it funny how when we don’t like something, we automatically refer to it as a big corporate conglomerate whatever? Because wordpress is so small and indie. ;) hehehe) See, now, people don’t have to blog to get their free self-esteem boost. None of that actual writing and thinking out of an online journal entry! Who needs that? Now we can just say whatever we’re feeling whenever we’re feeling it! Stuck in traffic? The world wants to know! Climbing the stairs to bed? The entire western hemisphere might be hanging in the balance to know what happens at the top of the stairs! Eat a so-so hamburger at a normal restaurant at which you waited in a medium-sized line to order? These are the things the rest of us cannot live another day without knowing!


(And if you don’t like U2……come on! This picture isn’t helping any? ;) Wow. Normally it’s Bono who’s the frightening one. And still, his hair’s not something that anyone should ever wear…in the history of life…by any means here; but he’s, uh, not the one with his tongue licking his lips in a way that makes me feel violated through the computer screen. And with his shirt cut below what his shirt should ever be cut below. Definitely the most awesome picture of Edge that I have ever seen.)

So I have decided that I miss the old way of mentally fooling ourselves into feeling validated! I’m bringing back the blog! And to do that, I’m listing here the army of my blogging brethren, who defiantly stand against the tyranny of twitbook! Will you stand with me, my brothers! We will never surrender the mother land!

And…uh…just ignore the fact that this blog post will automatically post on facebook, too. I…don’t know how that happens! So weird. ;)

Alright…obviously my tongue has been lodged firmly in my cheek for the beginning of this post. (Why does that sound bad?) To be completely honest, every year or so I try to say some kind words about and send some some traffic towards, the incredible blogs of the incredible people in my blogroll. There’s seriously some great guys and gals over there, and I just want to give a little love their way. But that just sounds so touchy-feely and un-masculine! And if you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time whatsoever, you know that my comments about Edge and Brad Pitt have already thrown said masculinity into serious question on numerous occasions. So I made up the intro to this post about facebook and twitter and all that, to help mask my immense sentimentality.

So, here are the awesome people to whom I’m going to show some sentimental lovin’. And if those words frighten you, then…um…then they’re the last bastions of blogging hope! Ya! Freeeee-doooom! That better? But seriously, these are some awesome people, and you really need to check out their sites:

