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Big Tent’s Revival
the Art of Re-Assembling a Band
5 Cool Things I Saw at NAMM
ESP LTD B-335 Bass Guitar
MAR/APR 2012 Volume 17, Issue 2
Jill Phillips • Jesus Music Again • Randy Stonehill Oats • Andrew Greer • Audrey Assad • Tanya Godsey
US $5.95 Can $6.95
14 Ideas For Improving Your Playing
Developing Your Inner Clock
Finding the Right Music Gear for Your Church Just Got Easier!
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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
(800) 222–4700 • WWW.SWEETWATER.COM
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.
Call us today at (800) 222–4700
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
News and Articles
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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Audix is the industry leader in drum and percussion microphones and was the first to introduce professional mic pack assortments to the market. It is within this spirit of innovation that Audix is proud to launch 6 new and unique packs.
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Soapbox Time – Community is important
With all of the political conversations filling the airways, and everyone and their brother spouting off opinions on this or that (that is the inherent problem with opinions you know… everyone has one… ha!) I thought I would throw my hat into the ring. Am I running for office? No. Am I hoping to stir things up a bit? Yes. Pet Peeve #1. For you regular readers you are thinking, “Here he goes talking about not being able to hear the guitarist plays his solo part in the worship service again”. OK, don’t get me started on that one. Nope, this pet peeve is the fact that I just came back from exhibiting at a large Bluegrass festival here in WA (Wintergrass) and those folks are kicking our behinds when it comes to teaching children and teenagers how to not only play various instruments, but also teaching them how to play “together well with others”. Just think if some visionaries took this principle and, after school was out for the day, kids of all ages would go to their local church and receive music lessons? What if churches would bring in the parents of the students to hear music recitals that the kids perform, what would this do for building community on several levels? Pet Peeve #2. While on the subject of building community we need to realize that sometimes musicians can become “Lone Rangers”. With the introspective nature of songwriting, and also now being able to fully record yourself on your trusty iPad type devices, we can tend to keep to ourselves. What I would like to see more of is our local churches offering “Jam Nights”. These evenings are set aside to attract the various musicians in the congregation to just get together and play for the fun of it. It is a fellowship builder, and perhaps may be fertile ground to find some new worship team band members as well. If your church values small home groups, then think of these “Jam Nights” as an extension of that idea. You just may bring a few “home recording potatoes” out of their music rooms and into a deeper relational community. I know a few worship leaders that practice this once a month and they rave about how good it has been for all involved. Pet Peeve #3. Get out of the “play Christian music only in church” bubble. Doyle Dykes has always been good at encouraging Christian musicians to get out there and play outside of the four walls of the church! Go play coffee shops, or have music outreaches in parks. I know several guys who play gigs at restaurants; they play a mix of mainstream songs and slip one or two spiritual songs into the set list. I know one musician who plays an acoustic guitar gig and sings James Taylor, Neil Young, and others. You can be choosey about what mainstream songs you play so as not to disturb your conscience before the Lord, but there are a lot of good tunes out there to choose from, and you can add a “little salt” with the presentation. Non-churched people will usually respect you as an artist if they see you playing songs they know, and then they just may tune in when you sing something from your heart that points to the Savior. Alright, there you have it. Three pet peeves I had to get off my chest. Thank you for hearing me out on these. Maybe talk about these ideas with your musician friends, worship leaders, and pastors. Judy and I need to remind ourselves of this as well… community is important. If we are so busy spinning our wheels and we miss out on something that the Lord put in place for us to benefit from, then we are the ones that are missing the boat. Community builds deeper relationships, accountability, and lifestyle evangelism. I should write those three things on the side of my soapbox! Lord Bless Ya! Bruce & Judy
34 The Indie Mechanics by Keith Mohr & Sue Ross-Mohr What’s Your Story? 36 The Fretboard Less Traveled by Rich Severson 14 Ideas for Improving Your Playing 38 Ask Joe by Joe Riggio CGA Special Stratocaster & PAF Special Guitar Pickups by Carlsen Guitar Audio 41 Guitar From A 2 Z by Roger Zimish The 7 String Guitar 46 Maybe You Need a Kickstart by Bryan Duncan
8 Product Review by Eric Wylie ESP LTD B-335 Bass Guitar 10 Bassic Communication by Norm Stockton Developing Your Inner Clock (Part 1) 12 Guitar Workshop by John Standefer How Great Thou Art 14 Drumming Dynamics by David Owens Benny Greb Shuffle Solo 16 Vocal Coach’s Corner by Roger Beale The Rocket’s Red Glaring? 18 Show Us Your Groove by Rick Cua Serving for the Long Haul (Part 2) 26 Selective Hearing by Shawn McLaughlin Jill Phillips Jesus Music Again Randy Stonehill Oats Andrew Greer Audrey Assad Tanya Godsey 30 5 Cool Things I Saw at NAMM by Bruce Adolph, Michael Hodge, Holland Davis, Kent Morris, Nick Daleo
20 Big Tent Revival Big Tent’s Revival: the Art of Re-Assembling a Band by Aimee Herd
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, Toddie Downs Accounting: Debi Davis Advertising Sales: email@example.com Published by the Adolph Agency Inc.
ESP LTD B-335 Bass Guitar
by Eric Wylie
I am writing this review on a beautiful Sunday afternoon after church. It was a great time of worship and a powerful sermon. The review bass performed with excellence during the worship service. Straight from the gig bag, tuned up, and on stage. No setup necessary. The bass fit perfectly in the mix with almost no EQ’ing. A few church members commented on how good it sounded! That is the ultimate test of any instrument; how do the listeners like it. ESP is well known in the heavy metal market for radical body designs, but they also offer a wide range of shapes and styles. The B-335 model is a contemporary 34” scale, 5-string shape that makes use of ash for the body and a laminated 5 piece neck made of Mahogany/ Rosewood. The neck is a bolt on design with 24 frets and a deep-set neck pocket. There are a number of nicely engineered features on this bass. ESP has rounded the neck heel and used countersunk screws to mount the neck. This eliminates the bulky heel found on most basses and eliminates the need for a neck plate. This also facilitates comfortable access up to the 24th fret on the neck. The body has nice top and back edge bevels instead of the traditional roundovers, which help contribute to the contemporary look. The neck and body were finished in a dark black stain and semigloss top coat. ESP omitted the grain filler on the ash during finishing. This process gives the body an interesting texture. A few high-end builders are using similar finishing processes. The finish was not flawless on the review bass, as there were a few particles stuck in the finish on the back of the neck. Unfortunately, those cannot be buffed out without impacting the semi-gloss finish. However, anyone can clean those up with a few swipes of fine-grained sandpaper. Outside of those few particles, the overall fit and finish of the review bass were excellent. The B-335 is loaded with ESP proprietary soapbar pickups and a three band EQ system. With the EQ set flat the bass has a beefy low and mid register with a clear, but not brittle, top end. As mentioned previously, the bass fit in a contemporary pop/rock mix quite nicely. Thanks to the two pickups and three band EQ, there are many sonic options in this bass. The only sound I could not coax out of the bass was the ultra-scooped ‘Fieldy’ slap bass sound. You’ll need to be the judge if that would be considered a negative or not. A 9-volt battery powers the active electronics with a separate battery box on the back of the body. The ESP B-335 performed admirably and would be an excellent choice for almost any worship bassist. The bass came loaded with SIT strings instead of ‘house’ strings, which was a nice touch. The setup manual for the bass was a generic ESP guitar/bass manual but it happened to be one of the better-written manuals I’ve seen with any instrument. Kudos for the little things. My last little gripe was the thin gig bag that came with the bass. This is a nice bass, but it won’t stay nice for very long without a better gig bag. Overall, the B-335 is a lot of bass for anyone on a tight budget. In fact, it is an exceptional bass at its price point. The B-335 is manufactured Indonesia. Street price is approximately $529. For more information, go to the ESP website. http://w w w.espguitars.com/basses/ltdstandard-deluxe/b-335.html
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Developing Your Inner Clock (Part 1)
When doing bass clinics or teaching breakout sessions at conferences, I usually mention that it’s my goal to help attendees learn important musical concepts more easily than I did. Throughout my earlier years of being a musician, I often focused on the flashy stuff at the exclusion of solid, foundational playing. Consequently, I only came to appreciate the importance and relevance of many critical aspects of musicianship the HARD WAY! (e.g., in the middle of recording sessions, etc.) There simply is no more critical aspect to our bass playing than the rhythmic component (and I’m saying this as someone who has a huge appreciation for the melodic and harmonic aspects of bass playing). Rhythm is “Job 1”. I immediately began consistently working with a metronome. My perspective changed from the bass guitar (emphasis on the latter, with all manner of noodling & licks!) to bass as drum (i.e., the bass as part of the drum kit). figures in the top 2 staves. Start with the first one (click on each quarter note, i.e., “1, 2, 3, 4”) and play through Exercises 1 and 2. Make sure you tap your foot with the metronome and try to internalize the tempo. Also watch your foot in measure 4 of Exercise 1: your foot should still be tapping on the downbeats, with the notes being played on the upbeats! The key is to keep the quarter-note foot tapping constant, regardless of the rhythmic figure being played. You’ll notice that Exercises 3 and 4 are simply the first two exercises played with string skipping. Just mute the strings with your fretting hand, and pluck the strings as indicated. Don’t worry, we’ll add pitch later – for now, focus on rhythmic accuracy and avoiding flams (two distinct, nearly-simultaneous hits) with the click. The sound of the click should disappear when you’re locking with it. If possible, record yourself repetitively playing these exercises and listen back critically for flams. Once these are feeling comfortable, try to play them again with the metronome playing the 2nd figure ( just beats 2 and 4), while maintaining your foot taps on each quarter note. Having the click on beats 2 and 4 helps create the feeling of backbeat a drummer typically would provide with their snare drum. Practice these at a variety of tempos. You might be surprised to find how challenging it is to play these accurately at slower tempos (60 bpm and slower). Don’t shy away from them! Some of the best rhythmic practice (and inner clock calibration) happens at those slower bpm’s. Happy woodshedding and see you soon!
