Small Victories…

This is reminiscing post…
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Interesting Performance Tip

I stumbled upon a very cool tip while researching some guitarist/gear/gearpage stuff.

Scott Henderson (think modern jazz) uses his Boss RC-2 looper in his rig to record his rhythm and a lead part. Then he walks through the venue- at all angles- to HEAR what the audience hears. From there he decides what reverb, if any, to use and what his tone adjustments should be as well as his delay settings.

I wonder what I would hear if I walked around and listened to what I play. (kinda humbling, eh?)

Its a good practice! Hmm…. I think some of us “tone crazies” should take a peak into this!

Tone Tips from a Random night…

So here I am… not having updated my blog in awhile, and playing more than I was before. I’m currently working a pretty long/tiring clinical rotation and have not had a lot of energy past going home and sleeping. 9 more months before I wrap this school thing up!

Without further to do: wow… my tone sounded awesome this past month! Now I try to figure out what I did….. Continue reading

Inspiration, desire to learn, progressing into something new.

This is to be a short post.

For you faithful readers, my exam is next Tues and Wed, total of 16 hours worth of an exam. Yup. Thats cool.

My break from the band is coming to a close. I met with them at practice Wed night and we are doing some “old” stuff that the pastor wants to run through. But man, I had some ideas beyond my old fills I normally do. Sometimes it does pay to stop, because you get out of that rhythm, that natural place and have to find your own way again. I experimented with several licks I would never have thought to put together. I can’t wait to try them out.

Inspiration has hit me as I’m trying out a few new overdrives. Surprisingly, when I picked up my guitar (first time in 4-5 weeks?) I did not like my setup. Zendrive is still smooth, still has what I’m looking for but I’m missing something. I clicked on the Hermida Distortion and its not as “full” as I remember it being. I’m going to leave them on there for this Sunday to see if concert volumes have anything to do with it. Wow, I can’t believe I’m saying this— but the Distortion may be looking for a new home based on how it performs Sunday. Any interests?
That said, my newest ebay products really nailed a few sounds (and impressed me more than I expected to).

1) The Fulltone OCD v4 gave a great british driving/Hillsong sound straight out of the box with very little tweaking. This pedal just sounds good. I switched it down to the “LP” switch which is supposedly more “transparent” and it wasn’t quite what I was looking for— but I had an impromptu blues jam with myself and the DD20 looper based on the sounds it made. Wow. “HP” is great Marshally distortion and “LP” is Fendery Blues. This pedal is versatile enough I think it may be a contender to knock something off my board.

2) Barber Small Fry: sounded Tubescreamerish to me when i first tried it a week ago. Now, I tweaked the internal trimmers back to factory settings and wow- oh wow. Its very rich and thick. The “Dynamics” knob makes it as compressed or uncompressed as you want. Very solo oriented. Also tweaked a blues sound and played another 15 mins. hehe
I would say this unit from Barber is the most tweakable I’ve owned yet. Today I heard a guitar solo and immediately thought “Thats the Small Fry!” It was awesome, deep, rich, sustainy– TONEFUL!!! –Nope, it was a little band called Pink Floyd and the song had been recorded before I was born.  Basically, this pedal is very David Gilmour in certain settings.

Speaking of David Gilmour:

–if that doesn’t inspire you, then nothing is going to!

and Lastly:

I stumbled across this website:

At first I was thinking “this stuff is cheesey” but after I watched a couple, then learned a bit (all of the free vids), I’m hooked. I thought I was above certain things (i know most of the scales etc…) but the presentation of certain “styles” like Clapton, Gilmour, etc… Wow, it opened new doors for me.

The secret to passion is finding something that fuels your passion. Learning, and having a new style that sounds good is a great place to start. No one is too good to stop learning.
And here is where I kinda fell into today: David Gilmour lick (free lesson).

A break is a great time to renew ones mind and soul. The energy I feel is awesome. I cannot wait to get back into my “groove”.

Next up is actual reviews of some of this gear plus I’ll finally have time to demo some things as I promised. Keep your eyes out!

U2 did what? Wait, where was I???

U2 was on Letterman for a SOLID WEEK and performed several songs, new and old, and had an interview and their own top 10 list! Where was I? Thank God for YOUTUBE!!!
Here is what I found for those who missed it as well. My favorite is the Edge’s portion of the top 10.

If I left anything off, please send me the link.

Jump for vids: Continue reading

Different picks, different strokes

We’ve had an interesting last couple of Sunday’s and setlists. For normal worship service, we’ve had to pretty much hope everyone can remember old stuff– face it, its the holidays and we can’t get together to practice. We have to pull it together!!

Amazingly enough, soundchecks went PERFECT (thanks baby Jesus) and the songs picked were slightly older, but enough time had passed where people wanted to hear them again. And interesting for me was the fact that for first service I play an interesting combo of lead/rhythm, whilst the 2nd and 3rd its all lead. The first service I am guaranteed the piano/keyboard and drummer. There is a bass/rhythm acoustic but I usually can’t have both. So I pull the weight of whoever is not there. If that makes sense…
1) no acoustic: play more strums, more natural chords.
2) no bass: more bassy notes, bass-like riffs, power chords attenuating the bass changes.

Which leads me to the point of the blog:
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Better to Have Good Rhythm Rather than Bad Lead

I was figuring out some riffs for songs this Sunday and was really struck by the selection- I think silence on my behalf is going to be there for most of the set. Silence, or light ambience. I have found a couple of fills that fit, but NO solos, no defining riffs, nothing of the sort. The most I could come up with is to emphasize a dynamic; I play rhythm- on top of the lines already being played.

Which brings to my discussion: It is better to be silent or play a small good rhythm part than play bad lead. “Bad Lead” as in “can’t play a lead part” or “overplaying”, or “playing distractingly”.

Take a look at this vid I found: (thanks to

How many of these mistakes did I do when learning to play with others? How many of these mistakes do I make NOW!?? I can say that I really began to listen to my parts and try differing parts, or none at all- but only just recently.

I think its key to realize the electric guitar – in worship setting- is an “accent piece” rather than a main instrument. Generally the acoustic guitar is the main piece. So unless all guitars are electric, you are the only one with effects, fills, etc… Make it dynamic, ENHANCE the music. Please, do NOT just “play along.”
I really have been struck lately with musical integrity. I will not play unless its necessary to the song. I will not play a lead, unless it fits. I will not “stand out” if it distracts. And mostly- I will not attempt difficult leads/fills/what have you- unless I have practiced until proficient. Not “until i feel comfortable” or “I can do this.” I want to be able to do it at the 7:00am service without coffee with my eyes closed in sleep and my hands already having the part memorized. THAT kind of proficient.

Well… back to practicing the one riff I do need for Sunday.