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Soundblox 2 Multiwave Distortion and Dimension Reverb
JUL/AUG 2012 Volume 17, Issue 4
MercyMe • Tenth Avenue North • The Welcome Wagon Matthew Perryman Jones • The Choir
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Tech Talk with Phil Keaggy
“I’d Do This for Free” by Bryan Duncan
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The Best Technology for Worship
Church Sound & Music Technology Guide
Worship Sound Pro features the latest and most essential music equipment and technology for today’s houses of worship.
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Sweetwater-exclusive Interview with Brandon Heath
Singer/songwriter Brandon Heath shares his thoughts on creativity, craft, and his musical mission. There’s also a special Q&A with Dan Muckala, the producer of Brandon’s Grammy-nominated album, Leaving Eden.
SWEETWATER WORSHIP SOUND PRO 2012
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Essential Guides for You and Your Volunteers
Learn how this award-winning singer/songwriter found his voice — and his true calling.
Get the details on pg. 101.
In-depth, down-to-earth articles help volunteers, pastors, and worship leaders to understand the ins and outs of the latest in worship sound technology.
Worship Sound Pro 101 Guides Worship Sound Pro 101 Guides
RSS V-MIXING SYSTEM
Introducing the easiest way to find exactly the right case for your gear!
More info on pg. 104
Take a look at the instruments we’ve highlighted in this guide, including Roland’s BK-5, the affordable Casio Privia PX-830, and the piano-likeWorship Kurzweil PC3K8. You’ll also want to check out the Nord C2D.
Sound Pro 101 Guides
Workstations: Powerful Tools for the Worship Leader
The Basics of
Dropout is just as bad as feedback. Even intermittent dropout can ruin an otherwise wonderful service. An unbroken line of sight between the transmitter and the receiver’s antennas is ideal, but seldom is that possible. More times than not, the wireless signal must rebound off of walls and other surfaces to reach the receiver, and that increases the risk of dropout. If you put a bodypack transmitter in your back pocket, the signal (unable to pass through you) will have to find an alternative path to the receiver. So, to minimize the risk of signal dropout, keep your bodypack in your front jacket pocket. Another major problem is broadband noise and radio interference. If your church is in a city, chances are that an inexpensive entry-level wireless system simply won’t work for you. The same precision technology responsible for the high simultaneous channel count common to most high-end professional wireless systems is responsible for shutting out noise and radio interference. Digital wireless systems, which reject noise and other nondigital signals out of hand, are excellent cost-effective alternatives to traditional wireless systems. All professional wireless receivers are “true diversity” receivers, which means that they use two independent antennas. That way, if the wireless signal doesn’t reach one antenna, it can still reach the other. Quality wireless receivers have antennas that twist off, allowing you to mount them on stands and spread them out. Separating your antennas vastly increases their effectiveness. Even spreading your antennas out just a few feet and moving them away from your other gear will vastly improve your system’s performance. Also, if you have a multichannel wireless system, you may also need an antenna distribution system, which will allow you to connect only a single pair of antennas to multiple receivers. Whether your future wireless system is a single-channel, single-speaker setup or a larger system for the whole worship team, it should effectively and accurately spread the message. Unfortunately, many budget-priced wireless systems may make it difficult and unpleasant for your congregation to hear that message. If the number of quality wireless systems you need is beyond your current budget, practice wise stewardship and save your money until you can afford the system that your house of worship deserves. There are excellent single-channel wireless systems that you can start with and expand later. Your Sweetwater Sales Engineer will be happy to help you find the right system for your church.
pment lease at
d the Pastor
PRO WORSHIP MUSIC
Tracks and Mixes for Your Worship Team pg. 108
Choosing the Right
Backing Tracks and Beyond
Whether you’re looking for a simple instrument that just plays and sounds like a real acoustic piano, or you’re seeking a powerful centerpiece for all your worship team’s ambitions, there’s a digital piano that’s right for your church. To help you zero in on the perfect keyboard for your needs, let’s take a look at the different kinds of keyboards available, as well as the important factors you’ll want to consider when making your decision. When Less Is More
Many church pianists we work with often feel overwhelmed by the number of choices out there — and even more so by the number of knobs, buttons, and controls on keyboards. “All I need,” they tell us, “is an instrument that plays like an acoustic piano and has a fantastic natural piano sound.” If this sounds like you, you’ll want to select what’s called a stage piano — and ideally one with a full set of 88 weighted keys (also called weighted action). These keyboards actually mimic the response of a grand piano’s keybed, where the lowest keys require more force to strike, and the upper keys feel light and airy beneath your fingertips. To nail the sound of an acoustic piano, today’s top keyboard manufacturers have gone to great lengths to record some of the finest grand pianos in the world, putting these sounds right inside the instruments. Not only can you get the sound of a classic Steinway, but on many you can also push a single button to get the sound of a Bosendorfer, a Yamaha C7, or a character-filled upright. If you’re replacing an acoustic piano, you should consider the importance of aesthetics to your church. If you have more-traditional services or are seeking a really natural look up on the platform, then you may want to choose a more authentic-looking stage piano. We have options available with wooden cabinets, in a variety of finishes, so you can choose an instrument that matches the decor of your church.
Ideal for Contemporary While streamlined, piano-like instruments are ideal for a number of $ 00 Worship Songs worship leaders and church pianists, many other houses of worship rely on More info on pg. 104 keyboards for much more than just piano sounds. In fact, if you’re a pianocentric worship leader, you may very well be able to perform and produce your entire service with a single powerful instrument called a keyboard workstation. More than just keyboards with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of instrument sounds, these instruments often feature multitrack sequencers, so you can layer all the different instrument parts into a full orchestration. Kurzweil PC3K8 ennheiser $ 95 It’s very similar to working with audio editing and production software, only>>Sennheiser Amazing Feel and $ 00 you’re not tethered to a computer — and you can easily play these backing EW 335 G3Piano Sounds info on pg. 20 More tracks right from your keyboard during services. And even if you do have More info on pg. 98 Churches across the country swear by a complete worship band, you can use a workstation to add a few choice this pro-level UHF wireless system! backing instruments to fill out your sound — perhaps a second trumpet part, a string section, or even an extra kick drum sound for more power.
Building a Mix
It’s bound to happen at some point: the mix disaster. Maybe your church’s regular sound person calls in sick at the last minute. Maybe the new volunteer sound person doesn’t know a volume slider from a sliding door, or a mixing board from a mixing bowl. Whatever the circumstance, something has to be done to save the service. Without decent sound, the congregation won’t be engaged or inspired by the music, and the message may be completely lost.
Though creating the perfect sound mix for a service is a true art, a sound person with little or no mixing experience can still achieve good sonic clarity and deliver the message with pleasant and effective audio. Here are some tips for saving the day with a quick, last-minute mix — whether you are working the sound booth yourself or have the help of a volunteer. system may not be perfect — forewarning the team that everything may not be ideal will go a long way toward easing the process for everyone. At least they will know what to expect!
Photo by Jon James and Troy Behrens
7. Have the worship team begin to play a song.
Watch for red overload or “clip” lights on the mixer. If you see these, turn down the gain controls at the top of that source’s channel.
More info on pg. 31
8. Build the mix by bringing up the volume faders for the basics first.
Start with the bass drum and the bass guitar, turning them up to a comfortable level and balancing them against one another. You may need to adjust the level of the master volume fader to get the overall level to the right point.
spikes in sound. Ask each worship team member what he or she needs to hear from the monitors — one at a time so that everyone doesn’t speak at once — and adjust the auxiliary sends accordingly.
A Balance of Features for Modern Worship
Practice • Rehearse • Perform
FIVE Main Features to Consider
As you take a look at the keyboards featured on the next few pages, these five factors will help you start narrowing down your decision:
Performance Ready with If you don’t need the all-out power of a workstation, but you’d still like a $ 00 Powerful Features handful of cutting-edge capabilities — maybe built-in drum patterns for More info on pg. 97 rehearsals and a lighter sequencer for a quick songwriting sketch pad — there are a number of options that fall somewhere in between the two categories we’ve already mentioned. Instead of choosing an 88-key option, which has the same number of keys as a full piano, you can select a 76-key (or smaller) version. These instruments trade a slightly reduced range (many Nord C2D keyboardists never use the highest and lowest keys anyway) for lighter 00 Wireless Breaking Through thebe a$little daunting at first. But don’t worry, wireless systems technology can Price/Performance Barrier weight and a more portable form factor. You can still get fully weighted keys More info on pg. than ever before. Most wireless systems set on a 76-key piano, or you can choose a semi-weighted version that works well much easier to understand today103 are if you perform a blend of classic and modern instrument sounds, rather than themselves up for you, and once you’ve set them up, you don’t need to touch them strictly piano.
Korg Kronos 88
13. Don’t try to overtune the mix, and don’t make it too loud.
Set things up so that they are clean and clear, and at a comfortable, conservative volume level. Then stop! Once you get to the point where it sounds okay — this should happen fairly quickly — stop tweaking the knobs. It’s easy to lose perspective and get lost in knob turning, even though the goal has already been achieved.
9. Turn up the volume faders for the vocals.
Now focus on the vocals. Set them to a comfortable level, balanced against the bass guitar and the bass drum. The lead vocalist needs to be the loudest, with the background or harmony vocals filling in behind.
Casio Privia PX-830
The Look and Feel of an Acoustic Upright Piano
4. Turn it on.
Turn on the speakers or the amplifiers last; this prevents loud thumps and pops from coming through the system.
10. Turn up the volume faders on the other instruments.
One at a time, begin turning up the other instruments. Start with the rest of the drums, then the guitars, the pianos, the keyboards, and any other instruments; adjust the volume as needed. Balance each one against the vocals, the bass drum, and the bass guitar. This is a place where you can err on the side of being conservative. The vocals are the main focus, and you want to ensure that they are clearly audible. Use the other instruments to fill around the vocals, without obscuring them. As you go, adjust the master volume fader to control the overall level.
14. Here’s a final tip.
When in doubt, focus on making the vocals, whether spoken or sung, clearly audible. The congregation is there to hear the message, which is contained in the words and lyrics. The music is inspiring and essential to a great service, but it plays just a supporting role in the grand scheme of things. Ensure that the vocals are heard, and the service will be a success!
1. Keep it simple.
Unfortunately, mix emergencies rarely occur when you have loads of spare time to work on a solution — it almost always happens minutes before the service is supposed to start. While your sound booth may have racks of processors and sophisticated audio equipment, now is >> Line 6 $ 99 not the time to experiment with effects or to randomly XD-V35 More info on minimum you start turning knobs. Focus on the barepg. 19 An affordable digital wireless the special need to get the job done. Leave system such effects for as time. another this one provides reliable performance.
5. Reset the mixing board.
Begin by pulling all the volume sliders (faders) down to zero. (Usually these are found at the bottom of each channel on the mixer.) Set the channel gain to a mid position (Usually this knob is found at the top of each channel on the mixer.) Next, reset all the equalization (tone) controls on the mixer to their center position, which is essentially off. Turn the auxiliary or monitor sends off. Make sure that mute or solo buttons are disengaged. (Usually these buttons are off in the up position.) Set the master volume fader to about 50%.
Do you want keys that are weighted to feel and play just like an acoustic piano’s? Or do you want keys that glide beneath your fingers so that you can easily play synth and organ parts?
Do you primarily need an authentic acoustic piano sound, or would you like to have other sounds such as strings, synths, electric pianos, organs, and more?
3. Arranging/Recording Capabilities
Will you be composing songs with your keyboard? If so, you may want to have a built-in sequencer, onboard drum sounds, and a direct-to-computer connection.
