Wednesday, February 3

Luke 18: Let the little children come to me, and have their faces properly rocked off.

I've got a little bit of down-time, so I figured I'd show everyone what I'm working with for the upcoming retreat: Luke 18. For some background, this is the first time in about a year that I've gotten to lead a band, and it's also the first major time that I'm going to be leading from electric. It's going to be me, my friend Bob on bass, and one of the teens, Matt, on drums. I've actually been really impressed with both of them. They're not professionals by any stretch, but they've both got better-than-average skill, and their hearts are in the right place. Not that I'm the one to judge their hearts. Or anything for that matter.

You know what? I probably should have just said "takes direction well." But that sounds a whole lot less like a worship leader, and a whole lot more like a dictator. Either way, neither of them is playing for attention or to show off, which is all I ask!

Since I'm going to be the sole guitarist, I'll be switching between acoustic and electric. On acoustic, there's nothing too new. It's going to be my Breedlove AC-25 -> Fishman Aura Pedal -> soundboard, with or without my Countryman DI depending on if it's necessary or not. With a bass player and a drummer, I won't need to add in any effects to fill up the sonic space, but the Fishman really is something, and it adds a lot of quality to the sound chain. It makes things sound way better when I'm just doodling around, and it adds a little extra something when everyone's playing.

As for the electric side, we have:



This is probably what I'd consider to be the essentials. I also have a volume pedal and a wah that could go in front of the pedal board, but I don't know if I'm going to be playing electric on Mighty to Save, which is currently the only conceivable use of a wah in a 3-piece worship band that I can think of, or at least the only use I've figured out yet. The volume pedal could work, but again, that's much more of a tool for cool electric additions to the songs, like swelling into delay to make a pad or just swelling in general. It might still make an appearance, but I like what I can do with this board.

And for those of you paying attention, you'll notice a few additions. My current chain is Parts-o-Caster -> Digitech Hardwire tuner -> Fulltone Fulldrive 2 (MOSFET), running at 12 volts -> Boss DS-1 -> Voodoo Labs Tremolo -> Boss DD-7 (with tap tempo) -> Fender Blues Jr. I got the tuner for Christmas, which is a life-saver, and I got the Fulldrive in a trade. If by trade, I mean that I traded $100 for a Fulldrive. Once again, in the battle of Craigslist vs. My Bank Account, Craigslist wins. But good Lord, does that Fulldrive sound incredible. I've been using it solely in the "Vintage" (a.k.a. "Mid-humped", a.k.a. "Tubescreamer") setting, and it's playing a vital tonal part in Our God is Greater (wait for that one to come out on the Passion CD - it's going to be huge!) and How He Loves, where I'm actually using the boost section to get the lead-line between chorus and verse. The DS-1 is being used constantly, too. Our "theme song" for the weekend is Let God Arise, and I'm sure you all know how much of a distortion-hog that song is. We're also doing You Are My Joy and Your Name High, both of which are using a lesser setting on the DS-1. The delay is, well, delay, and it makes the earth better. As for the tremolo, I keep trying to take it off my board because I've yet to use it, but I'm constantly thinking "I could use it someday...", and so it hasn't left. But also, there's not really anything else I'd put in that spot right now, so while it's taking up space and adding cable-length, it is true-bypass so at least it's not adding anything when I don't want it to add anything.

I've been really impressed with my Strat, too. Bear with me, because I'm still new to this whole "electric guitar" thing, but it's incredibly versatile. The middle pickup might actually be my favorite, but then I can go to the neck when I need a more hollow sound, or the bridge when I need more bite. In combination with my overdrive/distortion pedals, I can comp pretty much any sound I need. I do still want to own something with humbuckers, and a "real" Telecaster (I've heard incredibly, surprisingly good things about the Squier Classic Vibe, but haven't found one to play yet) since I'm enamored with the Tele's neck pickup, but I think my G&L may be on the way out, since I just don't play it very often anymore. My little Frankenstein's Monster of a guitar is making it happen. It desperately needs a full setup and fret-job (for instance, the high e string actually gets stuck on one of the high frets when I strum too hard) so maybe that will happen before the retreat.

And the Blues Jr. is tone in a box. It's small enough to drive to distortion without killing everyone in the room, but just the right loudness to keep up with my drummer. And, it's got a nice pleasant reverb so I don't have to keep the Verbzilla on my board, though reverb is probably going to be completely unnecessary during the weekend.


  1. Wow... through all the gear talk ... you sound excited!Good luck with the retreat!

    As for tremolo... on certain songs where the bass is carrying the bassline, just click on the trem and strum a chord to 'float' on top of the bass. Use it instead of a place when you would normally use delay. It sounds similar to delay but sorta shakes things up for a different sound.

    Let us know how the retreat went!

  2. wow, cool gear, bet it sounds great.
    Love the sound of these Jr-Amps