The Electric: Clean Tones

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll talk about clean tones and why they are important, overlooked, and way more helpful than you’d think.

Without a doubt, the most popular posts in this column have been articles dealing with amp overdrive, overdrive pedals, and using them in worship. I want to turn that thinking on it’s head today and make a case for clean tone.  No Tubescreamers. No OCD’s. No Distortion. Clean and simple guitar tone. Here’s why:

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It’s Kinda Like Coldplay

This post isn’t just written for the worship leader. It’s for every member of the church’s worship band and community.

 I vividly remember the night. I was driving home from work in the summer of 2000. I had just graduated from High School and my car only had an FM radio. Then it happened, a song I’d never heard before came over the airwaves with sound that was both ground breaking and familiar all at the same time. This being the dark ages of technology, I had to sit in my parked car for three more songs to find out who this band was. The song was Yellow and the band was called Coldplay.  On my lunch break the next day I walked over to Sonic Boom records in Seattle and purchased the album Parachutes. Within two weeks, everyone I knew seemed to have a copy. That was 13 years ago.

Since then, Coldplay has grown and established itself in the mainstream musical consciousness of the Western World and beyond. Even if you’re the type of Christian who has a personal conviction not to listen to secular music, you have heard Coldplay. You often hear about Christian bands ripping off U2 (I’ve written about it HERE) but the truth is that they’ve been influenced by Coldplay just as much. Yet, again and again, I’ve been in a worship band practice and said “it’s kinda like Coldplay” and received nothing but a blank expression back. It’s been 13 years.

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The Electric: Overdrive Overkill

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll talk about the different types of overdrives, and why you may be wasting money on your rig.

Note: Any opinions or gear recommendations I give are my own based on my own experience. No company pays me to endorse them. But I can be bought! 😉

So if any guitar, amp, or pedal maker wants to send me there stuff they can contact me HERE 

 

I’ve written about Overdrive pedals in worship many times in the past. HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for example. My point today isn’t to talk about how to use them or which one is the best. My point is today is to talk about a common mistake that many guitarists (both worship and otherwise) make in selecting and purchasing the overdrive pedals in their rig and how this can end up costing you needless dollars.

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Playing For The Prodigal

I’m not sure how helpful this post will be. It’s not even something that I do intentionally anymore. But maybe, somewhere out there, this will help someone out.

Every church has prodigals; people who once professed Christ and dwelled with us in community but who are now wandering, rebellious, and living wild in the world. Several years ago I was leading worship at a church where I did not have a long history, but almost weekly I would hear someone mention a prodigal son or daughter of the church who had “popped in” out of nowhere. Some of them stayed, some of them did not. After a while I realized two things. First, for whatever reason, in that season of the church’s life there was a returning generation of those who had wandered. I didn’t know why or how long it had been happening or it would last, only that it was going on. The second thing I realized is that not every prodigal was being recognized. If this many were being noticed (and hopefully embraced and ministered to) how many more were slipping in and out (it was a fairly large church).

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The Electric: Knobs, Switches, and Settings

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll talk about playing without effects or pedals.

 I’m a little hesitant to write this post. When I write in general it just about my experience and things I’ve picked up over the years. But I’ll fully admit that I’m still learning more and more about how the guitar and amp work on their own. Effects pedals are great, but they can do us a disservice by letting us cut corners and thus not forcing us to learn about the relationship of the guitar and the tube amplifier.

Younger players often rip on older player who seem to only want to relive the classic rock glory days of the 70’s and 80’s (and if that’s you it’s time to learn some new tricks 😉 ) but I’ve gained an invaluable amount of insight from those older players who can do more with just a guitar and amp than you or I could with 12 pedals. So here’s some thoughts on what happens when you choose to or are forced to play with out effects in your rig.

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Q&A

Every so often I like to look over the Google searches that bring people to this blog. It’s interesting what people look for, and what brings them my way. There are a few great questions, and a few ridiculous questions. What questions are people who stumble upon this blog asking? Let’s find out.

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Hymns and Worship Culture

The Gospel Coalition had a great discussion about Hymns and Church culture. I recommend this video as well worth 10 minutes of your time.

Here’s what I took from it:

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