Increasing in popularity are keyboards that feature a built-in microphone again. Here’s a simple overview of wireless microphone technology, how you can put input. These are perfect for the performing worship leader and great for it to work in your church, and how to avoid some common pitfalls. scaled-down youth services. The vocal microphone goes right through the There are keyboard’s output, so you’ll need to amplify only one signal. Better yet, Yamaha S90 XS two basic types of wireless transmitters: handheld units and bodypacks. Handheld units combine a microphone and a wireless transmitter into one device. there are professional vocal effects built in, so you can refine the vocal sound Perfect Blend of Ease of $ 99 They without having to purchase an extra piece of gear. Use and Deep Features are extremely convenient for worship leaders, and even some pastors prefer them because info on pg. 96 move a handheld microphone away from your mouth if you More you can Don’t Forget About Realistic Organ Sounds need to cough. Wireless handheld microphones are also less susceptible to dropout, because the transmitter part of the The organ is still a very popular instrument for worship services. And while unit naturally points out toward the receiving antennas. most of the keyboards we carry feature a built-in organ sound, you can get that organ-playing experience — complete with drawbars — by choosing a dedicated instrument for the task. Have more questions? Our Sales Engineers are here to help you choose the best keyboard for your church’s goals. In fact, what you see in Worship Sound Pro is just a small sampling of the many keyboards we have available. Give us a call today at (800) 222–4700.
2. Use what’s already there.
Hopefully, your sound system is already set up, the cables and the snake are run to the mixer, and the monitors are tuned in to prevent feedback. Plug the mics into the mixer or snake in their usual positions. Try to use the same “old standby” microphones and other gear you usually use — again, now is not the time to experiment with new gear!
11. It’s time for the equalizers.
Up to this point, we haven’t touched the equalizers (tone controls) on the mixer. If you find that the sound is getting too bassy or boomy, use the “low” or bass tone control to reduce the bass frequencies a small amount on instruments such as bass guitar, keyboards, and piano. Vocalists, especially male vocalists, may also need their bass reduced a small amount. To increase the clarity of a vocal or an instrument, add a small amount of treble or high frequencies by using the tone controls on that mixer channel. Be careful with the tone controls, as overuse can lead to feedback!
4. Size and Portability
Choosing a 76-key keyboard instead of a full-size 88-key instrument can be a great way to cut down on weight while maintaining a first-class playing experience.
More info on pg. 102
How important is it that your church’s keyboard resemble an acoustic piano? Do you want an integrated stand, or would you prefer to use a more portable stage-style keyboard stand?
Bodypack transmitters allow you to plug in a lavalier microphone or a guitar cable, giving you both wireless and hands-free convenience. If you are going to use a lavalier microphone, you’ll most likely want to choose one with a cardioid (unidirectional) pickup pattern rather than one with an omnidirectional pattern. Cardioid lavaliers reject sound that doesn’t enter them directly, making them less likely to create feedback. Just remember this: no matter how much freedom wireless microphones give you, you still can’t walk in front of the loudspeakers without causing feedback.
6. Begin testing each sound source through the mains.
Have the main vocalist speak or sing into his or her mic. Bring up the volume slider until you can hear the vocals in the main speakers. Turn up the auxiliary or monitor sends until the vocalist can hear himself or herself in the monitors. As you verify that each mic or source works, pull its volume fader back down to zero. You can leave the aux (monitor) sends turned up so that the singers can hear themselves. To prevent feedback, don’t run the stage monitors too loud.
DMS Have a conversation with the worship team. 3. 70 More info on pg. 22
This inexpensive digital wireless system Explain to everyone that the regular sound person is not is a real performer onstage!
available and that help is required to have the service go well. This means guitarists need to turn down, drummers need to control volume, and so on. Explain that the monitor
12. Fine-tune the mix and the monitors.
Adjust volume levels so that instruments and vocals are balanced, and adjust the bass and the treble controls on channels as necessary to prevent boominess, harshness, or
Go to Sweetwater.com or call (800) 222–4700.
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Call to set up your custom system!
Call us today at (800) 222–4700
More info on pg. 28
We'll help you set up a system that fits your church's needs perfectly!
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With valuable advice on live mixing, miking techniques, instruments, and more, our informative guides give you the tips and tricks you need to make your services sound better.
Here’s the best way to learn, rehearse, and perform today’s top Christian music! Get complete backing tracks and practice mixes, charts, and more.
Practice, Rehearse, and Perform
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Get useful, up-to-date editorials, reviews, and information from experts in worship sound — and stay current on the latest developments.
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photos by Max Crace
I go though cycles where I watch the local Craigslist musical instrument category closely, and then I’ll forget about it for a few weeks. I often chuckle to myself when I see old gear that wasn’t that well made 20 years ago and some folks are asking a lot of money for it still. But I usually approach reading the listings with a sense of hope that maybe some good item will bounce my way that I would like to own. I’m not living in “fantasyland” hoping for a 1959 Gibson Les Paul for only $200.00 or anything like that; but I do feel like sometimes you just might find a treasure. I use the Craigslist app on my iPhone (or the iPad) and I like that better as it shows the photo of the items automatically. On my laptop I have to click on the picture to see it. The other day out of the blue I went to see what was going on, and two or three items into the list I saw a photo of a 1960’s Fender Villager 12 string acoustic guitar. The title to the listing was just “12 String Guitar” and the price was $300.00, so maybe some folks had passed over it. Another thing that bounced in my favor is that the listing had only been up for twelve minutes. I looked it over and instantly knew what the item was. In fact, Judy and I had just talked about this very guitar the day before. I used to play one, and Fender only made this Villager model for four years in the late 60’s (they have recently reissued them but the old ones were made in the US). It is not the best sounding 12 string ever made; but it has a neck that feels like a Stratocaster for your acoustic, and also has a unique tone that I like. The next order of business was to see where the seller lived in proximity to me. That one bounced against us as he was over an hour away and I was leaving town in two days and wouldn’t have the time to make the drive to him, as I had a lot to prepare before I left. Rats! I decided to e-mail the seller anyway and ask him a few questions about the guitar. Finding out as much as you can about where the instrument has been and if the hardshell case it came with was original etc. are important questions to ask. Two things bounced our way at that point. I found out that the guy had played the guitar some in church a few times (that was cool), and that oddly enough, he and his wife were driving through Puyallup the very next day to the new car museum in Tacoma. Okay, this was starting to get interesting now. I told him about the magazines and the Summit training conferences we do and he thought that was cool as well. I saw things aligning and said, “We need to meet so I can see the guitar… do you mind holding it for me and not selling it until then?” He replied, ”No problem.” So, with so many things bouncing my way I got the confidence to ask him one more question. “Are you looking for anything gear wise right now, because I have a few things I would love to trade for the Villager?” To my surprise (and elation) he told me he was looking for a good electric guitar that he could play rhythm on. I had a very nice Samick Avion Les Paul style electric guitar that I could let go for the same $300.00 price. We had a plan now and the next day we met in a public place (another safe thing to do with Craigslist deals- in fact I have sold a number of guitars at the local Starbucks – it is just the wise thing to do). I met the couple and they were the nicest folks! I looked over the Villager and it needed some minor work – definitely a neck adjustment to lower the action, but with a bolt on neck I knew that one way or another my expert repairman ( Joe Riggio of “Ask Joe” fame in this magazine) could get this guitar playing great again. The seller really liked my Samick electric so we made the trade straight across. I gave him some magazines to read and a “Love One Woman… Many Guitars” t-shirt (which he put on right there in the parking lot) and we all walked away happy that we had met each other. Wow! Thank you Lord - this one had bounced just right! Bruce & Judy
8 Product Review by Bruce Adolph Eastwood Airline Tuxedo Guitar 10 Bassic Communication by Norm Stockton Developing Your Inner Clock (Part 3) 12 Guitar Workshop by John Standefer Christmas in July 14 Drumming Dynamics by David Owens Classic Shuffles 16 Vocal Coach’s Corner by Roger Beale Technical Bulletin #12 - Finding the Right Voice Doctor 18 Show Us Your Groove by Chance Scoggins I Should Have Cared More That Day 26 Selective Hearing by Shawn McLaughlin MercyMe Tenth Avenue North The Welcome Wagon Matthew Perryman Jones The Choir 30 Tech Talk with Phil Keaggy by Bruce Adolph 32 Product Review by Michael Hodge Soundblox 2 Multiwave Distortion and Dimension Reverb
34 The Indie Mechanics by Keith Mohr & Sue Ross-Mohr “...sing in the ordinary days and ways.” 36 The Fretboard Less Traveled by Rich Severson Re-Harmonizing a Classic Hymn 38 Ask Joe by Joe Riggio 41 Guitar From A 2 Z by Roger Zimish Diatonic Forms - Part 2 Lead Patterns 42 Product Review by Doug Doppler Line 6 StageSource L3t Powered Loudspeaker 46 I’d Do This for Free by Bryan Duncan
20 Sixpence None the Richer Lost and Found by Aimee Herd photos by Tec Petaja
4227 S. Meridian, Suite C PMB #275, Puyallup Washington 98373 Phone: 253.445.1973 Fax: 253.655.5001 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.christianmusician.com Editor & President: Bruce Adolph Vice President: Judy Adolph, email@example.com Customer Service: Brian Felix, firstname.lastname@example.org Street Team: Mike Adolph, Jesse Hill & Winston Design & Layout: Matt Kees Copyediting: Kevin Wilber Accounting: Debi Davis Advertising Sales: email@example.com Published by the Adolph Agency Inc.
Airline Tuxedo Guitar by Eastwood
by Bruce Adolph
of the factories in Korea have been producing. This guitar is no different. It is first class in looks and function. The volume, tone pots, and pick-up selector placement positions is very comfortable. The body is lightweight, and the P-90 pick-up casings give that retro look to the overall vibe of the instrument. I like the niche that Eastwood Guitars has carved out for themselves. They have gone back into the archives of vintage instruments and resurrected many of the popular models of that golden era of electric guitars… and they haven’t just dipped their toes in the vintage waters; they have jumped in the pool with a large line-up of guitars and basses spanning many different builders. I don’t know how they can even keep track of all the guitar models they have reissued! The one I selected for our review is the one that turned my head the most however… the Airline Tuxedo. This guitar is designed after the Barney Kessel model from the mid 1950’s and sold under the brands of KAY and AIRLINE. Original Barney Kessel models now sell for $3,000-$5,000 in the vintage guitar world. The sunburst color looks beautiful and the vintage ascetics give the Tuxedo that “dressed up” look… like from a different era of days gone by. But when I picked up the guitar and started playing it… that is where I was captivated. Even not plugged in yet, the semi-hollow body rang out loud. I played it for quite a while before I turned on the amp and was impressed with the tone my fingers alone were getting. This guitar is made in Korea, and you know how I am a fan of the fretwork quality and binding work that some I plugged it into my tube amp and turned it up. Wow! Now we are talking. I really like the P-90 pick-ups. The rhythm position was clear (great for jazz type playing) the middle position (both rhythm and lead pick-ups on) was full bodied, and when I added some overdrive had a great bluesy tone. The back position all by itself was bright, but not brittle. Sometimes on a strat style guitar you don’t use the back position because it has too sharp of a tone… the Tuxedo had a usable sound… good stuff! I kept switching back and forth with the pick-up selector. I rolled the tone knobs back to about 5 each, but it just muddied up the tone so I cranked them back to 10 again and all was right with the world. The hollow body (even with no f-holes) added a roundness and warmth to the tone. I starting hitting the guitar more forcefully with my pick and played more through the dynamic range. The rhythm pick-up was responsive to my hard strumming, and it made me like this guitar even more. I ran through a few riffs and also cranked up the overdrive on my tube amp. Good raw power and sustain. The sustain didn’t go on for days, but it had a good presence to it while it lasted, and I didn’t hook up my compressor pedal to it so that might be a mute point. I ran through a few more tidbits of tunes on
the middle position, and that just enforced my opinion of why I like P-90 pick-ups so much. You really can get a good variety of tones from this guitar. When you combine its welldone fretwork, good retro looks, and overall tonal options… you come up with a winner!