(Adapted from curriculum in the Grooving for Heaven instructional DVDs)
The good news is that one doesn’t need to be Perhaps the single most important revelation “born with good time” - it can be developed in this regard had to do with timekeeping. I through regular practice with a click. came to realize that, at the end of the day, no amount of “chops” or flash could substitute for It should be mentioned that grooving, in the context of playing actual music with other rhythmically accurate bass playing. musicians, can vary significantly in the Bassic Communication degree to which it is Developing Your Inner Clock (Part 1) metronomic; based upon the musical Metronome Clicks on quarter notes Norm Stockton genre, the desired (Tap foot on each quarter note) musical feel, etc. However, I’ve found that the starting Metronome Clicks on beats 2 & 4 point is to calibrate (Keep tapping foot on each quarter note) our internal sense of time through consistent work Exercise 1 with a metronome.
3 3 3 Exercise 3 (Exercise 1 w/ String Skipping) 3
X X X
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Exercise 4 (Exercise 2 w/ String Skipping)
X X X X
This allows us to become familiar with how a steady tempo sounds and feels, as well as recognizing our own rhythmic tendencies (e.g., do we tend to rush, or drag, or are we prone to speeding up when the dynamic level builds vs. slowing down when the dynamic level drops, etc.). To that end, we’re starting a new series today on developing our timekeeping. You’ll notice two rhythmic
© 2012 Stocktones Music
Norm Stockton is a bassist/clinician/solo artist based in Orange County, CA. He spends lots of time touring and recording with worship artist Lincoln Brewster, but his solo projects (“Pondering the Sushi” and “Tea In The Typhoon”) have received widespread acclaim from around the world. Visit Norm at www. ArtOfGroove.com and www.normstockton.com, as well as Facebook & Twitter for much bass-related info and fun. While there, be sure to check out his blog (The GrooveSpot) and register for his e-newsletter (the groove update) for tips, interviews, clinic invites, exclusive discount prices, and more.
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How Great Thou Art
(solo & accompaniment)
I recently wrote an accompaniment arrangement of ‘How Great Thou Art’ for a Skype student. Soon after that I got a request for a solo version. I got to thinking that maybe I should develop an overall arrangement that began with a solo and then went into the accompaniment version. That way, if you were playing this at church, you could perform the solo first, and then invite the congregation to sing along for the next verse. I ended up choosing to do the solo in the key of G so that I could get that ‘uplifting’ key change effect as I moved into A when the congregation joins
in. The overall 2-part arrangement ended up being really nice and it gives you the option to perform the piece as a solo or as an accompaniment – or both. If you want the full-blown 3-page TAB chart, including teaching instructions and an audio file of me playing the piece, you can find it on the store page at www.johnstandefer. com under ‘TABs’. Hope you enjoy this classic hymn! - John
Have you seen John’s free ‘Praise Guitar Lessons’ online yet? Go to CCLI TV and start the weekly lessons today. And make sure to look over John’s calendar at www. praiseguitar.com to find an event near you where you can hear him live.
How Great Thou Art
G. Boberg / R.J. Hughes
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Benny Greb Shuffle Solo
Last time we looked at a shuffle by Thomas Lang. This time I have transcribed a small section from a Benny Greb shuffle solo. If you are not familiar with his playing, you need to check him out. He can play any style, his groove is undeniable, and he has plenty of tasty chops as well. I’ve transcribed a short section of this solo that is full of creative and fun stuff to work on. In the next article I will break this solo up into sections that can be practiced as individual exercises. Right now let’s just check out and try to grasp this section of his solo.
the mp3 down. At a slower speed it is a lot much as I enjoyed analyzing a small section of easier to understand. One of the great things it. Now, back to the woodshed everyone, and about this little outtake, is his sticking in the get in some good practice time. linear section in the 3rd and 4th bars. He also Blessings, David blends in a straight 32nd note vibe that is very cool.
David currently tours with Fernando Put in Benny Greb - jazzclub-drumsolo March Ortega and has worked with Sara 2008 into You Tube or this direct link: http:// youtu.be/hMJtIWD6FUw?t=1m7s - The snare Groves, Bebo Norman, Crystal lick starts at 1:02 into the Video. Now I know Lewis, Cheri Keaggy, Tommy Walker, this is advanced stuff, but just picking apart a Paul Baloche among others. He has small section can be really beneficial. And as played for Billy and Franklin Graham I mentioned before, my next article will split Crusades, Harvest Crusades, Maranatha Worship Leader You can convert the video using Zamzar.com this up into smaller practice exercises. Workshops and for over 2 years he was the house drummer into an mp3, and then use Audacity to slow I hope you enjoy this Benny Greb solo as for the Los Angeles production of The Lion King. His home church is Plymouth Church in Whittier, California. www. DaveOwensDrums.com
Benny Greb Shuffle Solo
This snare roll starts at 1:02 into the Video = 94
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The Rocket’s Red Glaring?
I am sitting down and writing this article in the weeks before the Super Bowl. It seems that this is the time of year when the National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, becomes a major point of interest. The interest even goes as far as the gambling houses in Las Vegas having an over/under bet on the duration of the song by the designated singer. The last year has not been good for one singer who you know as Christina Aguilera. It was painful for the entire country and all who observed the vocal massacre. But Aguilera probably suffered the most. You would too if you forgot the words of the National Anthem in front of one hundred million viewers. That was scary just writing that sentence. To avoid the pain and agony of a Star Spangled memory lapse let me suggest that singers might want to do a little research into the history of this song. At the time of its writing America and England were involved in the War of 1812 and Francis Scott Key was in Baltimore, Maryland in September of 1814. Key was a lawyer and a poet who was there to obtain the release of an American prisoner being held on a British truce ship in Chesapeake Bay. After a successful time of negotiation, he overheard the British plan of attack and was then detained until the battle is completed. On September 13th, from the ship, F. Scott observed the bombardment of Fort McHenry. On September 14th, Key was elated to see the American flag still flying over the fort. Francis Scott Key then sat down and began to write “The Defense of Fort McHenry”. The tune he chose is lifted from another song called “The Anacreon in Heaven” by John Stafford Smith. This poem and that song are now called “The Star-Spangled Banner”. By the way, it only took the United States government another 117 years to declare it our National Anthem. At this time let’s leave the history classroom and go to the vocal studio where performance decisions will need to be made. The song’s range is one octave and a half. This is not a problem if the singer decides to change registers, chest voice (low notes) and head voice (high notes). But those that sing in a contemporary commercial style (belt voice) need to decide on a workable key. This singer must sacrifice the low notes for the sake of solid and thrilling high notes (“red glare” and “free”). Normally the key is A flat. This places the high notes at E flat and the low notes at A flat. For a female belter this E flat is usually too high. So one might consider lowering the key to F. This places the high notes at C and the low notes at F. That C is right in the wheelhouse of most belters, thereby delivering exciting and fulfilling high notes. The next decision to be made is how to get your pitch when singing unaccompanied. Buy a Pitch Pipe!! But you must be aware that the starting note and the key are two different things. Consider that the key just mentioned is F. The starting pitch is C, five notes above the tonic (key) note F. This is very important! The pitch pipe that I recommend is The Master Key chromatic pitch pipe made by Wm. Kratt Co. (note range C-C). They last a long time and can be taken apart for cleaning. I still have mine from my university days and it still works. Spangled Banner” at Woodstock. We were off to the races. Since that time the performance disasters have continued to pile up. But one performance sticks out in a very positive way, Whitney Houston’s performance at the Super Bowl in 1991. It continues to inspire to this day and every anthem singer at the Super Bowl is trying to do her one better. It can’t be done! There is a secret to what she did. But you will have to come to Atlanta for a lesson to find out what it is. Sorry for the carrot, but she did do something very different with the Anthem. I am not making this up. In reaction to all the stylized renditions today, many sport venues and teams have chosen to have singers and groups commit to a version limited to one minute and forty seconds and no repeated phrases. This is obviously an attempt to control over-arranged choir performances and overzealous personal renditions with excessive melismas or licks that obliterate the melody. I can’t blame the sports teams for doing this. By the way have you heard Steve Tyler of Aerosmith sing “The Star-Spangled Banner”? Now go sing well!
Another interesting fact about “The Star- Roger Beale is one of the nation’s foremost vocal coaches. He presently works Spangled Banner” is that until 1968, Classical with professional singers in all or Legit singers were the only ones allowed to areas of musical performance. sing it publicly. However, at the 1968 World His teaching and coaching Series a then young artist by the name of Jose facility, The Voice House, is Feliciano performed a soulful version of the involved in the management and anthem in Detroit. I was very young then and care of the professional voice. can still remember this because my beloved Many of his students have won St. Louis Cardinals were the other team in that prestigious vocal competitions World Series. Sadly, my Cardinals lost, but and scholarships. In addition, one day I will get over it. Back let’s get back he has worked with Grammy and Dove award winners and to Jose . . . His performance caused a huge stink because it was heavily blues-based and totally and completely nontraditional. This was just the beginning because just ten months later Jimi Hendrix woke up the hippie generation with his psychedelic version of “The Star-
nominees. He also offers vocal clinics and seminars, as well as assistance in recording sessions. Roger is an adjunct professor in the Fine Arts department at Point University (formerly Atlanta Christian College), website: www.point.edu. Roger can be contacted at: The Voice House, PO Box 87136, College Park, GA 30337, (404) 822-5097, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web site: www. thevoicehouse.com.