  • A Passionate Apathy –great blog by a killer bassist. I’ve played with this guy for years, and not only is he an incredible musician, but he’s also a really humble guy, and is a gifted amp and pedal builder.
    A Small Corner –our church’s Director of Sound, and a really close friend. He’s an amazing sound tech because he actually uses his ears, and listens to how the sound is coming off the stage…as opposed to how the gain structures look on the board. Pretty rockin’ bass player, too!
    Accidental Academic –this is Cam, who posts here sometimes. Great blog, with some really cool original music that gets uploaded from time to time!
    Analog Ambience –one of my closest friends, and a fantastic bass player. (Hmm…all my closest friends thus far have been bass players…haha…guitarists are nothing without bassists.) He’s a deep thinker too, and has some great musical thoughts on his blog.
    Baggas Blog –Baggas posts here quite often, and is a great worship leader. He’s got a killer sense of humour, and some thoughts that really peak your interest. A definite read over here.
    Bass for Worship –this blog is by Colty, who posts here fairly often. He’s a bass player, so I love him! (Colty, that love is in a completely brother-in-Christ way…just thought I’d clarify…) Great bass musings and effects pedal musings on this one.
    Behind The Mixer –an incredibly well put-together site with tons and tons of information for both sound techs and musicians alike…Chris really seems to be breaking down the walls between sound techs and musicians with this blog. Definitely go here.
    Better Than Blank –this is an awesome blog by a very gifted writer. We’ve known each other a long time, and even though we’re now at separate churches, I owe much of my musical tastes (and all of my U2 love) to this guy. He brought me out of metal and into the strange and wondrous world known as, ‘The Edge.’ Great reads.
    Booze and Blues –tons of awesome gear reviews and effects pedal conversations on this one. Great points of view, and always keeps your interest. Great site!
    Broken Headstock –one of the best players on the web. Check out his gear review clips…they sound amazing, and then you’ll go everything he plays. And buying more gear is always a good thing. ;)
    Chris Stout –very gifted, and very humble behind the scenes church guy. Incredibly gifted in all things technical, be it media, sound, computers, etc. He’s got some great info on his site pertaining to that stuff! And he’s a good friend. We’re also at different churches now, but he still helps me out in a second when I’m an idiot and can’t figure something out!
    Consuming Worship –incredible site with more relevant information regarding worship than you could probably read. Great writing, easy to receive, just a great resource all around.
    Cool Musings –this is Randy’s site, who posts here fairly often. He’s a great worship leader, with some really, really thought-provoking perspectives. Great stuff here!
    Dan Byron –great site, with some awesome perspectives on worship. On top of that, he plays some great gear, and is a really funny writer. Great reads over here! And come on, he has an Empress Superdelay.
    Electric Community –amazing site, written from a worship guitarist’s perspective. Incredible gear demo videos, and great perspective regarding guitar playing from a minimalist, worship mindset. Great guy, really humble, and one of my favorite sites.
    Elevated Praise –great worship leader, with some great info on his site regarding everything from song choices to worship leading to stage aesthetics. The whole package. Great guy, too!
    Eric Beeman –my former worship pastor, and one of the nicest and most passionate people you’ll meet. His site is always a great resource, from everything from church leadership, to effects pedals, to recording techniques. A lot of the reason I’m involved in worship today was because this guy took a chance on a long-haired, barefoot, BC Rich Warlock-playing kid about 7 years ago.
    Erin Wible –great guitarist who is without a doubt the most humble and unassuming guy you’ll ever meet. Now the junior high pastor at his church, his site has great perspectives on ministry, guitar in worship, and of course, Rush. :)
    Everybody Lies –one of the most well-written blogs out there, and from a very real and honest perspective. One of my personal favorite reads. Definitely go here.
    Feedback is a Joyful Noise –one of the best guitarists I know. And way too humble! If I had his skill, I wouldn’t be as humble as he is. hehe A great site, packed with perspectives and reviews of worship, effects pedals, amps, and guitars. One of my frequent haunts.
    Fred McKinnon –great worship leader, with one of the pioneer blogs of Christian music, I believe. A lot of the stuff you se on other blogs, he started. Great info, and a great hub to find out what other worship leaders are doing at their churches. Very community-based! Good stuff over here.
    Greg Jones Music –a great guitarist, and technical magician. He’s got some great perspectives on worship music, as well as some great original tunes. Awesome stuff!
    Greg Loesch (compulsiveguile) –a tech site from a guitarist. Which means it’s one of the few tech sites I can relate to! Tons of great information here. :)
    Holokinesis –killer original music, all ambient and synth-based. Check this one out!
    Jefferson Music –one of the bands I guest with quite often. Great band, with more talent and heart than should probably be fair to exist in one band. The vocalist is a good friend, and you should definitely give them a listen. ;)
    Jon Harrelson –great friend of mine for many years. Jon has since moved on, but God has amazing things in store for Him! One of the most intelligent people I know.
    Lakeshore Vineyard Worship Team –great worship team here, led by Matt, who posts here sometimes. They have great set lists to check out, and worship videos!
    Les Paul Player Doctor –great blogger right here. Tons of gear reviews, and pedal setup how-to’s. Great writing style, and some beautiful tone! Definitely a great read for gearheads and worship musicians!
    Maple Neck –another great guitarist. Beautiful soundscapes, and incredible tone, all from a worship perspective. You’ll love his writing style, too. Not just reviews and opinions, but videos to back them up. A definite must-read, from a killer and humble guitarist!
    Media Reviewed –brand new site from Blogsology, who posts here sometimes. Reviews of music, both secular and Christian, from a worship leader’s perspective. Quickly becoming one of my favorite sites! And a really humble guy, too.
    Mike Dalton –the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. Yep. Amazing bass player, a great friend, and a very gifted writer and thinker. Lots of information here; not just on bass playing for worship, but also on sound, band leading, and worship in general. Go here.
    My Worship Revolution –awesome worship leader who’s site ranges from worship perspectives all the way to taking action in our communities and showing God’s love. Amazing site, with lots of resources for Christian growth.
    Nikao –just go here. I promise, there will be perspectives you’ve never thought about before. One of the best thinkers I’ve ever met, and hilarious as well. All coming from a perspective of just simply loving God in the world we’re put in.
    Pamparo in Toronto –great site, from a great guy. Original recordings, pedal, amp, and guitar reviews, and original poetry. Very talented writer, and a site that’s got tons of resources geared towards worship guitarists. Definitely read it.
    Refill –awesome blog with perspectives ranging from tone, to worship, to Hillsong concert reviews. Lots of great info, from a very talented worship leader.
    Reflection Today –very deep thoughts, looking at Christianity from a perspective different than most you’ve read before. Great blog, and a regular read for me.
    Renovate –great blog from one of the most gifted writers and thinkers I know. And not afraid to say what needs to be said. You’ll gain some great stuff from this site.
    Rich Kirkpatrick –worship leader at Sunridge Community, here in Southern California. Very gifted blogger who starts great conversations, and has very intuitive perspectives. Another great community-based blog, with tons of resources, and great writing. Also an amazing worship leader.
    Scream the Prayer –great blog, with very real perspectives on worship and worship music. Another great read!
    Sound of the World –gotta translate this one, but Ben is an amazing guitarist, with great tone, and one of the best blogs out there. Gear reviews, how-to videos, just a great resource for worship guitarists! And really humble, too.
    Spiritual Regurgitations–Re/New –awesome perspectives here. This is by Robin, who posts here fairly often. Very deep thinking, and out-of-the-box views on God, life, and Christianity. A great resource for guitarists and Christians. Go here!
    Stompbox Blog –great blog on all things guitar effects. Awesome articles, and reviews and discussions on sweet, sweet gear! Good times.
    Synthesizerz –really cool music perspectives, basing around…yep. Synth. Awesome stuff, especially for those of us ambient-lovers.
    The Busy Pixel –awesome blog, by Kenrick who posts here fairly often, pertaining to worship, guitar, and life. Incredible guitarist, and very knowledgeable in all things sound. Also very out-of-the-box church perspectives that will really make you think. Great stuff here!
    The Resistance –awesome worship leader from Virginia who I’ve played with a few times. Very passionate perspectives! Very inspiring. :)
    The Sophisticated Arkansan –great blog. All things music, guitar, and Christianity. Great reads, and the guy has awesome writing skills.
    The Worship Forum –awesome perspectives here on worship music. Definitely an encouraging read.
    Travis Tingley –one of the most technically proficient guitarists I know. But yet soulful and tasteful. Lots to learn from this guy, on both guitar and worship. Check his site out! Also a great friend…even though I’m jealous of his skills. ;)
    Warnbro Worship Team –awesome perspectives from a worship leader’s point of view. Great reads, and a great resource. Also written by Baggas, who posts here fairly often. Great site!
    Whether a Tree Falls to the South… –awesome blog with lots of stuff on U2! hehe ;) But great worship perspectives, and original tunes. Written by Samuel, who posts here sometimes. Awesome blog!
    Worship City –great blog from a worship leader, and youth leader, who really seems to understand ministry. Tons of great resources here!
    Worship Guitar Guy –more resources than you could ever read. Just an awesome site, written by a really humble and selfless guy. It’s got everything from chord voicings, to tone discussions, to set list forming. Great stuff!
    Worship with Guitar –one of the best worship guitar blogs out there. Great perspectives, awesome reviews, well-written, and some very cool original ideas. Written by Jed, who posts here sometimes. Definitely a must-read!
    Amp Crazy –my amp tech’s site. This man is a genius. If you are in the Southern California area and need any repairs or mods, this is the guy to go to. Even original, homemade, or boutique circuits. I’ve got a feeling he’d even look at a Dumble and see right through the goup into the crystal lattice. ;)
    CGP Audio –recording site of Mike Oliver, who posts here fairly often. Awesome music at this site! Definitely check it out. Gifted guy.
    DIY Guitarist –resources galore. For building, fixing, inventing…effects pedals, amps, etc. You gotta go to this site.
    Frequency Worship –Chris Tomlin’s site. Very cool for a famous worship leader to actually care to show the rest of us how the songs are written, how the tones are made, etc.
    Guitar Bites –so much guitar resource stuff…you just have to go there to get it. Awesome site!
    Guitarmann Lessons –great and humble worship guitarist, who also gives online lessons. Very cool resource!
    Life Church –my home church.
    Music Academy –lots of worship info. Great site! Extremely resourceful, and written from many different perspectives from worship leaders. Go here!
    The Gear Page —if you don’t know…just go there and search ‘Axe-FX nails Trainwreck tone.’ You’ll know. This site is the be all end all of all things tone, and the reason for probably millions of dollars spent on sweet, sweet gear.
    • And there you have it. Please go read these people’s blogs. So much incredible information from some very gifted and humble people. And again, if that’s too sentimental for you, then…let’s go, fellow blogging brethren! Facebook shall be conquered. (Unless, of course, you’re reading this on facebook…… Obviously my convictions only run as deep as sounds cool in a blog…or on facebook. ;)
      Splendid.
      Karl.
      P.S. If you’d like your blog or site listed here, just let me know. :) We can rock together. (Don’t worry about it. Makes sense in my mind.)
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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.
    

    Edge frame 1

    That was the gift that was given me last night.

    No, not the actual guitar. Being that close to that guitar. If the gift had been the actual guitar, that means that Edge and I would really have gone out for frozen yogurt. And I suppose then, to have given me that guitar, he would have had to have been really impressed by my knowledge of tone. And both of those things are of course, almost complete impossibilities. I really enjoy U2’s music; so I like to joke around about my obsession with them. But hopefully it’s clear that when I say things like, ‘I hope I meet Edge at True Tone’, I’m not actually expecting to meet Edge at True Tone. It just makes for much more fun and conversation-spurring posts. And I tend to like fun and conversation. At the very least, it’s a bit more fun (in my very humble opinion) than throwing up a twitter: ‘gearin’ up for the U2 show.’ I like to keep it interesting.

    But in all seriousness, U2 is an experience. And I know that sounds kitsch and over the top if you don’t like them, and have never been to one of their shows. I’ve heard that said over and over again, and I thought I understood it. I’ve got the dvd’s of previous tours, and watch them a fair amount. But when I got there, and stood in front of Edge’s amps as he drove out perfect note after perfect note on ‘Breathe’, taking a rather normal base chord structure to levels you wouldn’t think it could go to, and as Bono quite literally sang his heart out, and 97,000 people for just 2 hours got to drop their learned inhibitions and allow songs to take them somewhere they might not otherwise be able to go……as over the top as it might sound, it is a spiritual experience.

