The Electric: Amp In A Box


Amp In A Box Style overdrive pedals are a slightly controversial concept. Some feel that they are pointless. Others think they are a waste of money and time. Still many more think they are a welcomed addition to our guitar effect arsenals. Today we’ll look behind to the current to find out just what an Amp In A Box OD is, If they make sense as a pedal genre, and if they make sense for us as worship guitarists.

As the name implies, an Amp In A Box pedal is trying to emulate or capture the sound and feel of a guitar amplifier in stompbox form. Some pedals like the Mad Professor Sweet Honey Overdrive have a generalized, non-descript “amp” feel to them. While others, like the Wampler Black ’65 (Fender Blackface Amp), the Catalinbread CB30 (Vox AC30) or the JHS Superbolt (Supro tube amp) have a very specific sound in mind.

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Worship In Response To The Gospel (1 Timothy 1:15-17)

In this series we will study Paul’s 1st letter to Timothy, who was pastoring the church in the city of Ephesus. We will specifically key in on applications and lessons that apply to worship ministry and worship leaders. Today we will look at responding to the Gospel in worship.

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ mightdemonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:15-17


It’s a sad fact that there are far too many Christians who cannot easily and accurately articulate the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus. Here Paul has a simplified but not simplistic expression of the Gospel: Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.

In many churches, after the pastor, there is not a more visible or influential person than the worship leader. Whether you know it or not, you teach and preach to the church with the songs you choose and the prayers you pray. The challenge to us is to know the Bible, to make it part of our core, the fabric of our being, because it’s the very words of life. Specifically, above all else, we need to know the Gospel. Jesus is the beginning, middle and the end of the Bible. He is the whole point of the story, and we should be able to clearly, and simply articulate Jesus’ gospel message to others. Everything else I’m going to write will not matter if this 1st point isn’t true for us.

How can we know the gospel in the way I’ve describe?

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Spring Q&A: Tongues, Tempo, and Phil Wickham’s Guitar

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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Easter Is Coming

It’s Easter Week!

For the Christian, this is the best of all holidays. While Christmas and the coming of Christ is wonderful, and Thanksgiving and taking time for to give thanks, and spend time with family is terrific, none of it matters without Easter. Even Good Friday, and Jesus’ death on the cross are meaningless if didn’t rise from the dead. Easter has historically also been a time when people are more likely than any other time to attend church, so churches tend to plan and schedule accordingly.

With all that in mind, here’s a few random thoughts on leading worship Easter weekend from RealWorldWorship.Org:

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Gear Thoughts: Line 6 DL4

This article is part of The Month Of Delay at the Real World Worship blog. All throughout the month of March we will be looking at different aspects of the delay effect in worship music.

Editor’s Note: Normally, I wouldn’t do a write up on a piece of gear that I’ve never played. Even if I have played or used something, if I haven’t had enough time with it I won’t review it because I really want to know what I’m talking about. But since we are in the Month of Delay, I’m making exception and writing down thoughts on delay pedals that I’ve only played a few times or have only heard YouTube demos of, so please take these for what they are.


I hate Line 6. One of these days I’ll sit down and write out fully why this is so, but for now, it’s fair enough just to say that I do. This isn’t news to anyone who has read this blog for any length of time. What might surprise you is that I don’t hate everything Line 6 has ever made. I don’t hate the DL4. It was actually the 1st delay pedal I ever owned. I got a lot of use out of it and I really enjoyed the creativity it allowed me. That’s not to say I would buy it again. It died on me out of the blue and I choose to go a different route in replacing it.

Normally I would write an actual review of a pedal that I owned for several years, but it’s been several years since I owned it and I didn’t think I could do it justice, so you get my thoughts instead.

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Which Delay and Does It Matter?

This article is part of The Month Of Delay at the Real World Worship blog. All throughout the month of March we will be looking at different aspects of the delay effect in worship music.


We’ve covered the three main types of delay (Tape, Analog, and Digital) in previous posts. But which one should you put on your board? Is one better than the other? Will anyone in my church notice the difference?

