The Soul of Tone

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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.






3 responses to “The Soul of Tone”

  1. Sean Lewis Avatar


    Ibanez AS103-VB – Custom series ES-335 model from Ibanez. Awesome guitar. 5pc neck. Plays like butter.

    Fender Telecaster Classic 50’s Sunburst – When you need that TWANG, there’s no replacement for a good Tele.

    Ibanez AF95-TK w/Bigsby B6 – Full hollow-body with many modifications and additions. Better than a Gretsch now. My go to guitar for worship.

    Ibanez AFS95T-MBU – Thin-line hollow body with tremolo. Backup for AF95.

    Ibanez AS93-BLS – Semi-hollow ES-335. Backup for AS103.

    Ibanez AFS75T-TRD – My at home practice/rehearsal electric, thin-line hollow body with tremolo.

    Ibanez AEL40-SE-RRV – Acoustic/electric with built in preamp and tuner.

    Ibanez ATK-310-MGR – Bass workhorse. You can hammer nails with this bass and still be in tune after. For when I need to fill in on bass ocassionally.


    VOX AC15-C1 Vintage Red – Typical AC15 inside, but in a red colour. Only 1000 of these made. Awesome amp.

    Line-6 Spidervalve 112 40W – Best overall amp I’ve ever owned. I don’t use any of the preamp section, just straight into the power amp input.

    ZT Lunchbox – 200W solid-state mini-amp (weighs 9lbs) that I use as supplement/monitor, or when I need that extra headroom at outdoor gigs. Best $350 I ever spent. I can’t imagine not having this onstage now.

    Yamaha B100 Bass Amp – 1980’s amp with para EQ. Great sound.

    PEDALS (in no particular order of use, cuz there’s too many):

    Ibanez TS808
    Fulltone OCD
    Radial Tonebone Hot British
    Electro-Harmonix Cathedral
    VOX Time-Machine (Joe Satriani delay)
    Tech 21 Boost DLA
    BOSS ME-50
    Dunlop Cry Baby Wah
    Morley VS volume
    Radial Big Shot ABY
    Radial Twin City ABY
    VOX footswitch/channel selector

    ZOOM b2.1U Bass multi-effects
    BOSS ME-20B


    D’Addario 11-49 roundwounds on all electrics.

    Elixir Phosphor bronze 13-56 on acoustic

    GHS Boomer 45-105s on bass.


    Planet Waves self-locking straps – a must have.

  2. @matreames Avatar

    This is great. I love the fact that you covered the picks and cables. No one ever focuses on those, but they have an impact. Also, reading about your LP was making me salivate. guitar modding is something I wish I could do myself, and the things you did to your LP sound great.

    Its fascinating to see how many of my friends all use the Breedlove brand of acoustic. When you talk to worship leaders usually all they talk about is Taylor and occasionally a Martin, but Breedlove makes amazing gear. I would love to see some pictures of the setup, or maybe a video of some of your IHOP style nights where your messing around. This setup look slike it should produce great tone.

  3. Eric Woodman Avatar

    You kids and your toys…back in my day, we had rocks and sticks and we liked it. As a matter of fact I had the very first Fender Tele-rock on the block.

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