Archive for the 'Guitars' Category


Sunday Setlist Aug. 23rd – 3rd Guitarist!

It’s been like FOR-EV-VER since I did a Sunday Setlist but I only try to do them when I’m leading (which will be this weekend!) or in this case a special scenario where I get to play with one of my heroes! But first, the songs:

  • Prelude – Amazing Grace (My chains are gone) instrumental
  • Starter – Open the Eyes of My Heart
  • Come Ye Sinners
  • Your Grace is Enough
  • Mighty to Save
  • Amazing Grace (My chains are gone)
  • Offering – Offering – Paul Baloche
  • Communion – noodling
  • Closing – My Hope is You

The second service an audible was called swapping the order:

  • Come Ye Sinners
  • Your Grace is Enough
  • My Hope is You
  • Mighty to Save
  • Offering
  • Communion
  • Closing – Amazing Grace (My chains are gone)

Interestingly enough they both worked. The second though did close the service more in line with the message that morning.

So I might be using the term “hero” a bit loosely but Kevin Smith is a phenomenal musician (and you can buy his music here on iTunes) and who used to play in bands that I looked up to when I was wet behind the ears trying to do it in college. I end up finding a church that has his brother on drums (really a hero of mine! I ❤ Bubba Fong!) and I’ve gotten the tremendous opportunity to play with his other brother on percussion and now finally with Kevin. So it was a fun morning simply with that happening, but also because I got to play 3rd guitarist and sing back up! I mean 3rd guitarist! That’s the best place to sit! Adding ambiance and thickness, there isn’t a whole lot of pressure b/c you could quite possibly not do anything and it not really be noticed but if you do play just right then it sets the place over the top with that added little bit of: hey what was that? I LOVE getting a third guitarist! When I lead it makes all the difference in the world for me and this time I got to be that guy for Kevin and our team.

So not a whole lot of special happening with the songs, all familiar ones but some cool stuff happened. Open the Eyes, I got to use the Phaser (set to stun of course.) We played a funky fresh version of Come Ye Sinners, I think it might have been in Dm? Your Grace was awesome b/c I again used the Phaser in the choruses for the “woh woh woh” thing happening and I got the lil lick in the prechorus breakdown. Mighty to Save just cries out for 3 guitars! Acoustic, the lil chimey thing, and the wah. I got the wah.

So thick weekend especially because we also had drums and percussion! Besides the fact that they were brothers and the percussionist knew how to be a percussionist with a drummer! Oh man, nothing worse than a percussionist who doesn’t know how to percussion with a drummer 😦

AND worship happened! Kevin does a great job of leading people to worship and even getting off the mic to let them sing. It was a good morning. Thank you Lord for letting me be a part of it.

This coming week, I’m in the driver’s seat! So, Sunday Setlist will be back again! Make sure you check out everyone’s mornings with Fred‘s incredible carnival at Sunday Setlists each and every week though!


Sunday Setlist Jan. 18 – Keys and Acoustics

This past week was an interesting acoustic Sunday! We’ve done them pretty often here at River, especially with our new worship leader’s style lending itself to a much more toned down acoustic feel but this week was different because in the midst of the acoustic-ness there was…electric guitar! 

  • O for a 1,000 Tongues to Sing – traditional non-Crowder-esque – C
  • O Worship the King – Tomlin – C
  • Lord Let Your Glory Fall – Matt Redman – G
  • Better is One Day – Redman – E
  • Post CommunionMighty to Save – Hillsong – E

This week had a good contemporary feel mixed with the acoustic-ness of the week. The things I noticed however was: 

  • The different keys that female leads choose over male leads – All but Better is One Day were done in different keys than I’ve typically led in. All much lower (I think, it feels that way anyway.) Again, something I want to pay attention to the next time I lead. I used to always struggle with dropping the keys too much sounds like the energy just leaves the song. So there must be a middle ground. 
  • Acoustic + Electric = Yummy – This weeks lineup included the percussion kit, bass, mandolin, two acoustics, an ELECTRIC, and 3 vocals. Unfortunately, the mando gets washed out anytime the full band leads (I don’t think they’re micing it correctly) but when you can hear it it’s nice. The 2 acoustics have a nice full sound. I was really struck though by what the electric brought in the midst of the acoustic ensemble. It seemed they struggled with dynamics on Sunday but when the electric came it, it helped bring it up a notch without being distracting! I think I even heard distortion! Just great! 

How was your Sunday? 
Brought to you by Fred’s awesome Carnival and this week’s Sunday Setlists #26.


Feeling like a Rockstar

It’s been sometime since I did any playing other than at church. This past Sunday I had the opportunity to play lead guitar with some friends of mine for a friend of mine. This week she’s The Advocate’s Musicians Spotlight online. 

