Growing Up, Maturing, and Not Worried About Being a Rock God…

As I preluded to, I am taking about a 6-8 week break as I study for my board exams in March. I told the guys in the band I was relinquishing my duties and putting Ashley up for a short while (Ashley is my LP’s name btw).

Last practice, and today, I was “teaching” (used loosely) my replacement how I fill in, and play ambient and stand out without being loud. As we have discussed on my blogroll, it seems that we have an idea of HOW to sound, but not know how we really sound. This gentleman has been our bass player for the past almost 8 months. Now our regular bass player has returned and I’m taking a break (its a God thing, because we needed a guitar player to fill for me!) and this guy who has been our bass player cut his teeth on blues guitar (SRV, etc.).  But he was used to playing clubs and things as a guitarist. Now you know where I’m headed.

A club volume is not the same a church volume. Its much louder. (unless you ARE Hillsong!)
This nice guy rocked today, and rocked hard. He was awesome. I had to personally turn his amp from 8 to 4.
So the point I was making with my title is normally I would feel a bit overwhelmed when challenged by a guy with a Squire guitar and a 40w Crate amp with digital effects, who is Stevie Ray Vaunghning’ everything. He rocked, but it didn’t bug me. I don’t know if you have experienced this– the “I have to prove I AM THE LEAD GUITARIST” syndrome.  But today, I played Rhythm. I enjoyed it, the freedom, the repetition, and that vocals were so much easier when not concentrating on the riffs.

Best of all, I felt like I was able to teach my skills too. You see, we played this song “Only a God like You.” It has a nice little octave part at the beginning of the song and between the choruses to the verses. I showed how the octave really really rocked, but we wanted to build into this huge crescendo.
I played dotted 8ths single notes (in style of the Edge 🙂 ) which sounded incredible, and got many good comments/feedback from deacons, pastoral staff and the Worship minister. And at the bridge when we reached our peak, I switched from my light OD (Zendrive) to the full out distortion (Hermida Distortion) and played the same riff. The distortion filled the sound and added a darker texture. When we fell back into the chorus, instead of playing the wimpy single notes, I played the octaves with the dotted 8th. The smiles on the band and the new guy hit me. And I rejoiced. My last Sunday and no screw up.  🙂

I feel great. I was able to show simple dynamics to the new guy and he really is excited to put this “new sound,” as he said it, to use. And I know that when in two months when I come back, I’ll be renewed, and our styles will either change back toward my chill sound, or that I will adapt and learn a new sound myself.

I realized I really enjoy teaching and seeing someone succeed!
Its part of the amazing group dynamic to learn from each other, to pick up each others slack and to realize … right as you are taking a break… that you have defined your role you played.


2 Responses

  1. Hi, how are you?

    you have some good stuff here on your webpage!!

    what you recommend an acceptable volume for a church setting would be for a miked amp or a non-miked amp, and different room ssize settings. I know that different amps behave differently with volume such as tube amps ( = valve amps) than a solid state ( = transistor amp) especially with tube-driven overdrive ( aka valve’s depending on which country your from).

    Also, I was wondering what your thoughts are on negotiating with the sound guy if you need to have your volume up, just so you can hear yourself, when she/he says turn it down.
    Does placing your amp in a diferent position or angle change the sound dynamics in the room?
    ie what’s a good positioni for an amp, bass or guitar to be in, to get the best volume possible and not be a hinderance to the sound guy by creating unwanted ‘noise”

    stay righteous

  2. Mark: I am very partial to 15w tube amps for most church settings. Perhaps a large more progressive church or a larger youth group I would go with 30w, but I wouldn’t go over that.
    I love my SuperChamp XD by Fender, Vox also makes superb 15w– but a bit more on the price side.
    The downside to tubes/valves is they do cost more than solid state– but wow, they sound so much better!

    Soundguy– when you find a way to negotiate– let me know!
    I generally start my amp at 4 volume and let him do his levels, then when we jam on a song for soundcheck (with drummer and bass playing) I turn up to 6. He doesn’t seem to notice, and I can hear. If I start on 6: “its too loud!!”
    You need to adjust in context of full band.

    Angles matter- everything matters! I usually have mine angled backed so it is pointing up to my head. That way I’m guaranteed to hear it. I also have mine set back (about 20 feet) near our baptistry and mic’ed there. So when I turn up the main worship leader can hear it as well, and it fills out the room better.
    I personally like the setup we have where I’m in the back right and the bass is back left. We stand close to each other, but the amps are to the sides. That way the guitar and bass fill out the room- you can really ‘feel’ the bass.
    Thanks Mark!

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