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Serving for the Long Haul
by Rick Cua
In the last issue we talked about knowing who you are in Christ, making sure you are serving in the right place, doing your ministry at a sustainable pace, and making time for yourself. develop their skills also. When appropriately eternity. Our God will never fade away, and done, everyone benefits. And it saves energy when we are in Him and He is in us, neither for the things that you are supposed to do will we! yourself. Psalm 92:12-15 - The righteous will flourish You can’t delegate just anything. To like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar determine when delegation is most of Lebanon; planted in the house of the appropriate, here are four key questions you LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our need to ask yourself: God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they 1) Is this a task that someone else can do, will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The or is it critical that you do it yourself? Some LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is tasks speak into your long-term success, such no wickedness in him.” Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
We will begin Part 2 by looking at a way to duplicate yourself which speaks loudly to 2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” What God has given you will be passed on to another, as interviewing and hiring. Tasks like that truly then another, and on and on as you mentor need YOUR attention. and coach people who have similar gifts and understand the healthy principles of 2) Does the task provide an opportunity to grow and develop another person’s skills? discipleship. 3) Is this a task that will recur, in a similar 5) Transition From Being A Player To A form, in the future? Player/Coach. 4) Do you have enough time to delegate the
If you don’t begin to make this transition you job effectively? You need time for properly will be frustrated and disappointed with the instructing people how to do the job, for Job 12:12 - Is not wisdom found among results your efforts produce. answering questions, and to check progress. the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? Somewhere in my mid 40’s I began to feel Consider these questions seriously and if unfulfilled in my ministry. I can remember one you can answer “yes” to at least some of them, Psalm 71:17-18 - Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare night after a concert I shared my feelings with delegation could be your answer. your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old my trusted friend, Joe White, who was also and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I part of that night’s program. After hearing my 7) Stay Motivated. declare your power to the next generation, concerns Joe asked me if things still seemed Find out what keeps you on target…read it, your might to all who are to come. to be working, was the ministry time effective whether the results were visible or not….and listen to it, DO IT! To whom much is given much is required, and it was. Joe said, “keep doing what your doing.” For me, God’s Word and stories in scripture at the same time His burden is light and His That was a good word, but it was only a like Nehemiah 6:3, “…“I am doing a great work, yoke is easy. Serving for the long haul should piece of what I needed. It wasn’t until I got a so that I cannot come down...” the story of be progressively effective, should produce prophetic word from another friend, Wayne Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel others who will do the same, and should be Drain, a Pastor and gifted communicator, that 3:17 & 18 “If we are thrown into the blazing a life filled with joy, hope and promise. This I felt filled up and totally motivated to serve furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver is what we are signed up for…what could be for the coming years. Wayne told me that I us from it, and he will deliver us from Your better! was a Player/Coach. For some reason that was Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we what I needed: to invest in others fully, not want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will just here and there. The player/coach analogy not serve your gods or worship the image of gave me the security that I apparently needed gold you have set up.”, Philippians 4:13 “I can Not just a musical artist, Rick as a player and the mandate, first from God, do all things through Christ who strengthens knows the business of music me.” These not only continue to motivate me then further confirmed by Wayne, as a coach, as well. Besides being a music but have inspired songs like “I Can I Will”, mentor and discipler. publisher, artist manager and “Never Give Up”, “Can’t Come Down”, “Bull By booking agent, he founded The Horns”, “Wear Your Colors”, “Flex”…and 6) Know When To Delegate and ran his own record label, so many more that motivate others as well. UCA Records, in the 1990s If you’re like me, you have probably spent Regarding music . . .what songs motivate you which led to a position for much of your life doing everything yourself; and help you live out your life with purpose, five and 1⁄2 years as Vice first, because you enjoyed it, and secondly, passion and joy? Turn it up and listen often! President, Creative/Copyright because it was easier to do it yourself than Development at EMI CMG in Nashville. There he take the time to teach someone else how to 8) Know That Your Best Years Are Always managed a large songwriter roster and exponentially do it. To Come. grew revenue through film and TV licensing, song Delegation allows you to make the best use of promotion and print music development. He is your time and skills, and it helps other people We have been made in God’s image, not just currently on staff as the minister of Pastoral Care and for our assignment here on earth, but for all
Visitation at Grace Chapel in Franklin, TN.
Isaiah 46:4 - Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
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Big Tent’s Revival
by Aimee Herd
Christian Musician magazine was given the opportunity to talk to some of the members of one of CCM’s hottest bands in the late ‘90’s; Big Tent Revival. It seems they are reuniting the group and they graciously agreed to give us a unique “insiders point of view” on how they were going about it. It’s valuable information that artists and bands can use themselves, as shared by, first, singer-songwriter and BTR frontman, Steve Wiggins; and then guitarist, Randy Williams.
the Art of Re-Assembling a Band
Steve Wiggins Aimee Herd: I thought I was a busy person, but seeing everything you’re involved in makes me look like a slacker! Share a little about the time after Big Tent Revival (BTR)’s disbanding around 2001, and what you’re doing now... Steve Wiggins: It’s pretty amazing. My main job here is with Greg Laurie and Harvest Christian Fellowship. But I’m also music director for Shuvah Yisrael Messianic Congregation and lead worship for their Saturday morning Shabbat services. I teach every Tuesday night at Teen Challenge for my Living Room bible study (LivingRoomStudy. org), and I oversee a bunch of different locations for that. Then I also do concerts, am a husband, and a father of four! AH: (Laughing) Like I said...
SW: I’m kind of a ministry-adrenaline-junkie; So, over the last year or so that BTR was that will probably be on my headstone. together, I decided that we (the band) would AH: How did the Living Room studies come read a chapter of the Bible together on the tour bus before the concert, and then [instead about? of giving my testimony during the concert] I SW: It’s interesting—one of the things Big would share something [with the audience] Tent set out to do (although we didn’t have a from whatever chapter we were reading on ‘mission statement’ or anything) was to write the bus. I believe that every chapter of the songs that shared real life scenarios as sort of Bible is relevant to salvation. In that last year a tool of discipleship. Over the last decade, of touring, we made it almost all the way contemporary Christian music has definitely through the entire New Testament [starting turned to more of a direct style of worship from Matthew]. music—singing to God and getting out of the way. That’s a great idea. But, I think in that After BTR disbanded (I don’t like to say trend, we sort of lost in some way, the avenue “broke up” because we didn’t burn any of using music to teach . . .to not just say “God bridges), I found myself basically retired, and is great,” but then to say, “Okay, God is great, I would sit in the Starbucks in Franklin, Tenn., but now how do I live out that life of being a and continue to read a chapter of the Bible each day. I would pray simply, “God, give me follower of Jesus?” something today, and give me someone to BTR always sang songs that had a teaching share it with.” I’ve done that every day of my element to them. And (in concert) I would life since 2001. The Living Room Study grew always take a moment to share how I came to out of that experience. know Jesus, and give people an opportunity to publicly come to the Lord. I think it’s safe AH: So now, Big Tent is going to have a to say that, during that year with Big Tent, Revival of sorts in the future. Which previous we saw over 10,000 people make public professions of faith. But, what happened was, over that period of time, everybody in my band could tell my testimony word-for-word, plus jokes! It was the same every night, and I noticed the guys in my band kind of “checking out” during that time.
CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM MAR/APR 2012
members of BTR will be a part of this? SW: It’s all the same guys from sort of the last stage: David Alan on keyboards; Randy Williams on electric guitar; Spence Smith playing the drums; and Steve Dale playing bass. AH: And just how does one go about reassembling a band that’s been disbanded for is behind us, and the “best music we’ve ever made” is ahead of us. We said, “Let’s put over 10 years? everything that Big Tent was—together with SW: That’s what makes this such an interesting an extraction of everything we’ve been doing interview, because I don’t really know—I’ll since, and then let’s move.” We’re thinking tell you after we do it! What happened was, we may end up doing something that’s more we played a concert two years ago (we had “Americana”--probably something closer not been in the same room together for 8 to the Open All Nite record ...the Allman years). We had one day of rehearsal—but Brothers meet The Eagles. Something that just from the downbeat of that rehearsal, it was says “America.” amazing. You would’ve thought that we had not stopped touring, and we were just doing We’re going to write songs, hopefully, that what we do. We all had to step back and say, connect with where people are and what they’re doing in life. We have, and always will “Okay, that’s really weird.” be, a band that is not ashamed in proclaiming We played the worship concert the next the Gospel. But, we want to get a pedestrian day—we had only told a few people about view of what it means to live out your life BTR playing—and we had people drive in this world as a Believer. So, I think there several states just to come and see our are going to be more songs that seem like performance. Some insider Nashville people “Two Sets of Joneses”, which I think will be a told us, “Hey man you ought to put that back welcome addition [to the corporate worship together.” But the timing wasn’t right. Randy direction of CCM]. I love the worship; I’m just Williams was playing guitar for Jeremy Camp; saying I’m a storyteller. Steve Dale was playing bass for a group called Little Big Town, David Allen was working with AH: You’re in different parts of the country, Brentwood Baptist Church and doing music how are you planning to accomplish writing directing for Point of Grace and Women the music together? of Faith, and Spence Smith does the artist SW: For this first album; say I’ve written relations for Compassion International. At about 20 songs, and will be sending them to the time it was preposterous that everyone the guys in the band saying, “Do you like this would leave what they were doing to reform song?” . . .and to get their thoughts on them. the band. That’s probably how the first album will go, Then, about 3 or 4 months ago, David Allen but we’re hoping that the next album will be a called about another matter; we all wound catalyst for a whole other level of creativity. I up talking with each other, and the idea of want to make sure that the future of Big Tent restarting the band came up. I told them, is more collaborative than it was in the past. “If everyone’s in agreement that we should AH: Do you have a time frame at all? maybe get back together—then let’s all take SW: Well, we’re starting with a Kickstarter a couple of weeks to pray about it. Because, program; it’s a way for fans to help support where God guides, God provides.” After a project before it’s ever released. We’ll set that time, we got back on the phone and a goal of raising a certain amount of money, everybody wanted to do it. and based on how that goes, it will determine My next question was “which Big Tent shows the amount of resources we can put into the up?” Because, each album we did had a project. And then we’ll find someone to work little different sound—we tried to progress. out a distribution deal with. Now, with the The band on the first album sounded very technology available today, we can make the different from the one on Amplifier, and so record that we want to make, and then have on...and then Big Tent Live was a whole other it distributed. Of course iTunes and sites like experience. But we all agreed that the past it have really revolutionized the way music is 22 MAR/APR 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
distributed. AH: It’s a different world now, isn’t it? SW: Yeah! AH: Steve, are you still using the same gear, what have you added? SW: Well, since 2001 I’ve played McPherson acoustic guitars exclusively. I really believe they’re the greatest guitars made. I own an electric guitar but my son is the only one who plays it, he’s so much better than me it makes me sick! (Laughs) I turned to him (Wyatt) the other day and said, “Hey, I’m gonna need to borrow that Telecaster...” (Laughs) You know you’ve got a rock n’ roll family when the father has to borrow the son’s electric guitar so he can go on tour! Also, I’ve been doing some product testing for Danelectro guitars. AH: Is there anything else you’d like to add about the reforming of BTR? SW: Well, I think it’s a season of new beginnings. I feel like we’re in a season of life—especially in the Church—where we have a little more to say. I feel like the Lord has given us a little more life that has welled up to a point where He’s saying, “Okay, now I want you to share that with America.” I’m just really blessed that we have an opportunity to get back together to do the thing that the Lord has really created us to do together. And I really appreciate Bruce [Adolph] for letting us talk about it before it happens, because I think there are bands out there that would get back together if there was a template for how to do it. Bottom line is; I think Big Tent Revival is as relevant for the times we live in now, as we were for the times 10 years ago. Because of that, I feel like the music we’re going to make needs to exist, and hopefully people will be encouraged by it. Randy Williams AH: Randy, I spoke with Steve (Wiggins) yesterday, getting his perspective on the reuniting of Big Tent Revival, and now I’d like to get yours. Maybe go back momentarily to when BTR disbanded in mutual agreement— your thoughts back then, and now what it’s been like for you in coming full circle as you all reassemble this unique team of musicians. RW: We were at a point in our career where
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we were all good friends, and we were having some significant issues with a record label, and also families that needed tending to. I was still single, but I understood what the rest of the guys were going through from an observer’s standpoint. We kind of felt like we had hit a wall with the label; this was in the days before internet really got going, so we couldn’t really take charge of our own destiny with social media like it is today. For the amount of people who were coming to our concerts, we were not selling tons of CDs like other bands were. When we’d do concerts, we’d sell a lot of product at the tables, because people couldn’t find it in the stores. So, we ended up going different ways, but loosely kept in touch with each other over the years. I went on and did a year touring with Tim McGraw as a guitar tech; I toured with Michael Tait and his band Tait for a couple years; and most recently with Jeremy Camp—I just came off the road with him last year. During this time I got married and began my own management company. But we always entertained the thought of doing something together [as BTR] again. And now, with the advent of crowd funding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo; if you’ve got a way to corral your fan base, there’s a way to make music these days without having to sign with a record company. And, you can be more in charge of what you sound like, what you look like and how it’s put out there.