Lindsay Spurlock

We play again tonight (Thursday) at Chelsea’s Cafe. It’s even better this time around as one of the opening bands is another good friend of mine. Unfortunately, I’m fending off a wicked cold/sinus battle of epic proportions so all you get is this measly post and the promise of something better to come 🙂 

I will leave you with a couple shots from the Spanish Moon and that it is so incredible to be back out playing like this. Working at a church has pretty much eliminated every non-Christian encounter that I used to have! It just feels…”right” to be back out there! So if you’re a local, come check us out! If you’re not then go support some great friends of mine! 

lindsay rae spurlock     ASNS

              Lindsay Rae Spurlock               David Loti with A Soup Named Stew


Me and Rae Rocking Out

  Rae and Me & my Sexy Pants                    Me rocking out with my Gretsch!


How are you playing Cannons by Phil Wickham?

I’m back in the saddle this weekend leading worship and I’ve seen many of you playing Cannons by Phil Wickham and it’s given me the encouragement to bring it out. I LOVE the song and so, why not? Looks like on the CD he’s playing it in A and it’s actually a super easy song it looks like to play: mostly in G with no quirky chords. I’m just curious if you’re using any alternate tunings or something to make it sound special? We’ll probably crank it out like it is on the studio CD with 2 electrics but I’m also thinking of breaking it down and using it with just me on the acoustic with our Youth like it is on Singalong. Seems the song is amazing either way! 



Updated Gear with pics

I nabbed some pics of my gear at camp this past week. It’s something that’s been long overdue. I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of my acoustic 😦 

Gear heads click on the Updated Gear link on the top of the page and enjoy yourself. I’d love to know your thoughts. The Ibanez Chorus/Phaser was a new toy this past week that I only had a day or two to fool around with. Upon initially getting to camp and setting up, all my amp would do would emit an awful whirring sound that replicated itself over and over again. I basically had to take everything out of the signal chain after the Tube Screamer (which you’ll see is all the time based effects.) It wasn’t until sometime Tuesday that I had time to tinker. I’m still not sure what caused it. I did substitute one cable for another. I haven’t had time if it was a bad patch cable or just something that came loose in the 6 hour drive up to camp. Either way, the Phaser didn’t get any love until Thursday. I used it for 1 song and it was a quirky one about Penguins 🙂 I hope to get into it a bit more. 

I HATE the Strobostomp, however after a week of being forced to use it I’m down from UTTER HATRED. It’s tough to tune on the go with as well as if your guitar is just plain wicked out of tune and you need to quickly find where you’re at. I think a PEWaves tuner is in my near forecast.


A Benchmark of Music Greatness!

If you can appreciate the work that comes in song writing, song construction, song collaboration, talented musicians then this will be the most important 15 minutes of your day and it will make your brain explode! Click the image and be amazed!

Click here

If you don’t believe me, let me just say it’s a guitar player, a drummer, a dude on an 8 STRING GUITAR, and the sickest 18 hours of John’s life for this past release! WILDNESS!!


My Apology to Mr. John Mayer

Dear John,

I’m sorry that I shrugged you off for all this time. I think I wasn’t ready for your musical maturity. I thoroughly enjoyed Room for Squares and thought I had you all figured out. Heavier Things was not what I expected “heavy” to sound like, I didn’t realize that wasn’t the “heavy” you were talking about. I put you behind me.

Then the bludgeoning overkill of radio and MTV lumped “Waiting on the World to Change” with other disposable musical singles like the latest Britney waste of time. I didn’t even give Continuum a chance to breathe. I was mistaken. The art of Continuum reminds me that music can have a soul. That not all guitars have to be played through Vox AC30s with incredible delay. That listening to a song actually means listening to the lyrics as well. That even though I’m happily married and love my wife more than I can describe that my heart breaks every time I listen to Dreaming with a Broken Heart! You make me want to work on my falsetto Sir! That you understand layers! You’re an onion John Mayer…not that you stink…or that you make me cry…or that if I left you out in the sun that you’d get all brown and start sproutin’ little white hairs…but layers! Layers! For a guitar virtuoso sometimes I’m left wondering where the guitar is? The composing of this CD is sometimes as incredible as the soul in the guitar work!

So please, accept my apology for taking so long to find how incredible this CD is. I noticed that iTunes re-released it in 2007 with some live tracks. That release date allows me to perhaps in someway right my wrong. I would like to honorarily induct you into my Top Ten of 2007. It’s understandably silly and irrelevant but I would like to do it anyway. I have not been able to shake Continuum from my playlists recently and every time I listen to it I hear something new. I hear something that wasn’t there before that catches my ear. It is a tremendous CD.

Keep it up and I look forward to your next great achievement!


Conner Byrd

P.S. I’m not a stalker.
P.P.S. I get no royalties from the sale of Continuum or any other John Mayer release.


Youth Retreat Update 1

I’m kicking it with my boys doing a Winter Youth Retreat for the better part of the weekend. There’s limited internet connection here but here’s a quick weekend rundown that’s fairly entertaining.

