Should I Use Effects With My Acoustic Guitar

Honestly, I wish this was the question being asked. Should I? But the question is usually phrased more along the lines of “which effects should I use?” This assumes that any should be used at all.

To that end, I want to first ask the question “should I?” and use that to answer the “which ones?” question.

Continue reading “Should I Use Effects With My Acoustic Guitar”

4 Reasons To Avoid The Imitation Trap

WHAT IS THE IMITATION TRAP?

I noticed the trap in pulpit ministry before I saw it in music ministry. Young preachers imitating older or better known preachers. Cadence, vocal pitch, even attempting to mimic the humor or jokes, and sometimes just outright stealing stories and analogies employed by the preacher they obviously admired.

The same thing is true in music ministries and if you’ve been around long enough you’ve probably seen it yourself. Churches whose bands play note for note everything exactly like it was off the record. The singer who is obviously trying to be Kim Walker-Smith or the worship leader who is shouting things because he heard Matt Redman do it.

The Imitation Trap is seeing the success of someone else, and assuming that this is the way that you have to do it. To judge your success not on what God has called you to do, but on how others live out their callings. I want to present four reasons that we as worship leaders should avoid this trap at all costs, and a positive alternative to imitation that might just be a way forward for you, and your ministry.

Continue reading “4 Reasons To Avoid The Imitation Trap”

Gear Review: JHS Twin Twelve

BRAND: JHS

MODEL: Twin Twelve Overdrive

COST: $199

WHAT IT IS: The JHS Twin Twelve is an “amp-in-a-box” style overdrive that emulated the sounds of the vintage Silvertone Twin Twelve 1484 tube amp produced for a few years in the 1960’s by Danelectro for the Sears catalog. It was a low-end budget amp that was over looked in favor of amps by Fender, Vox, and Marshall. Up until a few years ago, you could find them for dirt cheap on eBay. Then artists like Beck, Jack White, Death Cab for Cutie, and even Coldplay started recording with them. The lead riffs on Death Cab’s “Your a Tourist” and Coldplay’s “Always In My Head” are both from a 1484 amp. In part because of this, a Twin Twelve amp now goes for 4 to 5 times what you would have paid a few years back.

I tried the JHS Twin Twelve with just about every pedal I own, as well as straight in to my Fender Princeton Reverb from my Danocaster Jazzmaster and my Fender Telecaster.

The Twin Twelve includes an active EQ for treble and bass like you’d find on a real amp, and a drive knob that controls the amount of gain. While the original 1484 amp didn’t have a master volume, Josh and his crew have added a Volume knob that accomplishes that feature, which is where all the pedals flexibility comes in.

Continue reading “Gear Review: JHS Twin Twelve”

A Kinda Sorta Review of the New U2 Record

THE RECORD

Almost every review of the newest U2 record Songs of Innocence has told me more about the the reviewer and their issues than the record itself. When a reviewer starts admitting that they “don’t really like U2 that much” or by saying that they haven’t liked a U2 record since Actung Baby, why should we care what they say? When a reviewer spends (as many of them did) the opening half of the review critiquing and complaining about the way or method the band released the record, what does that actually tell us about the music itself? The answer is of course: nothing.

I actually like the new U2 record. It’s not their best record, but it’s certainly not their worst. The songs themselves are far better than most of the critics have given credit for. The final result of Dangermouse’s production work is a debatable point but again, it’s an interesting take on the music of the most iconic band since the Beatles. So now that we’ve had a few weeks to come to terms with the music and implication of the records surprise marketing/distribution method maybe we can look for some takeaways?

Instead of debating the finer points of U2’s latest offering, I would like to look at the response it has drawn. I feel like looking at Songs Of Innocence’s reception will shed light on issues that affect us as worship leaders and church musicians.

Continue reading “A Kinda Sorta Review of the New U2 Record”

The Electric: Does Tone Matter?

des tone matter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On forums, on blogs, on Facebook, on Instagram. Worship guitarist posts pic after pic of their pedalboards, or their amps, or their guitars. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Then every so often a “really spiritual” person writes a blog post or a thread forum on how we need to remember that none of it matters… and then we go on posting our pics.

How much does “good tone” really matter? Does it make a difference to the bar band but not the worship band? Am I less Spiritual if I care about how my guitar sounds? Am I more spiritual if I don’t?

Let’s talk about it.

Continue reading “The Electric: Does Tone Matter?”

The Electric: Fuzz In Worship

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 using Fuzz pedals in worship.

The question is asked often enough on internet forums and blogs: Can I use a Fuzz pedal in worship? The answer to this question is the answer to every gear related question the church guitarist may ask: Yes. Maybe. Depends.  So as we walk through the reasons why or why not to use Fuzz pedal at church, you can take the same principles and apply them to any other piece of gear.

So… can I use Fuzz in Worship?

Continue reading “The Electric: Fuzz In Worship”

I’d Like To Play More

Recently, the question was put to me: I’d like to play more at church but the worship leader seems to always be picking others over me, what can I do about this?

The truth is that this is a complex issue. I know a lot of worship leaders who really like someone personally but they aren’t a good fit for whatever reason and the WL doesn’t like conflict so they just use them as little as possible. Sometimes another person is being picked over someone for valid reasons. That other person is being raised up for long term leadership, or the worship leader has figured out that out of three players one really only has the availability because of work or school to do worship so they get a shot more than people who have the ability or time to serve elsewhere. Is that right or wrong? I don’t know, but it is a reality in many churches.

If you’re feeling overlooked or passed over or simply just want to play a little more, what should you do? Here’s some thoughts that will hopefully be helpful.

Continue reading “I’d Like To Play More”