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Archive for October, 2010

Free Metronome Software

October 25, 2010 1 comment

Are you interested in nailing down your rhythm and timing?

NCH Software is offering free metronome software.  The software runs on Windows, iPhone, pocket PC or your smart phone.

TempoPerfect Metronome Software

Download free tempo software for musicians

TempoPerfect is a free software metronome. Unlike mechanical metronomes, our software metronome provides a clear and precise beat that won’t wind down, making it an essential tool for any musician.

Designed to help musicians play in time, this tempo software creates accurate beat patterns for simple or complex rhythms. Using a combination of accented beats and normal beats, you can subdivide beats to hear tricky patterns like triplets, or accent the first beat in a measure when working in difficult time signatures.

TempoPerfect also includes a tempo guide in the main window, which is a helpful resource for remembering the BPM for particular speed markings (e.g., Allegro).


Now also available
as a Free iPhone App through iTunes
.

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Categories: Technology

Guitar Tech for Worship with Matt Underwood

October 21, 2010 3 comments

Hey all – Matt Underwood here, talking a little bit about gear.  We’ll cover guitars, amps, pedals, and combinations of them together.

First things first – reality is that you need a good combination of gear.  A great guitar through a junk amp is going to sound like the back half of the equation: junk.  It’s vital that each link of the chain be a good, strong link.

Guitars – are the source of everything we are discussing.  You don’t need me to tell you that there are tons of amazing guitars to choose from.  However, choosing a great guitar on a budget can be a challenge.

I have several guitars that I rely on, such as a Gibson Les Paul Standard, Fender Telecaster Deluxe ’72 RI, Gretsch White Falcon… the list goes on.

However, if you can only choose one or two, choose something with diversity.  The tele deluxe is great because it has 2 humbuckers, giving it a warm, full sound, yet also has the ability to clean up and sound pretty, like all teles.

Also, a hollow-body, such as a Gretsch (or, if looking for a good guitar on a budget, Samick has some great models).  The hollow body combined with a humbucker creates a very full, yet very pure sound.  Very diverse.

Amps – the next important part of the equation.  If you are playing live, you are likely using effects pedals.  This is a huge factor, as some amps sound great with pedals, and other’s do not.  I love the sound of amp tone, through and through.  I will take tube amp overdrive over a pedal any day of the week – however, it’s not always logical to use live, for many reasons.  One thing I do is generally stick with low-wattage amps through a 1X12 or 2X12 cabinet.  Tube amps always sound better when they are pushed (aka when you crank them).  But, in a live setting, especially in a church, it’s not always practical to have a screaming loud amp.  By choosing a low-wattage amp through a smaller cabinet, you can eliminate a lot of the excess volume.

Matt's amplifiers

For instance, live, I almost always use my Vox Handwired AC-15.  15 watts sounds tiny, I know, but trust me, this amp can belt.  I rarely turn it above 4 or 5, and that can still be ear-piercingly loud.  This is great because it allows me to get a great sound out of my amp by pushing the tubes to a slight amount of breakup, giving me just a little bit of natural overdrive from the amp.  However, it is slight enough that if I want to clean up my sound, I just roll the volume back a bit on my guitar.  It’s also slight enough that when I put on an overdrive pedal, the pedal merely enhances the sound.

So, a low wattage tube amp that keeps it’s sound fairly clean is the way to go (Vox AC15 or 30, Fender Bassman, Marshall JCM 800, etc.)

Last but not least – Pedals.  As we are on the topic of overdrive with amps, let’s transition to overdrive with pedals.  If you have a slightly overdriven amp (where your tone is mostly clean with a just a small amount of breakup) then you want an overdrive that is not going to overpower your sound with fuzz.  A great place to start is the Ibanez tube screamer.  It cleans up nicely while still getting dirty when needed.  The key is dialing in the right amount of grit on your amp and then turning on your pedal and dialing in the perfect amount of overdrive that doesn’t oversaturate your sound, but merely enhances it and makes it bigger, warmer, etc.  Great places to start are the tubescreamer, Fulltone Fulldrive, Visual sound route 66, or any boutique overdrive pedal.

Matt's pedal board

Other pedals that are important – delay, volume, tuner, reverb, poly-octave generator, or anything else that gives you the sound that you want.

As most Christian music today is in the U2 ethereal vain, delay is the go-to pedal.

When playing live, I use a combination of boss pedals (dd-5 and dd-7).  I use two because sometimes I like to use them simultaneously on different settings.  I keep the dd-7 on a warm, analog sound set to standard quarter notes.  I put the dd-5 on the “U2” setting, or the dotted eighth note.  When used simultaneously, it creates a ping-pong sort of effect.  Then, add some reverb and you can create a sort of swimming sensation.

We could go on and on with gear, but I these are a few of the keys to creating great tone.  Keep in mind the saying “You are only as strong as your weakest link.”  This greatly applies to guitar tone.  Each step of the equation must be equally as strong; otherwise your tone will suffer.

