What is Pentecost anyway? (also, why boost pedals rock!)

As I get ready to celebrate Pentecost this weekend with my family and my church, I felt like I have been a little more eager to learn about this Christian holiday. Historically, Pentecost was the day when the Holy Spirit came down on a group of believers which included Peter and the other 11 disciples. Acts 2 chronicles the event, including a sermon by Peter which led to the conversion of about 3,000 people.

This week I’ve also been blessed by having two new pedals on my board, the Xotic Effects EP Booster, and the Fulltone Fatboost V.3. Prior to this, I had been running a few overdrives to push my amps just over the edge of breakup (coincidentally, this ‘edge of breakup’ is guitarist talk for a secret, mystical tone place that exists at just the right combination of pre-amp and power-amp tube saturation).

The EP Booster is the first version, which has a bright and bass boost dip switches inside the casing. Overall, this is a great ‘on-all-the-time’ pedal. It’s hard to describe what it does, and once you leave it on for a while your ears will adjust to the change; so much so that when you turn it off, you’ll notice a big difference. I’m running this first, before my Paul C. Timmy and GFS Greenie (tube screamer clone). 

The Fulltone Fatboost is just fantastic. Despite the word ‘fat’ in its name, it retains a great deal of clarity, and I like being able to control the gain, treble (cut), and bass separately. This is after my drives, for a volume/gain boost to make leads stand out. However, with just the EP and Fatboost on, I get some seriously huge clean tone. I mean, ‘bigger-than-Justin-Bieber’s-12 year old girl fanbase’ big. 

All that to say that, while I’ve had a great week gear wise, I’m happy to note the following things:

               What Pentecost isn’t:

* guitar pedals I’ll likely sell/trade a year down the line (us guitarists are pretty predictable like that)

* fancy setlists, productions, or post-modern Church services

* a Hallmark holiday (seriously, no Pentecost greeting cards?)

* an excuse to play church or pretend to be nice to people you don’t like

             What Peter said about Pentecost:

After appealing to the crowd about the authenticity of Jesus’ claims and identity, the people ask a big ‘What now?”. In Acts 2:38-40 we hear this honest response: “Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.”He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!” (The Message)

* Pentecost is about changing from a stagnant place of being stuck in sin or legalism

* Pentecost is about receiving the Spirit and the character fruits He brings: Acts 2:44-46 “And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God.”

* Also Pentecost is about being in community with the people you (truly) love, celebrating that God’s Spirit loves everyone, even those people we can’t seem to see past our own self-centered existence to like.

* Finally, Pentecost is about praising God! And not just this weekend, but every day! Make every meal a celebration, praising that God sent His son to die for you, so that you may receive His righteous and Holy Spirit. 

All in all, I’d say it’s been a great week, and I plan to do some serious celebrating this weekend. How about you? 

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The truth about the Electro-Harmonix Hum Debugger – A review of sorts

In simple terms, it works.

Playing electric guitar at church is a challenge. In a church of just over 300 in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, there must exist a balance between traditional and contemporary. In other words, you won’t find me climbing on top of the piano and wailing on the solo of ‘November Rain.’

However, the biggest challenge, especially if you play anything with single coil pickups, is battling the hum that comes from electromagnetic interference, old wiring, fluorescent lights, rheostats, etc, while still maintaining a good, basic tone.

RCD1

See, bad tone DOES exist. I mean, there’s a graph on the internet that proves it.

Enter the Hum Debugger. Mind you, I have tried countless things, including shielding and proper grounding to get rid of said hum, all to no avail. To my humble ears, there is a slight change in tone, but the payoff is a hum free signal. I highly suggest that you still properly ground and shield your guitars, but a stomp on this bad boy takes away that nasty hum. On the normal setting, you may hear some hum leftover, with little to no change in tone; the strong setting yields a little more change in tone, but squashes all the hum.

 

So there you go. On, the hum is gone. Off, the hum comes back. I am not sure how or why, but EHX has a real answer to the hum problem.

ehx