Posts Tagged ‘Guitar


Coldplay a Guitar Influence?

Okay so I was casually listening to the album “Parachutes” by Coldplay and something jumped out at me that I never really noticed before.  The main riff and guitar solo in “Yellow” seems to be the template for almost every single contemporary worship guitar solo that has happened ever since.  Now when one thinks of guitar influences, most especially in the last 10 years, certainly Coldplay doesn’t jump to mind.  (In fact, I wonder if there has even been a major guitar influence in the last 20 years.  A friend of mine was explaining that Matthew Bellamy from Muse is a big deal but unfortunately, I couldn’t hear the major leap I think that all electric guitarists are secretly hoping for.  But that’s just me.)  Nevertheless in “Yellow” that solo is the style that every electric guitarist in the modern church has had to either a) learn or b) doesn’t know anything else exists.  It’s the 8th note, two tone (think 2 strings), all downstrokes, just north of broken sound, with delay on it.  Yeah you could say that came from the Edge, and it’s pretty obvious that Coldplay’s biggest influence is U2 (by admission from the band, but then again they also claim Delirious? is an influence.  But hey, Delirious? is most influenced by, you guessed it, U2).  I have heard “Yellow” many times and never put 2 and 2 together until this last listen.  It was released in 2000 and became a bona fide hit (#5 in UK) and it broke the band to a worldwide audience that embraced a new fresh sound (that sounded like u2 and Delirious? but that’s a niggling detail for anyone under 18 at the time).  Okay so to wrap up:

1) Most Christian guitarists and Christian artists I know listen to and love Coldplay

2) “Yellow” is one the band’s most popular songs and has this guitar solo/riff in it

3) Since 2000 most modern worship has guitar solos that sound like “Yellow.”  

You listen to the song and tell me what you think.  But prior to 2000 if modern worship even had a guitar solo, it certainly didn’t sound like everything coming out of Hillsong and the Passion guys.  Weigh in!


The Tonemeister

My friend Fletch sent me this and I am posting it here for the edification of all guitarists who seek the holy grail of tone as an obsession.  Thanks Fletch!

I was reading a new colegue’s blog who I have connected with based in the U.K, thought you would relate as I do with this.


I once again caught myself thinking (as I do ) about my tone. I realized that I’ve spent a large part of my professional career focused on achieving great tone. I obsess over it, I lie awake thinking about it, indeed many of the products you’ll see in our catalogue have been inspired during periods of insomnia. So is it really that important? I could’ve just said ‘ Of course it is, don’t be stupid you plonka…get on with it’, but It’s been ingrained in me that there is no knowledge gained without thorough analysis. So i grabbed all of my favourite CD’s and started doing some investigation. I went through all the guys that really push my buttons musically. Jeff Baxter (Steely Dan), Stevie Ray, Dave Gregory(XTC), Andy Summers (Police), Niel Finn (Crowded House), Jeff Beck, Robben Ford, Robert Fripp (King Crimson), Wes Montgomery, BB King and Derek Trucks. (There’s loads more but these are the guys from the CD’s I had at hand.) I went through each track trying to work out what it was that connected with me. Each of these guys has a unique voice, there’s no confusing them, and without fail, every single one of them sound fantastic. 


So i do an experiment. I set up a rig and on purpose I make it sound ordinary. I hook up a bunch of inline buffers (6 in total) from a bunch of pedals into an amp that’s desperate for some new valves. So I know that by the time my signal hits the amp, it’s already not all it can be, and the amp’s not really singing. So how did it sound? Well, it sounded OK, I set up a rhythm loop, hit play and recorded the session to see what I come up with. Listening back, it was fine, nothing amazing but it was OK.