  • Worship is killer. Sound was questionable last night but we’re getting it under control and it sounds way better this morning with monitors 🙂
  • I want a Mac and ProPresenter BAD!!
  • Late night food run resulted in:
    • Suburban breaking down
    • Crazy local giving us the creeps
    • Speeding ticket
    • 2 girl leaders getting stuck in the mud and driving around to try and find them to rescue them before the Hills Have Eyes 3 is filmed
    • Oh wait, that last one was a practical joke…not funny at 1:00 AM after a car breaks down and speeding ticket is administered.
  • Sinus pain is hampering my vocals, thank goodness Fisherman’s Friends are my friends
  • Lumberjacks who lay beats and cut trees: Rapperjacks!
  • I miss my kiddo and beautiful wife like crazy and it’s only been 24 hours!

Songs we’ve played so far:

  1. All because of Jesus – Fee
  2. Take it All – United
  3. Let God arise – Tomlin
  4. Shout unto God reprise – United
  5. Beautiful Jesus – Kristian Stanfill

This morning:

  1. Let God Arise – Tomlin
  2. Happy Day – Tim Hughes
  3. No one like You  – Crowder
  4. Salvation is Here – United
  5. Mighty to Save – Hillsong

It’s been wicked fun playing lead and seeing how Trinity rolls with camp! More updates soon.

Also, this post was made on a MacBook 🙂


Worship Guitarists Resource of the WEEK

Maybe the MONTH! has a crazy amount of vids and tabs of nearly every modern praise and worship song out there! I think the entire collection of Hillsong United and Hillsong is there along with a generous amount of Delirious?, Desperation Band, Planet Shakers, Generation Unleashed, and then a slew of Other Artists including many of your favorites: Tomlin, Crowder, Brewster, Tim Hughes.

With categories of Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Keys, Arrangements, a Forum, I haven’t even been able to scratch the surface of this website. It’s done really well and easy to navigate too! The videos are a HUGE asset to me as someone who’s learned by ear and playing with guys, tabs and sheet music really aren’t my best friends. The videos are dead on what’s happening on the fret of the guitar and while I haven’t checked out the validity of the tabs, they sound right on!

So, check it out!

Edit: A big huge kudos for Shane for showing me this. Sorry bro, I meant to give credit where credit was due and forgot earlier. 


3 Concerts. 3 Weeks. Hillsong United was a great finish!

Wow, I am so pleased that after seeing Switchfoot and co. in an arena rock venue like the River Center, Lifehouse at the college club venue like the Varsity, that United was no disappointment playing at the church venue at Bethany South! Those guys were amazing. I’m going to try and not talk about the management and organization of the event but that may creep out and I’m just going to apologize if that bit of negativism creeps out.
So on to the night. Here’s the songs from the evening:

  1. An Introduction
  2. The Time Has Come
  3. Take it All
  4. My Future Decided
  5. Look to You
  6. More than Life
  7. None but Jesus
  8. Inside Out
  9. Savior King
  10. Joel Houston/Dino Rizzo/Bobbi Houston/Offering
  11. Break Free
  12. Joel Houston’s message
  13. Mighty to Save
  14. Hosanna
  15. Shout Out to God
  16. Salvation is Here
  17. Tell the World
  18. Solution

Honestly, the night didn’t seem like the tour for the All of the Above CD. We only had 5 songs from the new CD and as we got into the last few tunes after Hosanna, I was getting really antzy! Point of Difference nor Solution had been played and I couldn’t believe it! I did notice a change in the line-up. Their normal drummer was replaced with a younger dude with a crazy afro and a sweat band. I could be mistaken but only Joel Houston, Reuben Morgan and the guitarist on our side of the stage even looked familiar! We were missing Marty Sampson for sure and I’ve never really noticed the bass/keys/and far stage guitarist 😦 All that to say, perhaps that’s why we didn’t get too many new tunes? These cats were right on, no doubt about it! But it makes me wonder.

All of the energy, lights, media, enthusiasm, hype you’d expect at a rock concert with the attitude and focus towards God! It was a great thing! The mere opportunity for students to experience a night of worship like this with a thousand other students is worth it’s weight in gold! The United crew’s chemistry and maneuvering between songs to create a mood for worship was incredible. I’m not a huge fan of real directional worship leaders but even that didn’t irritate me last night. It was done really well!

Lastly, I will forever want to open every Youth Service with An Introduction! It’s quite possibly the most killer way to open a show! The lyrical depth of the new material should be published in book form for people to ponder and meditate on! Seeing and singing Solution was stunning! And I want that dude’s job who simply runs around the stage dancing and sings like 3 songs max!! HAHAHA!

Sound geeks: WOW! The mix was pretty killer. I probably could have used a bit more guitar but I always say that 🙂 The drums and bass were prominent in the mix (not something I’m used to in church venues,) the vocals cut through, the acoustics were there when they needed to be, the keys were angelic!, and the guitars…oh the guitars. Unfortunately/fortunately, the sounds coming from those 2 guitarists (especially the one in front of us playing through the Strat/Blue Jr. combo LIKE I DO!!!) was dreamy! Absolutely dreamy! My goodness, I don’t know how many times I got goosepimples or surged with absolute glee over the sounds that guy was churning out of that magnificently blue Strat 🙂

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