Here are the specs: Body: Hollow-body, Maple Top, Back, Mahogany Sides Neck: Set Neck - Bound Maple Fingerboard: Rosewood, Block Markers Scale Length: 25 1/2” (648mm) Width at Nut: 1 11/16” Pickups: Two Custom Hi-Output P-90’s Switching: 3-Way Controls: 2 Volume, 2 Tone Bridge: Trapeze Tail, Tune-O-Matic Bridge Hardware: Vintage Style Open Back Tuners Strings: D’Addario #10 Case: extra Unique Features: 1950’s AIRLINE “Coat of Arms” logo on Pickguard Suggested Retail: $1099.00 US Street price around $849.00 or so. www.eastwoodguitars.com
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Living Tone Amplification was born out of a love for great tone. We at Living Tone have our history both in professional level live sound reinforcement and in playing contemporary worship settings. With experience on both sides of the coin, we have a unique vision and approach to amplifier design. We know guitarists are challenged with having to cover a wide variety of tones and styles of play, especially on the worship stage. From the large stage, stadium-style venue, all the way down to the small stage; our offerings cover the rigorous demands of today’s worship guitarists. Yes, even if you find yourself on a small stage, you can still enjoy the beauty of true vintage tube tone at reasonable levels. These are all factors we have taken into consideration in our designs.
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Developing Your Inner Clock (Part 3)
Allright; let’s dive back in! I hope this series (slow down a bit if needed), then work through on developing and calibrating your internal them again while the click is playing just those sense of time is proving helpful. backbeats from the 2nd staff. By the way, don’t On a tangential note, you might also have take the repeats literally (i.e., playing each noticed that we’re multitasking here: in figure only twice) – play each figure as many addition to working on our timekeeping and times as it takes to really internalize it. subdivision, this series also is a fairly intensive primer for sight-reading rhythms! Isn’t it great when we can develop multiple areas of our musicianship concurrently? :^) • Once these exercises are coming together, practice them at a variety of tempos – the slower tempos can be surprising challenging to play accurately. • Play them while dynamically alternating between loud and quiet (gradually getting As before, here are the things to keep in mind: louder or quieter over the course of several • Listen intently for flams (two distinct, nearly- repeats), striving to keep the rhythmic accuracy simultaneous hits) resulting from your note regardless of dynamic level. not occurring precisely with the click. Keep God bless your groove! See you next time… repeating the exercise and see if you can (Adapted from curriculum in the Grooving execute it “flam-free”. for Heaven instructional DVDs)
For those of you who don’t have a lot of experience reading rhythms, feel free to spend a moment getting the exercise in your • Make sure to tap your foot on the quarter head and under your fingers without the click. notes and assimilate both the tempo and how Once you’ve assimilated it, play it with the the various subdivisions feel over those quarter Bassic Stockton is a bassist/ Norm Communication metronome. Developing Your Inner based in notes. Ensure your foot doesn’t depart from clinician/solo artist Clock (Part 3) Orange County, CA. Recently As before, we have our two rhythms for the those downbeats, regardless of the rhythmic departing from his long tenure Metronome Clicks on quarter notes Norm Stockton metronome, or click, in the top 2 staves. The figure being played or metronome figurequarter note) as bassist with Lincoln Brewster, (Tap foot on each used. first one is really straightforward, clicking on • We’re still working with ghost notes, so Norm is focusing on equipping each quarter note (“1, 2, 3, 4”), while the 2nd just mute the strings with your fretting hand bassists around the world through Metronome Clicks on beats staff reflects the click hitting just the backbeats and pluck as normal. Ghost notes are perfect2 & 4his new instructional site (www. ArtOfGroove.com), as well as (Keep tapping foot on each quarter note) – it should feel like playing to a drummer’s here, as the click should disappear when you’re freelancing (including upcoming tour dates with Bobby snare drum. Kimball, former lead singer of Toto). Also visit Norm at locking with it. Play through Exercises 1 through 10 with the • Record yourself repetitively playing these Exercise click playing those quarter notes at 90 bpm exercises and listen back critically 1 flams. for
www.normstockton.com, Facebook and Twitter.
Bassic Communication Developing Your Inner Clock (Part 3)
Metronome Clicks on quarter notes (Tap foot on each quarter note)
Metronome Clicks on beats 2 & 4 (Keep tapping foot on each quarter note)
Exercise 1 1.
© 2012 Stocktones Music
10Exercise 3JUL/AUG 2012
Christmas in July
I learn tunes and develop a lot of arrangements these days for my local students and for my Skype clientele. I have one Lutheran student who is always working on accompaniment and solo arrangements that he can use at church. One of the pieces that comes up fairly regularly on his Sunday morning set list is “Canticle Of The Turning”. This is generally considered a Christmas song, but is really appropriate year round. The melody comes from the traditional Irish classic, “Star Of The County Down” and is usually performed a bit more up tempo. I arranged a nice little solo of the piece that sounds better slowed down a bit. The original key is Em but it plays better in Am. So, I simply wrote it in Am (capo 7). This way it can be played in the key that people sing it in and it also sounds old and quaint in that pitch range, which goes along with the time period the tune comes from. In measure 3, just scoot the 1st and 3rd fingers up for the two chords. Then stay in that vicinity for the next measure, trying to keep as many notes as possible sustaining. A similar phrase also happens at the end of the song. I like the sound of arpeggiating the chords in this piece. Instead of plucking the notes of each chord all together, I slightly separate the notes but ‘rolling’ off with my right hand from lowest to highest note. I hope you enjoy this little offering and perhaps, if you aren’t familiar with the song, research the lyrics and consider adding it to your church repertoire. - JS (Also be sure to check out the ‘store’ page at www.johnstandefer.com for more TABs, educational books & videos and for John’s great collection of audio CDs)
Check out John’s 5-DVD set ‘Praise Guitar Lessons’ at the ‘store’ page at www. johnstandefer.com. You get 52 video lessons similar to these CM articles, but you can see and hear the lessons! Includes charts. Also consider private lessons with John via Skype!
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I have been looking at half time shuffles in the last few offerings, so I thought I would share with you a few real gems. These three half time shuffles are all classics and should be a part of any drummer’s vocabulary.
at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puEVs4 I hope these transcriptions will inspire you. g6qyk&feature=relmfu or go to YouTube and The shuffle is a feel that all versatile drummers The first is by one of the finest drummers type in Bernard Purdie shuffle pt. 2. need to master. ever. John Bonham was a huge influence on me The last groove is one of my favorites and is Blessings, as a kid. My first vinyl record was the first Led undoubtedly one of the coolest drum parts Zeppelin album. I wore the record out trying ever created. “Rosanna” was a huge hit, and David to play along with it. Jeff Porcaro’s groove is a major part of why this You can hear Bonham playing just the drums from “Fool In The Rain” off of Physical Graffiti by going to my web site at www. davidowensdrums.com. Type Bonzo Shuffle in the search engine and press enter. His playing is fabulous and his drums always sounded amazing. He was truly a master.
David currently tours with Fernando
lighter touch, but his feel is just as infectious Jeff played at the very top of the song. The bars as Bonham’s. after that are what he plays in the verses as the You can watch Bernard Purdie play this groove song develops.
song is so fun. I have been told that Jeff played Ortega and has worked with Sara the groove for the band and the song was Groves, Bebo Norman, Crystal written around what he played. It is a challenge Lewis, Cheri Keaggy, Tommy Walker, for any drummer to make the “Rosanna” groove Paul Baloche among others. He has feel right. In fact, listen to many of the old played for Billy and Franklin Graham Toto tracks. Jeff Porcaro had a way of making a Crusades, Harvest Crusades, Maranatha Worship Leader complex groove sound simple. I think he was Workshops and for over 2 years he was the house drummer The second is a Bernard Purdie shuffle way ahead of his time and is one of my all time for the Los Angeles production of The Lion King. His home favorite players. from the song “Babylon Sisters” off of Steely church is Plymouth Church in Whittier, California. Dan’s Gaucho CD. Bernard plays with a much The first two bars I have transcribed are what
3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
JUL/AUG 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
GET READY TO FALL IN LOVE
We’ve pulled 10 songs from the most popular CCLI worship songs and turned them into presets for you! Download this pack and you might find that there’s some extra oomph in the vocals at your next service.
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Technical Bulletin #12
Disorders of the singing voice can be very complex. Because of this complex nature various professionals specialize in the care of people with voice problems. Ear nose and throat doctors, and speech-language pathologists are key to treating people with vocal problems. A doctor, called an otolaryngologist, is usually the one who sees a singer with a persistent voice problem. Some of these doctors have received specific and specialized training in vocal disorders. This additional training is called a fellowship and is completed after a residency in otolaryngology. An evaluation by an otolaryngologist is usually all that is received for diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes further treatment is needed and the singer is then referred to a laryngologist. The laryngologist many times works with a team of voice care professionals.
Finding the Right Voice Doctor
voice difficulties. Another instrument called a flexible laryngoscope can be used to see the throat and vocal folds. This type of scope is passed through the nose and the doctor can usually examine the nasal cavity, soft palate, throat, and vocal folds. The use of this medical instrument is very common. The vocal folds can also be examined by another instrument called a rigid scope. This instrument is passed through the mouth and a magnified, detailed image of the throat and vocal folds can be seen. It provides the otolaryngologist with the best view available. at most voice treatment centers. They are as follows: 1. An Otolaryngologist with special training in voice disorders; 2. A Speechlanguage pathologist with training in voice disorders; 3. Video stroboscopy; 4. Laryngeal electromyography (A test that measures the electrical activity in the muscle of the larynx); 5. Dual pH esophageal probe testing (A test to evaluate reflux disease). These components can be used to assist you in your assessment of a voice care team. You might ask yourself, “Does this team have the level of sophistication for the diagnosis and treatment of my vocal problem?” Last and most important, you can uncover information regarding a voice professional’s reputation by interviewing their peers and referring doctors. They will let you know if this specialist has expertise and experience in the care and treatment of voice problems. When looking for top voice care professionals in your area, do not hesitate to ask singing teachers, singers, and even choir directors who they see for their vocal problems. This often leads to professionals who are respected leaders in the field of vocal problems. Now go sing well!
Another type of examination is called video stroboscopy. This involves the synchronization of light through the flexible or rigid scope to visualize the rapid vocal fold activity of the singer’s voice. Video stroboscopy is helpful for diagnosis of many vocal disorders, but is Speech-language pathologists are well trained not needed in every case. to care for problems related to communication If further help is needed the singer may disorders. These problems can range from schedule a voice examination by a speechstuttering, delayed speech development, language pathologist. During this type of and swallowing difficulties. Many, but not all, evaluation, an analysis of vocal quality and speech-language pathologists also receive voice limitations is done, in many cases training in voice disorders and their care. Some with the assistance of software diagnostic are given to calling themselves “vocologists”. tools. This computer analysis may consist of But this title is not widely accepted and acoustic, aerodynamic, or spirometric analysis. recognized. Acoustic analysis involves testing pitch, stability, It is very important to find a speech-language pathologist who has training and knowledge of voice disorder treatment. One who is experienced in working with vocal patients, and knowledgeable in this field. When seeking out a speech-language pathologist for voice therapy the word “well-trained” cannot be overemphasized.