If you are only going to put one delay on your pedalboard then I would recommend the one that gives you the most options. Either the Nova delay or the Alter Ego, both by TC Electronics would be my recommendation, depending on what you want/need and what your board space is (the Nova for larger boards, the AE for smaller space needs).

But really any type of delay will accomplish the same goal, which is to created repeated copies of the notes you play. (See why we use delay HERE). Ultimately I will all come down to personal preference so test out a lot of options before you make your decision.

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Tap Tempo

This article is part of The Month Of Delay at the Real World Worship blog. All throughout the month of March we will be looking at different aspects of the delay effect in worship music.


There are some who won’t touch a delay pedal without Tap Tempo. It’s a really great feature. You can now sync your delay time with the tempo of the band. Sure you could pre-set it, but if you’re not using a click track or if the song has multiple tempos in the arrangement you’ll need to adjust on the fly.

Another great feature of Tap Tempo is the ability to throw yourself out of sync in a very musical way. I have often times tapped out a tempo way faster or slower than the actual song to create an effect almost like a tremolo that can fill in the space very nicely.


One of the things you’ll hear from older guitarists is “back in the day, we didn’t need tap tempo to set our delay” or “the Edge got along fine without it” or something to that effect.

There’s actually quite a bit of truth in that sentiment. There are many ways of using a delay pedal where a tap tempo is fairly irrelevant to the sound. Then there’s analog delays with tap tempo that are unsuitable to many worship situations because of the “warble” that happens when you tap while playing.

When using a pedal like my Kilobyte delay (see review HERE), I rarely feel like I need a tap tempo. I think it happened once, and it was because another guitarist was using it who didn’t know how to set a delay without tap tempo. Don’t let tap tempo keep you from being able to dial in a delay setting on your own.


As with anything, choose what’s best for you and not what the hyped or trendy choice is. There are some really great, gold standard delays like the Deluxe Memory Man that don’t feature Tap Tempo and it would be a shame if someone didn’t at least consider a pedal that well designed because they’ve been told that they “have to have” tap tempo on any delay pedal they own.

Like any other feature, tap tempo is a skill to learn, but we shouldn’t let it be a barrier to learn other skills in dialing in a delay pedal.


This article is part of The Month Of Delay at the Real World Worship blog. All throughout the month of March we will be looking at different aspects of the delay effect in worship music.


I’m not going to bore you with the technical details, but a truly analog delay uses a Bucket Brigade Chip set up (BBD) to create a delayed repeat of the notes you play. An analog delay is way more portable than a tape delay and since it doesn’t have moving parts, far more reliable. It’s easy to see why pro level guitar players made the switch and why the average guitar player embraced the technology.

Analog delay is known for it’s dark and warm tones and repeats. Great for just about any style of music, the only real limitation for a BBD style delay pedal is how long the delays can go for (usually around 400-600 ms).

The delay sounds on early U2 records are just a EHX deluxe Memory Man with a Ross style compression before it, going into a Vox AC30. (see example HERE) Ofcourse in the world of P&W, guitarists like James Duke use analog delays like the Boss DM-2 or EHX DMM all over the place.


Gear Review: Kilobyte Delay

Photo on 3-7-14 at 1.54 PM #4

This article is part of The Month Of Delay at the Real World Worship blog. All throughout the month of March we will be looking at different aspects of the delay effect in worship music.

 BRAND: Caroline Guitar Co.

MODEL: Kilobyte LoFi Delay

COST: $199


PROS: A worship guitarists needs versatility on their rig. Never more so than with their delay pedal. I can do almost everything with the Kilobyte. Rythmic/U2 delay. Slapback rockabilly/country. Ambient/atmospheric delay. This pedal can cover a LOT of ground sonically. (The pic above shows me and my Kilobyte with my settings at U2-ish).

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Review: Borderland by John Mark McMillan and Other Thoughts

My friends at the Church Collective blog reviewed the new John Mark McMillan record “Borderland” so I don’t have to.

I’ve been a fan of John Mark’s music since “the Medicine”. I hadn’t heard the song How He Loves before that record so I don’t have the hang ups that a lot of people have with it. Since then John Mark released one of my favorite records of the last 5 years: Economy, and now he’s back with Borderland.

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