before it’s available available publicly; and edition to the limited artwork, special public before. songs, PDF posters, etc. RW: I love it! I’m working with a 15-year-old And, now we’ll be able to do singer-songwriter out of Fort Wayne, some things (musically, with other Indiana right now . . .and as far as talent goes, artists) that our old label just couldn’t really she’s equally talented with anyone out there catch a vision for, we’re kind of excited about who is selling records. It’s a much easier it. access. AH: I could see you guys doing a song with AH: Steve mentioned a concert you all got Mumford and Sons. back together for a couple years ago, where RW: We would love to, and it’s funny you everything really clicked from the start, and mention them because I was thinking about caused you all to start considering reuniting that today. It seems like now it’s cool to be as a band... kind of “old timey” but back in the ‘90’s it was RW: Yeah, as soon as we launched into not cool to be blues, or Americana or roots... the first song—it was like riding a bike. We AH: Well, some of us thought you guys were finished it and looked at each other like, cool! “Well... alright!” Everything clicked, and it was fun—we thought, “There might be something RW: (Laughs) Thank you. And the cool to this.” So we began thinking more seriously thing about Mumford is; we were essentially about reuniting. We told Steve, if he wrote the same kind of band—blues-based, a little a song that deserves a “Big Tent treatment” country, a little Americana... to send us the demos—I’ve got a guitar over- The really nice thing about Big Tent getting dubbing set-up at my house... There are back together is that none of us feel any many, many records that you listen to, which pressure. There are no deadlines, there is no you may not know have been recorded over record label or any radio promoters to have the course of several months by just emailing to impress... We’ll just make some music, and if it takes off—awesome. But, we don’t have files back and forth—it’s so common now. But, it wasn’t until I started working with a lot any illusions of grandeur. And, because there of independent artists here in Nashville, and is no pressure, I think you’ll be able to tell on became very familiar with Kickstarter [that we the recording. At this point we are calm and really began the reuniting process]. I worked coolly independent, and I love it!
and within a few hours they had already AH: Randy, what is your gear-of-choice at passed that—they finished out their campaign this point? There can be good that comes from record at $207,000. RW: I’m playing Morgan amps. I’ve got a labels when there is a genuine partnership. I saw that and then gave Steve and Spence Dual 40 combo—that’s my main amp. But I Back in the day it might have taken two a call and said, “While we still have an iota of also still have my old Naylor Super 60 that or three records for a band to find public name recognition left, why don’t we try to I’ve had for some time. Then, for electric, I acceptance, but because the label believed make a record? We can raise the money with use a combination of Paul Reed Smith and in who they were, they would leave them Kickstarter so we’re not wrecking our family a Duesenberg Starplayer for my two main alone to do their thing. But these days, labels budgets.” If we can raise $35,000, we could guitars. But, I recently had a replica of a 1952 are more interested in making profits more get the record made and have it printed up... Telecaster built by John Scott and Bluesman quickly, so they want an artist who is already put it out there and see what happens. Vintage. I play D’addario strings. They’ve established, or if the band doesn’t turn a AH: I love that whole process, because the been sponsoring me for a long time. And I profit after that first or second record, they’re fans then become a part of it, and it’s like a use McPherson acoustics. let go. This is the age of the indies for sure, Stay informed on BTR’s “Putting the Tent partnership. and I think it’s great. The good is that now, Back Up” by visiting their website: pretty much anyone with a laptop can make a RW: It is. And the cool thing with Kickstarter www.bigtentrevival.net recording; the bad is that there is so much out is that you don’t owe your donors a percentage—it’s not an investment. But, we’ll and Facebook page: there now that a lot of stuff gets missed. put some good perks in there for those who www.facebook.com/BigTentRevival AH: I really appreciate the creativity that donate too, like, getting your album early— is able to be out there now—that just wasn’t 24 MAR/APR 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
on the Blue Like Jazz campaign that raised God holds the keys to the future, and we walk through the doors if they’re open. We over $300,000 for the movie project. And then, we heard what happened with used to try to beat those doors down, but Five Iron Frenzy, where they did a Kickstarter now that we’re in our 40’s, we understand the campaign to raise $30,000 for a new project, joy of patience and waiting for doors to open.
by Shawn McLaughlin
In This Hour Jill Phillips St. Jerome Music www.jillphillips.com There are several consistent characteristics of any Jill Phillips project. First, it is ALWAYS good. Second, her records tend to be impeccably produced, but never overly so, balancing out lushness with a space that gives her songs room to breathe and impact on an organic level. Third, she is one of the few Christian writers who actively recognizes the stain of sin in her characters’ lives, yet she always finds a way to reconcile that pain with a hopefulness that allows them to continue to carve out their identities as God’s children. This approach doesn’t really change on In This Hour, as Phillips (and equally capable songwriter/guitarist/husband, Andy Gullahorn) doesn’t write in a way that serves up Christian platitudes in bold, broad brushstrokes; instead, she focuses on the mundane, seemingly everyday struggles that impact the daily choices she makes, accepting her own weakness and – thus - clearing the way for mercy and grace to transform her. Often using second person narrative (“Show Up”, “That’s Not Who You Are”, “I Can See How It Happened”) to address themes such as impatience, empathy for a struggling friend, or contentment with ones circumstance, she also has the ability to write in a confessional manner about love, family, marriage, or even loss, (the stirring, “If You Were Here” written about life after the death of her father) always reverberating with a universality that communicates truthfully to the listener. Most of the songs on the disc settle into a comfortable, slow to mid-tempo groove with plenty of moody, atmospheric accents from producer Cason Cooley (formerly of The Normals). However, the three (nominally) uptempo numbers, “Show Up”, “That’s Not Who You Are”, and the title cut, are all tied together by a neo-60’s vibe, with lots of jangling Rickenbacker guitars and harmonies, stirring choruses, and particularly striking guitar work from Tyler Burkum, often recalling the unique timbre of George Harrison’s guitar tone. In This Hour is an album that will be enjoyed by all who love thoughtful, well-crafted music; but especially by those not looking for shortcuts to fulfillment, who recognize that, most often, it is the road-bumps and detours of life that build and form our character for the long haul.
26 MAR/APR 2012
Jesus Music Again Batstone, Bennett, MacDougall Independent http://www.cdbaby.com/ cd/jesusmusicagain While Bob Bennett came more toward the end of the original Jesus Music movement, all three members of this trio, also featuring bass player/vocalist/guitarist Billy Batstone and percussionist Alex MacDougall, have roots in the nascent movement, with Batstone and MacDougall being particularly omnipresent in the early 70’s making appearances on records by many early Maranatha bands, most notably: Love Song and Daniel Amos. Jesus Music Again is a labor of love for these 3 as they choose to re-make several classic songs and worship choruses of that era, as well as a few spiritually themed, general market hits, and dress them in new finery, so to speak. It speaks volumes to the talent of the combo that none of the cuts lose the original spark that made them so memorable in the first place, while their imaginative arrangements breathe new life into quite a few of the warhorses. Particularly affecting are the two Keith Green penned songs, starting with “Your Love Broke Thru” (written with Randy Stonehill and Todd Fishkind) as a unique, roundelay type vocal arrangement, which coalesces midway through into a striking, minor key coda that offers a neat contrast to the major key, “happy” sound of the rest of the number. Likewise, “There Is a Redeemer” features counter melodies and reworked harmonics that provide a welcome “facelift” to the original. Bennett’s guitar playing is remarkable throughout the project, and he and Batstone form an appealing “smooth/rough” vocal dynamic that brings depth and breadth to the lyrics. MacDougall is, perhaps, the least utilized throughout, but his contributions on various percussion instruments such as egg shakers, bongos and conga, vibes, tambourine, and more, are precise and elemental to the overall effect. Just listen to his masterful performance on sundry noisemakers throughout “Oh, Happy Day” and try not to be impressed by his sensitivity. Also featured on the album are re-furbished classics by the likes of Larry Norman, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Blind Faith, and Bob Dylan. Not just an exercise in sentimentality, Jesus Music Again is a lovingly and imaginatively
conceived love letter to an era that is largely ignored by today’s market and artists. Let’s hope it inspires other artists to seek out the catalogs of our industry’s forefathers on a regular basis.
