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My pedalboard breakthrough ... or lack there of

  This is an interesting post for me to write because of how I am defining breakthrough. So let me make it clear for you all what I mean by breakthrough. For the last year my pedalboard has not changed. I know .... mind blown 🤯. In reality that doesn't sound like much, but for me it is a big deal. I have spent A LOT of time on my pedalboard. I have gone through probably around 50-70 different pedals, almost 10 different pedalboards, and over a dozen guitars all in that never ending chase for tone. But this last year has been different. I have spent more time diving into my playing and less into my pedals. I have tried to improve how I fit into a band, recording, etc, with what I play more than my tone. I am very fortunate that when it comes to worship music, I can replicate a majority of the sounds in worship albums today. You need me to sound like Bethel, piece of cake. Need me to sound like The Belonging Co, well let me pull out my strat and add some chorus for songs like "Beautiful Story". I have learned a lot when it comes to tone, and it is helpful, but learning to play with your bandmates is even more important. I don't care how incredible your tone is, if you don't learn to blend with your bandmates then the overall sound of the group will suffer. I had a couple friends of mine who were very complimentary, explaining to me that I do a very good job playing with a band. I won't go into a ton of detail, but I appreciated that compliment because it is something I have worked on. It is easy for musicians to get caught up in playing the cool part instead of the appropriate part. Sometimes the best thing to do is play a simple chord, swell, or even stop playing. I try to go into these sets with the mentality of supporting the group and picking my spots when to stand out. I still have a lot to learn there but I believe I have improved a lot over these last couple years. So I wanted to give a couple quick tips of what I have done to help myself improve, and I hope they help you too. 

1. Lower yourself in your monitor mix

This may sound simple but it is a struggle for a lot of people. I was very big on hearing myself, and don't get me wrong, I still have myself pretty high in my mix. However I noticed when I pulled myself down in my monitor mix, that I heard a more realistic idea of what the audience is hearing, and how my guitar fit with the rest of the group. If you don't hear your bandmates, how will you know if you are clashing or enhancing the sound of the group??

2. Actively listen to your bandmates

There is a weird concept where you actually care about what your bandmates are playing. Too many bands/worship teams just do their own thing, play their part, and believe it will all magically come together. Does not work! Spend time listening to your bandmates, and I mean ACTIVELY listening! It is one thing to hear, and a completely different thing to actively listen. Don't assume they are playing the part you would play if you were the bass player, keys player, etc. Take the time to communicate with your bandmates during rehearsals. I find myself more than ever communicating with my bandmates between songs or even during songs and adjusting accordingly if needed. 

3. Get rid of your ego!!

I can't stress this enough. It is very easy to get a big ego being on stage week after week. But if you go in there with the right attitude, then you will vastly improve the overall sound in your group. If you are a member of a worship team, remember the reason you are there. You are not there just to play an instrument or sing, you are there to worship God and create an atmosphere where others can worship God. If you are in a band, remember that you are there to support your band members. When you go in there with the attitude of "how can I support those around me?" the more likely you are to enhance the sound of your group. 

I don’t care how incredible your tone is, if you don’t learn to blend with your bandmates then the overall sound of the group will suffer

 

 

Suhr Custom Classic T Antique

Hey everyone! I am really excited to tell you about my Suhr Custom Classic T! I was very fortunate to buy this guitar a couple of months ago and I can tell you it is one of the best guitars I have ever played. So I just wanted to share a little bit about the guitar and where it fits in my rig right now. 

So over the last 6 months I noticed something about the guitars I was using for gigs. I used my Gretsch Duo Jet 95% of the time. The Gretsch tone was at a whole different level than the guitars I had at the time (Gibson Les Paul 60s Tribute, Fender Baja Tele, SGC Tomcat). Not to say these guitars do not sound good, but why would I play them when I have another guitar that sounds so much better! Yes there are the usual answers like to have more tonal options for different kinds of music, but that part wasn't that appealing to me. I find myself playing primarily worship, pop, and rock music, where you don't need a tone of different tones. So I decided instead of having 1 great guitar and 3 good guitars, I decided to sell the 3 and purchase another great guitar. That is where the Suhr came in. I came across an incredible guitarist Mateus Asato who I saw using almost solely Suhr guitars. After seeing him live, I was blown away by the tone he got out of his guitars. So I started doing some research on the guitars and tried a few out at Matt's Music in Weymouth, MA. The first moment I picked up a Suhr was a magical moment. I say that because I have never had a guitar that plays as well as the Suhr does. The moment I picked up the guitar I grabbed the neck and just said "wow". When I plugged it in for the first time it sounded incredible too! I was concerned that this guitar wouldn't be able to replace my Gibson Les Paul and Fender Tele but the Suhr did it with ease. The pickups are Suhr's Classic T single coils. The pickups are pretty hot for single coils so I pull the volume knob down to get that tele twang and then max out the volume so it can scream like a Les Paul. The Suhr has a really raw tone that can be hard to explain, so instead you can hear for yourself from Mateus Asato below. 

Night at the Waterfront 7/19

  I was incredibly blessed to lead a worship night this past Sunday night at Pilgrim Memorial Park in Plymouth,MA, right next to Plymouth Rock.  This night was a blessing in every aspect. I had been inviting for weeks on Facebook and I was getting a strong feeling that we could have a big turnout and I was wrong. We had a huge turnout!! The estimate is anywhere from 400-600 people the largest event we have had in years. However it's not about the numbers that made the night special. What made this night truly special was the energy that was brought through the worship! The large amount of people just made it so much more powerful. I was able to recruit musicians from all over New England from churches in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts and they all sounded incredible. On top of that I was able to see people attending from so many different churches showing the world that we are not separate because I go to this church and you go to that church. I was told that a family flew in from Texas to spend time in Plymouth and to be a part of this event! This night was a great example that we are united as one church because we are a part of God's church! It was one special night. I was excited to meet so many new people and hear so many great responses. I pray that this event will be a building block to something even greater in the near future! God has great things in store! Last but not least I wanted to share the songs we played during the night. There were a lot of new songs so if you heard a song you like check out the list below!

This is Our Time - Planetshakers

Endless Priase - Planetshakers

Only King Forever - Elevation Worship

Spirit of the Living God - Vertical Church Band

Bound for Glory - Jon Guerra

Not for a Moment - Meredith Andrews

You Make Me Brave - Bethel Music  

Touch the Sky - Hillsong United

Relentless - Hillsong United

This is Living - Hillsong Young and Free

Alive - written by Hillsong Young and Free performed by Christ Fellowship Worship