Many of his students have won prestigious vocal competitions A medical evaluation of a singer with a voice and scholarships. In addition, problem includes a review of his voice use he has worked with Grammy and Dove award winners and history and medical history. An ear, nose, and nominees. He also offers vocal clinics and seminars, throat examination will include the entire head as well as assistance in recording sessions. Roger is and neck region with specific emphasis on the an adjunct professor in the Fine Arts department at throat and vocal folds. Point University (formerly Atlanta Christian College), website: www.point.edu. Many times a first viewing of the larynx will Roger can be contacted at: The Voice House, PO Box be performed by the use of a mirror placed in the back of the mouth that reflects light down In an attempt to find the right voice doctor 87136, College Park, GA 30337, (404) 822-5097, onto the vocal folds. This old and traditional for your specific needs, let me suggest that e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web site: www. thevoicehouse.com.
variability, and the intensity of the voice. Roger Beale is one of the nation’s foremost vocal coaches. He presently works Aerodynamic analysis involves the recording with professional singers in all of airflow, as well as air pressure from the areas of musical performance. throat during vocal production. Spirometric His teaching and coaching analysis involves a measurement of the amount facility, The Voice House, is involved in the management and of air used by the lungs during inhalation and care of the professional voice. exhalation. There are many otolaryngologists and speechlanguage pathologists who work together, alone, or with other voice care professionals to form a voice care team. Not all singers need to be examined by the most sophisticated level of these voice care teams to receive proper care and treatment; but it is calming to a working singer to know that is out there and available to them.
method is rarely adequate for patients with there are five recognizable components found 16 JUL/AUG 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
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I Should Have Cared More That Scoggins Day by Chance
Several years ago, I sang on what should have been a routine recording session. There were a few of us singing well-known songs for karaoke tracks, and I was asked to record a solo on a break. After singing it through just once, the producer said, ‘Wow, Chance, I think we got it!” “If you’re happy, I’m happy,” I thought to myself. It wasn’t my best, but it wasn’t bad either. Plenty good enough for what we were doing. No one’s ever gonna hear this anyway, I told myself. Ten minutes and I was done. On to the next thing. I didn’t give it another thought until a couple of years later when that recording started popping up in other places. I began getting emails and phone calls from friends saying, “I heard you on Pandora!” Then I noticed it on a compilation. And another. And another. Before I knew it, that ten minutes of my life and work had a greater reach than almost anything else I’d ever done professionally. Like it or not, it was out there – and I didn’t like it at all. where it would end up, of course I would have given it more effort. I would have done work that was worthy of my name. Not that it was bad – but it wasn’t up to my standard, and I knew it even in that moment. I just wanted to get it done. I should have cared more that day. I should have given more of myself to it. I should have treated it like it mattered – because it did. And as it turns out, it matters even more so today. If I’m not happy, it’s my fault. I settled for ‘good enough’, rather than sticking with it until I could be proud. I let someone else’s lower standard affect mine. But all these years later, it’s got my name on it, and it says more about me than anyone else in the room that day. people you love - the stranger on the street. Would ‘’good enough’’ be good enough, or would you bring the best of yourself to each interaction or effort? We don’t always know it at the time, but we’re planting seeds, good or bad, by every action we make. It may take years, but the fruit will eventually show up - in a person’s life, in opportunities that come (or don’t come)… maybe even on Pandora. So whatever you do tomorrow, show us your groove by approaching it as if it’s your calling, because for that divine moment, it is. Whether you find yourself in a cubicle or on a stage, honing your craft in private or playing before a large crowd - get fully engaged. It’s time to move beyond simply punching a clock. We’ve got to approach even those things we don’t give great value to as if they matter. Because they do – even more than we know in the moment. Let us not look back, and be able to say, “I should have cared more that day.”
It taught me a valuable lesson. You never know when your work will come back to help or hurt you. You never know where or how it will show up in the future. Is it enough to slide by – or should we be driven by an inner standard, calling us to give the best we’re It started an important internal conversation capable of? Sometimes our employers don’t I’d love another pass at that vocal, but in a way know how to lead us to our best… but does I’m glad I can’t get one. I think everything I ever that began with thoughts like… that mean they don’t deserve it? do will be better for it. “They shouldn’t be able to use that on other We spend a lot of time thinking and talking projects!” about our calling. The deeper into life I get, “If I’d have known so many people were going the more I realize that my calling isn’t about an to hear it, I’d have asked to sing that line again.” ultimate purpose so much as it’s about a daily “I sure wish people could hear something that something to do. Our destinies are rarely tied Chance Scoggins is a Dove to some grand and final event yet to come. This matters to me instead of this.” Award Winning Producer, is a lie we tell ourselves, so we don’t have to as well as one of Nashville’s “Nobody knows I did that so quickly. They’re fully engage today. top session singers and going to think that’s my best work.” vocal arrangers. If you were If you woke up tomorrow knowing that it (In my most whiny voice…) “It’s not faaaiiir!’’ challenged and encouraged would be the day you’d accomplish the thing by this article, check out After all of my excuses and accusations, I you were born to do, how might your actions www.chancescoggins.com eventually arrived at the simple truth… It’s differ from normal? Let’s say you didn’t know for more of his observations my fault. I should have cared more that day. when or where, but you knew for sure that at about life, faith and music. Truth be told, I was phoning it in. I was some point tomorrow, you’d do something that punching a clock, just doing what was in front of would turn out to be important, something that my face, unaware that I was creating something only you could do. Imagine the energy and that would eventually matter. If I’d known effort you’d put into the each detail of your day. Imagine how you’d approach your work - the
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Maybe you’re one of those who has been a Sixpence fan from way back—you love the uniqueness of Leigh Nash’s vocals and the catchy writing, creative melodies, and solid guitar of Matt Slocum—and you’ve hoped that someday they would reunite and make some more music. Guess what? Sixpence is back with all that made them a great band before, and more life experience to tack on. Their new album is no longer “Lost in Transition” but is ready to be unveiled.
has two little daughters—so that’s a huge be better handled. How is that going with the transition. new record, do you have a new approach? Matt Slocum: Well, the album title is specific to the band. This is a record that we did back in early 2009, and now it’s finally coming out in the back half of 2012. Seems like it got lost in transition between the making and the releasing. AH: So Matt, you had actually finished this album in 2009 and it took until this year for it to be released? LN: We are finally going an independent route, which is something we’ve always wanted to do, but it just didn’t work out that way before. Now it’s 2012, and things are totally different from the way they were back in 1992 when we started. I feel like what we’re doing now is the best situation we’ve been in, in a long time. So, I hope it works out and we can keep making records, because that’s our goal. We’re not interested in “pop stardom,” we just want to find and reconnect with our fans, and give them music that hopefully they’ll love for a very long time. AH: Well, I don’t think it will be very hard to find your fans again—and acquire some new ones—I was just listening to the new album and it’s really good. But, as you mentioned, it’s easier to pursue an independent approach to recording an album now than it was before. LN: I think so, but I also wonder if it might not have always been easy, if we just had the mind for it. For myself, I’m not a businessperson—I think there were probably Aimee: Your new project is called Lost in Transition; can you explain what the MS: Yeah, because when we got back together in 2008 we made an EP that was “transition” is referring to for each of you? independent and a Christmas record that was Leigh Nash: Well, gosh, there’s been so on Network Records. Then, when we went much... The naming of the album as “Lost in to make a full-length record, we signed with Transition” was more in reference to us saying, a small label in the EMI system and went in to “We want to make more records together” record it in early 2009. But after the record after a long break. From that moment to this was made there was a bit of a personnel shift, moment, has really been the transition that is and they decided not to release the record. mentioned in the album title; all the strain that However, they were generous enough to we went through for about five years now, ‘till give us the masters. So it was basically a finally our full-length album is done. record given to us for free, but it’s taken a lot And of course, we’ve both become parents of time to get out of the EMI deal and forge now—it’s been 8 years for me, and [Matt] distribution deals and whatever it takes to get it released independently. We’re in a good position now, and we’re happy about it—it just took a long time. LN: I’m really excited about it, and looking forward to what’s to come. AH: What was it that made you want to start playing and writing music together again? LN: Well, I missed Matt; I missed the music that we made together. I’ve been in this band for more of my life than I haven’t. I think I was 13 or 14 when I met Matt, and now I’m 35. [Being in the band] is like home to me, and the music is like home, it’s part of my creative outlet. And the creative space that I feel most comfortable in is with Matt. So, I think it’s all of that. I enjoyed doing stuff on my own, but I missed the camaraderie of playing with the band. AH: Leigh, somewhere else I was reading about how now that you’re more mature, you’re hoping the business end of things will 20 JUL/AUG 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
lost and found
interview by Aimee Herd
JUL/AUG 2012 21 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
things we could have done all along that would have been wiser choices. But, hindsight is 20/20. AH: Lyrically speaking, Lost in Transition really feels like a “slice of life,” and I think a lot of people will be able to relate to it. Speak to where some of these songs on the new recording have come out of; songs like “Don’t Blame Yourself” and “Failure”... LN: Yeah, I really love that song, it’s written by Matt and it’s one of my favorites. Those are some of the strongest lyrics I’ve ever read from him. MS: Well, from day one, the lyrical content of Sixpence records is that sort of “open journal” kind of writing—processing life and processing events. ...Sort of our own personal processes played out because it’s easier for us to express ourselves through music. On the song “Failure,” I had a friend whose wife was going to undergo life-threatening major surgery and that song was trying to describe that sort of angst, or dread, when we feel like something really bad is going to happen. That’s what that song is about, but I think overall, our lyrics tend to be very personal and very “us trying to figure life out.” AH: What about “Safety Line,” that’s another song that jumped out at me, with that little bit of country flavor to it... MS: Well lyrically, I had heard this interview with Neil Young and he was talking about how he approaches guitar soloing, and how he views himself [during a solo] as a miner who digs his way deep into the earth and doesn’t know where he’s going to end up, and he hopes he can find his way out by the end of the solo. I thought that was an interesting metaphor and for some reason it made me think about how I can go down a lot of rabbit holes emotionally or spiritually, and how I have a wife who tends to be my tether line. She always seems to be able to pull me back and keep me grounded and focused; I was trying to explain how important that is to me. LN: [“Safety Line”] is one of my favorites on the album—the lyrics are just so perfect and sweet. I remember the first time I played it for some of my friends, several of them were crying by the end of the song. It’s not a sad song; it’s just so poignant. AH: Leigh, what song that you wrote on the album, really impacted you either in its 22 JUL/AUG 2012
AH: Beyond the “stripping down” of the music overall, were there any other things, sonically, that you did on this project that were different than previous ones? MS: Well, I think it’s more what we didn’t do than what we did, on this album. We’ve always tracked our records with the bands, and done more “live” recordings in the studio. But what we didn’t do on this one was, we didn’t add a whole lot after that fact. The record is mostly just writing or recording? the band performing with maybe a few overdubs here and there, but LN: I think “Sooner Than Later” is the one that’s the closest to my heart out of the ones that’s it. I contributed to the album. It’s dealing with AH: I love the way this project really the death of my father. My husband—who highlights your voice; you’ve got some nice was not my husband at the time, just a really tight harmonies, but then you’ve got that close friend—had gone to the funeral with cool, haunting vocal, as in “Stand My Ground.” me because he had met my father before What there anything different that you were he passed away. That meant a great deal to aiming for vocally on this album, or not really? me. And then when we got home, he started LN: I think it must be a little bit of a departure, writing the song “Sooner Than Later.” He very especially since it’s not orchestrated. On beautifully put to words what I wasn’t ready previous records there was quite a bit of to put into words yet, and then we finished orchestration; but this one is simpler, so I the song together. So, that one’s always going think it showcases the songs and the voice to be very special to me. part of it more. I think it comes off a bit more AH: Musically speaking; this album has a “songwriter-y.” Does that make sense? very current feel to it: kind of a stripped down AH: Not only does it make sense, but I think sound, but still melodic and catchy. Was that you’ve invented a new word! producer Jim Scott’s influence, or something LN: (Laughs) Yeah, it’s a new word meaning: you and Matt already had in mind to do? there’s very little to distract from the story LN: We did have it in mind to pursue and that the song is trying to tell you. It’s very tothen, when we had a conversation with Jim, it the-point. was very much what he was into—making it about the voice and about the songs, and no AH: So, what does the writing process look wasted parts. He’s a fantastic producer and like for each of you? [getting that sound] was one of the reasons LN: Well, it would be nice someday [to we chose him. co-write with Matt], I think we’d really like to MS: Yeah, I think it was a bit of both. We write together more, but it’s just that we never both were wanting to really not let things get gelled as songwriters together—I don’t like to in the way of the voice or the song—just really write with anybody. I write with my husband try to strip back all the trappings. The choice (Stephen Wilson) just because he’s around all for Jim was the natural choice to try to achieve the time. (Laughs) But, a lot of times he has that because that’s how he works; he really to sort of pressure me into it. I just haven’t been all that inspired the last couple of years. encouraged that. We had that brief burst of inspiration around AH: Was this the first time you’d worked the writing of this record, but since then I just with him? really haven’t wanted to write that much. LN: Yes, it was. And if I have the choice, I Originally, the title of this album was going to would never work with a different producer be Strange Conversation because it seemed again. Why look around, when you’ve found like the album was a conversation between the perfect producer?! Matt and I, but when it took two years for it to
people want to hear the record, it’s available AH: How does that work in terms of family Who knows, maybe in the future Matt and to them—we’re trying not to draw those lines life; balancing the touring, and also the other aspects of writing, recording, and releasing an I will write together—I’m his biggest fan— in our own minds I guess. so maybe as we both get older, we’ll write LN: For me it’s been so long I don’t really album—and being a parent and spouse? come out, it became Lost in Transition. together more.
