Free Circa 2007 Digital Download | Progressing Deviation

FREE MUSIC! 

The 2007 debut release Progressing Deviation is now available for free digital download on NoiseTrade.com For those of you who have had the joy of listening to More Than Ever – it’s truly like a prequel with several killer tracks and some epic compositions and aggressive guitar work all-around.

ALSO 

An exclusive from the studio, “Defining Moments” (alternate take 1) from the Waiting on the Lord solo guitar album also available for free digital download on NoiseTrade.com, as well!

These are rather exclusive and can/will be taken down at anytime as other recordings become available! Go Download & Enjoy!

Advertisements

Praise & Worship Guitarist | What To Bring to Worship

As a guitarist, it’s easy & quite likely to have malfunctions or surprises come Sunday morning – And it’s frustrating to be troubleshooting equipment problems & frantically running around looking for a quick fix instead of preparing for the upcoming worship service.

Photograph of Sound Recording Equipment from t...

Photograph of Sound Recording Equipment from the Division of Motion Pictures, 1941 (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

Here’s a list of things I like to have on me every Sunday morning

  • Pen – I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for all musicians to have a writing utensil on them during rehearsal. It’s so important to make note of that upcoming key change or impending a capella section. Don’t be that musician.
  • Staff Paper – Not a necessity for every musician, like those who don’t read music, but often I’ve had to transcribe something from a recording or from another musician to use during the service. So, to avoid the risk of forgetting the musical passage, the staff paper fixes all.
  • Extra Picks – Kind of a no-brainer; however, you don’t want to find yourself bending & twisting your old university ID card in attempts break it & to turn it into a picking device.  Yes… I’ve done it.
  • Extra Cable – You never know when you’re going to get a short in that quarter-inch cable you’ve been using for the past 5 years. Best to keep a spare!
  • Filed Sheet Music – If you serve at a smaller church, like myself, and are responsible for keeping up with your music. Invest a couple of bucks into an accordion style folder that has those alphabetized tabs – After being handed that setlist, it’s proven to prevent headaches!
  • Extra Strings – Almost a no-brainer, but I’ve been nearly late to leading worship at Life Group because I had to run to Guitar Center to grab strings after breaking that high E. It’s best to keep a set handy at all times.
  • Tuner – Not something I keep on me because my pedal board and acoustic guitar have one built in, but you should have access to one! Definitely have the pianist give you a reference E if you find yourself without a tuner.
  • Batteries – Does any of your equipment run off these? Your pickups, wireless device, fx pedals, tuner? Better add this to the grocery list.
  • Audio Recorder – For a while when I had borrowed one (from a friend…for a couple of years), I’d often bring the audio recorder to set up next to my monitor or amp for reference. While the Spirit may over come you during the service, it never hurts to check the audio recorder at home after the service for some things you can clean up in your playing.
  • Extra Guitar – This is just something that I do that I thought I’d mention if you have the means. A lot of churches are made up of volunteer musicians, and often, I don’t know if I’m playing with an ensemble made up of ‘bass & drums’ or ‘acoustic guitar & djembe.’ So, it certainly makes a difference to have the option of my acoustic over my electric if need be for orchestration purposes.
  • Worship – Not an item, but a way of preparing yourself. We’ve been taught to already be worshiping when we show up. Whatever that may be for you, get your heart there. Don’t forget, you’re lead worshipers; therefore, you should be worshiping first!
  • Bible – Just sayin.’ For the King.

Are you a worship musician? What are some things you find essential for Sunday morning?

10 Guitar Effects & Tricks to Augment Your Worship Service

Mastro EBow

Mastro EBow (Photo credit: pmonaghan)

Over the years of playing guitar for worship services/bands, I’ve come across a number of effects and techniques that I’ve incorporated into worship that have proven very effective musically. If you play guitar for your church, even if it’s acoustic, you’re sure to find some goodies here!

