Archives For joel klampert

The Soul of Tone

July 28, 2011 — 3 Comments

This post is part of a series that my blog friend, Mathew Garrett Reames, called “the soul of tone.” The series is basically telling people what kind of gear we are using and how cool we look using it. So let’s get into it.

In church it is not very often that I have a full band so my setup changes drastically based on who is playing with me. Typically we are literally a drum and guitar setup. No bass or keys 90% of the time. Because of this I tend to play acoustic in that setting. However I also lead an IHOP style multichurch worship time where I will play my electric gear.

Guitars:

Breedlove acoustic Atlas series AC25SRplus – I absolutely love my acoustic. It is very natural sounding and needs very little EQ compensation. I would however love to upgrade to the custom series with a cedar top.

Gretsch 5120 – Low level gretsch with low end pickups gives me a great smooth, jazzy and buttery tone. Eventually the pickups will get an overhaul. It also has a tiger decal on the pickguard which I am positive helps with the tone.

Parker Nitefly SA – This is my main electric because it is so versatile. It has a 5 way switch that lets me get all the different strat tones I could ever want. It also has piezo pickups so I can make it sound exactly like an acoustic. It also has the ability to split both of those sounds with a Y cable, but I have yet to try that.

Epi Les Paul Custom – This was my project guitar. It has all new 500k pots, knobs that go to 11 and Sperzel locking tuners. I also replaced the pickups with a breed and tone zone dimarzio pickup set. Last it has a push pull pot which makes it so I get full on les paul sound, but when pulled I get a tele sound out of it by splitting the coils.

Pedals:

Line 6 M13: I recently sold my pod xt live for the M13 and have not looked back. I love the control I get out of this unit. My clean sound usually comprises of just reverb. However I like to mix in tube screamer and double up on delay. I use pretty much every sound and love them, but kind of avoid Chorus like the plague.

Cry Baby Wah: I have had my wah forever. It is a limited edition powder white wah. It sounds great and looks better!

Maxon OD808: It is kind of odd to throw this in the mix with the m13, but I love the smooth tone I get from it and it makes it so I have an extra bank of effects available on the M13.

Visual Sound Volume Pedal: I recently got this and I LOVE IT!! it has LED lights that tell me visually where my volume is. I do a ton with volume swells and this thing is so fluid and has a great sweep.

Amp:

Vox Ac15C1: This amp is the reason why I sold my Pod. I get amazing, dark tone out of this amp. I love the reverb and the response of the tubes. It breaks up nicely, but also has an amazing chimey clean tone.

Misc:

The rest of the stuff that makes up my tone are things that beginner guitarists neglect.

I use Mogami and planet waves cables. The mogami stuff is amazing and I saw a huge difference in my tone when I switched to it.

Snarling Dog picks .88 make it so I get nice bite out of my strings and when I sweat they have grip so I don’t lose them.

Ebow Plus – I love using this if I am playing lead in a band

Strings:

breedlove – D’adarrio EXP17

Les Paul – D’adarrio EXL115w 11’s with a wound third. a heavy string and the wound third helps keep G string in tune

Gretsch – D’adarrio EXL115w

Les Paul – D’adarrio EXL120

And there we go… That is my arsenal that I like to use. I am very into tone that I like so often switch guitars multiple times while leading worship because everything I have has a different feel, tone and emotion to it.

This past weekend I had an amazing time away from my home church. I was invited by my friend Mike Mahoney to drive down to CT and lead worship at his church. I was also asked to play with him at a small community church plant/coffee house that his church works with.

The time at the coffee house was a blast! The area of Bridgeport, CT reminded me a great deal of where I grew up in Long Island, NY. It is a very run down area with a wonderful mix of high end homes and Mercedes drivers along side complete poverty and crack houses. As a matter of fact Mike’s Church, Gospel Light, has a crack house across the street.

It was exciting to see his church ministering to the least the lost and the lonely, more concerned with changed lives than the amount in the offering basket.

Our set for the day was:

Opening
Happy Day – A

Praise set –
All Because of Jesus – A
Glory to God Forever (Beeching tag) – A
Greatly to be Praised – A
Majesty – A

Offering
Christ is Risen – E

The morning started at 7am with buying D&D coffee and then getting our gear set up at the church. According to my Friend Mike Kim it was gear overkill, but I personally don’t think there is such a thing. I played my gretsch through my line 6 M13 and visual sound volume pedal into a Vox ac15. Mahoney played my Parker nitefly through a podxtlive into the house.

At around 7:30 his band trickled in and we practiced till about 9. Mike has a great team all with great hearts and a few with sarcasm that equalled mine. It was so much fun playing with these guys and girls.

At 9am we went to the diner across the street and had a great breakfast. Church started at 10:30 and ended at 1:30. I have been told that sometimes they even go till 2:15. Yes it was and is long, but the length is not only cultural, but Spiritual. I can’t speak for every week, but this week no body wanted to leave. Worship was amazing and the congregation was engaging. It was one of those times where the room was just filled with worship and the Spirit. Following announcements and a few mini sermons from congregants Mike Mahoney (pastor Mike) gave a great sermon speaking on healing within the family. I don’t remember the exact time, but he spoke for an hour or so and not one person was squirming in their seat from boredom. They did however out of conviction.