Also, remember, it’s not about how expensive the gear is – you can make decent gear sound great if you know what you are doing and you know how to build the equation.  I’ve heard plenty of killer rigs sound terrible in the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to really use all the elements.

Ultimately, it’s about you, as a guitarist, and as a worshipper, connecting with the gear you have and creating a sound that is your “voice.”  Once you have that sound, and you know it inside and out, you will free yourself up to really create when you are playing instead of clouding your thinking with technical worries.

Matt Underwood

Keep playing, keep discovering, keep growing.   –Matt

About Matt Underwood – Matt has played guitar in worship for Sonicflood, Jonathan Lee, Ayiesha Woods, and Andy Kirk among others.  Has Recorded guitar parts for Charmaine, Philmont,  David Marshall, and Brentwood Benson Demos.

Categories: Guitar Effects, Technology

Three notes walk into a bar …

October 19, 2010 2 comments

Three notes walk into a bar…..a C, E-flat and G. The bartender says, “sorry, but we don’t serve minors.” So E-flat leaves, and C and G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and G is out flat. F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough.

D comes in and heads for the bathroom saying, “Excuse me. I’ll just be a second.”

Then A comes in, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor.

Then the bartender notices B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and says, “Get out! You’re the seventh minor I’ve found in this bar tonight.”

E-Flat comes back the next night in a three-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender says, “you’re looking sharp tonight. Come on in, this could be a major development.” Sure enough, E-flat soon takes off his suit and everything else, and is au natural.

Eventually C sobers up and realizes in horror that he’s under a rest. C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of D.S. without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.

The bartender decides, however, that since he’s only had tenor so patrons, the soprano out in the bathroom and everything has become alto much treble, he needs a rest and closes the bar.

 

In theory that was a funny joke.  Yes, I know its terrible.

What’s not funny is that we’ve got concert tickets to give away.  Do you want to worship with the guys from Big Daddy Weave, Aaron Shust and Andy Kirk?

Sign up today on the contest page or on Facebook.

Rockin With The Cross Update …

October 13, 2010 30 comments

No, you’re not going color blind … We’ve updated Rockin With The Cross today.

We’ve added a few new features to make RWTC more useful and productive for you.  Under the “Chords/Tabs” menu at the top, you’ll notice a new section called “My Favorites”.  Now you can save a group of songs that you want to track in one place.  Each song on the site has a “Favorite” button to save or unsave the song as one of your favorites.  Then to view your list of Favorites, simply go to the “My Favorites” page.

Chord Charts
You’ll also notice that the chord charts have a new look.  We’ve dialed up some formatting magic to allow usage of different fonts and sizes without ruining the chord placement.  To change the font look, click on the “Controls” button on the top right.  You’ll find options to change the font face and size there.

Transposing
The transpose feature is now located in the “Controls” section.

Copyright
The copyright and CCLI song number information are now located at the bottom of the chord chart.

So, what do you think?
What do you think of the new layout and features?  Did we miss something?   Did we make your day?  What else can we do to make Rockin With The Cross the best site on the ‘net for Christian music?  Please leave a comment to this blog post or on Facebook.

Categories: RWTC

Praise The Lord … it’s Monday

October 11, 2010 3 comments
win tickets to Andy Kirk

Happy Monday all.

Psalm 103
22 Praise the LORD, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.

Rockin With The Cross wants to give you concert tickets for Big Daddy Weave, Aaron Shust and Andy Kirk.  Many dates are still available in the coming weeks for  North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida and many more states.

Enter ASAP to win tickets for this weekend:

  • Fri, Oct 15 @ 1:00 PM Evansville, IN
  • Sat, Oct 16 @ 6:30 PM Midland, MI
  • Sun, Oct 17 @ 7:30 PM Zeeland, MI

Its easy, just leave a comment with your favorite Bible verse or song.

Win Here:  www.1christian.net/guitar/freeTickets.aspx

Modesty in Worship – Guitar Solos?

October 6, 2010 2 comments

Since we broached the topic of modesty in worship previously, I was wondering how or even if guitar solos fit into a worship set.  I just saw a fun challenge (for myself and maybe you too) from Lincoln Brewster to play the guitar solo on his new song “Reaching For You” (get the chord chart on RWTC).  Which got me thinking about our modesty in worship discussion.

Can guitar solos fit into a worship set?

Could God be pleased or glorified in any way with a guitar solo?

Is it different than some of the things singers do vocally in worship?

What does it look like when a solo is played in worship?

If you have the time, tab out this guitar solo for the rest of us!

Win Tickets – Chesapeake, VA & Sanford, NC

October 5, 2010 Leave a comment
Hope Restored Tour

Today is the last day to sign up to win concert tickets to see Big Daddy Weave, Aaron Shust and Andy Kirk for Oct 8th & 9th.

  • Fri, Oct 8th @ 7pm in Chesapeake, VA
  • Sat, Oct 9th @ 7pm in Sanford, NC

Enter here to win concert tickets: www.1christian.net/guitar/freeTickets.aspx

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Categories: RWTC