Spirit Walk Randy Stonehill Stonehillian Records “I got a touch of arthritis in my hips/I got a bird’s-eye view of the Apocalypse,” flow the lyrics in “Blood Transfusion and a CocaCola”. Right off the bat on his newest longplay effort, Spirit Walk, Randy Stonehill, in his 40th year of Christian music and ministry, makes reference to his elder statesman-ship while declaring his still fervent desire to be used by God. Indeed, the grooves of this, his 24th solo album, are rife with the maturity found in one who has been navigating the joys and tribulations of public ministry for most of his life. He peppers the album with the type of spiritual encouragement we are used to from the veteran songwriter - “Try Havin’ Some Faith”, and “Finish Well”; but, in keeping with the Blues feel of the music, he also offers songs of warning against the snares of the enemy - “Remember the Devil”, and “That’s Where the Devil Lives”. Other tunes have an element of both spiritual exhortation tempered with the wisdom to be prepared for battle with the flesh. Producer, Mike Pachelli, frames these songs in the most raw, rocking music of Stonehill’s career . . .quite a feat for a guy who will soon be singing “Turning Thirty” twice! In the “Old dog – New tricks department”, “That’s Where the Devil Lives” funnels Pachelli’s guitar through a distortion pedal, giving the song an ominous, foreboding sound quality that matches the lyric perfectly. It sounds a bit like early Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. However, Stonehill remains in touch with the folk-troubadour side of his musical identity with the album’s closing benediction, “Finish Well”, and the lovely, hortative “Broken Places” is a song of promise, perhaps from God to his people, or from Stonehill to his wife, Leslie. It works on both fronts and exhibits the keen spiritual sensitivity that has long been a hallmark of Randy Stonehill’s career.
A Tear and a Sneer Oats http://oatsmusic.bandcamp.com/
i tried, i failed of course you bailed i breathe, i’m frail but i never gave up on you it’s sad but true never said goodbye to you i loved, i cried but i tried
So begins The Waiting guitarist, Todd Olsen’s, solo album; a furious, depressing-yetultimately-hopeful dissection of a relationship gone wrong. What Olsen tries to do on A Tear and a Sneer is to frame his recollections of a particularly difficult relationship and its breakup within The Kübler-Ross model, commonly known as The Five Stages of Grief, as a model for coping with his loss. Weaving from the beginning stages of denial, Olsen marries his muscular, punk-inspired power pop with barely processed emotions which makes for a heck of a thrilling ride. The above, “Tried and Failed” is a wonder of brash tunefulness and bracing guitar power, perfectly placed to match the feeling that Olsen still hasn’t completely reconciled the failure of his relationship. Elsewhere, all facets of grief are explored as anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance are mingled together; often ALL in the course of one song, as Olsen finds his way to some peace at last,
uneasy though it may be. This is demonstrated most clearly in “So Long, My Friend”, the most “Waiting” like song of the album, featuring typically strong song-craft and unerring melody. A Tear and a Sneer is not your typical Christian market release as it contains a few, but very little, direct references to Jesus; but, as a record of the pitfalls of making poor choices, it certainly has its value, and Olsen creates a heart rendering project that should act as a salve to anyone who has ever been in a relationship that didn’t end the way they would have wanted.
Jesus”) and Ginny Owens (“I Am Thine O Lord/Near the Cross”), who make repeat appearances, having joined Greer on his debut, Open Book. They both add texture with their lovely voices in striking tandem with Greer’s unique warble. Ron Block, from Union Station adds his spare banjo picking to Greer’s rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer”, a stark, yet beautiful reading of Jesus’ prayer model for the church. The addition of the McCrary Sisters (Bob Dylan, Buddy Miller) adds a soulful fervor to “Jesus Paid it All” while newgrass artist, Julie Lee, brings a sing-along atmosphere to “Down by the riverside”. Most unique is Greer’s reworking of the old chestnut, “In the Garden” which is somewhat Angel Band: “anglo-philed” with its almost Beatle-esque The Hymn Sessions musical beds. While the styles on Angel Band: Andrew Greer The Hymn Sessions may vary and appeal to a Ma’m Records fairly diverse demographic, the messages are what give the project its conceptual depth. Fans of indie, folk, Greer has created a project that should be bluegrass, and traditional hymns will find plenty to whet welcome in many a household of folk that their whistle with on Andrew Greer’s Angel value tradition with a creative twist. Band: The Hymn Sessions. First things first: Greer’s voice is unique, reaching a timbre Heart not unlike Billie Holliday, with that unfettered Audrey Assad vibrato; but Greer never slips into imitation, Sparrow/EMI and adjusts the quality of his voice to fit each Audrey Assad manages specific piece, whether a classic southern the neat (and very difficult) hymn or more traditional fare. Greer enlists trick of musical refinement the help of many guests on the project, such and lyrical growth while as Cindy Morgan (“Turn Your Eyes Upon not sacrificing an ounce of accessibility on
her sophomore project, Heart. I actually found her debut, 2010’s The House You’re Building, falling too far on the “commercial” side of the spectrum while noticing that Assad was a much better lyricist than many of her contemporaries. The trick would be to create music with the same creative ceiling as her lyrics without losing her audience. While cuts like “Sparrow”, “No Turning Back” and “Won Me Over” retain a radio-ready sheen, they are brimming with a new sophistication, benefiting from Assad’s apparent love for Joni Mitchell and Carole King, as that type of expansive, jazz-inflected songwriting gives Heart a depth and gravity not found on a lot of radio-friendly Christian music. Lyrically, Assad’s songs read like a personal journal of sorts: a record reflective of her experiences and detailing her observations about the mystery of the human heart. She moves
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effortlessly from the simply introspective pop of “Blessed Are the Ones”, “Even the Winter”, and “The Way You Move”, to the downright stark, disquieting honesty of a quartet of piano-heavy ballads like “Breaking You”, “O My Soul”, “Lament”, and “Slow”; all of which are deeply affecting cuts that don’t hedge at showing a less than perfect side of the artist. Take these lyrics from “Lament”: “I’m Mary and I’m Martha all at the same time / I’m sitting at his feet and yet I’m dying to be recognized.” The impatience she feels is tied up exquisitely two cuts later in the in the realistic response of “Slow” as she slowly discovers “Faith is not a fire as much as it’s a glow / A steady, humble lamplight in the window.” So, Assad comes to realize that sometimes a fiery, showy faith burns bright, but briefly, and it is a race run steadily that wins the prize. Her songs seem to apply to matters of relationship and
marital love as well, allowing Heart to work on multiple levels. Albums this thoughtful and mature are very rare on just your second try, and Assad has clearly spent time cultivating a sound and message that are completely true to her artistic vision. Even fans of edgier music (like myself) can’t deny the power and authenticity of Audrey Assad’s Heart.
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Telling Time Tanya Godsey Independent www.cdbaby.com The concept of ‘story’ played a part in this release. In the fall of 2009, Godsey and her husband, Jake, read Donald Miller’s A Thousand Miles in a Million Years, which suggests that the elements in a great story also make for a well-lived life. Overcoming adversity to attain something is a familiar theme in the best dramas. Thankful for their comfortable life, but challenged by Miller’s thoughts, Godsey and her husband began praying for opportunities to live a better story, not knowing what would come. A series of circumstances reinforced her calling to music but it also included a time of sickness, suffering, and loss. These experiences led Godsey to write songs that explore themes of truth and grace, born out of struggle and thoughts of hopelessness. Her time in the shadows gave Godsey’s compositions a richness and depth uncommon in today’s “easy answer” musical climate. She also benefits from a top-flight production and musical crew, led by Scott Dente and Ken Lewis, who co-produce and play guitar and drums, respectively. The music is a mixture of acoustic guitars, piano melodies, and well placed electric textures that surprise with warmth and human touch. Godsey’s rich contralto is an emotional instrument that effectively conveys the albums myriad of moods, whether the mature gratitude of “How to be Thankful”, or the tension of the country rocking, “Daylight”. Her material is full of a depth that matches the exceptional production values of Telling Time, as many songs would not sound out of place on mainstream AAA radio. Hopefully this lovely, affecting project will find a large audience befitting the type of quality Godsey and company have put forth.
Shawn McLaughlin is a hard working dedicated, tireless worshipper of Christ
email@example.com • www.shubb.com 707-843-4068
28 MAR/APR 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
A conference for musicians, lead worshipers, technicians, songwriters, indie artists, and creative types of all kinds to improve skill and inspire talent for God’s glory! REGISTER ONLINE www.ChristianMusicianSummit.com
Register before March 31, 2012 at the Early Bird Rate (starting at $129 per person).
The Chapel at Crosspoint Buffalo, NY
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This conference will feature a ‘Who’s Who’ of Nashville musicians... session players & songwriters & artists, oh my! If We’ll, if you’re a you’re an aspiring songwriter, we’ll have a Songwriter Boot Camp on Thur. Oct 4 that should not be missed
NOV. 9-10, 2012 Redmond, WA
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PAUL BALOCHE PHIL KEAGGY BRENTON BROWN ONE SONIC SOCIETY
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This will be our 10 Year Annivesary for CMS Northwest - Expect Great Things!
