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Guitar Weenie

740 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2009 :  11:20:57 Show Profile Reply with Quote

Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter January 2009

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

The Crew:
Mark Bussell: Webmaster, Computer Tech, Photography,

Tammy Woody: Video Production, Wardrobe
George Sparks: Roadie

Editor's Lead

A Hard Look At Ourselves

Happy New Year! It is now 2009, and we are blessed to have yet another year of life!

I was looking for something to share with you that had some kind of substance beyond just a "Happy New Year's" greeting. I am not sure that this will sound positive in light of such a happy and celebratory occasion, but I wanted to begin the year with something for all of us to consider throughout the year.

I enjoy reading books by Ravi Zacharias. In one of his best books (I think), entitled "Deliver Us From Evil," he writes these words;

Human beings have a limitless capacity to raise the question of the problem of evil as we see it outside of ourselves, but a disproportionate willingness to raise the question of evil within us. I once sat on the top floor of a huge corporate building owned by one of the biggest construction tycoons in this country. Our entire conversation revolved around his question of so much evil in this world and a seemingly silent God.

Suddenly interrupting the conversation, a friend of mine said to him, "Since evil seems to trouble you so much, I would be curious to know what you have done about the evil you see within you." There was red-faced silence.

I have never defended the existence of God at a university campus without being asked about this question of evil in the world. Yet on only one occasion have I been asked how to cope with the evil within.

I can relate to this problem, both as a witness to the Gospel, and as a wretched human being myself. Ravi has hit the proverbial nail on the head. I have heard this question posed about rampant evil and a seemingly silent or uninterested God. And, to be perfectly honest, the questions are usually framed as curious seeking, but is usually wrapped in excuses. In other words, we want God to eradicate everyone else's evil, but leave ours alone.

C.S. Lewis writes about this (although he addresses it as "Pride") in his book "Mere Christianity" by saying;

There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it in ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.

I have met with people who bemoan the question of evil and God's seeming dispassionate silence. In almost every case, this befuddlement is merely an excuse to blame God for everything, or to try and prove that He really doesn't exist at all, all the while absolving themselves of any measure of blame. One of the major tenets of the Christian faith is the need for accepting personal responsibility and repentance. I John 1:9 tells us that we must "confess our sins", and He (Jesus) is "faithful and just and will forgive us our sins." But, confession comes first.

I write this because I have been doing some serious soul-searching. On the one hand, I have my own issues that God deals with in my life. And, as a Christian, I am becoming ever more aware of the internal issues the Church (the Body of Believers) and their effect on those outside of it. It is difficult to talk to people about the reality of sin and evil, when your own house is tainted. But, on the other hand, I am also aware that Jesus still calls us to reveal the Gospel of Christ to this world.

And He commanded us to do this, even while we still have our imperfections, our unresolved issues, and our hidden sins. As a follower of Jesus, I realize that my journey with Christ will continue to reveal things deep within my heart that He needs to correct, rid me of, or increase in me. And during that process, I am commanded to share the same saving Gospel to others, not because I am better than them, but because I am one of them. The only difference between them and me is that I am found, they are still lost.

Getting back to the issue of evil, I find it troubling that many non-Christians are extremely disturbed about the issue of evil in the world when confronted with the light of the Gospel, and are extremely irritated that we Christians cannot really resolve that satisfactorily.

Yet, when it comes to confronting the evil in their own lives, they are even more irritated that they have to face that fact. What ends up happening is that the philosophical paradox of the presence of evil and a seemingly silent God presents an excuse to not have to face the personal issue of evil. And then, what happens is the non-believer launches into a sermon about how we Christians are arrogant and judgmental, because we don't have it all together ourselves.

Don't misunderstand me; I expect non Christians to act like, well, non Christians. I realize sinners sin. I realize that people who live contrary to the Spirit of God are free from the Spirit's control over their lives. People have free will, and I don't expect them to pretend to be something they are not.

But, just because I (or anyone else) expect these types of reactions does not mean those reactions are right. Ravi Zacharias accurately points out;

Secular belief grants itself privileges that it does not equally distribute.

In other words, the very world that claims to despise hypocrisy and judgmentalism apparently doesn't have much of a problem with it in their own lives. They ask us Christians to have the matter resolved in the world before they are willing to step forward and take the plunge into faith. Until then, if there is any minor unresolved issue of evil (or perceived evil), then we Christians simply have no authority to speak anything. I am always amazed at how the world can overlook the it's own hypocrisy, but just can't get past even the slightest inconsistency in a Christian.

