Continuing my thoughts... this section deals w/ my personal effects, gear preferences & wrapping it all up w/ some closing suggestions for future worship leaders.
My main axe is an Epiphone Les Paul Standard & this guitar has smooth tone & the action is perfect. Here are my effects for my electric in order from guitar to amp/direct box:
1. Boss TU-2 Tuner
2. Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor
3. Tech 21 Sansamp GT-2
4. Boss GE-7 Equalizer
5. Boss DD-20 Giga Delay II
6. Boss Giga Delay I
7. Boss RV-5 Reverb
Again, I get all the noise out of the way at the start of my signal chain, then my overdrive & delays are next, rounded off w/ reverb.
I'm a huge fan of both Boss & Tech 21 Sansamp products; I highly recommend the Sansamp GT2, it can be programmed for a Tweed (slight overdrive), British (amp stack) or California (more smooth overdrive) amp simulation. Like I mentioned before, I pick one overdrive & stick w/ it. I used to have a Sansamp TRI-OD & that was a great pedal, it had all three & one switch to get to all three sounds but it was replaced by the superior TRI-AC w/ three switches which I'm thinking of getting for recording purposes, it's also a highly recommended pedal.
My GT2 is set to the California amp simulation, it's so smooth & coupled w/ the modulation/smooth (smooth is a slight warm/reverb effect) settings on my DD-20's it makes my sound very warm & silky.
My Boss GE-7 EQ pedal is next: I have it set on a slight frown configuration which gives the overall signal a mild mid-range boost (this makes the electric guitar stand out in the mix w/o the sound man having to adjust it at the board) & the pedal has a volume slider for that added boost to the sound board. This pedal is always on.
I have my Giga Delay II running into my Giga Delay I; the II has my modulation/delay & smooth settings whereas my I usually has the more raw, analog settings; they are as follows:
Boss DD-20 II:
- Manual = 500 ms delay, dotted 8th note, smooth
- Bank 1 = 1 ms, dotted 8th note, mod (r/100, d/78), leslie
- Bank 2 = 20 ms, dotted ½ note, mod (r/16, d/90), chorus
- Bank 3 = 270 ms, 8th note mod (r/60, d/100)
- Bank 4 = 850 ms, ¼ note smooth
Boss DD-20 I:
- Manual = 340 ms, ½ note triplet delay , tape
- Bank 1 = 425 ms, 8th note delay, smooth
- Bank 2 = 365 ms, ¼ note delay, tape
- Bank 3 = 637 ms, ½ note triplet delay, smooth
- Bank 4 = 330 ms, ½ note triplet delay, tape
I used to have a separate chorus pedal but since chorus is basically a very tight delay I just use my delay pedal for that & save space.
The great thing about using two delay pedals is the combinations you can achieve, like the following:
- 500 ms into the 425 ms for over the top soloing
- 850 ms into the 637 ms for fingerpicking
- 500 ms into the 340 ms for a galloping delay
Rounding it all out is my Boss Rv-5 set on a Modulated Reverb; I really like the warm cave feel of this setting & it's usually always on, sometimes I'll turn it off for the more “up” songs & turn it on for the slower, more intimate ones…
The signal chain is as follows & this is very important: guitar into tuner into noise suppressor into delay II into delay I into reverb pedal out to direct box or amp. At the noise suppressor, the signal is split w/ the overdrive & EQ pedal going from the “send” into the “return” jack; this is called an effects loop & you want your noisiest pedals in this send/return loop. This is a very clean signal chain & will usually produce the best tone & sound for you.
I play a little keyboard & like to sometimes sit in as a second keyboardist way in the background using pads to enhance the sound/worship experience. My keyboard of choice will always be the Korg Wavestation. It's a 25+ year old keyboard but it creates the most beautiful soundscapes you've ever heard, like a movie soundtrack, it's just indescribable how great this keyboard is for pads or really anything. One of the only drawbacks for some is it lacks a piano patch, but since I use it for background/pads/ambiance, that's not critical for me.
Now I'm a casual keyboard player but I believe that every serious worship keyboardist needs four basic sounds:
In modern worship, pads are huge. Pads are simply ambient patches, usually strings but sometimes vox, that are played in the background to help set the atmosphere & assist in key changes. Normally these are not played w/ triads (the usual 1, 3, 5) but either chord voicings (1, 3 or 1, 5 or 3,5) or just the root note, sometimes held for long periods of time but always in the background.
This is a great way to introduce keyboardists to the worship team, simply have them sit in, play pads in the background, listen to them, record practices & listen to the mix w/ them, critiquing where/when to play, if that pad sounded on or off, was too little/too much, etc.
I personally love a keyboardist who can play rock organ, seriously… if you have an accomplished keyboardist on your team, utilize them! In place of a ripping guitar solo, try a ripping organ solo. Mix it up, try some different things, different sounds, different arrangements.
A seasoned musician will know when & when not to play, arrangement will come very easy w/ them on the team. As a lead guitarist, I've learned to listen to the other instruments, I've learn to play around the others, to fill holes when needed, etc & that's transferred to my keyboard playing.
Now that I've gotten the technical & gear stuff out of the way, my epilogue will deal w/ some ideas & suggestions for future worship leaders & musicians,