5 Cool Things I Saw at NAMM
Wowsers! This year’s annual meeting of the NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California was the best convention I have been to (and I’ve been going for 33 years now). Something was in the air as every equipment company I met with – from small to large – said that either it was a “good show” or a “great show”. Not once did I hear anyone mention the down economy and so many companies had new product out to talk about that the conversations were all coming from a positive outlook. I sold the most advertising for our publications than I ever have (which means that retailers must have been ordering product to allow the companies to feel good about spending marketing dollars). If this is a precursor to what is ahead for the economy than it does feel like a rebound is on the way. The NAMM attendance numbers were strong this year with over 90,000 folks and 1,400 exhibitor booths (ours being one of them). From the first day of the convention people were buzzing about certain new products that were impressive! We had not only myself but three other scouts out there looking for the “5 Cool Things I Saw at NAMM”. On of our scouts only came up with three items but that is because I was working him so much in the booth and moving our magazines around the convention center. Several new products showed up more than once on our different scout’s list (great minds think alike… ha!). In a show this large there were actually far more items to discuss than are even listed here, but you will hear about them from us in the coming year. We have requested several items listed here already for upcoming product reviews to give them the editorial justice they deserve. So, without further ado, here are this year’s “5 Cool Things I Saw at NAMM” from four different perspectives. ~ Bruce
#1. Line 6 Stagescape PA System is a game changer and showed up on not only 3 of our 4 reporter’s list but won all kinds of accolades from several publications. It is so intuitive for musicians and volunteers running the system that it will be huge in the House of Worship market. We will review this one for you ASAP. It is that intriguing of an item. More info from our other reporters below… #2. PRS The Signature Ltd. Guitar with the new 408 pick-ups. Wow! This new guitar features the best, smoothest sounding pickups that break up really nice just by turning your volume knob up. I was taken by surprise during the PRS press conference. #3. Pivitec Personal Monitoring Systems. Another game changer but it will take folks a little while to see the width and depth of this breakthrough product. Simply amazing… 32 channel digital mixer in a compact little box you can easily hold in one hand. #4. Z Bar Shaker is a new percussion instrument that combines the most intriguing elements of a rhythm stick, a shaker, a fingertip drum, and a rain stick. Made by fellow believers from Oregon. #5. Casio XW-P1 Keyboard – Casio knows how to mass-produce consumer keyboards. That is a given. Now they are taking those chops and making pro level synths at ridiculously low prices... $699.00
Chris Tomlin and Collings Guitars
Chris Tomlin and his 1999 Collings OM 42 SB
Serious Guitars | www.CollingsGuitars.com | (1) -
(Music Director Lakewood Church, Houston, TX and gear reviewer for us :) #1. Louder Logic iPod/iPad app. This must have App by McDSP makes your iPod/iPad sound better! There is a free version as well as an upgraded version for $3.99. It behaves like your Itunes App & has a cool green color. #2. Cloudlifter CL-1 Phantom powered microphone activator. This is an amazing little box that boosts your signal an ultra clean +25db. You place it close to the mic & your signal to noise ratio is vastly improved. Great for Ribbon mics or dynamics. The Cloudlifter “Z” model adds a variable impedance interface and high-pass filter. The demo was really impressive! CL1 lists for $150.00. #3. UAD Apollo: This is UAD’s new Firewire/ Thunderbolt hardware interface with onboard DSP, killer mic pre’s and a cool GUI interface that acts like an analog side car built into your DAW. I’m looking forward to doing a full review for an upcoming issue. It lists for $1,999.00 with DUO processing and $2,499.00 with Quad Processing. Ships in March. www.uaudio.com
Improving Musicianship | Inspiring Talent
JOHN MARK McMILLAN
the Economy of Life
Zoro the Drummer
What Matters Most?
Visual Sound Dual Tap Delay
NOV/DEC 2011 Volume 9, Issue 6
Eastman’s AC622CE Grand Auditorium Guitar
Mutemath • Glenn Kaiser • Needtobreathe Switchfoot • Matt Maher • Shaun Groves plus a special review of ‘Ghost on the Canvas’ by Glen Campbell
NOV/DEC 2011 Volume 16, Issue 6
Yahama A3R Acoustic Guitar
Tommy Walker l The City Harmonic l Mosaic l Hillsong l Jon Bauer l Elevation Worship Songchart ‘Sins Are Stone’
US $5.95 Can $6.95
A Few Moments with Brian Doerksen
US $5.95 Can $6.95
Your Vision Defined - Indie Mechanics
OneVerse by Jill Monaco
#4. Smith & Young Spider Cone Reso-Phonic acoustic guitar (aka “Dobro”). The Round Neck Wood Body version looks totally retro. It sounds and plays amazing. It’s beautifully handcrafted in California. There is also a Steel body version. The square necks list for $2,300.00 Steel and $2,100.00 Wood. Add $300.00 for a Round Neck version & $350.00 for a Fishman Nashville pick up. www.spidercone.com #5. Iso -Acoustics ISO-L*R 155 Studio Speaker Stands. These light weight Speaker stands are great for isolating your studio monitors. They have adjustable height & tilt. A very well thought out product! www.isoacoustics.com Continued on page 42. 32 MAR/APR 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
What’s Your Story?
by Keith Mohr & Sue Ross-Mohr
“The Voice.” If you haven’t seen this music competition television show, the premise is as follows: The vocalists do their best to impress four (4) judges in order to become part of a development “team” spearheaded by each of the judges. What makes this show unique is that the arbiters have their backs turned toward the talent while they are performing. They are evaluated purely on their voice. The show has been created for the judges to ‘feel’ the voice and form an opinion, without being swayed by the individual’s physical characteristics, clothing, or performance. If a judge likes the talent, they push a button and their chair spins around. It is then, and only then, that they see the entire picture. If more than one of the judges shows interest, the tables are turned; now it is the job of the adjudicator to do their best to impress the talent enough for them to join their team. This is a unique twist to the age-old judging process. Then, as they are chosen, the next step is for their ‘story’ to be revealed. The background of ‘who’ they really are is brought to fruition on the screen. Like “American Idol,” the producers of “The Voice” create short vignettes of select talent and their stories. They range from overcoming the death of a loved one, to being homeless and hopeless, dealing with disease, singleparenthood, etc. The producers understand what moves their audience. They realize people are drawn to human-interest stories, especially ones that tug on the viewer’s heartstrings. They know the power behind the promotion and marketing of the “story,” and how emotion plays into consumer engagement. Do you as an artist realize the power of yours? musicians. Discovering what your story is and bringing the view of your thematic presence of your ministry to the table is vital to the whole. Your music becomes the pages of the book that the story is written in. Through many of our consults with artists, the ‘discovery process’ digs deep and brings to light this essential part. Taking your platform (story) to the Perusing through some of the profiles of audience and using your music to support it singer/songwriters on www.indieheaven. opens up a whole new view to where, how, com, we began to discover the one-of-a kind and with whom you present yourself. fingerprint stories of the ‘people behind So that brings us to the question, “What is the music’. For example, Kate Thompson is your story?” We would love to know. Email a mother of twelve, some biological, some us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sue@ adopted, all wanted. Kate uses her music to indiemechanics.com. Your story is what truly create awareness for her adoption ministry, makes you YOU-nique!:) “The Adoption Thing.” David Michael Carrillo weaves a message of hope and healing through his music. David penned a book Creatively His, about his living with ADHD, entitled “Fearfully Keith Mohr and Susan-Ross Mohr & Wonderfully Made.” Then there is Katie INDIEMECHANICS Mari. She is a young artist who combines her www.indiemechanics.com music with a passion for speaking to audiences about the realities of eating disorders and how body image is affecting her generation. Keith Mohr and Sue Ross-Mohr have years There are so many more that we can bring of experience serving to the forefront of this quest. The fact of it independent Christian all is that the story and the passion that flows artists, musicians, and within it are the ‘first-ary’ offerings of these songwriters. Keith
founded www.indieheaven.com in 2002, the leading portal for Christian independent music. Sue RossMohr founded www.TheInnerVizion.com in 2003, a creative promotions /marketing/ consulting service to individuals and companies worldwide.
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14 IDEAS FOR IMPROVING YOUR PLAYING
If being a better guitar player is one of your goals, then here are some great ideas to help you accomplish that objective. If you really are serious about being a better player, get involved in being a real musician. 1. Take private lessons-- Either Skype or in person will make you accountable to practice and motivated to improve. It’s always good to have a qualified teacher watch and hear you play. They can not only teach you, but also troubleshoot your playing and set you on the right path. There is usually too much information to remember so record your lesson on video so you can go back to it and work on all the points covered. Give yourself sufficient time to learn all the material, 2-4 weeks is usually plenty of time. Don’t wait too long or you’ll procrastinate and never take another lesson. 2. Attend a workshop or conference-Not only is it a fun and affordable way to learn, but it keeps you motivated to improve. Check out the Christian Musician Summits at www. ChristianMusicianSummit.com. They offer a wide variety of guitar classes to choose from for students at all levels. Sharing ideas and insights with other students is also very helpful. There are also local music stores, church clinics, workshops, or conferences you can attend. 5. Practice something new—Learn something that you’ve always wanted to learn. Most players practice the same old licks, solos and songs for years and wonder why they haven’t improved. Find some learning material compatible with both your musical taste and skill level. www.99centGuitarLessons.com might have just what you need. And it’s better to err on the side of material being too simple. This will allow you to master the piece and then move up in difficulty. Even 20 minutes a day working on something new will help your playing improve. a variety of arrangements of the song you want to master. Again, influences from many players help you create your own unique style. 11. Practice daily-- Pick up your guitar and play some scales and exercises daily. Even while you watch TV or talk on the phone, play your guitar to maintain finger memory and improve your skill. Find 10 ways to practice more efficiently at www.guitarcollege.net/20minutes. html 12. Take a music class—You will find classes in your area at local music stores, colleges, adult education, or go online if necessary. Learn more about music. It can be a guitar class, theory, piano, music ensemble, jazz, music appreciation, or whatever else is available. The more you learn, the more motivated you will be to practice and you will become a better, more rounded musician.