I realize that the world will not like us. Jesus said that we will be hated because the world already hates Him. But, I am not necessarily speaking about the expectation that the world will be inconsistent. I am speaking of the illogical approach to the argument.

Here's the rub: To the unbeliever, the presence of evil must be dealt with before they will step out and believe in God. If evil exists, then God either does not exist, or does not care. And the Christian becomes the hypocrite, because if God does not exist or does not care, then we are wasting our time with morality; we are only trying to convert people to "our way of thinking."

But, if we Christians are wasting our time with morality, then how can one say that there is evil? If God does not exist, then there is no standard for morality, and thus evil really does not exist; it is really just a relative concept. And if evil really does not exist, then how could the non-believer possibly be bothered by it?

In light of Ravi's point in the story of the tycoon, it seems to me that even the non-believer understands evil exists, and that there must be some standard to make that measurement.

But, I would like to close this little article with one more of Ravi's quotes. I think it encapsulates all of what I am trying to say:
Evil is in the self-absorbed human heart.

Indeed. It's time to stop blaming God, or his messengers, and start looking at the real reason that evil still exists: our own hearts. And if there is no God, then we are indeed hopeless.

Top Ten List

This month's contribution to the Top Ten List comes all the way from Australia! Our very own Shredhead has offered up this little tidbit (Caution! This list contains words of graphic humor and is not intended to offend anyone...although we're fairly sure some will be...

Shreds' Top 10 List of Rules {guys wish girls knew}

  1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
  2. You can either ask us to do something OR tell us how you want it done - not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
  3. If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
  4. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
  5. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
  6. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to; expect an answer you do not want to hear.
  7. Crying is blackmail.
  8. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work. Strong hints do not work. Obvious hints do not work. Just say it!
  9. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.
  10. We are not mind readers and we never will be. Our lack of mind-reading ability is not proof of how little we care about you.

Send us your "Top 10 Lists".

Guitar Points from Will

Blues Chord Progressions, Part IV

In the last installment, we looked at another way to play a Blues progression with a little different rhythmic aspects. I would like to add some further embellishments, only this time, let's make them spicier with more harmony.

A lot of what I showed you is real basic, with just two note type chords, which imply the overall harmony, rather than to actually voice it out. I have always found guitar players who were able to play a piece without a band to supply the rest of the harmony as more interesting. If you can sit down and play a song with just your guitar, I think that's a better indicator of how good you really are. Using fuller voicings to play a Blues progression is a way to make yourself sound more complete. Now, last month I showed you this;


E5 E6 E7 E6 E|-------------------------|| B|-------------------------|| G|-------------------------|| D|-------------------------|| A|-2-----4-----5-----4-----|| E|-0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--||

Now, let's take that same set of changes (E5-E6-E7-E6) but create a fuller sound;

Ex. 2

E E6/11 E7 E6/11 E|-------------------------|| B|-------------------------|| G|-1-----2-----4-----2-----|| D|-x-----x-----x-----x-----|| A|-2-----4-----5-----4-----|| E|-0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--||

Now, you will notice two things;

#1) I added an upper harmony to the chords. In reality, the actual chords have not changed (despite the added "11" above the E6th chord), but now the sound is fuller.The reason that there is an "6/11" (which could also be thought of as an "E13" chord, but it doesn't matter right now) is because of the addition of the "A" note to the "E6" chord. The "A" note is also called the "sus4", but since it sits above the "6", it is called by it's octave name "11". Clear as mud? Don't worry about the theory. You can simply think of it as going up a scale tone while following the lower moving tones. Your ear can hear when it is right.

#2) You will also notice the little "x's" (which represent a fret-hand finger mute). Those are strings that are not sounded. They are purposely blocked by the flesh of your chord fingers. They are not heard, even when you strike the string. Hearing notes separated by an octave give the impression of a fuller, bigger sound.

As a matter of fact, notes that are spread over the octave tend to sound bigger, with less notes actually played in the chord, than notes that are closer together (like in a barre chord).

