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Guitar Weenie

740 Posts

Posted - 13 Oct 2008 :  16:07:15 Show Profile Reply with Quote

Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter - October 2008

The Band:
Bobby Shepherd: Drums
Steve Pettit: Lead Vocals
Jay Woody: Bass
Will Rauser: Guitars

The Crew:
Mark Bussell: Webmaster, Computer Tech, Photography, Roadie
Tammy Woody: Video Production, Wardrobe
Juli Rauser: Booking
George Sparks: Roadie

Editor's Lead

All we need is love?

Hi there. and welcome to the Jesus Joshua 24:15 newsletter. The subject matter for this month's article comes from a recent article by Micheal S. Horton, entitled "Christless Christianity." I would like to take an excerpt from his article to explore a trend that has bothered me in recent months. It is a mindset that has me flustered, but that I have until recently not been able to explain. I shall explain my thoughts after the excerpt:

Jesus was not revolutionary because he said we should love God and each other. Moses said that first. So did Buddha, Confucius, and countless other religious leaders we've never heard of. Madonna, Oprah, Dr. Phil, the Dali Lama, and probably a lot of Christian leaders will tell us that the point of religion is to get us to love each other. "God loves you" doesn't stir the world's opposition. However, start talking about God's absolute authority, holiness, wrath, and righteousness, original sin, Christ's substitutionary atonement, justification apart from works, the necessity of new birth, repentance, baptism, Communion, and the future judgment, and the mood in the room changes considerably. Historians often point out that for all of their differences, pietism and rationalism converged to create the Enlightenment. The heirs of modernity looked inward, to autonomous reason or experience, rather than outward, in faith and repentance toward a God who judges and saves. With Friedrich Schleiermacher, father of modern Protestant liberalism, the emphasis fell on Jesus as the supreme example of the kind of moral existence that we can all have if we share in his "God-consciousness." So while Christianity may represent the purest and fullest realization of this principle, other religions are in their own ways attempts to put this universal religious and moral experience into words. We just say things differently, but we are experiencing the same reality. Where (Immanuel) Kant located the essence of religion in practical reason (moral duty), Schleiermacher located it in religious experience, but either way the self is made the measure of truth and redemption is something that we find within ourselves, even if it is "Christ in my heart." Revivalism, which is the mother of both Protestant liberalism and Evangelicalism, pressed the "deeds over creeds" and "experience over doctrine" thesis to its limits.

This means, of course, that Christ is not the unique God-Man, but the most divinized human being. The gospel is not what Christ did for me, outside of me, in history, but the impression that he makes on me, the nobility that he stirs up within me, to experience the same God-consciousness and love. Sin is not a condition from which I need to be saved, but actions that I can keep from doing with sufficient motivation and instruction. Christ's death is not an atoning sacrifice that satisfies God's just wrath, but an example of God's love that moves us to repentance. Hence, "What would Jesus do?" is the main question, not "What has Jesus done?" The inside takes priority over the outside.

There are a myriad of thoughts I possess, with regard to these few paragraphs. However, I will go with just one, for now. Though I posted those several paragraphs for context, the passage that caught my eye was the first several sentences.

The world has no problem with "God loves you." What the world has trouble with is "God's love can transform your life." Everybody can accept the truth that God loves them. However, nobody thinks they need to be changed. It's, "God loves me as I am. Therefore, I am okay to stay that way." And the modern Church is trading the unpopular message of the life-altering cross of Christ, for the popular message of "All we need is love." (to quote the Beatles).

The point of Christianity is not "to get us to love one another." That appeal is trumpeted from such diverse areas as Islam, John Lennon, and Rodney King. "What the world needs now, is love, sweet love," as the popular '70's song put it. But, the centrality of the Gospel is not love. It is the crucified Christ, who came to sacrifice Himself, the righteous for the unrighteous, to satisfy the wrath of God for our sin. Yes, it was because "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son..."(John 3:16). But, many people forget the second half of that passage, which says, "...that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." The passage has a conditional statement; we want the "God so loved" part, but we reject the "whoever believes in Him" part.