3. Get out and play--Start somewhere! You can find open-mic nights or jams sessions at local coffee houses, restaurants, book stores, bars, or libraries. If you are not already playing on your church’s worship team, get acquainted with the worship leader and guitarists. Find out what you need to know or do to play on the team and let them know you are available if they need a sub. Consider doing special music at your church or entertaining at a hospital, convalescent home, or school. If you would prefer to perform with others, often your community recreation center, adult education, or local community college 9. Record yourself-- Recording yourself is may have a band you can join. (Also see step 4!) like looking in the mirror, the recorder doesn’t 4. Get a music buddy, group or band- lie. You will hear exactly where you need to -Playing alone all the time can get lonely improve. Beware . . .it can also be discouraging and boring. Playing with others makes you so guard your attitude. Recording yourself is accountable to someone else and will encourage also a great way to chart your progress: you can you to practice. Meet weekly or monthly, and go back and listen to earlier recordings and hear strive to learn some new tunes together. Find how far you’ve come. Make a CD to play for another guitarist, bass player, keyboard player, others. This will motivate you to practice. If you a vocalist, or all of the above with musical know someone else will be listening, you’ll work interests similar to yours. Start a guitar club at hard to get your very best. your church or in your community. If you don’t 10. Listen to lots of players-- When you want know anyone, inquire at your church, or look on to learn a new song, do some research and listen Craigslist and music store bulletin boards for to how your favorite players interpret it in order musicians needed. You can either answer an ad to inspire your creative ideas. It is so easy to or post one. download an MP3 or look on Youtube to hear
6. Teach and share what you know--There is no better way to learn than to teach. Share your knowledge with others and it will motivate you to learn more . . .just stay one step ahead your students. You can even make some extra cash or be a positive constructive influence in someone else’s life. Teach privately, or start group lessons at church or in your community. Teach alone, or with other musicians rotating instructors weekly. 13. Subscribe to a music magazine—There You can even start a guitar club and just have the are so many music magazines, you are sure to be able to find one that suites your musical tastes. group share ideas and information and jam. It’s inspiring to read about musicians, learn 7. Buy a new guitar-- Nothing makes you a new lick or song, and see all the new gear. more motivated to play than a new guitar. Many magazines even offer free online editions, Maybe you can sell some of the old guitars in check their websites for details. For you worship the closet and get a new one. Be sure it is set up musicians I’m partial to Christian Musician (www. properly so it’s easy to play. Even new strings ChristianMusician.com) since I’m a regular and a good set up on your old guitar can make writer for that magazine. There’s also Worship it play like new! Musician Magazine and a plethora of other 8. Go see a live performance--Seeing guitar magazines to choose from. someone playing in person in a style you like is 14. Attend a guitar show—Guitar shows are very stimulating. Watch a local performer (or a held all year long, all around the country. This pro performing in your area) that you admire. is a great opportunity to see and hear all the Sit up close and take it all in. Figure out what different new and used guitars you might be it is you like about their playing and try to interested in. Often you can bring your old incorporate that characteristic into your playing. guitars and gear and sell them or trade them Ask if they offer private lessons or workshops. in there as well. Our favorite shows are the 4 Influences from many players help you create Amigos Guitar Shows (www.texasguitarshows. your own unique style. com) and the Seattle/Tacoma Guitar Show (www.seatacguitarshow.com) but there are many more to choose from. I can guarantee you’ll go right home and practice! Maybe I’ll even see you at one some time.
Rich Severson offers over 600 affordable, download video guitar lessons available at www.99centGuitarLessons. com. All levels, many styles, most featuring fretboard close ups, demonstrated slowly by measure and with PDFs in tab and notation, only 99¢ to $4.99.
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by Joe Riggio
This month, I’ve decided to veer away from the usual Q&A format to let you in on a little something different. I’ve recently been introduced to John Carlsen: owner of Carlsen Guitar Audio, or CGA. John makes a line of hand-wound pickups for guitar, and I thought they were worth sharing in these pages. As a guitar repairman and custom guitar builder, I have been exposed to dozens of different pickup manufacturers. The market is more than flooded and, for some reason, my local area, in particular, has produced more that its fair share of pickup makers. I don’t know why that is, but perhaps it is related to the large number of replacement bodies and necks also available here in the great NW! It’s a long-standing tradition here, and continues to grow. CGA is no exception. In fact, I learned that John personally hand-makes his pickups right down the street from my shop. How convenient!
PRODUCT REVIEW CGA Special Stratocaster & PAF Special Guitar Pickups by Carlsen Guitar Audio
style set: the T-Top, and a standard-sized humbucking pickup called the PAF Special. Here I’ll be sharing my recent experience with the CGA Special Stratocaster set and the PAF Special set. Construction when I compare guitars and/or pickups with my ’63, the difference is quite prominent and the contender usually goes away leaving disappointment. That was definitely NOT the case with the CGA’s. These pickups stood up extremely well to their vintage counterparts, yielding very familiar and pleasant characteristics. Large, bell-like tones, with just enough sparkle and full-body combined. They also have the benefit of hum-cancelling operation in the 2 and 4 position, due to reverse-wind/reverse-polarity of the middle pickup. The PAF Specials were next on the table for a test drive. They were submitted in kind of a sub-level brand of guitar (that shall remain unnamed), so I was forced into listening to them, strictly on their own merit. Whenever I see a replacement pickup claiming to be voiced as an original Gibson PAF, I am always anxious to judge for myself. Again, I am familiar with the sound and feel of the originals, having a set in my personal Les Paul. I must confess that, even though it’s difficult to put into words, the magic of real PAF’s was very well present in the CGA’s. There is an almost single-coil quality to them that is very articulate. Make no mistake though, these drive an amp beautifully, like you would expect from a humbucker. My personal test has always been to listen for a certain complexity that happens while using both pickups into an overdriven amp. Yep... it was there. Conclusion In a market full of great offerings of replacement pickups, it’s nice to know that there is a hand-made choice with great consistency available. I have even ordered a custom set for a Riggio Juliet Bass ( Jazz Bass style). I was just as amazed at the results, and they will now be a permanent default choice for that particular model. Keep it up John!
The first set that came my way was the CGA Special for Strat. I was very pleased right away to find the over-all construction very tight and tidy. Flatwork, Alnico 5 magnets, and cloth-covered wire were all very cleanly put together. Another point worth mentioning is that the pickups were not over-potted with gobs of wax. This is a little pet peeve of mine, and although it may not be proven to affect the tone of the pickup, I have always preferred them to have only a small amount of potting, rather than too much. These are very nicely constructed pickups, especially for being hand-made. Kudos for your attention to detail John! The PAF Special set was equally CGA offers three basic models of pickups on as well made. their website; 4 variations on the Stratocaster Sound pickup: 50’s Standard, The Sweetness, CGA Special, and Texas Hot; one Telecaster- The CGA Special Strat pickups were going in to a Riggio Custom Guitar that I was building for a very special client. I can’t think of a more perfect scenario for giving these babies a sound test. The set is calibrated just slightly, one just a little more wound than the next (6.5, 6.6 and 6.8 from neck to bridge), to insure balanced volume from pickup to pickup as you switch between them. My point of reference for the construction of my custom guitars is my prized 1963 Stratocaster, which has been a benchmark for many years for me. The CGA pickups were going into a guitar with a maple neck, so this would be the biggest difference factor in the equation, as far as the comparison goes. Most of the time, 38 MAR/APR 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
Joe Riggio is a professional guitar repairman/technician and recording engineer, based in Tacoma, WA. He owns and operates “Service Guitar Repair” and “House Of Sound Recording Studio” He has a deep love and knowledge of vintage guitars, as well as modern and loves to share his passion with others. He can be contacted at ServiceGuitarRepair@gmail.com, website: www.ServiceGuitarRepair.com
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The 7 String Guitar
7 String Guitars are something you don’t see that often in a church music environment. You can find them in Jazz and Classical music settings, and even more in hardcore heavy metal music. A seven-string guitar is able to give a wider range of notes than a standard tuned guitar; from a lower bass register to higher octaves, it can bring you into a new dimension of creativity. There is an economical advantage too if you have to down-size the band or if you want to cover more sound on a solo gig, the lower tuned string can make you sound like a Guitarist and a Bassist together. Playing a seven-string is not for everybody; it can take some time getting used to. I have heard guitarists joke about having a hard enough time getting around on a 6 string, let alone 7. So if you have a seven-string or have guitar is in open G, D-G-B-D-G-B-D. In the been thinking about getting one, here are a U.S. the standard tuning for a 7 string allows few things you should know. the extra string to be a fourth lower than a The seven-string guitar can be found in standard 6 string. different cultures around the world. There are a number of guitar manufacturers making seven string electric and acoustic instruments that will fit your budget. Ibanez, Schecter, Parker, and Benedetto guitars all have models to choose from. As with most stringed instruments there is a standard tuning to go by, along with a number of open and alternant tunings. The Brazilian seven-string guitar is typically tuned like a classical guitar with an additional “C” below the “E” like this (low to high), C-E-A-D-G-B-E. In Russian folk music the standard tuning for the seven-string Ex #1, Low to high is “B-E-A-D-G-B-E”. (Like on a 5 string Bass the added low string is tuned to a B).
Ex #2, 3 Octave C Major scale. A tuning that works well for adding more Bass accompaniment is “A-E-A-D-G-B-E“ this is on the same idea as “Drop D” on a 6 string when you lower the E string to “D” one octave below your standard D string. On the 7 string you lower the B to A. This works well with Jazz music and is widely used by Metalcore and Hard Rock seven-string guitar players. Ex #3 Is with the low string tuned down to an “A”, enabling a piano style spread of sound in the placement of the bass notes using a harmonized scale with the fifth of the each chord left out. One of the all time great Jazz guitar players, Lenny Breau (1941-1984), would tune his seven-string the opposite from most players by adding a higher pitched string (from low to high) E-A-D-G-B-E-A. Keep in mind that when tuning your higher strings up in pitch you will need a thinner gauge string like a .008 and when tuning on the lower end a thicker string like a .059 gauge will be needed. If you are already playing, or just starting out on a seven-string, drop me an email and let me know how you are using it.