  1. Looping – I am the biggest advocate of incorporating this into a guitarist’s repertoire. Loops machines are especially useful with how repetitive the chord progressions are in worship music, it’s super effective to build upon yourself, especially if you’re part of a smaller worship band. But, you have to be tight & stay on that beat!
  2. Phaser – While you shouldn’t turn it completely up in your mix OR make it oscillate  too fast, it’s a great way to change the dynamic between a verse and bridge. Personally, I put it at about 50% mix and have it move just above the slowest setting to kinda get that HP (high pass) filter swirly effect.
  3. Say…Wah – The Wah Pedal can be so cliche sometimes BUT, if you use it to simply  to change the filter without pushing the pedal up & down so often – it offers a great texture change, especially in combination with a delay. Zakk Wylde has been known to keep the wah completely forward to give his solos more presence.
  4. Swell – There are single effect units that accomplish this, but I’ve found using a delay & a volume pedal (or even your volume knobs) works great. This is great during response times while the pastor is still speaking or even above a slow but solid bass & drum foundation.
  5. Tremelo like a Rhodes – If you’ve ever heard a Rhodes Piano using tremelo, you know what I’m talking about. It’s very easy to make a clean guitar sound like this using a Bias tremelo effect. – Probably one of the most unique & accessible things you can do to help bring people to the intimate place in worship. – Here’s an audio reference of a Rhodes – ‘Portishead – “Roads
  6. Harmony – One of two ways you can do this. Harmony FX are manufactured as single pedals and are even part of multi-fx pedals like my POD HD300. You can change the key and should be able to seamlessly perform melodies with automated 3rds, 4ths, octaves..whatever.  Another way to do is – refer back to #1 –   Play a melody – loop – play its harmony & booyah!
  7. E-Bow – A wonderful invention. Period. The E-Bow is a device you use, almost like a pick; however, only above the strings over the pickups to create a controlled-feedback of sorts. The result is almost like a synthesized string sound. Indeed, it’s a cool tool for the guitarist seeking a wider palette. Here’s a video reference – Phil Keaggy – Amazing Grace
  8. Sonar Style Delay – It’s hard for us guitarist to simplify things sometimes… perhaps only playing one note every 2 measures? Achhh-  BUT it’s effective, especially using a delay that’s in sync with the tempo. Minimalism has its advantages – and gives you a lot of room to grow. Check out the use of the single note delay used above the band’s texture in Hillsong Live’s – Love Like Fire
  9. Octave Displacement – What? Oh, A Whammy Pedal – Very similar to a wah pedal in its physical feel, it controls pitch. Oftentimes, the pedal/effect will allow you to choose the range, such as octaves, 5ths, sub-octave. It isn’t all that practical for chords, but it sings so well and is a game changer for single-note melodies and solos!
  10. Slide it! – I most certainly don’t hear enough guitarists implement this into their playing, and you don’t have to play country or blues to appreciate it. What other way can you totally negate the fact that you have frets? That’s a huge texture change & it can be implemented with any number of effects. In fact, John Mark McMillan’s ‘How He Loves‘ often features a slide.

Do you have effects or techniques you use to switch things up in praise of the King? Even if it isn’t for guitarists explicitly, Don’t forget to share it!

For the Glory of it All

Triángulo de Pascal en el escrito original de ...

Triángulo de Pascal en el escrito original de Pascal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our DNA sequence doesn’t have a key signature. The fibonacci series isn’t in 4/4. So – why should our worship music be limited by such rules?

Our congregations aren’t as dumb as our worship music makes them out to be.

I’m sure God could’ve made these essentials a lot simpler in life – but where would His glory and extravagance in that?  It’s as if this whole contemporary worship thing thrives on the upmost simplicity & gets away with it so much that

Description: A typical Sunday morning worship ...

Description: A typical Sunday morning worship time in the main venue, Building A Photographer: David Ball Date: July 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

we’ve stopped challenging ourselves to creative something ornate and beautiful for the King.

What can we do to make our music more ornate – rhythmically – harmonically – instrumentally – to make use of our God given creativity – but remain accessible to our congregations? Let’s move forward.

When the King returns – we should be in the fields workings – not copying and pasting.

5 Tips to Make Your Worship Band Awesome Without Being a Virtuoso

1. Record Yourselves!

Audio levels shown on a Zoom H4n while recordi...

Audio levels shown on a Zoom H4n while recording Deutsch: Lautstärkeanzeige des Zoom H4n bei der Tonaufnahme (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That which is most painful will be most effective. The audio recorder doesn’t lie. You’ll hear

the tempo shift, missed notes, things musically that you think work..but actually don’t. It’s all there. Set an audio recorder in the front row (discreetly on a pew if you wanted) or even plugged into the mixing board. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but this will help you identify and fix numerous problems.

2. Rehearse! …

And not just before church either. Things need time to sink in; sleep on it and come back. And while everyone in the worship band has day jobs, it can be tough to schedule an evening once a week. But don’t forget, this is for the King of Kings! It’s a tithe of time, and not even 10% of your week!

3. Worship Bands Have Layers!

The praise and worship band is the symphony orchestra of the protestant church. Only at the climax of a composition should the whole orchestra be playing. And while that’s not completely true for the worship band, still the point is to know when and when not to play. Just because you have 7, 23, or 2 members, doesn’t mean you should be playing at the same time. Also; Playing something simple is often more effective than a flurry of notes (that’s you, guitar players!) Listen to what’s going on around you and play accordingly. …which brings me to my next point…

4. Where’s the Climax?

My composition professor would always ask this whenever I brought in a new composition for review “Where’s the climax…circle it!”As a band, identify where the climax of each song is and what each of you are playing at that point. From there, you can decide what and what not to play | who will and will not be playing when? Listen to some of your favorite songs.. ask yourself “Where is the climax?” You’ll be surprised with what you find. When you’re able to dynamically and instrumentally shape a song as a band, then will you sound tight and together; you will see the congregation respond.