know what to expect. We just want to find MS: It’s hard to say at this point, because I MS: Well, when we first started the band, I our fans again, whether they’re Christian or really haven’t been that active with the band since I’ve had kids. The balance has been fine approached Leigh with a whole slew of songs, otherwise. and I wrote most of our songs at first. But, as AH: You guys just returned from touring in so far. I might be saying something different once we’re out on the road. the band has progressed, I think Leigh has Turkey, how did that go? found her stride as a songwriter and as each LN: It was great...fantastic! It was such a album goes on, you’ll see more of her writing. great trip and I want to go back. We played AH: Earlier Matt, you mentioned the band in a place in Istanbul that seemed to be like performing in the studio, talk about the a House of Blues—except in Turkey. People really seemed to enjoy the show. Sixpence band a little... MS: Justin Carry is the bass player, he’s been on every studio record and every tour since 1998, and then Rob Mitchell played drums for the Divine Discontent record and toured with us ‘till about 2004. He still tours with us as well, but we had a different drummer on this album [for the recording], named Will Sails. He’s in pretty heavy demand in Nashville, so we don’t always get to play with him, but we love having Rob too. We feel really blessed in Nashville, there’s such a great wealth of musicians and great people to play music with. MS: We had a great time, we were just playing in very small little clubs—the club in Istanbul maybe held 300 people... The people that came out were very into it; it was a really good experience. AH: Was that the first time you’d ever been there? MS: Yeah, first time. AH: And what are your plans as the album releases? Are you touring in the U.S.?
LN: I’ve never had to be away from my son for very long at all—he and I are sort of attached at the hip... I just try to start each day with a prayer for God to guide me and then I put one foot in front of the other and let Him know that I’m available for whatever He wants me to do. But, I haven’t had to be away from [my son] much so... I don’t know. It’s hard to plan for something like this because my family is everything to me. I want to tour, and I want to play shows, but I won’t be away from him very much—I love that kid! But, we’re ready and willing to tour, and I just trust that God will work out the details, as He always seems to do. AH: How does it feel for Sixpence None the Richer to be back? LN: I’m really happy to have something going on, and I’m very pleased with the response we’ve gotten so far. I’m thankful that the new album is finally coming out, and I’m looking forward to making more music. MS: It feels good. I love the community of the band; I love Leigh and that I get to make music with her and the guys in the band. I’m very anxious to see how the album is received publicly, just because we’ve been away for so long. I guess I feel a little anxious or nervous about that, but at the core—the community I have with the band—I’m having a great time.
LN: Yes, we have some dates in Texas in August, which is nice; we haven’t been down AH: In the past, Sixpence has had very wide there in a long time. And then we’ll be in New appeal, with a fair amount of crossover into York... things will start rolling as the record mainstream markets, did you have that in releases and we’ll see how people respond mind as a goal at all with this record? to it. MS: I guess we’re just going with it, wherever AH: Are you even now constantly writing this album impacts. Since this is more of an to where you have enough songs for another independent release, I think we’re just happy project soon, or no? that whoever wants to hear it can get a hold MS: (Laughs) Good question. No, I don’t of it. I’m not sure that we’re thinking along the have another album’s worth of material yet, lines of Christian vs. secular focus. It’s more, if but I’m hoping for not this long of a wait again.
Matt Slocum’s Gear: 1960 Stratocaster, from the Fender Custom Shop, robin egg blue. Late ‘60’s-early ‘70’s Fender electric, and a Lowden O model acoustic guitar, and I run those through a Matchless Chieftain Amp or a Vox AC30, Empress Delay Pedal, compressor, and a Demeter Tremolo Pedal. All those are mounted on the Trailer Trash Pedal Board. Matt also plays a Luis & Clark Carbon-Fiber Cello; an acoustic cello made out of carbon fiber, except for the bridge. Visit the official website for Sixpence None the Richer: www.sixpencehq.com
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by Shawn McLaughlin
The Hurt and The Healer Mercy Me Fair Trade Services
I admit that I have a tendency to give the bigger selling groups in CCM a pretty hard time in regards to the paucity of artistically challenging moments on their records. Mercy Me most definitely falls under that umbrella. I am aware how hard it is to satisfy everyone, and Christian bands, ultimately, have to consider themselves, their core audience, the church, their record label, as well as detractors who scream for more challenging fare. On the band’s newest long player, The Hurt and The Healer, Mercy Me manages to do a pretty darned good job of satisfying each of these many factions by relaxing a bit and just playing to their considerable strengths. Sure, there are some radio ready ballads that will make the “critics” wail a bit about somewhat simplistic concepts and clichéd musical touches, but those moments are, at least, confidently and competently executed as well as few and far between on this project. Instead, we get bouncy, Beatles inspired pop like “To Whom It May Concern”, with lyrics that encourage the listener of Jesus’ omnipresence, or the atmospheric euro-pop of “Don’t Give Up On Me”, which features a very rough and ragged guitar break that bristles with almost punk-like energy. Also on that wavelength is the hook-laden “Best of Me”, with a chorus that you’ll have trouble shaking from the deep recesses of your brain. The best and most surprising cut on the record is “Take the Time”, a bluesy power ballad that features the emotive vocals of Bear Rinehart from NeedtoBreathe, and a powerful vocal turn from Bart Millard. The guitar work on this cut is worth the price of admission and adds to the emotional breadth established by the vocals. The track builds to a powerful crescendo that borrows liberally from the Lynyrd Skynyrd book of southern rock goodness and leaves the listener yearning for more of this type of song. Along with solid radio rockers like the album opener, “You Know Better”, and the Maroon 5 inspired “You Don’t Care At All”, these make up the strongest and most challenging group of songs the band has ever put on one slab of vinyl/acetate/plastic. So, if you, like me, has never fully warmed up to these multi-platinum, CCM titans, The Hurt and The Healer could go a long way toward changing your opinion.
The Struggle Tenth Avenue North Essential
Hmmmm……a theme emerges. Another group I have been none too kind to in the past, Tenth Avenue Nor th takes another decent-sized step in tightening up their artistic vision on The Struggle, the successful band’s 3rd album of original songs. The title alone gives lip-service to the idea that perhaps the band is ready to take on broader, more authentically human subject matter and, to some extent the band does just that while adding an appealing edge to their sound, best displayed on the album opener, “Shadows”. While most of the cuts on the album don’t get very deep into the concept of humanity’s struggles, preferring to approach songs from a retroactive viewpoint, relating how God is good because of what he has already done; the 3rd cut, “Worn” displays the psalmic model of crying out when there is absolutely no other recourse. “I’m tired, I’m worn, my heart is heavy, from the work it takes to keep on breathin’….But I know that you can give me rest, so I cry out with all that I have left”. This type of immediate lyricism gives the cut REAL emotional heft and affords the song a real chance to meet hurting people where they live. The next track, “Losing”, takes a modern look at a “Tax collector/ publican” type of dynamic as the protagonist makes judgmental observations about less than holy acquaintances, while slowly realizing the darkness in his own heart. “Father give me the grace to forgive them, cause I feel like the one who is losing.” The cut strikes a rhythmic piano based groove before exploding into a full blown gospel blues, replete with full choir backing. Nothing else on The Struggle quite reaches these emotional heights, but the disc is full of extremely well conceived and executed adult pop… the type that will improve any radio playlist it happens to grace.
Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices The Welcome Wagon Asthmatic Kitty Records
From Sufjan Stevens’ own boutique label comes The Welcome Wagon, a ministry team (Vito Aiuto is a Presbyterian minister from the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, and Monique is his wife) who release an utterly charming album made up of covers of ancient hymns juxtaposed with a cover version of relatively obscure -at least in a Christian music context- song by The Cure. Vito and Monique contribute several originals as well, like the pedal steel drenched rumination on community, “Rice and Beans”, which should help the band corner the market in the “Christian Alt Country” genre in which they exist, pretty much alone. A Byrds inspired cover of “God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again”, a staple of Presbyterian liturgy, serves as the penultimate cut on the album followed by the couples’ own “Nature’s Goodnight”, forming a two-punch benediction that neatly wraps up this sweet album that convincingly reveals a narrative of the basic gospel message, from confession, to profession to, ultimately, redemption. Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices is probably not going to be a hit with the Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman crowd; but for anyone who likes authentically created, convincingly essayed music, The Welcome Wagon has a spot in their caravan for you.
Land of the Living Matthew Perryman Jones Cante Jondo Records
Nashville based Matthew Perryman Jones has been tarrying in the independent land of music, both mainstream and gospel markets, for several years now; but the deeply literate and emotional Land of the Living is only his 3rd album. Starting out as a folk influenced acoustic artist, Jones has certainly evolved in the years
since his beginnings…as the new disc, produced by the criminally neglected Cason Cooley (ex Normals, producer of Jill Phillips last two discs), occupies the musical space somewhere between the raw emotional landscapes of a Jeff Buckley and the atmospheric, expansive sounds of early Radiohead or U2, with some world music touches thrown in for balance. In fact, there are times on this CD where one swears that Bono is making a guest appearance; so striking is the vocal resemblance, at times. Inspired by the writings of the 8th century Persian poet Rumi, 20th century Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, as well as letters written by Vincent Van Gogh to his brother, Theo, the record seems driven by the variety of influences. It is quite amazing, then, how deeply intimate Jones makes each track feel. When confronted with the fact that Jones’ father passed away just before the writing of the album, it begins to make sense. Land of the Living, then, is a stirring triumph, an ode to personal awakening, and a call against spiritual apathy as best represented by the cut, “Waking Up the Dead”: “I want to dance on fire and be born again / I can hear the voice that’s waking up the dead.”
