A while ago I did a small segment on some of the problems that are experienced when electric guitars are dialed in to a clean sound. I won’t go through all the details of EQ this time, but hopefully this is informative.

Sharing the format with the aforementioned article, you’ve all heard this before. At a completely inopportune moment, your lead guitarist decides that he is going to try some lead stuff, but he/she wasn’t careful enough when dialing in the sound. All of a sudden you hear a monstrous pick scrape, some noise that sounds an awful lot like static, and after what seems like a few days, he/she finally hits the note that is currently being played. And it’s a quiet song.

The distorted guitar sounds that can be used are arguably more varied than clean ones. Here I should clarify terms…I am talking about over-driven sound here. Simply mashing the overdrive button on the amp and/or stomp box will not likely work in a worship setting. You can’t use the wailing and screaming lead tone you like so much for some blues rhythm riffs…it just doesn’t sound good. I can say that as it stands, I do have a few sounds that are pretty much dormant until the song(s) they were designed for winds up on the set list. The point is that you actually have to be fairly picky about the sound you use.

Using that last example, you would likely overpower the rest of the band, and that blues song would become a heavy metal song with only one band member. If you reverse roles, you find yourself lacking the sustain needed to really pull of some of the licks you want in an energetic song. There are MANY examples of how this all works, but the simple fact is that you can’t use one, even two or three sounds for all of your needs. Three might give you enough versatility to get by, especially if you are a more skilled guitarist, but I need five or more before I can really feel at home in certain songs. Yet again, another reason why modeling gear is super handy.