So I've noticed that a lot of people like to use direct boxes and amp modelers on this site. That's all well and good. Are there any fellow snobs out there? I'm I alone? Don't be afraid, stand up and be recognized! Stage volume be darned...we need our TONE!

Share your stories, tips, gear and generally snobby comments here. It's a safe place!

Let me clarify: This discussion for guitarists who are always chasing that perfect tone; who think the name "Tone Snobs" is funny because it doesn't reflect what we are; who believe that great tone can be and should be reached at any venue, at any volume level; and who want to help each other out in finding the best solutions and gear for the job (that is, of course, appropriate).
Just to recap: VOLUME does not equal TONE

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When I lead worship in my home church I play acoustic guitar and use either my Martin or my Taylor with a Boss acoustic processor. When I am in my "chick band" I use either my Fender Strat, or my purple Ibenez guitar. With my electric guitar I use a VOX with many settings on it for all the different songs we do. Believe it or not a setting on the guitar can make or break a worship service. Choose wisely! But NEVER allow the "nay sayers" to stop you from playing from your heart!

Keep on jammin' for the Lamb,

Pastor Kris Belfils
On the contrary, I believe that bringing our excellence before God means paying attention to the quality of what we produce. Also, I think your assumption that pride/ego is reason we are "snobbish" is ironically snobbish.

Not to be blunt, but the comment about "stage volume be darned" was a joke.

Obviously, you have to know your audience and what is appropriate. I wouldn't go into a church that sings hymns or is used to acoustic worship and crank my amp to "11." In any case, many guitarist choose amps not because of cost, because often the good ones are way more expensive than modelers. We don't use modelers because even the best of them can't reproduce the organic sound of a sweetened tube amp. I've played with many modelers, many of them were high-end and professional grade, but in the end they sound canned and thin when compared with a tube amp. It's not about volume, it's not about control, it's not about ego, pride, or self righteousness...it's about TONE. But here's the best part:

You can disagree and that's totally fine. That's what "safe place" means.
Tone isn't the issue in that situation, inappropriateness is. The guy who brings the KISS Marshall Stack Wall of Doom to the little white church on the hill and demands to play at The Who concert level decibels isn't doing that because he's a tone snob, he's probably doing it because deaf and can't tell the difference. Again: "tone" does not mean "loud." There are many options out there that provide great tone with little stage volume. This discussion was meant to be a place where guitarists can share what works best to get great tone in a worship setting without having someone telling them that amps prevent people from getting Jesus.
Today's music is rather over-processed, really. While I appreciate the artistry of using 4 delay pedals ganged up to create a sonic wall of tempo and tone, I prefer to use a simple rig that allows the expression to come forth. It is, after all, worship to the Glory and Honor of the Father.

The most important part of tone is knowing how to get it with your gear and stay within the context and appropriateness of the room. I find that the digital modelers even available today offer great tonality, but still emit a harsh digital noise and lack depth and nuance. Will Martha notice in the fourth row? I rather doubt it.

The gentleman that referred to the scenario of someone's day being ruined by a loud amp has perfectly described the failing of our churches.....first of all the Chief Psalmist (Worship Leader) would have put an end to that immediately if hey are truly leading the team. While the folks on the team are volunteers, they are there to serve and not be served. A truly "servant hearted" person will go the way of Jesus and eschew their own desires for that of the betterment and promotion of the kingdom. Anything less is simply the fulfilling of their own agenda.

That being said, if anyone comes to a room with a live band and expects to hear clock radio level music, they are completely off their tee. Ya cannot change the laws of physics, 'cappan.
I had wrist surgery and it actually hurts my hands to play on solid state amps. They don't compress naturally and that requires me to press harder. There is nothing lilke tubes and I don't think anything digital will ever replace them. Love live the Tube!!

hahahahahahah!!!! this post made my day!!

Agreed I too am a tone snob,trying to open an old post here. I believe we as the church should have just as professional and excellent sounding gear as any other famous artist. My tone is an extension of the voice God has given me.

So we've established that amp or no amp, a person's character is more important than the equipment. 'Nuff said, that's the assumed baseline. Though I think the conversation has revealed that many assume things about you and your motives by looking at your equipment.

One of the things that helped me is an isolation box for my amp. The amp is mic'd inside the box and I made a flip panel so I could fiddle with settings quickly without removing the whole thing. Now my amp sits right next to me, but it barely contributes to the stage volume. In fact the horns play louder than my amp, even with the monitors! (on a side note: horn players do not like to be mic'd inside of iso boxes. Something about needing to breathe...) It's amazing what you can do with a little 1/2 inch foam core and cotton batting!
just be carfull, you can over heat the voice coil in the speaker if there is no free air.
I think to do justice to Daniel here, I don't believe his original post is advocating doing anything that distracts from worship.

(guitarists) who believe that great tone can be and should be reached at any venue, at any volume level; and who want to help each other out in finding the best solutions and gear for the job (that is, of course, appropriate).
Just to recap: VOLUME does not equal TONE


Clearly this is not a post about having the freedom to crank your amp to go where no man has gone before. Rather I believe it's simply about finding nice tone. To me that's like the artist finding the right colours to put on his palette before he starts to paint.

Some practical issues I see as a worship leader:

1) I'm all for my guitarists having their palettes (and I promote them), provided they prepare them BEFORE practice night. It's pretty frustrating when the entire band is waiting for the guitarist to remember the right combination of pedals for the next song (and this applies to the keyboardist, too!). A few notes at the top of your music would do wonders.

2) I've seen guys bring stacks of gear and multiple pedal boards, and still play within our volume limitations, but the issue then becomes room on stage. There's got to be a limit, guys...:)

Where I saw problems on a similar post was were the guitarist insisted on cranking his/her amp to "get that sound", and it was creating problems for the FOH. That to me just shows inexperience on the part of the musician, and they simply have to do the research to find out how to get their "sound" while still fitting into the mix.

I believe that's what this post is trying to lead us too...am I right? Good on you, bro.
Yes that is correct, Rick. Thank you.
I made a pedal board that's about 2'x3'. My general rule has been if it doesn't fit on that board then I won't need it or something else has to go. I found that it's easier to have a few really good effects that work well in many different situations, than to have so many options or a "signature sound" for each different song, which can be time consuming. Plus, since I'm also the worship leader I don't have the freedom to reach down and fiddle with the overdrive settings for each song (and frankly I'm just not that talented with my toes...yet!).
The Sparkle Drive rocks!

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