The Loudest Sound Ever Heard The Choir Galaxy 21 Records www.thechoir.net
While listening to the track “Learning to Fly” on the commentary disc of the new Choir opus, The Loudest Sound Ever Heard , drummer/lyricist, Steve Hindalong recalls asking his wife for advice for a lyric because he just wants to write something that is true. Truth is a great signifier for this trailblazing band who, over the course of its 30 year career, has sought creative and, sometimes, painful ways to illuminate the truth of Jesus Christ; of the destitution of the human condition; and the place where these two elements intersect. Each album has been artistically truthful to where the band resided, musically, at the time of release… with the possible exception of 1986’s Diamonds and Rain which featured a more overtly commercial tone (courtesy of label mandated producer, Charlie Peacock) both musically and lyrically, though hardly callously as it is still a great album. With a more obviously encouraging tone than any album since then, The Loudest Sound Ever Heard echoes the bands finest work by mining the deep well
of humanity’s vagaries to find solutions to the sinfulness that plagues us all. In typical “Skinny” fashion, Hindalong shines a transparent light on his own fallen nature, in particular, a recent admission of his own 20+ year struggle with alcohol and the peace and restoration that has come from the spiritual healing found in the 12 step program he has attended for the past year. “Learning to Fly” recounts the 19th century explosion of the Indonesian volcano, Krakatoa, which is purported by scientists to be the actual loudest sound ever heard. This serves as a metaphor for the fragility and ephemerality of life as Hindalong urges listeners to “celebrate every breath we breathe”, living life like you could be experiencing your last day. The lyric also recognizes the difficulty of reconciling the sorrow we all experience with the grace and mercy of a loving God, but instead of trying to give a pat answer to this dichotomy, the song emphasizes transcending our circumstance and loving each other, despite our own pain. Elsewhere, Hindy practically mirrors well known 12 step teachings (a recurring lyrical theme on the project) in the hypnotic, transcendent, 6 minute mood piece, “Cross That River” which,
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though monotonous in melody (Think U2’s “Bad”), is stunning in its use of dynamics and bold, sonic touches darting in and out of the mix, including an epic, impressionistic guitar solo by Marc Byrd, as well as “Buckeye” Dan Michaels’ typical, layered lyricon work which adds a hauntingly beautiful vibe to the track. The cut is tethered to the truth of the gospel as evidenced by the final line: “You’ve already been baptized with fire. You’ve been born again.” Speaking of mystery, “Laughter of Heaven” continues the moody vibe (Michaels excelling on his Selmer saxophone) with more lyrics extolling the mysteries that are not always revealed to us in this life, causing us to seek God’s spirit for guidance- while “Forest” takes a more immediate musical path with a tuneful song that makes the point of trusting God, despite not understanding His reasons. Even
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more clear: sometimes its best NOT to see the forest for the trees. Along with a lovely song encouraging individuality in young women (Strange Girl), inspired by friends of Hindalong’s two daughters, the band’s children prove the focal point of “O How” a heart rending, yet ultimately encouraging cut about the joys and sorrows of parenthood and how it is a microcosm of the relationship our Heavenly Father has with us. “Melodious” is an apt title as cascading guitars and an insanely memorable lead line propel the cut, inspired, initially, by Hindalong’s reminiscences of his nearly 40 year friendship with bass player extraordinaire, Tim Chandler (check the reference to Chandler’s lightning fingers being likened to the flapping of hummingbird’s wings). The song becomes a tribute of sorts to the friendship and camaraderie experienced
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by all the members of the band, and, like any of Hindalong’s personal musings, holds a universal application for anyone celebrating the bonds of lasting friendships: “The beat of a true friend’s heart is the loudest sound ever heard.” In fact, Hindy’s supernatural gift of relating to his listener’s hurts, joys, failings, and triumphs with aching tenderness is one of the things that makes the Choir’s work so appealing and transcendent. The sonic frosting on the cake is the “Beatles” chord that ends the song, sounding much like the opening salvo of “Hard Day’s Night.” Finally, the 1-2 emotional punch of the album’s final two cuts is the highlight of the album for this reviewer and, perhaps, the finest moment of the bands illustrious career. “Worlds Away” features some of Derri Daugherty’s most affecting guitar playing including a chiming, almost oriental sounding opening figure that repeats throughout the song – and gives way to one of Hindalong’s finest lyrics, encouraging believers to continue on as light-bearers despite our own flirtations with the darkness in our hearts and despite our lack of true understanding of God’s ways…. another reference to His mystery. The album closing “After All” is a revelation…a fragile, liltingly beautiful duet between Daugherty (whose vocals throughout the project are unusually emotive and tender) and the radiant Leigh Nash. Whoever thought of this pairing gets a gold star, as the two could NOT sound more perfect together. I recognized the music immediately as the song “My Imaginary Friend” from Daugherty’s solo, ambient-instrumental project, Clouds Echo in Blue (which you all should own). Hindalong loved the melody and came up with a typically poignant, perceptive lyric about the connectedness of all humankind as children of God. This atmospheric marvel features a particularly lovely cello solo that morphs seamlessly into an equally stunning lyricon line played with wondrous sensitivity by Michaels. In fact, the Ohio native may be the musical star of the project, as he has always been a master of subtle contribution, but was given an opportunity to shine on this project, and enthusiastically took the bull by the horns, so to speak. The Loudest Sound Ever Heard, then, is a fabulous album…perhaps offering more questions than answers, so it won’t be every Christian music listener’s cup of tea, but for those who are comforted by honesty, moved by vulnerability, and motivated by unparalleled musicality, The Choir’s latest will fit the bill and THEN some.
Shawn McLaughlin is a hard working dedicated, tireless worshipper of Christ
email@example.com • www.shubb.com 707-843-4068
28 JUL/AUG 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
A CONFERENCE FOR MUSICIANS & CREATIVE TYPES TO IMPROVE SKILL AND INSPIRE TALENT FOR GOD’S GLORY! October 5 & 6, 2012
Grace Chapel, Franklin, TN in Historic Leiper’s Fork
EACH DAY 9am-5pm :: Conference Sessions & Workshops
with performances by:
Brenton Brown Blues Counsel Phil Keaggy Ashley Cleveland Kimber Rising Jonathan Allen
FRIDAY 7-10pm :: Concert One Sonic Society Country Songwriters in the Round Dave Cleveland 10pm :: Groove Lounge with Tom Hemby Band
SATURDAY 7-10pm :: Concert
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TECH TALK with PHIL KEAGGY
sampler mode) and I slowed it down to ½ speed and I did it at ½ speed in the same key, so when I hit the button on the unit that kicks it up an octave… it was right there. I did that with my voice and with BA: Anything in the acoustic guitar world you’ve my guitar. been trying out? BA: That is amazing… I was wondering where you got hold of a Theremin. They are not the easiest to PK: I’ve got a new Bedell Parlor guitar. find these days. BA: That is my favorite model that Bedell makes. PK: That’s right. It took both my voice and my PK: That is my favorite too! Every time I would guitar to pull it off. It was that great whammy bar go into their shop (Two Old Hippies in Nashville) on my white Zion strat that helped a lot. (Thank I would pick that guitar up and play it. They spoke you Ken Hoover and Kenny Marshall). with me and said that maybe we should talk about There are some newer songs on the album as Bruce Adolph: So Phil, what kind of gear have a Phil Keaggy model Parlor guitar with a cutaway well… “Grow With Me”, and “Where the Morning you had a chance to demo in your home studio on it. lately? BA: That would be great Phil. It has all solid tonewoods, and the smaller body size of it just Phil Keaggy: Well, I’ve got that new little Roland amp – the AC33 Rosewood. It’s a cool practice makes you feel like you are in a more intimate and amp because I don’t have to hook up a bunch of personal setting. boxes and rack-mounted things that I have (like my JamMan) just to play. It’s great for practicing and getting inspired. It has a looper that goes about 40 seconds or so built into it, which is plenty of time to put a chord progression or a phrase in. PK: Yes. I have recorded with it and it sounds good too. The action is great on it. I keep it in my living room and I pick it up all the time. It feels like home when you play it. You can surround yourself around this little guitar, but yet the sound that comes out of it is big. soap bar P-90 pick-up by the bridge, and boy does that guitar sound great! I played it out with Glass Harp, and I’ve recorded with it. It sounds “major” tele, yet also has a beef about it.
Roland was so nice with letting me use it that I did a video on it. Did you happen to see the song, BA: Exactly! Hey, changing subjects. I just got your “Shades of Green,” that I did with it? new CD Cover of Love, and I love it. Tell us about BA: Yes, it is on their website. They are giving it… especially the cover song “Good Vibrations”. The production work on that song is fantastic. away one of those amps autographed by you. PK: Yes they are. It’s a great tool for working on counter chords and inversions that go over chords. You can create a beautiful tapestry of chords, because it is not just all about doing a rhythm part and a lead over it. You can actually get very creative with that looping amp. BA: How is the tone? PK: It is quite good; it really is. I was at my friend Mike Pachelli’s house (who shot the video of me doing “Shades of Green”) and we ran it direct out (left and right) into his ProTools rig. I have also taken it to a few acoustic gigs here in Nashville (at Puckett’s and some other small venues) and in a quick set-up situation, where you just plug in and then go direct to the PA, this little amp did really well. BA: That sounds quite versatile for you. How about any new pedals you’ve liked lately? PK: Bob Weil of Visual Sound gave me the new Dual Tap Delay pedal. I was able to do a demo of that at their studio and it turned out really fine. Boy, it had a lush, just beautiful sound. BA: With the two delays staggered the way they are, you easily get a nice U2 vibe out of it. PK: Exactly. I haven’t had a chance to try it out on the road yet, but I think it sounds very cool. BA: Great. Any new interesting guitars you’ve tried out lately? PK: Yeah, have you ever heard of Flatline Guitars? I have played their VistaGlide guitar before on some things, and now recently I tried out their telestyle guitar – a Delta 90. It is like a Tele but with a
PK: Well thank you. I was about ten years younger when I did that. There are some old recordings on that too. “My Auburn Lady” was from the late 90’s. “Somedays”, by Paul McCartney is from the late 90’s as well. “What Matters Most” is from 2001. Then “She Sees Me” is from 2002, but I redid everything on it except for the drums. “Good Vibrations” I did around 2002 as well. Tony Shore was making a compilation album featuring the songs of Brian Wilson (from the Beach Boys). He had asked me to do that particular song for it and I said, “Well I have always loved that tune; it is so fun and whimsical… and creative”. I put the keyboards down first, then the guitars; and I brought Ken Lewis in to play the drums. I got Gene Miller and we did the BGV’s, and I did the lead vocal all in one night. And then for that Theremin part [Phil sings, imitating that iconic Theremin part of the song] I used my Line 6 DL4 sampler and echo/delay modeler (I put it in
Dawns”, and the third newest is one I wrote with my daughter Olivia “Where Are You Love”. BA: I like the other McCartney song on there too, “Motor of Love”. PK: I had recorded that on my Inseparable album years ago and I brought it back to this one. It sounds like a gospel song, and whether McCartney was writing about God the Father, or he was writing about his own father ( Jim McCartney) in the line “Heavenly father look down from above…” you know, that is his business; but to me the song has such a great positive message, and since God is love…when I sing it, I think about my Heavenly Father. BA: Way cool… you know Judy and I really like your classic rock tunes as well. I think you are in your wheelhouse when you are playing blues-rock tunes (for example the ones on the Zion album). PK: What is in my heart to do in the future is a kickin’ rock album. I’d put songs like “Crossroads”, “John the Revelator”, and “Doin’ Nothing”… just kickin’ songs but with full-on gospel lyrics, like old spirituals, you know? BA: You’ve got a blues rock song on the Cover of Love album that I like too. If you do a whole record of that style I will line up NOW to buy it. PK: Well buddy, I agree with you completely! And if you want to produce it – let me know. BA: (Laughing) I don’t think I have the ears left for it… but I sure appreciate the offer Philly!