    So as much as I joke about the night not being fulfilled until security escorts me out for trying too hard to touch Edge, Bono, Larry, Adam, or even one of the stage crew, once you get there, it’s just about letting yourself go. Now, U2 is not for everybody. They’re obviously for a lot of people, but not for everybody. But I can pretty much guarantee you that if you were to go to a live show of theirs, and leave any preconceived notions at the door, you would at the very least feel something. Something you weren’t expecting. For me, U2 has a way of lending these orchestrations with the perfect mix of countering yet simplistic lines, to support a melody that aches and yearns as much as it gives joy. In fact, the joy probably comes out of the ache. And they do it with power and with passion, and it sings to people. Not to everyone, but to at least 97,000 people last evening at the Rose Bowl. To be able to sing with my wife with tears in our eyes during ‘City of Blinding Lights’. To be able to be crushed by 2490 fans in the inner circle jumping to ‘No Line on the Horizon’ as I in turn crush the 10 in front of me. To sing ‘No more!’ until you think you’re going to collapse, but it’s okay because thousands of other people from 5 years old to 65 years old are singing the same thing with the same intensity around you. And of course, to almost be able to touch Edge’s guitar when he leaned over the rail. And above absolutely everything else, to hear the untouched and pre-mic’d tone directly from his amps. ;) Not to sound overly sentimental (as if the last few sentences didn’t take care of that already), but it was a special couple days.

    So, the last post lays out everything in chronological order. If you didn’t read that one, I’ll give you the cliff notes here: we waited in a 2500 person mob for 12 hours, there was a stampede, and we ended up getting spots in the one place that mattered most. The inner circle, about 10 feet from the stage, directly in front of Edge’s amps. The sound system was incredible, but if I’m going to be there, I’m going to need some stage volume. I wanted to hear some of Edge’s tone from his own speakers. And it was glorious.

    Here’s where we were, and the opening of the first song. And by the way, if you hadn’t heard, they not only filmed this concert in Pasadena for a dvd, but they broadcast it live over youtube; and as of now, you can still watch the re-broadcast. Way better quality than my little camera. But we still took just a couple videos for mementos. Here’s some pics, and the end of the opening song (and me screaming…just a little bit loudly):

    U2 Pasadena 1
    (Where we were. With the amps facing us, and that’s about 15 feet from Edge…even though the picture makes it look farther. We’re almost right on the rail, but then there’s still a good five feet between the rail and he stage so that the security guards can glare at us…like the one on the far left there. hehe But they were cool. They even hit a couple beach balls back to us. Which is fairly rare amongst most of the shows I’ve been to. I was impressed.)

    U2 Pasadena
    (And that’s what it looked like from another fan’s vantage point. Absolute craziness. Amazing.)

    I have to tell you; hearing that sound and power coming from Edge’s amps…indescribable. Perfect weight, clarity, warmth, and focus. You could feel his sound rushing through your body. Seriously, people were responding to some of his guitar parts as if they were vocal parts. He sings with that thing. And to be right in front of it…an amazing experience, and a definite learning experience.

    And then the world stood still. This is what the picture is from at the beginning of this post. On U2’s ‘Until the End of the World’, the outro just pumps my heart. It’s some of my favorite musical anything ever. (How’s that!) Edge just lets his fuzz go crazy, and he plays this killer riff around the 2,3, and 4 notes…never hitting the 5 or higher octave that is anticipated. And then just when you feel it has to go there, he hits the seventh instead, giving it this great aching and driving quality. I absolutely love it live. And then it happened. As he’s playing it, he’s on the bridge, to my right. And suddenly the bridge starts moving towards me. And he ends up playing it directly over me. And then, I don’t even remember it happening…his guitar is in my face, and he’s leaning over the railing of the bridge, looking right at me. I was about 3 feet from him. Now, the camera was in my hand. And I had pushed record. But that’s about it. So, I’ve got the video of it, but it’s just sheer craziness, and then whoa!…Edge’s guitar is right there. hehehe I laugh every time I watch it. But there are very few moments in life when you’re literally not thinking about anything. And that was this moment for me. By the time the bridge passed back over me and over to the second bridge that Bono was on, I realized that I was laying diagonally with my full weight on some guy, who was also laying diagonally, with his full weight on some other guy, and I guess the rest of the pit was just supporting us. It was awesome. Here’s the worst video ever of the best moment ever:

    And some stills from the video:

    Edge frame 2

    Edge frame 3

    Edge frame 4

    So those are the things that I had to talk about in depth. And much as I’d like to go through every song, I’m sure none of you would like me to go through every song. But there was a ton to take in, and a ton to mull over, learn, and experience. So here’s the highlight reel.