5. Sing For Me a New Song

Whether or not you’re deciding to meet for rehearsals or not, this is an excellent opportunity for the band to come together and make something ‘their own.’ You’re already familiar with lead sheets (the words with the chords over them), so why not type up your own if you feel the calling. Present it to the worship leader if you’re a band member; to pastor if you’re the worship leader. Present it to the band and be creative! It’s a new way to signify to the congregation that good things are happening in your place of worship.

 

New Sounds: Utilizing the Vocoder in Worship

Even though my degree from university technically says ‘Bachelor of Music in Music Theory & Composition,’ I actually studied Electronic Music Composition – so – I’m a total nerd when it coems to LFO’s, filters, sampling, and automation.  So naturally I’m attracted to new sounds besides the standard piano, strings, and organ most factory keyboards are furnished with.

With that being said, making your worship music texture new with the use of a vocoder can be a great change from the norm under 2 conditions

  1. Use the vocoder sparingly; it can get real old real quick if done too much
  2. Never ask for permission – always ask for forgiveness

Most traditional worship leaders won’t be for something so “new” instrumentally or texture-wise – so practice with the sound (whether its the vocoder or a completely new sound) in the sanctuary before or after the service for kicks.  Additionally, definitely rehearse a song by yourself at home to make sure you can easily & smoothly change chords with the vocoder while singing before implementing it into the service.  If you’re working with a new original tonal sound or effect – make sure you’re not going to run into any resonance or distortion issues. Above all – be respectful to your worship team & congregation.  If you see something isn’t going to work – don’t force it. Take time in crafting your sounds and samples. You want to add to worship – not take away from it.

Below is an example of the song “Facedown” by Matt Redman with a vocoder texture higher in the mix.   Happy Vocoding!

Worship With What Ya Got

Leading the church when you’re short of a full band

Animal (Muppet)

Image via Wikipedia

I think more times than not – I’ve been in praise in worship bands that are missing at least one key instrument on Sunday morning. And if you’re a worship musician, you’re like “c’mon.. really?” – And if you’re the worship leader, you’re simply doing the best with what you have to work with while secretly hoping Animal will walk through the sanctuary doors to play drums for you because your band seriously lacks charisma too.

In a situation like this, the most important thing to do is keep your focus on the Lord – for both your benefit and the congregation’s – you really should not portray anything but the unhindered worship of God.

Guitar and/or Piano, Bass, & Drums is typically your normal core ensemble; however, things can get tricky with contemporary worship when you’re missing one or more of these

Here’s some tips for various scenarios your worship band may be in

  • Guitar and/or Piano, & Bass – If you’re missing a drummer, my biggest suggestion is to keep things rhythmically simple. This can be best conveyed through the bass playing straight quarter, half, and whole notes. The guitar/piano have a bit more freedom in rhythm, but because there isn’t any percussion, the bass has a new role in helping keep that pulse there.
  • Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Bass – Definitely the most dreaded – the “rock band without a drummer.” As above, the bassist has the job of keeping that pulse there – quarters, halves, and whole notes are you palette.  The acoustic guitar work doesn’t have to change that much – simplicity is gold. I might also suggest keeping your chord voicings to the standard open chords when possible – You’re using all six strings and keeping the texture full this way. The electric guitar should stay away from distortion as much as humanly possible. Depending on the harmonic rhythm (how often the chords are changing), you may be able to supply some higher atmospheric chords through the use of appropriate amounts of reverb, delay, and/or slow phaser.  If you’re playing a hymn or anything that has very quick chord changes, do stay away from the reverbs & delays – Your best bet here is to play higher voicings of what the acoustic guitar is playing – otherwise, things will get real muddy real quick.
  • Guitar, Piano, & Drums – While you have a bit more freedom rhythmically all around, the pianist may want to play lower on the piano than usual as to keep the sound full in the absence of a bassist. This is really not a bad ensemble situation to be in. Be sure to communicate well with each other – there’s a lot you can do dynamically here.
  • Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Drums – I’d most likely suggest here that you keep the acoustic guitar to the full open chords – the acoustic is as much bass foundation as you’ll likely get here.  The electric guitar should keep things relatively simple – higher voiced chords if clean; long swells & single notes with delay/reverb with a light creamy distortion work well too.  For drums – if you’re playing a kit – simple is the theme of this post so let’s stick with that; however, if you have a djembe  available, go with it & perhaps a shaker. These work incredibly well together and provide an organic & intimate feel to worship.

Of course, these are all simply suggestions & wisdom from my years of playing in praise & worship bands. The above are the most common scenarios I’ve run into – Be creative with whatever comes your way and make the best of it –  It’s worship, after all.