Check out everything Phil at www.philkeaggy.com
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Soundblox 2 Multiwave Distortion and Dimension Reverb
by Michael Hodge
This month I am excited to share this review of 2 innovative and unique pedals. The Soundblox 2 Multiwave Distortion, and the Dimension Reverb pedals by Source Audio. There is also a Multiwave Bass Distortion, a product we may review later. Sometimes you can see the innovation in something at first glance. I must say the packaging on these products is exceptional, sort of a Mac feel. These pedals look different than any other on the market. They are not your average stomp boxes. Both of these Soundblox 2 pedals have identical solid aluminum cases and a modern space age look. They have a standard ¼-inch in and out, and BOSS type 9-volt jacks mounted on the back. There are also two multi-function mini jacks that could be used for the Dual expression Pedal, Hot Hand wireless controller, or Midi controller. There are no battery compartments; both come with a standard 9-volt power supply - Nice touch! Each unit has two programmable preset foot switches and can be set to True Bypass or Buffered Bypass. They both use 56-bit signal processing and are roughly four by four inches in size. The Multiwave Distortion has 23 presets and a clean boost. There are standard single band distortion tones as well as the unique ones made up of ten separate EQ bands. Each EQ band is first divided up, processed and then recombined for some amazing sounds. Three types of effects are on the board: “Normal,” for a more traditional distortion curve, “Foldback,” for an aggressive, synth-like fuzz and “Octave,” for unique octave-up distortion effects. On the top of the box sit 5 control knobs and 2 small buttons. The controls are: Preset Select, Sustain, Drive, Tone, and Output. One button controls a three band noise gate and external functions and the second button is a three band EQ. The knobs and settings seem a little overwhelming at first. This is no Tube Screamer. After looking over the manual and watching a few videos on the Source Audio site, I was ready to plug in and play. I started with the fifteen 32 JUL/AUG 2012 Multiband settings. The sound is very complex and aggressive, but you can change a ton of parameters. I was able to clearly hear the intervals in chords that you would never have with a standard pedal. The higher the preset numbers, the more intense the effect. This pedal can quickly go to extremes, a perk I find very inspiring. The Multiband Foldback settings are amazing! I got tones in the studio that I had never heard before. I can think of a ton of uses for the Octave settings. I could get some of the weirdest sounds that would have taken a long time to ever duplicate with regular pedals. One could create very individual and signature sounds; the kind producers love. I tried replacing one of the Drive pedals on my live board and immediately noticed the difference in the type of distortion I was getting. In comparison to other pedals, this one is easily more aggressive and has a ton of gain available. I placed the Mulitwave Distortion pedal in the spot normally used for soloing and big fuzzy stuff. I was simply excited about the possibility of an extra clean boost available; that is, before realizing how much I would use it. This is a great pedal live, as well as for the studio. You can quickly dial in some killer and crazy stuff. The Dual Expansion pedal is also a powerful addition. I like that it will control two Soundblox pedals at once. This is a great thought since pedalboard real estate is so scarce. You could either make it control a lot of the parameters in real time, or morph between two presets. This aspect is incredibly useful since I like to alter sounds between sections of songs. The Dimension Reverb has 12 reverb types and two user presets. Nine different Parameters can be controlled in real time by the Dual Expression pedal, a Hot Hand Wireless sensor, or MIDI adaptor. The five knobs on the top are: Preset Select, Time, Treble, Mix, and Option.
Left of the Option knob is the Option Select button controlling a total of six settings consisting of: Pre Delay, Diffusion, Bass, Output, Rate, and Depth. Honestly, each one of the reverb settings sound great. The pedal also has selectable true or buffered bypass. There is also a Trails Mode that allows the reverb to fade gradually when you bypass the effect. There are 2 Plates, 5 Rooms, 2 Springs, a Modverb, an Echo, as well as a cool Metal Box preset. Having two user presets on a Reverb pedal is very useful in a live setting. It saves you the hassle of leaning down to change presets. I saw a video demo of the E-Dome preset combined with the Dual Expression Pedal and had to try it myself. Loved the effect! Play a chord with the Pedal down and while it sustains, pull the pedal back and play over the chord. I can think of a number of great uses for this during a Worship set. The Echo setting produces a cool retro vibe, and the Modverb setting will get you that ever popular “Edge” thing happening. With all of the possibilities and MIDI capabilities, the Dimension Reverb is another great bang for the buck. In summary, if you are looking for some unique distortion sounds, the Multiwave Distortion is well worth checking out. You can get everything from Clean Boost to Classic sounds to crazy Octave Foldback distortion that could be just the thing you’ve been looking for. With the added Dual Expression Pedal, the Hot Hand Wireless device, and Midi control, the possibilities are endless. The Dimension Reverb is a class act. It’s super rich sounding and versatile. Wish list: Nothing much on the Multiwave Distortion. Being a studio musician as well, I would have liked a stereo in and out on such a sweet reverb, though for live it probably doesn’t matter. I’m happy if people can hear my guitar parts at all! Street Prices Delay - $169 Reverb - $189
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“...sing in the ordinary days and ways.”
by Keith Mohr & Sue Ross-Mohr
How often have you found yourself, as a Christian songwriter, frustrated in the songwriting arena, blocked both lyrically and musically? The scenario becomes one that repeats itself over and over again. You begin to write what you expect to be an extraordinary song. This is going to be ‘the one’. With pen and paper next to you, instrument in hand… it begins and then just as suddenly, stops. You get stuck. You get frustrated. You were sure that this was the time that this great piece was going to take form and be phenomenal. A hit. Authors call it writers block. Athletes call it a lack of belief in their ability. Actors call it stage fright. Everyone is continually seeking the ‘magic bullet’ that will take him or her off their manic merry-go-round. Well, we believe we have found the remedy. Repeat the following sentence out loud. “To bring out the extraordinary, you have to practice the ordinary.” Let’s break down the word extraordinary. Extra + Ordinary = Extraordinary. If you search throughout time there are many ordinary people who have made history by performing everyday tasks. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa, and yes, even Mark Zuckerberg. Code, code, code alone in his dorm room. Creating a mechanism that changed how the world communicates. This list could go on and on, from every walk of life, every culture, and every color. The kicker is that these ordinary people in history are the ones that have done the extraordinary things by doing the ordinary every day. It does make your head spin a bit, doesn’t it? These individuals literally did “A lot of ordinary.” Keith had a baseball coach in his youth that used to say ‘perfect practice makes perfect.’ So they would practice the fundamentals of the game all the time. What base to cover; what cutoff man to hit; repetitive drills of various situations that would occur in games. When all of this added up together, their ordinary practice made them an extraordinary team who won games. While we were looking for that secret way in which to help you, the Christian songwriter, make this all happen, we found it smack dab in front of us. Those basic instructions found in the Bible to live in the ordinary, while following an extraordinary Lord. One of the things about the Bible that is so profound is how well the principles work when applied to your “daily ordinary.” Many of the men and women above used these principles, whether they realized they were biblical or not. So, back to your song. We put so much pressure on ourselves to create the extraordinary, which takes us away from the awesome, basic ordinary. I think we miss that ‘next line’, that ‘next note’, that ‘next word’, when our focus is on the whole instead of each little piece. The sum instead of the parts. Author Amanda Ford, wrote an article called “How to embrace your ordinary life.” She gave 10 instructions that we think hit the mark. We’ve applied biblical references next to each. 1. Do the little tasks with as much love and concentration as the big tasks. (Zachariah 4:10) 2. Care for your body in one small way every day. (1 Corinthians 6:19) 3. Notice your inhales and exhales. Never hold your breath. (Ephesians 5:20) 4. Ignore the lives of celebrities and idols. (Exodus 20:17, Deut. 5:21) 5. Never compare yourself to others. (Romans 12:6) 6. Appreciate what you have in this moment. (Hebrews 13:5) 7. Act from your heart. (1 Peter 1:22) 8. Look and learn from life around you. (Song of Solomon 2:12) 9. Remember, you can’t take any of it with you in the end. (Matthew 6:19-21) 10. Accept that you are perfect just as you are. (Romans 8: 37-39) So can we do a little better than we did yesterday? Can that hit song really be written? Yep, by digging into those basic principles above and doing the ordinary just a few more times. Creatively His, Keith Mohr and Susan-Ross Mohr INDIEMECHANICS www.indiemechanics.com
Keith Mohr and Sue Ross-Mohr have years of experience serving independent Christian artists, musicians and songwriters. Keith founded www.indieheaven.com in 2002, the leading portal for Christian independent music. Sue Ross-Mohr founded www.theinnervizion.com in 2003, a creative promotions / marketing / consulting service to individuals and companies worldwide.
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Re-Harmonizing a Classic Hymn
In this lesson we are going to take this hymn that has touched so many through the ages and re-harmonize it in a fingerstyle/ jazz style. This great song was originally written in 1855 by Joseph M. Scriven and Charles Converse, and the copyright is now Public Domain. I’m going to give this classic hymn a new sound and show you some harmonic ideas that you can apply to other tunes, and even incorporate into your regular guitar playing. Because the classics have more harmonic content to start with than current worship songs, hymns like “How Great Thou Art”, “Victory In Jesus”, and “Great is Thy Faithfulness” lend themselves well to re-harmonization. My hope with this piece is to open your ears to some new sounds in harmony and get you playing some new chords on the “Fretboard Less Traveled.” Beware, it might be infectious and you might catch the jazz guitar bug! I urge you first to work on the arrangement and memorize it by rote, taking it one measure at a time. In the end you will have a great solo guitar arrangement perfect for prayer time, preludes, and even communion. Trust me, once your worship leader finds out you can do these types of arrangements he’ll be asking you to do it a lot. In the next edition we will go over each chord change and I will offer the thinking behind the chords and harmonic movement, but first get the tune into your hands. ‘Till then, may God bless your hard work.
Rich Severson, guitarist, clinician, author, band director, former GIT instructor. To preview Rich’s music and guitar educational products go to www.GuitarCollege.com and www.99CentGuitarLessons.com
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by Joe Riggio
Hello Readers! I commonly receive questions that I’m sure lots of us share, but have answers that are a bit too short to fill this column. So this month I’ll be grouping some of them together for a little change of pace. Please keep in mind that these types of questions usually have answers that are even more subjective than the more technical type, usually found here. So, here’s my take on them: When it comes to strings, should I buy coated or uncoated?
Q A Q A
Coated strings came onto the market in the mid-90s as a solution for strings losing their “new ” tone, due to early corrosion. The marketing for this innovation was hard and heavy from the start, and the product has now been adopted by almost every string maker in the U.S. There is a fairly heavy cost to this plastic jacketed counterpart to traditional strings, so I only recommend them in certain circumstances: If a player has unusually acidic sweat that corrodes a regular string upon first play; for those who don’t like the bright sound of a new set of strings and for those who prefer the smooth feel of a coated string. Otherwise, I usually advise against them, mostly because of their cost and lack of brightness. When recording acoustic guitars, do you use microphones or pickups?
Q A Q A
My 12-year-old daughter/ son wants to learn to play guitar. Should they learn on a full-sized one, or a short-scale?