During “Majesty” in the praise set I was suppose to give the pastor the “wink” confirming it was time to come up and start the announcements. He had his hands raised and eyes closed an so did the rest of the room. It was thick in there. So we kept going and went into “let it Rain” and then “everlasting god” ending finally with a reprise of Mike Kim’s “greatly to be praised”. Worship was so good that morning. After the sermon Mike asked everybody to come up for prayer and healing and then asked families to gather around each other and pray. I had my ipad there loaded with music so we did “nothing without you” and “healer” during the altar call. It was great to see that many people stay so long and on their knees crying out to God for their families.

Pastor Pedro asked me to “review” the church. Can I nitpick details as a church planting guy? Of course, but let me say they have something many churches don’t. They have people on fire for God, itching to get to church and ready to kneel at the altar and pour out their hearts in worship.

In the end it was a great time leading, hanging out, meeting great new friends, having a surprise visit for dinner with mike kim, and reconnecting with friends.

I can’t wait to get back there to do it again and I hope that God gives more opportunities to lead at other churches because it gave me new eyes for things and freshened my perspective.

If your church is in driving distance call me up (facebook etc) because I would love to come and guest lead. This was a perfect trip to get my brain pumping again.

This is one of the most powerful songs ever written. Granted Webber at the time was writing about a “rockstar” and not about Jesus specifically. He wove in the story of Christ and twisted it a bit, but what he left us with are some gripping songs that, while not always theologically sound, illustrate the burden Christ had.

I recently watched a worship experience video with Brian Doerksen called “level ground”. What I loved about the video was not the music actually. It was that the entire service/event had the band and leaders on the floor with the congregants. The stage was empty. No body was raised higher than another and everybody was pointed towards the same place. There was only one person that was lifted up that day. Only one being who could claim the glory. That person was God alone. Brian says in his lyrics “none of us are worthy on our own.”

It seems over the years that I have been in ministry I have seen an ebb and flow in that dynamic. I find the higher the stage gets the more separated and disconnected leaders get. This is not always their doing. Congregants love to take their leaders and put them at a higher level. They are perfect, know best, and infallible. This inevitably sets leaders up for a hard fail, an affair, frustration, bitterness, and other things. They constantly have to be aware of how others are seeing them and live up to that standard. Sadly they are not perfect regardless of what some may think. Many leaders are forced to put on their mask or jump into the phonebooth before a service and change into their super hero costume to make sure no one sees their secret identity.

Another dynamic I have seen is leaders who truly believe they are greater than others. Everything they do is out of selfish gain. They “leverage” the platform and turn it into their personal throne where they can judge others according to their standard instead of the Bibles. I have seen leaders claim that if they are not using their gifts the way they want or are not getting enough “facetime” then the church or event is sinning against God.

Let me put something in perspective here. You know you are a leader if people are following you. You can either lead them to Christ or you can lead them to you. Jesus even said there are two types of spiritual leaders: ministers who care about the people under their charge, and those who are self-serving.

Quite frankly I am tired of childish leaders who think it is all about them. They take their egos into ministry and make sure that they are catered to like divas who need the green mm’s picked out.

The crux of leadership is being a servant. Jesus was our example in this. The platform is a privilege that has been given to us by God so we can teach others to love HIM more. The altar is HIS throne, Not ours.

Ice Cube said it pretty good “You better check yo self before you wreck yo self”

Philippians 2:3-11 says it better

3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

6 Though he was God,t
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.

7 Instead, he gave up his divine privilegest;
he took the humble position of a slavet
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,t

8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Have you ever gone driving with somebody where they are in the passenger seat? As you are moving along you notice them frantically pushing the brakes hoping that you will stop when they think you should. They check the mirror and look out the window to make sure that you are in the clear to move to another lane or make a turn. I am always amazed at how that constant nagging and sporadic freakouts from the passenger make my driving even worse. Then I turn to them and say:

“It’s my car! I am the one driving..not you. You are along for the ride” The least they could do is encourage me or support me, but instead they want to passive aggressively prove that they could do it better, that they know the way better, and that you are doing it wrong.

This also happens in the church all the time. I like to call people like this, backseat pastors. These are the people who constantly say they could do it better. They frantically pull the imaginary emergency break to put a halt to the forward motion of the leadership. They are always checking to make sure that any sharp turns we make are “safe”.

These people are usually not people who are invested into the vision. I have always believed that if you are not invested and are not serving the vision then you don’t get a say in what is being done.

This is crucial. God gave the vision to the church leadership. It is their job to preach the vision, maintain the vision and own the vision. That is not the congregations job. The congregations job is to serve the vision. The backseat pastors create an atmosphere where the leadership is on edge and they are not able to do their job as affectively.

Let me say this. Have you ever met a back seat pastor? Was that disruptive or helpful.

There is a difference between discernment and sabotage. You could have discernment and go to the leadership and say “I don’t think this is what God wants us to be doing” and it is the Holy spirit at work in you. On the flip side, you could be sabotaging the great ministry your church has just because you don’t agree with the leadership.

If you are a Backseat pastor: STOP THAT!

Is the vision going against the word? If it is not and you just don’t like it, be prepared to either support the vision and hold your pastors’ arms up when he can’t or leave the church and go to one you can jump in head first. The third option is you can stay as a backseat pastor and tear apart from the inside out the vision that God has given that church.

Which do you think is the best option? stay and support, leave for a church you are in line with, or stay and boycott? thoughts?