You bow, I bow, E-Bow … and now you know

The EBow or ebow (brand name for “Electronic Bow” or Energy Bow) (often spelled E-bow in common usage)is a hand-held, battery-powered electronic device for playing the electric guitar, invented by Greg Heet in 1969. Instead of having the strings hit by the fingers or a pick, they are moved by the electromagnetic field created by the device, producing a sound reminiscent of using a bow on the strings.

The EBow is used to produce a variety of sounds not usually playable on an electric guitar. By varying the EBow’s linear position on the string, the user can produce different string overtones, and also fade in and out by lowering and raising the EBow. Furthermore, starting with the current generation of EBow (PlusEbow, the 4th edition Ebow), the user also gains an additional mode known as harmonic mode, which produces a higher harmonic sound instead of the fundamental note.

description provided from “What Is An E-Bow

Here’s Phil Keaggy doing a demonstration of the E-Bow (video below) playing Amazing Grace:

It seems the sound possibilities of the E-Bow are too much for some artists to resist:  Chris Tomlin (“How Great Is Our God“), Delirious? (“King of Fools“), and Third Day (“Take It All“) just to name a few.

Have you ever tried an E-Bow? If so, leave a comment on how you used it.

Train Your Fingers For War

Isn’t it funny how God constantly breathes new life and meaning into scripture?

Psalm 144:1
Praise be to the LORD my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.

Since our battle is a spiritual battle (Eph 6:12), we must wage spiritual war.  I love the picture of David playing the harp to drive out the tormenting spirit from King Saul.  I believe that David trained his fingers for battle.  David’s music waged spiritual war against the enemy.

Take time to practice, train and worship today.  God can do mighty things when worship leads an army to battle (2Chr 20).

how to play – Offering by Paul Baloche

Since we’re all snowed-in here in Pennsylvania today, its time to learn a new song.   “Let’s all bring an offering of worship to our King!”  Check out Paul Baloche showing us how to play his song “Offering”.

Here’s another video by Paul on how to play this song as well, or simply enjoy an acoustic performance of the song.

You can find the chords to this song under Paul Baloche on Rockin With The Cross.

What do you do with your old guitar strings?

How often do you change guitar strings?  I know I don’t do it near enough myself and yet every year, I’m constantly throwing away lots of guitar strings.

So what do you do with your old guitar strings?

I’m searching for some good suggestions of what to do with used guitar strings?  Put on your creative thinking cap and help me identify something new to do with old strings.

Rethinking Guitar – Drones and Tone

The following is a guest post by Kevin Ian Common. If you are interested in guest posting, please contact RWTC!

Greetings! In this second installment, I’ll talk about drones and interesting ways to use them in constructing guitar parts. I will also include some tips, tricks, and quick fixes when it comes to improving your tone.

The concept of using drones–also known as pedal tones–involves using one note and building chords around it. This is a common method of composition, particularly in Art Music (what is generally referred to as Classical Music) and songwriters who use pianos. The possibility of ten fingers on a keyboard offer a great amount of lush chords with complex harmonies. Guitarists who exercise a little savvy can achieve the same thing.

The easiest way to build a pedal tone would involve an open string.

We’ll take the lowest string, E. I’ll give you some basic chord charts, then I’ll examine further to show you how the chords work off each other.

From low to high: E A D G B E

Em (ver 1): 0 7 5 X X X
Em (ver 2): 0 10 9 X X X

These are two versions of Em. Version 1 has The root (E) and 3rd (G). Version 2 has the full harmony with the 5th (B)

Em7: 0 14 12 X X X

The minor 7th (D) makes this chord a minor 7th. There is no 3rd, but you can leave the G string open if you wish. I think it sounds great as-is.

F#m7: 0 9 7 X X X

The minor 7th (E) makes this F#m7.

Am: 0 12 10 X X X

This is a full Am chord with the 5th (E) in the lowest register.

C: 0 15 14 X X X

This is a full C chord with the 3rd (E) in the lowest register.

Dsus2: 0 5 4 X X X

This is D major with the suspended 2nd (E) in the lowest register. You COULD make the argument that it is an Em7add9–root (E) minor 7th (D) 9th (F#), but for the sake of this installment, we’ll take the D name.