    The Good

    The first thing was how intimate this show was…and then at times how much it challenged your senses. On certain songs, the band was all around you…on bridges, behind the stage, on the outer circle stage…and yet they would still connect musically and facially with each other. The end of Beautiful Day with just Edge and Bono standing next to each other improvising was amazing. Could have been two guys playing in a coffee shop. And the whole band standing around each other doing Still Haven’t Found. Intensely intimate.
    Yes. I did cry. Literal tears. During Walk On, and the Amazing Grace intro to Streets. But my wife cried too, and so did a lot of other people around us.
    The sonic power yet space they create is incredible. That makes no sense, I know. You have to see them live to get it.
    Edge holds those songs together. He is doing so much…guitars, loops, backing synths, piano, vocals, and at times leading the band. The parts he chooses are just perfect for the textures of each song, whether the song needs something in the background, something structural, something driving, something to pull the band along, or to support it. And many times it’s not at all where you would expect a guitar player to go. But it’s just what the song needs. I’ve known this, but to see it unfold live right in front of you, is something else.
    They played 24 songs. And believed every one of them.
    These guys play as a band better than anyone I’ve ever seen. They play to loops and click tracks live, are moving all over the stage of 360 degrees and with an outer ring and two bridges, and yet still somehow manage to improvise. In at least 5 songs, Bono was motioning to the band to give certain dynamics and to hang on or cut out, and they followed and supported perfectly. It’s awesome to watch Edge at those times. He watches Bono like a hawk.
    The passion that pours out of Bono. Say what you like about him, and I will too. He does do some dumb things on stage. But seeing him live…he feels the living daylights out of every word he sings. It’s inspiring to watch.
    Edge’s sound is fantastic. I know, I know, I’ve said that before. But honestly, I was a little nervous hearing it live for the first time, in case it didn’t measure up. And it actually went beyond my expectations…even though I mentally prepared myself to be objective about it if it wasn’t up to snuff. The sheer weight of the tone coming from the amps…and yet still clear…but yet still warm…can tone be icy and warm at the same time? I didn’t think so, but I guess it can. Amazing.
    Adam is cool. And every bass player should take a page from him on how well he supports the melodic lines of the other instruments.
    Bono’s voice sounded incredible live! I know it’s changed from when he was younger, but last night it sounded crisp and full, and just grabbed you. He’s still got it, and in a large way. Some of the improvised melodies on With or Without You, Streets, Walk On, Magnificent…wow.
    U2 has a lot of fun. It was awesome to see them just laughing with each other, playing around, to see Edge smiling and shaking his head good-naturedly at some of the dumb things Bono said, and to see Bono laughing at himself after saying certain things. Very, very cool to see, and gave the whole night a very natural and close feel…even amongst 97,000 people. At one point, Bono even caught Edge off guard. He was saying something about some random song they did a little piece of…I think it was Stand by Me, after Still Haven’t Found. And then he just off the cuff asked Edge if he had anything to add. And Edge just kind of said, ‘Oh! Uh…no…he’s great, like you said.’ And then Bono said something like, ‘Whoa. He doesn’t speak much; but when he does!’ lol It was great, and just set you at ease.
    Larry is ripped.
    I love seeing the mistakes. On the beginning of Beautiful Day, something went wrong with Edge’s guitar. The first few harmonics were incredibly low in the mix. And the look he gave his guitar tech, Dallas, under the stage…haha. Yikes. The best look ever as he motioned with his hand to up the volume. It was very funny.
    The sound system was amazing! Everything was so well balanced. You could hear the backing vocals…but not too loud. You could hear Larry’s toms…but right where they should be. That was cool, and very refreshing, too.
    I hate to harp on it…but what a ride on that wave of emotion, fueled by sound and melody. It was so rad to see Edge feeling that same thing too. I’d watch him as he played parts, just gaze across the enraptured audience, and then just close his eyes as he finished out his part, allowing the sound to come over him as well. Feeling like you and the band are one, and feeling the same things…now there’s an experience.
    No Line plays really well live.
    Being in a crowd like that, everyone just screaming the songs and throwing their bodies at the songs…wow. Humbling to be a part of something that big. I yelled constantly.
    Their songs simply moved me. To a place I’ve never been before.
    And get this. Tone is hugely in the hands. Gear is really, really important, too. Don’t get me wrong. But right before U2 came out, Edge’s tech Dallas came out and tested a few of his guitars, and all his different effects for each song. And I almost had a heart attack. The tone, from Edge’s exact gear, was thin, brittle, a little harsh, and yet also very unclear. It was still good tone, but it was far from the best I’d ever heard. And that’s nothing against Dallas, either. I’m sure he’s a great guitarist in his own rite. But on Edge’s gear, it just wasn’t Edge’s sound. And then Edge came out…and whoa. Immediate touch difference. It was a softer touch…almost as if he was coaxing the sound out of the guitar. And suddenly there it was. Edge’s sound. I also noticed this waiting in line outside the stadium when they were sound-checking his guitar. Through that awesome sound system, his sound just wasn’t that great. But…once he starts playing…there it is. Very interesting. ;)
    The live arrangement of Moment of Surrender is way better than the album version. Album is decent. Live is goosebumps and open-heart surgery.
    Like I said, Bono does some odd things for showmanship. And I have most of their live dvd’s. I know his antics. But live? This is gonna sound weird…but they work live. It’s almost as if he turns off the filter of thought, and just acts on sheer adrenaline and emotion from the particular song, and just goes. And some of the stuff that watching back looks dumb, is actually really, really fun live. And it really gets the crowd engaged. Even if it’s laughing and hooting. Definitely something to learn there.
    Larry is the tightest drummer I have ever heard. Perfect.
    On City of Blinding Lights, towards the end, something must’ve gotten bumped on Edge’s delay setting. Because it was ever so slightly off. (Or maybe I’m just crazy.) But he realized it, and started playing off the beat ever so slightly to compensate. It was amazing. And that is a beautiful song.
    I almost lost it so many times. The soul on the solo of Unknown Caller, the candor of In a Little While, the love of Streets, the ambience of Magnificent.
    Oh, Edge’s sound.
    Not even joking, earlier this year, my wife asked me what were the songs that I hoped they’d do but that I was sure they wouldn’t. And both Ultraviolet and and Unforgettable Fire were on my list. And they did them both. It was incredible to be there with her.
    The Bad
    U2 is not perfect. (Much as I’d like to think they are.) But I tried so very hard, and ended up succeeding, in just for one night, turning off my critical mind, and allowing myself to be taken somewhere. It’s extremely therapeutic to allow that to happen to you every once in a while. The trouble is finding something worthy enough to have that happen with. So I didn’t notice too much bad. And I watched back most of the youtube broadcast afterwards…and there really wasn’t much bad anyway! Just a special, special experience. But the little things, mics not being on, Adam on the wrong string for a couple notes, most of that was absolutely lost on me, and the rest of us in the pit. I was way too busy just singing my heart out, jumping on people, yelling loud enough to scare myself, and letting the music take me. I highly suggest it. Just for a night. I’ve never felt better.
    And if you’re looking for some bad reviews, feel free to check the internet. There’s plenty. They don’t run around enough/they run around too much and it’s not intimate enough. The crowd wasn’t into it enough/people were too into it and squished me. They played too many songs from x album/they didn’t play enough songs from x album. Bono’s not a good enough showman/Bono’s showmanship annoys me. It’s too loud and muddy/it was too soft and tinny. We’ve all got opinions, and many of them are valid. But this whole post was more so about letting go and feeling the music. Some incredible music.
    So…as is my regrettable custom, I start off by saying something is beyond words; and then I use a ton of words to describe it. So I should probably stop now. But here’s the rest of the pictures and videos. Terrible quality video, but it’ll be out on dvd soon.

    U2 Pasadena 3

    Edge's Amps 2

    U2 360 speakers

    People in the Claw

    U2 360 screen

    Edge in Pasadena

    And lastly, my favorite picture of the night. It’s like, the perfect personification of how Edge exists in my mind:

    U2 Pasadena 2

    hehe Just a brilliant white light. lol This was not planned…it’s just an extremely oddly symbolic picture. haha :)

    I am so sorry, but nothing else does this evening justice: a spiritual experience.

    Splendid.
    Karl.

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    Splendid.
    Karl.

    U2 Line

    Well, I’m not sure if anyone will read this post, as this is about the time leading up to the concert, and I’m posting it at the same time as I give a review of the actual concert (see the above post). However, the time leading up to it was just as exciting and experiential as the concert itself. No, that’s a lie. But in its own rite, important. So here ya go:

    Saturday, 4:30 PM.

    Claw in Rose Bowl

    We got to the Rose Bowl in the late afternoon, on the off chance that we might see a member of the band, hear a soundcheck, or be able to make friends with a security guard or something. Of course, none of that happened. But we did get to stroll around the stadium and get a good idea of the layout of the grounds…the last time for a long time that we’d actually be able to see ground. And we got to see the top of The Claw, as they were still building it up. And we saw the people already camping out. Awesome. We thought about camping out, but in the end, I really wanted to shower in the morning, because we knew that this concert was going out live over youtube and getting filmed for a dvd. And of course, you’ll be able to make out my showered or unshowered body in the sea of 96,999 other people. Hey, I like to look good.

    Saturday, 7:00 PM.

    True Tone Music

    We made it to True Tone in Santa Monica. No Edge. But the chances of actually seeing Edge there were pretty small. Okay…really small. It’s more an excuse to go to True Tone, and for my wife and I to hang out at the 3rd and 4th Street Promenade. Mmmm…True Tone.

    Saturday, 9:00 PM.

    Stuck in an underground parking structure off of La Brea. Ya, we forgot some stuff and had to go shopping. And it’s difficult to park in LA on a Saturday night. So, we’re in this structure, and all of a sudden lines just start to back up. It looks like the computer-controlled exits all went down at the same time. And then the actual people (you know they still hire some of those?), won’t let anyone out by just lifting the gate arms, even though the first hour of parking is free and the main store there is Target. You don’t stay in Target more than an hour–they don’t sell guitar gear. How much money could you possibly lose just lifting the gates while you reboot the system? Obviously more than I would think, I guess, because they didn’t. We finally found the one lady who was letting people out. My life flashed before my eyes (I don’t think that phrase really works here), as I thought I might spend the U2 concert in a Target parking structure. Ya, the concert wasn’t until the next day. I guess I can get a little bit dramatic when it comes to music. Can anyone say buffer versus true bypass? hehe Hey. It makes a difference. ;)

    Saturday, 11:00 PM.

    Yard House in Pasadena. My last meal before the next evening. When I get excited, I can’t eat. Yep. It was that bad.

    Saturday, 11:30 PM.

    At our hotel in Pasadena. And I am of course, freaking out, and quite ecstatic about the morning.

    Sunday, 6:00 AM.

    Awake. At this point I checked online, and found out that 550 people camped out at the Rose Bowl and were already in the GA line. GA stands for general admission, and is access to the floor of the stadium. However, how close you are to the stage, from first row to the very back, is first come first serve. So at least now I don’t have to freak out about getting in the first 50. The concert is laid out with a ring around the main stage, with bridges to it from the main stage. And that outer ring creates an inner space, with more of a club atmosphere. We heard they were only letting 2500 into that space, so we figured if we showed up by about 9:00 we’d be good.