The world wants a Gospel that basically says what other religions have been saying, many for longer than Christianity has existed. But when it comes to dealing with the fact of sin, everybody wants no part of the Gospel. Other religions basically say man is inherently good. But the Gospel states that we aren't, that our righteousness is as "filthy rags." The message of the Church should speak to the fact that we are all sinners, without any righteousness of our own. But, that's not a popular stance, and I believe that the modern Church, in an effort to diffuse the label of being "judgmental," is giving in to what people want to feel, rather than what they need to hear.

I once heard a story of a woman who refused to go to the doctor, because she was afraid that she would get sick if she did. She would not get a mammogram, to check for cancer, because as long as she stayed away from the physician, she wouldn't get cancer. There are many people who hold to that myth. As long as the doctor doesn't tell them they're sick, then they think they are okay.

Many of us may think, "How silly!" "How superstitious!" "How illogical!" Yet, that is exactly how we approach the fact of sin, and the revelation of the Gospel. We feel that as long as we stay away from Church (and we blame the hypocrites and the judgmental), or at least a church that preaches the Gospel, we don't have to face the fact of our sin and our need for a Savior.

No, we want to hear that we're okay. God loves us, and that's all we feel we need. The world wants the Church to say, "Come as you are," which is fine. But it is incomplete. God DOES want us to come as we are. But, He does not expect us to stay as we are. If God expected us to stay as we are, then there would be no need for a Savior. And that's the problem. The world wants a message that says, "come as you are, which is basically good", and therefore, there's no need for any transformation.

Do not misunderstand me. I do believe the Scripture that "God is love," (I John 4:16). But, I also believe the passage of Scriptures that Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3) And, "Unless you repent, you too will all perish." (Luke 13:5)

It seems everyone wants the "God is love" part, but would rather not deal with the "repent and be born again" part.

In Luke 5:31, Jesus responds to a question the Pharisees grudgingly asked Him. The question was, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy that needs a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

What good is going to a doctor if he will not treat you? It would seem that we all want to hear that the "doctor" welcomes us into his office, no matter who we are or what our condition is. But nobody really wants to be treated for the disease.

If the Church is only presenting the "acceptance" part of the Gospel, but not presenting the "our need for a Savior" part, then the Church is failing in its mission. The Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:2, "For I resolved to know nothing...except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." THAT, dear readers, is the message of the Gospel.

Guitar Points from Will

Blues Chord Progressions

This month, I am going to shift directions a bit. I was asked recently if I would do some columns on some simpler concepts. One way to simplify the concepts is to look to the Blues. Now, in full disclosure, I have to admit, I am not a Blues player, at least, in the truest sense of the style. I do recommend that to truly understand the style, listen to genuine Blues players. However, like most Rock and Metal players, I do have some roots in some basic Blues concepts.

One of those basic concepts is the Blues Chord Progressions, or the "I-IV-V" or "1-4-5". If you remember from a year or so ago, I showed you the Major scale, which contains 7 tones. In the key of E Major, those notes would be;



Now, if we harmonized those notes in Thirds (which is the basis of Western Harmony) we get this;



This produces 7 chords; 3 Major triads (E, A, B); 3 minor triads (F#m, G#m, C#m); and one Diminished triad (D#0 or Dim). This produces this formula (using Roman numerals to represent chords; Upper case numerals represent Major chords, lower case represent minor chords):



So, from this we can generate a "I-IV-V" progression in the key of E, which would be "E-A-B." Now, how can we use this? Well, in Blues, this progression is the main musical progression of the style. And we can create a simple musical structure by using these chords. Let's take an example from what is called a "12 Bar Blues."