You can also apply this to the next chord in the 12 bar Blues progression, when it goes to "A7";

Ex. 3

A A6/11 A7 A6/11 E|-------------------------|| B|-2-----3-----5-----3-----|| G|-x-----x-----x-----x-----|| D|-2-----4-----5-----4-----|| A|-0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--|| E|-------------------------||

Another way to add sparkle to this progression is to add an open note and let it ring. Let's go back to the "E7" part of the progression;

Ex. 4

E5 E6 E7 E6 E|-------------------------|| B|-------------------------|| G|-1-----2-----4-----2-----|| D|-0-----0-----0-----0-----|| A|-2-----4-----5-----4-----|| E|-0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--||

In this example, I let the "D" note on the open 4th string continue to ring as I played the chords. The "D" note, in the key of "E" is the "b7", and it makes the progression sound even Bluesier. It also sounds fuller and bigger, too. You can do the same when we move to the "A7" part of the progression;

Ex. 5

A A6/11 A7 A6/11 E|-------------------------|| B|-2-----3-----5-----3-----|| G|-0-----0-----0-----0-----|| D|-2-----4-----5-----4-----|| A|-0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--|| E|-------------------------||

The open "G" note is the "b7" of "A", and it gives the progression extra punch and ring. You can even apply last month's rhythm lick to this;

Ex. 6

E5 E6 E7 v v v v v v v-h-^ (Repeat twice) E|-------------------------|| B|-------------------------|| G|-1-----2-----4-----------|| D|-0-----0-----0-----0---2-|| A|-2-----4-----5-----------|| E|-0--0--0--0--0--0--3-4---||

Try this Rhythm lick out. You will be surprised at how versatile and full you will sound.

Lead Techniques from Will

Blues Lead Playing, Part IV

I had the recent opportunity to go over to my brother's home during the holidays, and play on my brother's guitar. Now, I would tell you that my brother is very much a novice player. There's nothing wrong with that. He plays as a hobby, and he really just has fun playing power chords through a little Marshall mini-stack.

Despite his lack of technique, my brother has a surprisingly good ear for notes. But, he does not understand the concept of phrasing. Phrasing is not so much the notes themselves, but how you articulate those notes, either alone or in conjunction with other notes.

What I mean, in my criticism of my brother's abilities (and I don't mean to belittle them), is that he will hear the note on a recording, and find it on the fretboard. That is a good thing, but it isn't complete to just find the note - one must know how that note was attacked. Was it slid into? Was it picked hard or soft? Was the note tremoloed (picked rapidly and repeatedly)? Or was the note bent into?

I've said all of that to say this: Bending is probably the most critical way to phrase a note on the guitar. It is usually the first technique a guitar player learns (well, a rock and blues guitar player, anyway), but it is often not fully expanded on. Since this is an article on Blues Lead Playing, perhaps we should look at bending a little closer. Let's begin with a note just picked;

Ex. 1
v E|------|| B|-12---|| G|------|| D|------|| A|------|| E|------||

In this case, I chose the "B" note. Now, let's play the same pitch ("B"), but this time we are going to pick the note, then bend into the same note from 1 fret below;

Ex. 2

v v bhalf E|------|--------|| B|-12---|-11(12)-|| G|------|--------|| D|------|--------|| A|------|--------|| E|------|--------||

Pick the "B" note first, then pick the "A#" and bend up to the "B". now, let's take that same idea and bend to the same pitch from a whole-step below;

Ex. 3

v v bwhole E|------|--------|| B|-12---|-10(12)-|| G|------|--------|| D|------|--------|| A|------|--------|| E|------|--------||

This time we are bending from the "A" note into the "B". Now, let's do another, this time from 1&1/2 step below, up to "B";

Ex. 4
v v b 1&1/2 E|------|-------|| B|-12---|-9(12)-|| G|------|-------|| D|------|-------|| A|------|-------|| E|------|-------||

This time we went from "G#" to "B". And let's do one more. Let's go from 2 whole steps below, and bend up to "B";

Ex. 5
v v b 2 E|------|-------|| B|-12---|-8(12)-|| G|------|-------|| D|------|-------|| A|------|-------|| E|------|-------||

On this last one, we went from "G" up 2 whole steps to "B". As you can probably notice, the further away from the target note you bend, the more tension on the string required to execute the bend. Obviously, there's only so far down you can go before you either break the string or cannot get it quite to proper pitch, because of the string tension. I have seen players like Van Halen and Stevie Ray Vaughan bend a note a Major 3rd (4m frets!) or more. Of course, both of those players had very strong hands and their guitars set up for such maniacal playing.

Anyway, practice bending different notes by selecting any pitch (anywhere on the neck) and bending up to it from below. Make sure that you actually hit the target pitch and hold it for a few seconds. We'll look at some Blues applications next time.