    Sunday, 7:30 AM.

    Packing up the hotel room. We had the tv on, and there was a cowboy holding a gun to someone’s head, but I guess the guy with the gun to his head can make earthquakes with his mind? Or, at least make the camera shake in a very soap opera-ish fashion. And now it looks like the young kid in the bad cowboy crowd is saying goodbye to the girl he loves in the town his gang has taken over. He knows he should stay and help, but it looks as if the bad cowboy gang is the closest thing to a family that he’s ever had.

    Sunday, 8:00 AM.

    At a Starbucks for breakfast. I don’t like coffee. But Starbucks has fantastic water. And my wife adores pumpkin spice.

    Sunday, 8:25 AM.

    Getting lost. They shut down the 210 west. Which is a big deal. Apparently there’s going to be a lot of people in Pasadena today? Not sure the logic of shutting down a freeway to help the traffic, but…I am not a person who runs Pasadena.

    Sunday, 8:45 AM.

    IMG_3724

    In the parking lot, and walking to the Rose Bowl. The Claw is enormous. And you gotta remember that the Rose Bowl has two decks. You can only see the upper one from the outside, because the lower one and the field are built below ground level. And we can still see the Claw.

    Sunday, 9:00 AM.

    In line. Absolutely crazy. U2 doesn’t go on for about 12 hours, and there’s already over 1,000 people ahead of us in line. What idiots. ;)

    And everyone in line has ez-ups, coolers, lawn chairs, ipod docks, barb-q’s (yep), blankets, umbrellas, sunscreen, and board games. We brought some crackers and water. That’s right. You’re not a real U2 fan unless you’re in the pit, completely sunburned and heat-stricken. Rock ‘n roll.

    And they played ‘Zest for Love’ about 8 million times. Must be their system check song for some reason. But it was amazing to hear it keep getting clearer and clearer. Amazing sounding system in there. Even from outside the stadium, you could hear every instrument crystal clear…best sounding cd you’ve ever heard. I was very impressed. And I have this weird urge, too, to love…zestily.

    Sunday, 12:00 PM.

    U2 Numbers

    Well, they numbered us!! We are going to see U2!! And we’re in the first 1250, which is supposed to be the first wave into the stadium, and first shot at the inner circle of 2500 people. So we’re stoked! Supposedly, they’re going to let in five sections of 250 for the first 1250. Rock. Edge, watch out.

    Sunday, 1:00 PM.

    And the madness begins. There is no more golf course, no more ground anywhere. We’re 1201 and 1202 in line, and then the line wraps behind us about 3 times, and then into another golf course, and we can’t see the end of it. Has to be at least 5,000 people by now. But it is so awesome to be amongst a bunch of other U2 fans. And not just because it’s U2. There are very few opportunities in life just to be with people who are united with a common goal, and common interest. There was a huge energy! Well, and then that energy was balanced back out by the 90 degree heat, and sitting in the sun for the last 4 hours. But people are cool. The people in front of us even let us use their blanket, seeing as we…ya…brought none. I guess I was just counting on my love for U2 to carry me all day. Oh! And every other car was having a tailgate party and playing U2. So rad! But almost every one was playing their B-sides. Almost as if we were all trying to prove to each other that we were the coolest and most ‘indie’ fan of this multi-platinum artist. hehe And there was ‘the guy’; the one trying to audition for Bono’s role during every U2 song played from someone’s ipod dock. Very loudly, and with much vibrato. :) People rock.

    Oh, and the sound-checking guitar is obviously not Edge. I gotta say, I am amazed how much tone is in the hands. That’s his rig, but not his tone.

    Sunday, 2:00 PM.

    They have now given us all wristbands, in addition to the numbers on our hands. I don’t know why. But it makes me feel more secure. I must see them.

    Sunday, 3:00 PM.

    Waiting.

    Sunday, 4:00 PM.

    Still waiting.

    Sunday, 4:30 PM.

    Oh, sweet mercy! So, there’s only so long, I suppose, that you can control a crowd of 20,000 people. Jamianne and I went off to find some water somewhere so as not to die. As we were coming back, we decided to walk up the GA line just to see everything, maybe meet some interesting people. So as we walk by the front of the line, we see them moving the first group of 250 closer to the entrance gates. Awesome, we think. They weren’t supposed to do this until 5. So maybe all the groups will get in early. Apparently though, no one told the next group of 250 what was going on. Or they did, and they just couldn’t take it anymore. Or people were jumping in line. I did talk to a couple who thought for sure that showing up at 4 meant they were going to get in the inner circle. They were more than a little disappointed when I said they’d been numbering us since 8 in the morning, and that the line stretched for probably 5,000 to 10,000 people by now. Whatever the reason, as we’re walking back to our spot, right when we get to it, we look to our left, and the entire line just starts stampeding. So, as any good citizen of any big riotous mob would do, we jump in and start running too! It was like racing through a refugee camp. People just up and started running for the gate. Lawn chairs, clothes, food, barb-q’s, full ez-ups, all just left, and then run over by the mob. When the next 250 started moving, I guess, it just started a chain reaction, nobody knew what was happening, and the safest thing we all figured to do was just to run with the mob. Here’s what it looked like when we stopped, and there’s more people after where it looks like it ends. It doesn’t end there, it’s just a rise in the hill:

    Ya. So those numbers on our hands? Yep. Didn’t mean a thing. But it’s totally cool. I mean, in a way, I was stoked on the energy of this crowd. It’s a rock ‘n roll show! (And you might disagree, and I hear ya. But 10,000 people right then sure thought it was a rock ‘n roll show. :) ) There’s only so much crowd control you can do with a line of 10,000 people (and about 30,000 more milling about the grounds and having tailgate parties) without very large guns. And about one trash can and one portable toilet per every 500 people outside the stadium? And the promise of U2 once you got in the stadium? Yep. It was more than the angry mob could handle. hehe And they’re allowing 2500 people in the inner circle, and then there’s even more incredible places on the outer circle, as U2 spends tons of times walking around during the show. So it’ll all work out, and we’ll all get great seats. We saw some higher numbered hands in front of us; but we also saw some lower numbered hands right next to us. So no worries. Apparently not for everyone. hehe Lots of interesting and colorful conversations. But for the most part, this is a 97,000 person rock ‘n roll concert. You just gotta enjoy the ride.

    Sunday, 4:45 PM.

    Okay. To make matters worse, U2 starts to soundcheck ‘Magnificent’ right as the mob comes to a halt. And this is the first time we’ve heard the actual band playing, not their techs. So as this one event staff tries to instruct the mob using what had to be the smallest megaphone known to man, everyone is paying absolutely no attention; but instead screaming ‘It’s Bono! That’s Bono!’ So finally…I don’t know if they just put out the word to find the biggest security guards in the Pasadena area who could make it to the Rose Bowl in a half hour or what…but all of a sudden the hugest security guards were out, and of course cops started lining the mob, and we went in, in not so much numbered waves, as random clusters.

    Sunday, 5:00 PM.

    In the gates. Some security are saying run, there’s too many people for us to move slowly. Others are saying walk, there’s too many people for someone to go down. Most people followed the first advice. ;)

    Sunday, 5:10 PM.

    Alright. For all my nonsense about touching Edge, and getting pulled on stage by him, none of that is really possible. I know it’s odd, but Edge actually doesn’t know me. I know. Shocker. ;) So in reality, all I cared about was hearing stage volume from his amps. I know the house system is amazing, and I know he knows how to mic his amps, but it does not matter. If I am going to see him play live, I want to hear some sound pure and direct from his speakers. And we did. We got into the inner circle, about 5 feet back from the front rail, in front of Edge. His amps were facing directly at our heads. Perfect placement.

    Sunday, 5:30 PM.