Now, take these shapes and perhaps play them in this order:

Em (ver 1) – Dsus2 – F#m7 – Em (ver 2) – C – Em7 – Am – Em (ver 2)

Notice how interesting that sounds? You get a low E droning the entire progression, but you still have a sense of movement in terms of harmony.

To build upon it (those of you with multiple guitars, a bassist, or multi-track capabilities), try this:

1) Take the original progression:

Em (ver 1) – Dsus2 – F#m7 – Em (ver 2) – C – Em7 – Am – Em (ver 2)

2) Now, have a bass play the following notes (changing in the same order as the above progression):

E – D – F# – G – C – B – A – G

The bass follows the progression of the notes you play on the A string. You’ll get interesting harmonies when the notes stray from the droning E.

3) Have a second guitar play these open position chords (once again in the same order as the original progression):

Em – D – F#m – G – C – C/B ( X 2 0 0 1 0) – Am – G

Or, to spice things up, you could do this instead

Emadd9 – Dsus4 – D – G – Cadd9 – Bm – Am – Am7

By keep certain chords static over other moving harmonies, you create a sense of independence between instruments, making it even more interesting.

Moving on, I wanted to talk a little bit about tone. The quest for tone is about as on-going as life itself and also a huge headache as it is totally subjective. Everyone has their own idea of what “ideal tone” is all about. This is merely a set of observations I’ve made in my time in live and local music scenes. Whether or not you decide to try or keep these tips is ultimately up to you. But, like I’ve said before, this column is meant to encourage experimentation. Have fun with it 🙂

Most of these tips are either free or inexpensive.

1) Use your neck pickup.

Obviously this one is impossible if you ONLY have a bridge pickup, but take a break and flip it to the neck pickup. Notice how full and well-rounded your tone sounds already? If anything, use combined pickups if you MUST use the bridge pickup (most strats have 5 way switching which offer great tonal possibilities, and even two-pickup models have a both-pickup position).

2) Scoop your mids if you must, but use restraint.

Ever been to a local show where a metal band is playing? How about listening to them do a sound check and remembering the wonderful crunch of their tone? What happens next? Generally what happens is… once the drums kick-in, you lose the guitars. Even Kirk Hammet has preached the glories of the mids 🙂 Use just a little, and you will go a long way.

3) Roll off the gain.

Rolling off a little gain yields two very important things: 1) A distortion that reacts better to your picking technique, style, dynamics, etc and 2) Gives you way more definition. Great riffs are one thing… being able to hear each note clearly without a wall of gain behind it makes it far more enjoyable.

Granted, there are elements of shoegaze, hard rock, metal and noise that benefit from tons of gain. I kick on extra gain–sometimes I run ALL THREE of my distortions at once!–at times, but more often than not, I use little to mild distortion as my one-size-fits-all starter tone.

4) Use heavier strings.

Most guitarists I know use 9’s. Try 10’s, or even 9.5’s. You will notice a difference, especially in your clean tones. Heavier strings = heavier tone. I used to use 8’s until I tried out a guitar that was strung with 11’s. It sounded massive, and I never looked back. All of my guitars are set-up and strung with 11’s.

Thanks for taking the time to read!

I’m hoping to make this a regular column, so if anyone has suggestions for future columns, please feel free to comment me or contact me. I have some ideas, but who knows what ideas you may have for me!

– Kevin Ian Common

Proskuneo = Worship

There are a few words for worship in the Bible. One of those words is proskuneo.

What does proskuneo mean?

The Greek word proskuneo or  proskyneō is pronounced – (pros-koo-neh’-o). This word appears in the New Testament of the Bible over 60 times.

Strong’s Concordance

4352. proskuneo pros-koo-neh’-o from 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):–worship.

I was reminded of this word after reading Luke 7 today where the woman pours perfume on Jesus’ feet and wipes it with her hair.  This may be the greatest example of worship in the Bible.

Luke 7:44-46

44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.

I know word “kiss” in verse 45 is not the same as proskuneo, but the imagery of this woman pouring out her soul at Jesus feet is a vivid illustration of how we were designed to worship the Lord.

So which are you today? The one who gives no kiss, or the one who has not ceased to kiss the feet of Jesus?