Next step was to re-valve my old Vox, set-up my pedal board and try again. I now know that my signal is clean and the amp is sounding really great. I hit record again to see what I come up with this time. It did feel different but listening back I was stunned to hear the way I played. I just seemed so much more connected with what I was doing. The richer harmonics in the sound led me to play different things. It was fascinating. The tone that you use is the vehicle through which your voice is heard. Suddenly my tonal obsessive compulsive disorder doesn’t seem so crazy. And the thing is, all these guys knew it as well. Think of the lengths that these guys go to to get their gear sounding right. Even guys like Derek Trucks who plug straight in still experiment loads with speakers and components to make sure that they’re squeezing every last drop of tone from the amp. Yes, it’s in the fingers and the way that you play, of course it is, but we’re not talking acoustic guitars here people. If the tone isn’t right, your fingers are going to struggle.

My life has been validated. What a relief.


Concert of Worship

Tonight we held our Concert of Worship.  I just want to say this night was one of the most amazing and enjoyable times I have ever had playing and singing.  Right out of the gate, in the first minute of the event you could sense the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit.  It was amazing.  We had set up a bunch of things to set a really worshipful atmosphere, and when I get some pictures in I will post them for you to see.  From a special entrance to our sanctuary with multimedia stations to set people’s hearts for the evening, to a big cross set in the middle of the sanctuary, to candles, etc. it was a great evening.  The best thing about it was that people’s lives were transformed.  We had a part of the evening dedicated to allowing people to write down their burdens on pieces of paper and lay them at the foot of the cross in the center of the sanctuary (we removed almost all the chairs).  It was beautiful.  I feel priviledged to be a part of this church, to serve this body, and to have am amazing team of friends to worship with!


You’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore

Okay check this guy out.  You think you’re hardcore?  Forget about it.  I am lame compared to this dude.  This pic was snapped by Anna Holt on the streets of Israel and she gave it to me.  I play guitar every week.  So what?  I have both my hands!  This guy is missing an arm and he plays his instrument with his feet.  He won’t take no for an answer.  That’s hardcore.  What’s your excuse?  


Praising a Long Time

The history of Praise and Worship in the Bible is a fun and interesting adventure.  Music has a tendancy to be a bit controversial topic within the church these days.  The best case scenerio is one where us Jesus-followers would advance past personal opinion and onto the purpose of the church which is to praise God, leaving issues of style and culture as unnecessary dividing lines.  To that point, if I sing “Jesus, how sweet the name” and I do it with a pipe organ, or an a cappella group, or a choir, or with drums and electric guitars, does it really matter?  I think not, what matters most is the heart with which we praise.  Nevertheless when subjects like this kick around in my mind I find myself wondering what God thinks of this.  How can we honor Him?  The components we use for His glory in Praise and Worship are namely 1) Instrumental and 2) Vocal.  (Additionally we have a) soul and b) spirit but we’ll save that discussion for another day.)  One teaching I’ve done many times and still adhere to this exegesis, is that if God sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17) he must have a) created song b) love song.  Therefore anything, any music, that deviates from the purpose to glorify God is an abberation of its original intent.  That thinking excludes a lot of music in the world, but I believe it to be true.

One encouragement to those of us who are called to praise God and lead others in the same, is just how long this has been going on.  We often highlight David’s court as an example of praise in the highest order. Yet a quick look into Genesis reveals that this has been going on a really long time.

In Genesis 4:17-22 we have a listing of some of Cain’s descendants.  Check out verse 21 where we are introduced to Jubal.  “…He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute.” (NKJV) Wow.  This enables us to pinpoint the use of instruments in praise and worship to as early as the 7th generation from Adam.  I don’t know about you but that gets me really excited!  (Being a guitar player, knowing that stringed instruments existed as early as the 7th generation gets me extra stoked.)  I’ll also point out that the number 7 represents perfection in Kingdom accounting.

Secondly, a few verses later there is an amazing statement.  In verse 26 we read “That’s when men and women began praying and worshipping in the name of GOD.” (The Message)  By reading further and adding up the age when Adam fathered Seth, and then Seth fathered Enosh, we can estimate something just over 235 years from the creation of man to when humans began corporate worship of GOD.

A little over 200 years from the dawn of creation and people congregated in worship.  Only seven generations passed and musical instruments were used in worship.  This leaves no doubt in my heart that music is God invented, God inspired, and God purposed.  Does this encourage anyone else out there?  Let me know!


May 2023

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