Backing Tracks: What I use and How I Got There

What I use and How I Got There

Multi-tracks, Backing Tracks, and Pads have become more and more mainstream in music in recent years. It’s not just in the church, but its not uncommon to go to shows and concerts and see well known bands with Pads or Backing Tracks going on in the background. I remember 2004 hearing it with Coldplay and over the next few years later I started noticing it with smaller bands in at clubs in the Seattle area.

Programs like Abelton and the easy of Apple’s Garage band have put this technology in the hands of church musicians as well. But it’s not just the mega-churches that are doing this. Walk into churches of ranging in size from 50-150 and you could easily hear some form of backing track going on.

I started using ambient Pads in the background about 6 months ago. I want to walk you through my process, how I got here, and why I use what I use.

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Where Do I Put My Volume Pedal?

Where to Put the Volume Pedal?

Now, we’ve talked about signal chain before on the blog (HERE). There’s no right or wrong, only guidelines. Generally compression goes towards the front and reverb goes to the back. But some effects can find a home almost anywhere along the line. Where’s the best spot in your signal chain to put a Volume Pedal (VP)? What are the pros and cons? Is there one VP that’s better than the rest? Let’s talk about it.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Gear Review: The Mad Professor Silver Spring Reverb

BRAND: Mad Professor

MODEL: Silver Spring Reverb

COST: $195

WHAT IT IS: The SSR is a classic sounding “space” reverb. Space reverbs emulate the sound of reflections in a room, hall, church, cathedral or even bathroom tile. Spring reverb is essentially a “space” reverb but gets it’s own category because of the sonic quirks of mechanical spring tanks.

The short version is that the Silver Spring will emulate the sounds of an amp spring, a room/hall or studio (plate) reverb. The tone knob is really mislabeled. While it does affect tone, it really controls fidelity. Turned all the way to the left and you have a lofi “amp spring” sounding reverb. At noon, the tone knob makes a great room sound and all the way to the right you get a hifi plate/studio reverb.

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Fall Q&A. Effects Pedals. Acoustic Worship, and Three Headed Delays.

Once a season I look over the Google searches (and the 1 Bing search too) and see what brings people to this blog. I then take the themes or direct questions from those searches and form a sort of Q&A. While the Fall 2014 edition will be a little effects pedal heavy, I think there’s some take aways that non-pedal using worship leaders will find helpful.

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