A "12 Bar Blues" consists of, well, 12 bars of 4 beats each. It is usually divided as such: 4 bars of the I chord, 2 bars of the IV chord, 2 bars of the I chord, 1 bar of the V chord, 1 bar of the IV chord, 1 bar of the I chord, and 1 bar of the V chord; then it repeats the sequence (and there are numerous variations on the theme). The sequence looks like this, in the key of E Major:


E(I) =4 bars
A(IV)=2 bars
E(I) =2 bars
B(V) =1 bar
A(IV)=1 bar
E(I) =1 bar
B(V) =1 bar

Some interesting notes: (1)Sometimes in Blues progressions, the V chord is written as a "V7" (B7 in the key of E). The V chord is also called the "Dominant chord", and it has a strong pull to the I chord.

(2) Also in Blues progressions, you can make all of the chords Dominant 7 chords. Even though, technically, there's only one Dominant 7 chord in a given key, any Dominant chord will progress to another Dominant chord. And the pull is even stronger when they progress to the I-IV-V. In other words, the I7 (E7) will strongly pull to the IV7 (A7), and then pull to the V7 (B7) and back to the I7.

(3)Any Dominant 7 chord can be substituted to use extensions (such as 9,11,&13), suspensions (sus2,sus4,6, add9) and alterations (such as 7b5,7#5,7b9,7#9, & others), but they have to be used tastefully. Just because you can do something theoretically, doesn't mean it will sound good in practical use.

In a final application, let's look at a simple E Blues progression, using some tabulature (Note: the rhythm is called a "Swing Eighths", and is though of as "One-(&)-uh-Two-(&)-uh". The "(&)" means to count it, but not play it. Think of it as a Horse trot: CLOP--de-CLOP--de-Clop...)


   I                         IV                          I                         V 
   E5   E6     E5    E6   (3x)A5   A6    A5    A6   (1x)E5   E6     E5    E6  (1x)B5    B6  (1x)

  IV                    I                        V   
   A5     A6    A5   A6  E5     E6    E5    E6    B5    B6    B5    B6 (Repeat sequence)

Try using all down strokes when picking the rhythms. Your ear will recognize the changes, as you have probably heard variations of this progression throughout your life. Practice this progression, and try to use different keys. This example will be the basis for the next few columns. Until next month.

Lead Techniques from Will

Blues Lead Playing

In conjunction with the Blues Rhythm changes exampled in the above column, I would like to look at the scales and patterns that are the basis for Blues guitar playing. Again, allow me to remind you again that I am not a true Blues player. However, I do have some of those ingredients in my playing.

The primary scale of the Blues is, well, the Blues scale. The Blues scale is spelled:


In the key of E, the Blues scale is:



Now, we have to explain a few things.

#1) If you have probably noticed, in the key of E Major, we have a Major 3rd (3,G#), but in the Blues scale, we have a minor 3rd (b3,G). There are several technical reasons for this, but basically, it just sounds cool. However, it only sounds good over an "E" chord, and "Em(7)" type chord, or an "E7(Dominant)" chord. If you try to play a b3 over an "EMaj7" chord, it will not sound all that good. The b3 can also be thought of as a #9 (as in the chord E7#9).

#2) You will also note that we have a Major 7 (M7) in the Key of E Major, but the Blues scale contains the Dominant 7 (b7). Again, it is because it sounds good. But, you cannot (Well, you could, but I don't think it sounds all that good) play a b7 over a chord containing a M7. It is a total clash.

#3) The Blues scale possess the Diminished 5 (b5). This note can also be called the Augmented 4th (#4), but it is commonly referred to as the b5. This note can be used to act as a passing tone between the 4th and 5th scale degrees. In the Key of E, this would be "A-A#-B" or "B-Bb-A". It can give a cool chromatic flavor to any run. You can also use the b5 to land on. the sound is often described as "sinister" or even "evil", but I just think it sounds cool. And, like it's fellow scale tones (b3, b7) it is considered a "Blue" note. Again, this tone must be used with taste.