    Pandemonium. We’re packed up like sardines in here, which is awesome. It’s a show, and we need to be close to feel the collective love from each other. But we are so close to each other, and there are people leaving for food, drinks, and beer, and then coming back and expecting their spots to still be there. hehehe And then there are people sitting. And others falling on top of them…because when you sit in a mob of people, from anywhere other than where you are sitting, your spot looks like empty space towards which everyone else is trying to get. And then there are my favorite people. The ones criticizing how dirty it is amongst all those people, and how rude it is for people to touch them, and how it’s too noisy. Amongst 2500 squished in, sunburned, bedraggled music fans. Hey. You gotta hand it to their optimism, I suppose. They apparently, truly thought the mob would be well-mannered.

    Sunday, 7:15 PM.

    Black Eyed Peas. And you know what? My respect grew for their musical abilities. Some catchy melodies and beats (mixed with some really terrible stuff, in my humble opinion), and I liked the melding of urban music with actual instruments. Pretty cool. But my respect for the band itself? Not so much. They had Slash come out, and they did the longest and worst cover ever of Sweet Child of Mine. And Fergie danced up on Slash while he was solo’ing. And it was awkward. He could be her grandfather. And actually, the only time the crowd went crazy for them was when she shook something. And she’s got a good voice, too; she shouldn’t have to do that. And they all know that they are really, really cool. Oh. And too many male pelvic thrusts than I normally care to see in an evening. But their drummer was extremely talented, in a very minimalistic way. Cool. Oh, and there were definitely some dancing radios. Awkward:

    Sunday, 8:35 PM.

    The world stops. Edge’s amps are revealed:

    And the rest is just pure bliss. hehe And bliss in the post above. And of course bliss in my heart…forever and ever. Childish? Yes. But so is standing in a living heat stroke for 12 hours to see U2…absolutely worth every minute of it.

    Splendid. (A lot.)
    Karl.

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    Splendid.
    Karl.
    

     

    I don’t have a doorbell. I live in an apartment. I chose gear instead of a house. I figure, I have plenty of time to get a house. But that original version Damage Control Timeline (I’m pretty sure there’s only one version, but if you say ‘original version’, you’re technically not wrong, and it sounds way cooler); now the auction for that was ending in like, two days. You do the math. Gear. So then, why is this post called something about a doorbell? Well, my wife was just listening to that White Stripes song, and it’s like the catchiest ever, and this is a post about what I’ve been thinking lately. It is very difficult to sift through my head sometimes. And as difficulty tends to not be easy, and I tend to like easy things, I just don’t sift. But then I had the problem of having no title for this post. So then I listened to the appalling catchiness coming from my wife’s computer speakers, and hence, ‘I Been Thinkin’ About My Doorbell.’ Not much sense to be had, I get it. But then again, let’s be honest; do you actually come to this blog because I ever make sense? Ya. Guessing no on that one. So here’s what I’ve been thinking:

    Strymon is coming out with a new delay. I do not need another delay. I want it.
    Edge is about six hours away from me at this very moment. Mmmmm. (I apologize if the ‘mmmmm’ frightens you, but, it’s kind of the only sound the human body is capable of making when lathered in the lovely droves of delay, Edge’s melodic mind, and about 7 amps, including 2 1960’s AC30’s. So, my apologies, but……mmmmmmmm.)
    Jack White is really good!
    The other night I was old. Some kids wanted to sell me something at the ‘insane’ hour of about 8:30 PM (I know), and I wished I had a doorbell, because they were pounding on our apartment door. I griped for a while. And then another while (what in the world is a ‘while’?). And then I realized that at 25, I have become old. What happens when I’m 85?
    Meg White? Ya…not so much. (That’s probably horrible to say, and I’m sure you’re a lovely person…but those drums…)
    I went outside tonight to see if I could hear Edge’s guitar from Phoenix. I have this theory that his tone is so real, integral, and uncompromised, that it will actually be able to travel from Phoenix to here, because the sound waves are so steady, and ringing at the exact right frequency, so as to cut through the ‘mix of life.’ (I’ve put my whole theory on this into documentation, complete with the mathematical equations, algorithms, and of course accounting for the amount of delay on his guitar; except without the equations, algorithms, or documentation. But I did account for the delay!) I am almost positive that I could hear his tone. It was a little hard to tell, though, if it was his tone from Phoenix, or his tone from my ipod dock playing U2. (Hey, ‘Breathe’ was playing, and I couldn’t turn it off right before the solo! Psshh. Come on! ……Hmmm, ‘psshh’ doesn’t seem to work right when written. Or maybe even said.)
    I wish I was John Williams.
    Fedex is the worst.
    I’ve fallen into the habit of subtly ‘promoting myself’ in general conversation. You know, steering the conversation towards things I’ve done, and towards my self-inflated and quite actually non-existent pedigree. Nasty and gross habit.
    I love bass players. I’ve said it before, but us electric guitar players cannot do anything without you guys anchoring the harmonic structure.
    Okay, this is not a joke. As I’m writing this, my wife is watching a youtube clip of Judy Garland as a little girl in some movie, singing to a picture of her ‘hero’, Clark Gable, ‘You Made Me Love You.’ And my wife just leaned over to me and said, ‘Is that how you sing to your picture of Edge, when I’m not around? ‘You made me love you!” This happened about 19 seconds ago. That is not made up.
    There is a lot to do in this world. And I waste a lot of time.
    Change your tubes.
    Is it bad when you find yourself not paying attention to the message, because you’re gazing past the pastor, lovingly at the lights on your amp on stage, and then you can’t remember for how long that’s been going on?
    I used to sing a song in Sunday School that just said, ‘Read your Bible, pray every day.’ And for all the ‘deep spiritual concepts’ and ‘contextual-Biblical-armenian-free-will-determinism-leadership-what-not’ that I feel I’ve learned about, it’s almost always the simple stuff I learned in Sunday school that makes the most real world difference.
    I can’t imagine life without music.
    When people comment on how big my pedalboard is, I usually pass it off with some joke about how most of the pedals are not even plugged in, but I just keep them on the board to look cool. I just looked at my pedalboard while typing this (and yes…there was all the tenderness in that look that you’re afraid there was), and realized that I actually do have a pedal on my board that has not been plugged in for about a month. But it does look really, really cool right there!

      Splendid.
      Karl.

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      Splendid.
      Karl.
      

      So much has been happening in such a short span of time. Trying to catch my breath a bit and form everything into coherent thoughts. But ‘coherent’ thoughts haven’t really happened in years, so I guess I’ll just have to settle for the usual incoherency. (And wordpress is saying that ‘incoherency’ is not a word. I strongly disagree. It’s what life looks like inside my head. And it is very real.)