Roger is available for private lessons on Skype and at The Covenant School of the Arts in Lakeland Fl. Email: email@example.com, www.rogerzimish.com, Endorses Greg Bennett Design Guitars by Samick
5 Cool Things I Saw at NAMM
(cont. page 32)
(Worship Leader, Songwriter and Pastor – Orange County, CA) #1. Pivitec Personal Monitoring Systems. MAP TBD. Imagine a personal monitoring system that gives you 32 channels of audio, works wirelessly and can be mixed with an app from your iphone. Did I mention the unit itself is a little bigger than a few iphone’s put together and mounts to your mic stand? Pretty amazing. #2. IK Multimedia iRig Stomp. MAP $59.99. So you’ve got this cool amplitube app on your iphone that sounds decent in your headphones. You plug it into your amp and it sounds like a cheap transistor radio. Answer... iRig Stomp adds all the fatness back into the tone and makes it useable in a live situation. #3. JAMMIT. MAP FREE for app. Songs are $ 0.99 to 5.99 each. Jammit is the ultimate practice tool. It features TABS for guitar, bass, keys and drums with a recording you can loop, slow down or speed up to learn parts. Christian songs are on the way. #4. iConnectMUSE. MAP $ 299.99. This is a six channel mixer the size of an iPhone that brings studio grade mixing capabilities to your iphone or ipad. It is also networkable via ethernet, can be connected via USB, has six outputs that can be individually mixed. When this hits the street it’s well worthy checking out. #5. Line6 Stagescape M20d. MAP $ 2499.99. Line 6 is redefining the way sound is mixed in a live environment. Totally intuitive, nontechnical format for a digital sound board that will put the cookies on the bottom shelf for the elusive church sound tech.
(Product Review Writer, Teacher, Pro Audio Expert) #1. Line6 live sound system - Based on the work of Don Boomer’s team, this is a remarkable achievement for it establishes a new methodology for doing live sound. The mic inputs on the M20d mixer ($2499) are auto-sensing, the DSP-controlled L3t ($1199) powered speakers know if they are in use as a monitor or main and the wizard leads the user through a logical progression to great sound. #2. Peavey AT-200 - This $499 self-tuning and intonating electric guitar was a huge hit at the show. Instead of complex robotics, the AT-200 relies on chipsets Peavey developed with Antares, of Auto-Tune fame. There are no DIN cables protruding from the body or mechanical add-ons - it just works with a POGC (Plain Old Guitar Cord). Full 42 MAR/APR 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
5 Cool Things I Saw at NAMM
(cont. page 42) disclosure - I consult for Peavey, though not employed there. #3. Allen & Heath GLD-80 - A&H took the functionality of the classically analog GL series mixers and mated it to the stylishly cool iLive digital console design. The result is a digital modular console perfectly attuned to the needs of the mid-size church. With 24 to 48 inputs, it matches the need for digital snakes with the requirement for intuitive operation. Prices start at $8000.00. #4. Casio XW-P1 - Those over forty know this is Casio’s second round of “real” synths. The company had some killer products on the mid-80s and the XW-P1 builds on that story. With four performance zones, hundreds of great patches and a useful arpeggiator, this $699 synth delivers the goods in a handy take-home package. #5. Oplab Musical Experiment Board - If you can remember HeathKits, stereo components you assembled at home, then you can relate to this product. If not, suffice it to say, it is the easiest way to experiment with combinations of USB, CV and MIDI gear. You just plug-andplay in a breadboard environment without all the hassles. Prices start about $500.
(Guitarist, Worship Team Member) #1. The Line 6 Dream Rig: DT25 Head, DT25112 Cabinet, Pod HD 500 and James Tyler Line 6 Variax Guitar The three pieces work together seamlessly. Boutique sound and performance from a portable 25W/10W tube amp designed by Bogner. Go from down tunings to open G to a twelve string Taylor in the stomp of a switch. Bogner design the high gain sections which in turn makes for a realistic live rig for all situations. #2. Fuchs Lucky 7 amp The Lucky-7II is a single ended Class-A output stage. In a world obsessed with pure tube tone the guys at Fuchs have a great way of getting tone without cracking windows. Put a pedal or two in front and you have a great small club or church live rig. You may use either a 6CA7 for 7 watts, a 6L6 for 7-watts, or 6V6 tube for 5-watts. A very cool home practice, studio recording, and even a small gig amp! #3 PRS SE line. Electrics, acoustics and tube amps. This line has expanded a couple models this year. PRS continues to offer price point models with high-end detail not found anywhere in that range.
Editor’s Notes... Do you see what I mean? We have a lot of great stuff to review for you in the coming issues!
44 MAR/APR 2012 CHRISTIANMUSICIAN.COM
SEATTLE / TACOMA
SPRING GUITAR SHOW 2012
Guitars Amps Mandolins Lap Steels Ukes Banjos Pedals
Sunday, May 20 9:30am-4:30pm Meydenbauer Center Bellevue, WA
BUY SWAP SELL
VINTAGE USED NEW
Admission $7.00 On-Site Food & Drinks Free Workshops and Clinics
Exhibit Tables $75.00 each
For information or booth reservations call 253-445-1973 The Seattle-Tacoma Spring Guitar Show 4227 S. Meridian #C-275 Puyallup, WA 98373 firstname.lastname@example.org
11100 NE 6th Street l Bellevue, WA l 98004 Directions 425-637-1020
Do n’t fo rg et ab ou t ou r Fa ll Gu ita r Sh ow in Ke nt Su nday Sept. 16th
MAYBE YOU NEED A KICKSTART
by Bryan Duncan
Last time I wrote you, I was in the middle of an online fund raising project called Kickstarter, brought to you by Amazon.com. Let me just announce, I raised $47,000.00 in thirty days! Nobody’s more surprised than I am. online. We began by posting old video clips of my concerts, along with outtakes and footage of backstage antics. I also added a continual personalized commentary, simply acknowledging every person who makes comments on my various If your’re not finding an interest from a record social sites. company in your music, here’s a tip: Go to the If you’re like me you probably follow creativity buyer before your record is on the shelf, or in the wherever it goes, like a cat chasing a laser pointer trunk of your car if that’s where you are currently light on the bedroom door. But you’re not gonna doing business. Don’t be ashamed . . . be assured. find the door handle that way. After 40 years If you are trustworthy you can do this. Even Paul of doing music, if there was ever one annoying McCartney is doing direct outreach to his followers setback to my career, it has been having to explain these days. what I naturally want to do. I took a lot for granted. I made my first ever pitch to the public for It just seems like people ought to get what you are production funds. With some enormous help from about. It’s like learning in relationship counseling a marketing friend, Christopher Redner, I launched that no matter how much you’re spouse might a plea for money! Granted, doing that first video love you, they still can’t read your mind. Yes, you conversation to post online and looking into the have to learn to make your needs known. In both eye of a camera gave me the willies. I had visions scenario’s I feel like I’ve had to define it specifically of a shrewd T.V. evangelist with an offer for a free and repeat it more times than I’ve clicked a mouse. Prayer Cloth. Kickstarter campaigns come with a deadline by the way. You must state how much money you want to raise by a certain time. Here’s where it helps to have a soul capable of due diligence. Determining my own value is probably not my strong suit. I know I feel like a quarter short in an hour parking space most of the time. So I trusted an outside source in setting an amount to go after. You too should look and ask for help in determining what you can set as a goal based on how many people you can effectively reach out to. In the meantime let me warn you, you will be like an expectant father in the waiting room. It’s about three weeks of keeping yourself motivated in a positive direction. I gotta tell you, there were a few nights where I was writing my resignation speech and thinking of damage control and excuses for why I didn’t make it. Three days before our goal was to be reached we were still only half way to our declared amount. We decided to go for some added reinforcement. We posted some actual advertisements online. It was not a lot of money but a measureable and worthwhile risk. We knew of many who visited the Kickstarter campaign on line who showed a willingness to give. Still, they held off until the end before pledging. On the last day, just hours before our deadline, not only did we meet the 40 thousand dollar mark we’d set out to reach, but we had an overflow of nearly 8 thousand above that!
In this campaign we had to come up with a line of “tokens of our appreciation” to offer those who I’ve spent four years building a Facebook following, and I’m on Twitter as well. My original participated in helping me do a new recording. goals in getting into social media were to simply That included everything from a free tishirt that stay visible to the public. But in a waning economy says “My Life Just Got Funner” to opportunities to where marketing dollars have dried up faster than sit in on studio sessions and House concerts. We a tomato in the Sahara, I needed more than that to even offered to put ”your name” in the credits as an “Executive Producer”. There were “gifts” for make a sandwich. every size contribution imaginable, but what we Last November we began a 30-day campaign found was that the largest amount of support came from hundreds of believers with smaller donations. And, as I recall, giving came from less than 20 % of those who claim to be friends or followers on my sites.
There are other programs similar to Kickstarter out there. I’m simply giving you a light version of my experience here in the last few months. Any endeavor comes with risk. I can’t remember a more challenging time to do something worthwhile. It’s great to know what you want to do. But now, we are Upon setting up and finally seeing a new way to make that happen. It’s posting, there was an one new beginning at least. And having a budget immediate interest, at least for it? Well that’s a whole new article to write. in the first couple of weeks. As a fellow believer let me leave you with That was followed by a long something that has kept me moving forward every excruciating pause while, day since I heard it. The question: “What would I imagine, people were you do if failure was not a possibility and money deciding if they wanted to was not a problem?” I’ve found it to be a good trust my effort. Or perhaps simple way to know the will of God for my life. It’s more to the point, they how I’ve had a career for 50 years. I’ve been acting wanted to see if anyone on money I never had and pushing forward in the else was resonating with my face of many failures. Pastor Chuck Smith told me directions. “Nobody wants once, back in my 20’s, about how to know God’s to join a failing revolution” will: “When you have a permanence of position I heard last year from a with God. His will, will correspond with the desires National protest leader. of your heart”. Simply check your desires and keep “All of us want to be part of moving toward them. something successful.” Yea, It’s why “Success has many fathers” as they say. Bryan Duncan... CCM artist for thirty years. With the Sweet Comfort Band, then solo and now with the Nehosoul band. Owner of Red Road Records and Host of Radio Rehab at www.radiorehab.com inducted into the Christian music Hall of Fame in 2007.
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