Gear Thoughts: EHX Deluxe Memory Man

In this edition of Gear Thoughts I look at the “grand daddy of ’em all!” The Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man. As always I specifically come at it from the standpoint of a church player, but I’m sure that non-church musicians will find something useful as well.

Life Update: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are Going

I’ve been pretty silent on here for a while. Almost 4 years ago my family and I moved from our home near Seattle to serve on staff at a great church in California. Sadly, in April of this year I found out that my time at the church was ending and in November we moved back to Washington State to take some time off and figure out our next step. There’s no scandal or big secret; we just had different visions going forward and how can the two walk together unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3)

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I’m sorry Brian Wampler

Without question, the most widely read post I’ve ever written in this blog’s four year history is The People Vs. JHS. I mean, like, it’s not even close. That post has had multiple thousands more reads then the next closest article, and it shows no sign of stopping.

If you found this blog from that post and have kept reading, then I welcome you.

In the comment section of that post I mentioned that other builders have taken modded clones and passed them off as originals (I’m looking at you Fulltone 😉 but others like Vertex have been guilty of the same thing.) Anyway, in that comment I said in passing that Brian Wampler had done the same thing with the Ego Compressor. I was wrong and I apologize.

This statement was based on this video:

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I started “blogging” over 10 years ago. I think I started on blogspot and it wasn’t anything memorable. Then MySpace came along, and people seemed to connect with things I wrote on their blog feature. After that was all over I kept a personal WordPress blog for a number of years that got little to no traffic outside of a few friends. Then, around 2011, I began to write with growing frequency about worship leading, which at that point been one of my primary areas of ministry for over a decade. More and more I found that my blog had become bipolar, split between random streams of thought and one continual subject: worship leading.

Part of this split personality in my writing was a reaction to my own personal searching. I was looking through other blogs, websites and podcasts, trying to find anyone who was writing about the questions I was asking or the issues I was facing as a worship leader. Sadly, there wasn’t much out there. The resources that are so common now just didn’t exist. It’s not that there weren’t podcasts or websites devoted to the subject, but few to none that spoke to me or my issues.

So in 2012 I created a new blog, solely dedicated to the practical and spiritual elements of leading a church in worship. Almost 4 years and 200 posts later, here we are.

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Stay On Schedule

One of the things that’s not often talked about for worship leaders is time management. We are given leadership over a large time portion of our church’s meeting. It’s also often the start of the meeting, so what we do with the time affects everything that follows.
Whatever time your leadership wants you to start, whether it’s right on time or 5 minutes late, try to make that your go time. I understand that some Sundays “just go weird” and stuff happens, but as a general rule don’t let “right on time” become five minutes late or “five minutes late” become 10 minutes late.
But you can start on time and still mess up the rest of the schedule if you don’t end on time. If you are asked to end at a certain time, then make sure you get done. A lot of this happens in our planning beforehand. You don’t have to be a worship leader that long to learn how many songs you need to fill the space. I can look at a set list and know by song title whether it’s too long or too short. Generally the first thing I look at is the number of songs, but you can have two different set lists, both six songs each and one would be too short and the other too long because of song length. Another factor is unique to ourselves as worship leaders. I know leaders who could take the “too short” set list and make it go overtime by stretching songs out, having long prayers between songs, etc. That’s why ultimately it’s up to us to keep our eyes on the clock.
We have a nice big clock in the back of our sanctuary. I keep my eye on it as the service goes on.  Maybe I’ve camped out on a song in the middle of the set and I need to cut one of the last songs, or only do the chorus or something else to get things back on track. Maybe something is really working and I look up to see we’ve got some extra time so I know I can just sort of pause in this moment without the restraint of a time concern.
Worship times aren’t static. The set list is a guide more than a hard and fast rule. It’s possible that God the Spirit will move in a certain song which means that I need to cut part or all of another song. Part of being an effective worship leader and a good part of your church’s ministry team is developing good clock management in your worship leading. It might feel forced or awkward at first, but over time it becomes natural and seamless.

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