      Tone is awesome.
      Bass is harder than it seems. Bassist canceled, and since we already had acoustic and piano, I figured I’d just lead from bass. And then there was failure.
      I am not Sting.
      Not sure if I mentioned this before, but I had a dream one time where Bono and I were at the zoo. And then Sting was sitting in the food court, and he yelled to us. And then Bono said, ‘Oh, great. Now he’s gonna want to hang out with us all day.’ And yes, that really happened. The dream, not the zoo with Bono and Sting. Someday.
      I saw The Killers last night with my wife in San Diego. They put on a simply incredible live show. Brandon Flowers makes you feel like it’s the show they’ve been dreaming of all their life, even though it’s just one stop on the tour.
      Dave Keuning of The Killers has great tone. And looks funny walking around the stage aimlessly.
      He also knows when to shut up and just layer chords so that the rhythm, vocals, or synth can take over. I need to learn from this. Even anti-solos can be too much sometimes.
      Christians can be awesome. We get a bad rap, and we definitely deserve it. But just today, I spoke at a couple breakout sessions at a worship conference in Redlands, and there were just some amazing people there. Billy and Jan, who actually are my godparents and I didn’t even know went to the church, were totally rad and even helped me load up my gear in my truck. And a guy named Phil, who was my liaison for getting set up and stuff, might just be the nicest person in the entire world. Yep. And then one of the new guitarists at my church, completely humbly offered to play bass tonight as I was failing at it monumentally. Sorry to get all sappy, but it’s really, really rad sometimes to talk with people who restore your faith in the church. (Church meaning, people.)
      The Killers had more fun singing about ‘a boyfriend who looks like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year’, than I’ve had playing worship music in a long time. This is bad.
      Matchless don’t break. I’ve heard that moniker many, many times, and always thought it was just something stupid that sounded cool when you said it. But the other day, someone cut me off and I had to slam on my brakes. My Matchless was in the front seat (amps are passengers, not gear), totally did a front flip over my hand (I was reaching out to try to save it, but Matchless are heavy! It just totally took out my hand like it wasn’t even there…ya, I feel buff), and landed power tranny side down, hard on the floor of my truck. Plugged it in, perfect. Not even a tube came loose. I guess Matchless don’t break.
      I also dropped my pedalboard on the asphalt this morning. Pedals and wires everywhere. I was playing a game with myself to see if I could make it to the truck without dropping the pedalboard, even though my arms felt like they were going to fall off (it was a long walk). And somehow I forgot that the game I was playing involved my pedalboard. And then I lost. I take pretty good care of my gear.
      Halloweentown is one of the worst bands I have ever seen live. They opened for The Killers, and it sounded like a bad church service. Eight members all trying to solo over each other. And the tuning part I suppose was lost on them. They looked indie though, and had old-looking synthesizers, so I guess that’s what counts.
      However, one of the guitarists did have his roadie come on stage during a song to take the cigarette out of his mouth. Which I thought was the coolest thing ever, and thereby decided that if I ever make it big, I’m going to have roadies to change out half-way sucked on lifesavers before the flavor is gone. I’m not going to do the cigarette thing because I don’t suck burning things into my body.
      Dave Keuning plays Hiwatts. Halloweentown played things that sounded horrid.
      Self-serve frozen yogurt is the best invention since tubes. I don’t care if it’s a fad, and I’m totally buying into it. Because it is, and I am. And yet I still want my taro. The best thing is that if you believe all the ‘health facts’ about it, you should actually get thinner from eating it. Which is a plus.
      For the 546th time, Karl, change your strings before looking for new gear!
      Sleep is underrated. And that makes me sound old.
      I have decided that I want to be a famous guitar player. That’s all you have to do is decide that, right?
      I have also decided to be the only blog in the world not to mention…oh blast. That means I can’t mention it.
      Tone is probably the best thing that will ever happen to you.
      Emery Amps looks really toneful.
      Both guitarists from Halloweentown played there first chords with their amps on stand-by. Made me feel much better about myself.
      Every drummer in the world needs to see The Killers and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. live. And listen to Coldplay’s ‘Death and All His Friends’.
      Edge is in the United States, people. It’s only a matter of time before he goes to guitar ghetto in Hollywood. Edge Watch Day 1 was unsuccessful. Maybe next week.

        Splendid.
        Karl.

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        The Anti-Solo

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        Splendid.
        Karl.

         

         

        This is the origin of the term, ‘the anti-solo’. Actually, he never uses that exact term; the true origin of that saying is probably only in my mind, as I tend to make up random phrases that make me happy, and then attribute them to famous people. But this is the video that explains it the best. The anti-solo, rhythmic solo, minimalism, actually playing what the music seems to be asking for rather than ‘that riff you know’ (I’m guilty of that, too); this condenses it all up quite nicely.

        And once again, try to look past the outfit.

        That’s one of my all-time favorite clips, and I think it really speaks for itself. I’m not very good at letting things speak for themselves; but this time, I’m going to try.

        Splendid.
        Karl.

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        Alright! We got the tone suckage part out of they way. Now we can move on to the chain of effects. And please, I gotta have a disclaimer in here. This post was really, really boring…..so I decided to spice it up a bit by being controversial. Ya, maybe not the best way to spice things up, but certainly the most fun way! So a lot of what I’m going to say is tongue-in-cheek. hehe I’m going to say bad things about effects you like. My apologies. My opinions are not fact, and could definitely be wrong. But where would the fun be in a blog if there wasn’t at least a hint of sporting controversy? These are just my honest opinions as of this afternoon. Tomorrow, they will change–I’m a guitarist. Please feel free to lash back at my cynicism with ‘yo momma’ or ‘yo delay’ jokes in the comments section. You know…..

        ‘Yo analog delay is so thin-sounding……when you play it, I think it’s digital!’

        Sorry…..guitar player jokes……ya, no…….I think even the guitar players are shaking their heads right now. So’s Jean Luc:

        PatrickStewartsadblogging.jpg picture by rypdal95
        (I’m guessing most of you are feeling this same way right now. Due to my, what I thought was, quite inventive ‘yo delay’ jokes.)

        So, now that the disclaimer has been said, back to the effects and my may-not-be-so-right opinions. Like I said in part 1, my chain looks like this:

        Guitar–>

        Bypass looper–>
        Bypass looper
            –>Delay pedal–>delay pedal (always on)
        –>

        Amp.

        But with the effects in the different loops, it looks like:

        Guitar–>

        Bypass looper–>
            –>fuzz
            –>mid gain overdrive/distortion
            –>light gain overdrive (with boost switch)
            –>solo boost
        Bypass looper–>
            –>phaser
            –>tremolo
            –>volume pedal
            –>delay–>delay (always on)
            –>modulation/phrase sampler
            –>chorus/delay
        –>

        Amp.

        Yikes, this is looking boring again. Quick, to the effects!

        batman.jpg picture by rypdal95
        (To the effects, Batman! Sorry everyone……you’ll notice I’m in an interesting frame of mind tonight. And when those come along, you just gotta embrace ’em. And as a side note, I’m really not sure what they told Adam West as Batman to do here. ‘Ok! Now, pretend you’re sucking helium! Good! Ok, now we gotta see more ribcage!’ Seriously, I’m at a loss. Great show, though!)

        So, the first things you’ll notice right away is that there are no wahs or compressors in my chain. The reason for that is that personally, I don’t particularly care for the sound of each. They have their place, and lots of great guitarists get great sounds out of them, but they’re just not for me right now. I’ve never been a big fan of compression, even in recording. If it needs to be used, use it sparingly. By it’s very nature, it’s squashing your tone. Most of the time I find that if I need to clean up my sound in a way that compression will help, I can do it more naturally through better eq’ing, more focused speakers, a cleaner guitar, a less gainy overdrive, etc. If I need more sustain, I re-setup my guitar or get a fret job or whatever. I guess what I’m saying is that to me, compression is a fix-it effect, and I prefer not to add something to try to fix something. Alright, I know them are fightin’ words to a lot of compression fans out there, and if you have one on your board and you like it, more power to you! You figured out how to get a good sound out of a pedal I couldn’t. :) But for now, no compression for me. I did at one time own an Emma compressor, and it was very, very good. I kept it a low setting, first in my chain, and it kind of focused my tone. But as my guitars and amps got better, I no longer had a need for it. Seriously, I can like already feel the daggers in people’s eyes as they’re reading this…..and it’s not even published yet! Well, if you’re reading this, it is…..but not right now as I’m writing it……hmmmm, conversations with myself. And I know. You come to a blog with pictures of 74 million pedals on top, and then you read a post saying how certain pedals may be unnecessary. Heresy!! Heresy in the guitar world!! But before you scream that, just remember that I’m still a guitarist……which means that by next week, I’ll probably have sold all my delays and have used the money to buy compressors. Well, maybe not so much. But it’s possible. That’s why being a guitarist is so great! You have the luxury of completely bad-mouthing today the pedal you’ll buy tomorrow, and no one says a word about hypocrisy. They just say, ‘Oh, he’s a guitar player.’ Fantastic.