I have found that there is a huge misconception out there, among beginners and novices, that acoustic guitar pickups are the way to record, as well as play live. For the vast majority of professional recordings, a microphone is used to record acoustic guitars. This is not a “rule”, and a pickup’s sound may, in some cases, be what you’re looking for, but a condenser microphone will usually give you the sound that you’re used to hearing on your favorite recordings. JUL/AUG 2012
I think this one really depends on the particular child. In general, I feel that starting on a short-scale guitar can create an awkward transition to a full-scale instrument, in the future. However, if the child is particularly small, with smaller hands, by all means start them on a short-scale guitar if a full-scale is obviously frustrating to them. The beginning stages of learning are challenging J o e R i g g i o i s a professional guitar enough, as it is.
to their beginner’s guitars. A guitar that is not properly set-up, no matter how expensive or inexpensive it might be, can cause real frustration to the player that is learning. It will be both more difficult to play, and will not be in-tune with itself, causing improper ear training. Most professional instructors in my area commonly send their beginning students to me, to properly set-up and adjust their guitars. Hmmm, I think I like this format. Shoot me an e-mail and let me know what you think. ServiceGuitarRepair@gmail.com
repairman/technician Is it worth getting a cheap and recording engineer, beginner’s guitar set-up by based in Tacoma, WA. a professional technician/ He owns and operates repairman? “Service Guitar Repair” and “House Of Sound Recording Studio” He has a deep love and knowledge of vintage guitars, This one relates to the last, as well as modern and loves to share his passion with others. and is the most common He can be contacted at ServiceGuitarRepair@gmail.com, misconception, among my website: www.ServiceGuitarRepair.com
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Diatonic Forms - Part 2 Lead Patterns
Last issue we started looking at Diatonic Scale Forms, with each form running across the neck of the guitar. Our Lead Patterns will ascend up the neck and cover three octaves. I have broken Lead Pattern #1 into three groups consisting of 7 notes each. Each group of 7 notes (E to D) will be played on 2 strings, with the fret hand fingering being shown under the staff. Be sure to use alternate picking (down, up, down, up etc.) Take each group one at a time. In groups #2 and 3 you will need to move your 4th finger (pinky) up to the next note. You do this by sliding your finger to the next position without playing or fretting the note in between. Once you have gotten the 3 groups down put them together to play the full Lead Pattern #1. Lead Pattern #2 starts on the 2nd fret (F#). There are 4 times that you will have to slide up with your 4th finger in this pattern. If you have been looking for a way to help build up your pinky, then this pattern will help do that too. Once you have a grasp of the patterns ascending up the neck, work on them descending back down the neck. Remember that all Scales, Forms, and Patterns are ways that the notes are grouped on the fretboard and will help you get around the neck of your guitar better; but it is the way that you play the notes, phrases, rhythms, and melodies that make them musical and create a feeling or take you somewhere. Use them to improve your vocabulary to create a new song for the Lord.
Roger is available for private lessons on Skype and at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, w w w.ro g e r z i m ish .co m, Endorses Greg Bennett Design Guitars by Samick, G&L Guitars, Visual Sound Peddles and PedalTrain Pedal Boards.
Line 6 StageSource L3t Powered Loudspeaker
by Doug Doppler
Over the past several years the market has seen a sharp increase in the number of powered mains that can also function as monitors. The StageSource L3t is Line 6’s first foray into this arena, and it’s clear they’ve done their homework. More than just another main that you can turn on its side, the L3t delivers a truly impressive range DSP-driven audio solutions. In testing the L3t across a wide range of input sources it did an excellent job of addressing an array of challenges congregations face each week. FEATURES Speakers and Power The L3t is a three-way speaker system powered by a whopping 1,400 watts. The two ten-inch speakers sit at either end of the road-worthy plywood enclosure, surrounding the oneinch compression driver. I found that this design delivered tight and punchy low end as well as improved off-axis treble response. Side Mixer Panel The side mixer panel of the L3t hosts two independent channels each outfitted with a 1/4”/XLR combi-jack, selectable -20db input pad, gain, three band EQ with sweepable mids, modulation, reverb, and three-mode feedback 42 JUL/AUG 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM suppression. The first channel also incorporates a “Body” model control for acoustic electrics. The channels can also be linked in stereo mode, which defeats the modeling. Back Panel The back panel is where the L3t does the heavy lifting. A 1/4”/XLR combijack and stereo RCA inputs feed the Line and Aux inputs respectively, making for a total of four “always on” input sources. Like those on the side mixer, Line input also features multi-band feedback suppression. The Loop Through XLR output jack sends only the Line Input source, while the Aux Out passes audio from all the inputs. Global volume for all input sources is controlled by the Master knob. The master section also includes a peak light indicator for the inline limiter. The Speaker Mode button allows you to cycle between Reference/P.A., Playback, Floor Monitor, Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, and Electric Guitar modes to optimize performance based on input source. L6 Link input and output jacks are the key to enabling intelligent functionality for coupling multiple L3ts and/or Line 6 StageScape systems. L6 Link Line 6’s proprietary L6 Link offers a number of key advantages. When connecting a second L3t, the system automatically assigns each box a left or right designation, displayed in a readout on the back panel. Connect an L3s subwoofer to a pair of L3ts and it will automatically sum the stereo input sources and set crossover points. Add a second L3s and the system will separate left and right program material for the subs. The other key advantage of using the L6 link system is time and phase alignment. Keeping data in the digital domain means it only gets converted back to analog once. This helps the system maintain proper time and phase alignment between the components. Line 6 strongly recommends using AES/EBU cables, no more than 50 feet in length. ADDITIONAL APPLICATIONS In addition to traditional P.A. functionality the L3t also offers a great range of additional applications. Personal Monitor Extending and locking the recessed handle or pop-up kick stands into place allows you to rest the L3t securely on it’s side at either a 30 or 60 degree angle. The internal accelerometer triggers the DSP to automatically shift into Floor Monitor mode, gently reducing bass response to counteract coupling. Per the design spec, the unit will remain in Floor Monitor mode after powering down, speeding up your next set-up. Backline and “Virtual Tilt-back” The accelerometer and an internal pole mount sensor can also determine whether the unit has been placed upright and on a pole. Selecting any of the “backline” speaker modes (keyboard, acoustic guitar, electric guitar) when the unit is upright but not elevated actives the “Virtual Tilt-back” functionality. In this mode the sound is projected upwards
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towards the musician and not directly out, ideal for tight spaces. Monitor Stations
Remote System The L3t is also an excellent solution for areas like children’s’ rooms which often have a complex set of audio requirements. The native RCA jacks are ideal for MP3 or DVD audio, leaving two mixer channels for mics or instruments, and the line input for piping in the main service if need be.
For venues with a limited number of monitor sends, the Loop Through XLR jack offers amazing functionality. By daisy-chaining multiple units together via the Line In and CONCLUSION Loop Through jacks, you can build monitor Whether you’re in the market for powered stations where musicians can blend in their RESULTS mains or monitors, the L3t brings a host own instruments via the internal mixer With every input source I tested I was without feeding those signals down stream. thoroughly impressed with the sound and of really smart solutions to address the This addresses one of the biggest ongoing functionality of the L3t. Each of the things it challenges Churches faces each week. challenges for smaller congregations. was designed to do it did with excellence. I Retail Price $1,199.99 Line6.com
was particularly impressed with the acoustic modeling as well as the sound of my HD500 into the mixer input in the Floor Monitor “Smart Speaker” mode. In testing the L3t in service the tone was true to what was coming out front of house–and I even got some whammy bar fueled feedback!
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I’D DO THIS FOR FREE
by Bryan Duncan
Upon receiving a budget through kickstarter. com to record new songs, I set about calling interested parties willing to work with me. There was much immediate willingness, I must say. I sent most potential producers a snippet of a song idea to start with. Nine out of ten musicians did not respond to the music itself. Shared enthusiasm can’t be bought, but it will something you’d heard before. Perhaps, above be the difference between just another record all, we were trying to predict what an audience and something transcendent. might like. At the end of the day, that will not stay! Creativity is always a riskier proposition. It has less chance of being mediocre, but it also may come up completely empty. My kids played me a hit song they loved to sing along to, years ago. The band was off key, and the vocals were outta tune. But you could feel the energy in all of its hopefulness. I had to smile. I’m not making excuses here for a subpar performance. I’m just saying don’t forget the key ingredient in the mix. It’s not something you can push up with the faders. Make sure you feel God’s pleasure when you play or sing. I always do . . . and I always have. See what you think when you hear my new music coming out later this year. I’ve added a huge dose of humility to this mix. That yeast is making the dough rise! Maybe it’s why new talent replaces the old. Newbie’s simply love the opportunity. Granted, we’re all jaded at some point with giving away our talent; but there’s a fine What I got was a long list of “To do” schedules line between demanding what your worth, from the “professionals” and “price ranges”. If and understanding the budget restraints of they called me back in a week, it was a rare another. thing. If I had a dollar for all the “awesome Yea, sending a music idea first was my idea talent” people I know in this business I could of putting out a “fleece” before God to know fund all of your records and take a vacation in who I should choose. It worked in this case. the Bahamas. I found the musicians with the most passion! One thing I know about selling music is this: You can’t buy enough passion with a financial budget. I’m probably still here myself because, bottom line is, I’d do this for free. There have been many times in hard economies where I simply wrote songs because it didn’t cost me anything to do it! They were the one’s who sent me immediate ideas and possibilities before they knew what their pay scale might be.
I’ve reached a point where I realize that there are two kinds of recording projects. The first is the one that impresses all the musicians who never buy it. And the second one is the passion I’m taking a few hints from the story of Gideon I heard somewhere that, “the guy who knows driven creative expression that sells records. in the Bible. God comes to him and says, ‘You’ve why something should be done will always Don’t be fooled, passion is greater than talent! got too big a band. You need to thin it out. have a job before the guy who knows how to Someone played me one of the greatest Look for the soldiers with the most vigilance do it”. Creativity is rarely a salaried event. What music projects I’ve ever heard the other day. and let me shine on an impossible victory.’ I’m saying here is: Look for “co-laborers” first. Sonically it was superb. But you could feel the What if we all wrote and played with a pretentiousness, the cut and paste, no thought lyrics as it rolled over a perfect track. relentless determination to proclaim what true salvation looks like. I’d love to see Christian Music overcome the urbane, ubiquitous drone of the gangster phenomenon. Not Christian Music as a “genre” either; just the power of the truth above the circumstances. That’s where I want to be. That’s what I call Christian Music. It’s not based on how many scripture references you can add, or how many times you use “Jesus” as a buzzword to enhance your approval rating with the flock.
Trust me, I understand the value of great talent. But it is no excuse for narcissism. If you are looking in the mirror while you’re playing, you’re not playing from your heart. Don’t make a performance out of a worship song either. And I believe all songs are worship songs of one kind or another. And there’s no guitar solo in Amazing Grace.
We’ve got what money can’t buy. And I’ve seen God’s hand on songs in every style imaginable. In the end I believe THAT Passion pays! I will bring what redemption feels like to me at this moment. And my hope is that you find that as well in your work. If ever there was a need for a new hope in this world, it would be now. Let’s find something breathtaking to In recent months and do in music shall we kids? And lets pray for an in working with other increase in our faith above all. writers I’m seeing a new kind of passion among Bryan Duncan... CCM artist for Christian musicians. It’s a desire to truly affect the thirty years. With the Sweet listener with the good Comfort Band, then solo and now news. It’s different from with the Nehosoul band. Owner days of old where there of Red Road Records and Host of was a distinct attempt to Radio Rehab at www.radiorehab. “appear” great musically, com inducted into the Christian music Hall of Fame in and to offer something 2007. that kinda sounded like 46 JUL/AUG 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
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