#4) You might have noticed that the Blues scale is simply a minor 7 (m7) arpeggio, with an added 4th degree, and an added b5 degree. This scale fits well over a minor 7 chord (Say, an Em7), but it isn't as "Bluesy" as when it is used over a Major chord. It is the clash of the b3 over the M3 that really gives the Blues scale it's flavor.

Okay, so how do we play this scale? Well, first let's look at how it appears on the fretboard;


E minor Pentatonic  minor scale         E Blues scale
   1  b3 4  5  b7 1  b3 4  5  b7 1  b3  1  b3 4  b5 5  b7 1  b3 4 b5  5  b7 1  b3
   E  G  A  B  D  E  G  A  B  D  E  G   E  G  A  Bb B  D  E  G  A Bb  B  D  E  G

You will note that I compared the E Pentatonic minor scale with the E Blues scale. Both scales are essentially the same, except that the E Blues scale adds the "b5" to it's structure.

Now, of course, the Blues is not about scales. Generally speaking, authentic Blues players don't think in terms of scales (even if they know what they are). Blues players tend to think in terms of phrasing and emotional content. It isn't so much about the note being "technically" correct, it is about the emotional impact and effect of the note being played. Sometimes Blues players purposely play notes that are not necessarily correct, but feel right. And phrasing is usually short, melodic jabs, rather than long scalar sequences. There are exceptions, of course. But, I am being general. Let's look at a phrase that might fit as a Bluesy phrase:


   b3  1 b7  5  4 b5 b3  3   1
    v  ^  v  ^  v (b) v (b)  v (vib)

Notice the use of slight bends up from the 4 to the b5, and the 3 to the b3. And, you don't even have to hit the pitches exactly (1/4 step bends sound kind of bluesy). It is this clash and slight out-of-sync sound that gives the Blues it's flavors.

Try recording another guitar playing an E7 chord, and experiment with bending certain notes off pitch, to mine their emotional effects. Some won't sound good at all, but it will train your ear to hear the ones that do. Play the scale in different positions, and even over different chords of the key. Keep the sounds you like, and discard the ones you don't. Until next time.

News and Events

  • Congrats to Jay and Tammy Woody, on the birth of their son, Elijah Benjamin Woody, September 2, 2008. Elijah entered the world at 4am, and was 7 1/2lbs and 20 1/2 inches long. We would have posted Elijah's birth last newsletter, but he was not here as of last moth's posting.
  • If you have any questions for the band, or any single member of the band, send an email to Axeman2415 via the JJ24:15 website. Any questions are welcome, but the band reserves the right not to answer any questions of deeply personal or vulgar nature.

A Final Thought

As I close what is obviously a short newsletter, I realize that it is late. Please forgive my tardiness (once again), but life has a way of getting in the way of some less important duties. I will always do my best to get the Newsletter out on the first of the month. But, there are going to be times where that simply is not possible. Though the Newsletter is very important, there are more pressing issues than the Newsletter. There will be one every month. But, it may not be right on the first of that month. Thanks for your understanding.

"C'mon Dave, Gimme a break!"

Edited by - AXEMAN2415 on 16 Oct 2008 20:59:59

Absent-minded Webmaster

621 Posts

Posted - 15 Oct 2008 :  22:07:31 Show Profile Reply with Quote
That right there clarifies and "organizes" all those random bits of blues info I've had floating around.

Thank you.

I've noticed that a lot of the instructional material out there tends to put all their examples in the key of E - is there any particular reason for that? I know, and they do mention, that you are not limited to the key of E; but it does seem that they all tend to gravitate to it for the examples.

There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
- Will Rogers
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Guitar Weenie

740 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2008 :  16:32:16 Show Profile Reply with Quote
It basically is because "E" is the easiest chord to refer to, generally the lowest note on the guitar, and the patterns are pretty easy to remember.

"C'mon Dave, Gimme a break!"
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Absent-minded Webmaster

621 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2008 :  18:56:57 Show Profile Reply with Quote
That makes sense.

There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
- Will Rogers
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