News and Events

  • Let's all be praying for JJ24:15 vocalist Steve as he and his wife prepare for a trip to China. They will be adopting another precious little girl form that country.
  • Jesus Joshua 24:15 has some dear friends and coworkers (whose names we wish to keep private for now) who have fallen gravely ill. Although you may not know who they are or what their affliction is, please join us in lifting these folks up in prayer.
  • We would also like to continue lifting up our friend David Kelsey, of Soul Joy Records, with regard to his cancer fight.
  • Now that the holidays are behind us, we are looking forward to filling our playing schedule! We hope to be in a town near you!

A Final Thought

As we enter this new year, I have had the opportunity to read and hear of some of my friends and acquaintances regarding the year of 2008. Apparently, many of them were glad to see '08 fade into history. As several of them mentioned with disdain and sorrow, it was not a particularly good year for them.

I apparently missed something. I had a great year. No, not everything went my way. There were defeats, agonies, and troubles. But there were also victories, pleasures, and triumphs. God, in His matchless grace, allowed me yet another year to live. And not only live, but live abundantly. I am blessed beyond all measure. I have a dear friend who almost died last year. He fell so gravely ill that he went to the emergency room... twice! Each time the doctors were baffled. I cannot retell the whole story to you in the span of this article, but I can tell you, 2008 was looking very bleak for my friend.

But, God spared my friend's life. Though he still bears the scars of that ordeal, he not once complains about how bad 2008 was to him. He was ready to go be with God. The rest of us weren't ready for him to go, but he was.

And not only did God spare his life, but God restored him in so many ways, particularly financially, that all my friend could do was rejoice.

What's interesting is that my friend, who had real good reason to be gloomy about the year of '08, saw only victory. Whereas many of the others I spoke to felt somehow cheated over some very insignificant things, and that made '08 a year to forget. I'm not willing to say that my other friends and acquaintances weren't ready to meet their Lord.

But, I will say that many of them had the wrong focus. Did they forget everything that God has given them? I mean, life itself is a precious gift, is it not? I have been known to complain at times, myself. But, I am always reminded that God has given me my very breath.

I only hope that I can face even the gravest of situations with a grateful heart. I have no reason to complain about '08. I am looking forward to '09. It ought to be interesting. Especially, with God.

"C'mon Dave, Gimme a break!"

Edited by - AXEMAN2415 on 11 Jan 2009 11:24:12

Absent-minded Webmaster

621 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2009 :  12:46:45 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Question on the bending: how do you recommend that we check that we hit the right note as we practice? Like many novices, I'm not always 100% certain that I really did bend it a whole note up and my ear isn't quite good enough to play the target note and compare... plus, as a very analytical (some say OCD) computer programming type, I like to know with absolute certainty that I've actually hit it.

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 - 12 Jan 2009 :  17:11:51 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Well, Anon, that is, indeed a good question. It is problematic for novice players because of two issues yet to be developed; #1) Hearing the target pitch (the note you are bending to) and #2) the hand strength to execute the bend.

You've hit on both of those in your question. One solution is to play the first pitch clearly (no other manipulations of the note,i.e.,vibrato, tapping, harmonics, etc.) and then sing it to yourself. Even if you can't carry a tune in a bucket, you can at least reinforce the pitch in your head by singing it.

After you pluck the note you want (say, the 12th fret "E" on the 1st string), sing the note and then use the same finger (preferably your fret hand 3rd finger for this exercise) to bend from the 11th fret up to the same pitch you originally played. Then do the same from the 10th fret.

Ex. 1
E|-12----|-11(12)-|-10(12)---|| B|-------|--------|----------|| G|-------|--------|----------|| D|-------|--------|----------|| A|-------|--------|----------|| E|-------|--------|----------||

Singing the note will help you get close to your target, and even if you aren't quite there, you will develop the sense for the correct pitch the more you practice it.

Another way to do this is similar. Play the open "E" string (naturally, the pitch is "E"). Now you have a constant pitch to compare to. Once you've played the open "E" note, use your 3rd frethand finger to bend from the 3rd fret, 2nd string, up to the "E" note (it will match the pitch on the open 1st string).

Ex. 2
(Let open note continue to ring) E|-0---------0--------0-|| B|-----3(5)-----3(5)----|| G|----------------------|| D|----------------------|| A|----------------------|| E|----------------------||

Just to be clear, the note in parentheses is the target pitch. you start by fingering the note and bending it to the pitch in parentheses.

Now, one final thought; In reality, you will never truly always be totally on target. Your ear tends to accept certain fluctuations in pitch accuracy, until they become so far off target they become dissonant. We always strive for accurate intonation when bending, but alas, you will always be a fraction sharp or flat when bending. But, we should always try anyway.

"C'mon Dave, Gimme a break!"
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