        (And by the way, my new friend over at http://lespaulplayerdoctor.wordpress.com just did a killer post on compressor pedals, and I’m sure his playing does them way more justice than me. If you like compressors, you should go check it out. That post is changing my mind about them! hehe)

        And the wah? First off, let me say that there are guitarists who make a lot more money then I do who enjoy using wah pedals profusely. And if they make more money than you, you have the right to make fun of them, right? I thought that was a rule somewhere. Anyway, the wah for me is a bit of an out-dated sound. Every so often I get a hankering for one, and then I just listen to any rock band from the ’70’s, and I’m cured of wanting one for the next few months. (Oooh! Daggers again! I’m ducking behind chairs right now.) Seriously, though, you can get some great classic as well as modern sounds out of wahs, but I just don’t like the sound enough to use it enough to justify having one. Creative use of a phaser can cop convincing enough wah sounds for me the one time a year I get asked to replicate an exact guitar part that has a wah sound in it.

        Joe_Perry_1.jpg picture by rypdal95
        (Ah, one of the great and perhaps slightly over-used wah sounds of all time. Joe Perry. But, he does make much more money than I do……and when you make that much money, you’re free to dress like you’re from the American Revolution and nobody cares. And obviously, you’re free to buy incredibly gorgeous guitars. If I tried to buy that guitar, even if I had cash in my hands, they would look at me and say, ‘Sorry, kid. This finish is too nice not to ever be on tv. And they would be right.)

        And honestly, if money and board space were limitless, I’d have both a wah and a compressor in bypass loops, just for the odd times that a worship leader will want the exact cd sound, and to get it I would have to use compression or wah. But that’s only happened a few times, and I can usually get close to the same sound with other tactics. But if you were to run them, traditionally you would want the compressor at the very beginning of your chain (i.e. right after the guitar), followed by your wah. (The rare exception is that some fuzz pedals freak out–literally–if they are not first in the chain.) There’s also been some recent talk amongst guitarists (and the guitarists here have been no exception) about experimenting with the compressor’s place in the chain. So you may want to try it last in the chain (i.e. right before the amp), as this is how compressors are usually used in recording or front-of-house sound.

        You’ll also notice I don’t have a tuner in my chain. It’s out of a tuner mute send from one of my bypass loopers. Tuners are one of the most important pedals you can have…..probably the most important. The best tone in the world will suck if it’s out of tune. But tuners suck a lot of tone, so it’s nice to not have them in your actual effects chain. Some of them, like the Boss TU-2, have buffers; so some people like to place them like they would a line buffer, at the beginning of their chain as the first pedal, or at the end as the last pedal, to push the signal along and regain some highs.

        Next is the fuzz pedal. I love fuzz pedals. (Some of you are going…..wow, an effects pedal he actually likes in a blog about guitar effects? No way! Ya, ya……I know.) Anyway, fuzzes are interesting beasts that kind of take on a life of their own. That being said, they usually (though no one really knows for sure) like to be first in your overdrive chain. After the compressor and wah, but before anything else. One time I put it after something else, and the world almost caved in on itself with out of control overtones. It was in the middle of a service. The sound guy was yelling at me to stop. But I was powerless. The fuzz had taken over. So, they don’t like to have too much fed into them…..or maybe they just like it too much. But usually they should be the first in your overdrive chain.

        And after this, I like to put the vibe pedal. It’s like a mix of phaser and chorus, and it just gives subtle, vintage modulation color to your overdrives. Bluesy type sounds. I have yet to land on a vibe pedal I like, but soon enough it’ll be in my chain. It can go after the drives, too…..but I really like what it does to the tone before them.

        Hendrix.jpg picture by rypdal95
        (Yep. The man who basically pioneered the fuzz and vibe sounds. Sorry…..got absolutely nothing tongue-in-cheek to say about Jimi. His tone’s too good, maybe. hehe)

        As for the other overdrives, I like to go from gain first down through less and less gain. This is because I like to set my overdrives to a sound I like them at, and then use my less gainy drives and boosts to simply ‘boost’ that sound I like. That’s just me. I’m a control freak and like to know exactly how everything will sound. But it’s also crazy fun to go the other way and go less gainy to more gainy. Then the less gain and boost pedals will feed into the higher gain pedals, and have them take on new characteristics. It can be really fun, and you can get a lot of different sounds. So, no wrong way there…..except that my way is just slightly more right……I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Just experiment and see what you like.

        Next is the modulation pedals: trem, phase, ring mod, filters, chorus, etc. Now, there is a tradition that puts modulation pedals before the drives, like I like to do with vibe pedals. It tames them a bit and gives a more subtle sound. Very cool….a little more vintage sounding. I did that when I had a Moog Murf……that thing was so crazy, it had to be before the drives to be tamed enough to be useable. But for more modern stuff where you really want the effect to be out front, it works best to put them after the drive pedals. I like phasers, filters, and weird stuff before the tremolo, because I like to be able to ‘trem-a-cize’ my phased sounds. But both ways will work. The trem usually gets a little softer if it’s before the phasers and such. Then you’re phasing the trem sounds, which can be cool as well. The comes chorus. However, for me, I love that huge ’80’s chorus sound…..so I actually like to put my chorus even after the delays, as my last effect. Just to chorus and mush everything together the few times I actually use chorus.

        Next I have my volume pedal. I like to put this after the drives and effects for swells……so that I’m hitting my volume pedal with as much signal as possible. Then I place my delays after it, so that the delays are delaying the swelled sound. gets some cool keyboard-ish effects.

        And then the delays and reverbs. Usually reverb is last, to kind of wash everything together. Dlays go right before, so that they can delay your whole board….all the sounds you’re doing. Delays before effects make them lighter and less pronounced, and the delays themselves become less distinct. Delay chains in and of themselves could be a post on its own. If you have more than one delay, experiment with placement. A lot of people run quarter notes into dotted eighths, getting a very rhythmic sound. Or short into twice as long can give a ping-pong effect. That’s, at least for me, is where the fun is…..running delays into each other.

        Edge4.jpg picture by rypdal95
        (And of course, the master of delay himself, Edge from U2. Although actually, especially if you’re new to this blog, you’ll find that it’s just any excuse to throw in something about Edge. I admit….I have a bit of a big boy crush. Him and Brad Pitt. Wow……so much honesty right now. My wife says big boy crushes are fine…..as long as it means I want to be them, and not be close to them.)

        And lastly would be your phrase sampler. The sampler is usually last just so you can sample all your pedals should you choose. I put a chorusy delay after even the phrase sampler, so that I can do some cool things with the sampled phrase, but again, that’s just my preference.

        Okay. So this seriously only scratches the surface of effects placement. The cardinal rule for effects placement is whatever sounds good to you. Experiment, have fun, and don’t judge your tone too harshly. Tone is a journey, and it will probably never end for you, so you may as well learn to have fun along the way. It’s nice to have guidelines as to where the pedals go, which is what I have attempted to do; but in the end, it’s about what sound best to you, and the people who are listening to you. And in worship music, it’s probably even more important that it sounds good to the people listening to you and than it is that it sounds good to you yourself. Because we’re up there to try to make this music a vehicle to help them worship. So, it might be best to err more on the classic side than the experimental side. Not always; but just something to think about.

        Sorry for another long and boring post. But in this one I got to throw out my own controversial opinions on a couple effects….just trying to liven things up! hehe Alright……on with the ‘yo delay’ jokes. ;)

        Splendid.
        Karl.

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